Sir Khizar Tiwana
Malik Khizar Hayat Khan Tiwana.png
Premier of the Punjab
In office
30 December 1942 – 2 March 1947
GovernorSir Bertrand Glancy
Sir Evan Meredith Jenkins
Preceded bySir Sikandar Hayat Khan
Succeeded byGovernor rule
Personal details
Malik Khizar Hayat Tiwana

(1900-08-07)7 August 1900
Chak Muzaffarabad, Punjab, British India
(present-day Punjab, Pakistan)
Died20 January 1975(1975-01-20) (aged 74)
Butte City, California, U.S.
Political partyUnionist Party
RelativesShahzadi Umerzadi Tiwana (daughter)

Malik Nazar Hayat Tiwana (son)

Malik Omar Hayat Tiwana (Grandson)
Alma materAitchison College
Military service
Allegiance British India
Branch/serviceBritish Indian Army
Years of service1916-1923
Unit17th Cavalry
Battles/warsWorld War I
Third Anglo-Afghan War

Lieutenant-Colonel Sir Malik Khizar Hayat Tiwana KCSI, OBE (Punjabi: ملک خضرحیات ٹوانا; 7 August 1900 – 20 January 1975) was an Indian statesman, army officer, and landowner who served as the Unionist prime minister of the Punjab Province of British India between 1942 and 1947.

Early life

Khizar was born at Chak Muzaffarabad, in a family of Tiwana clan,in the district of Sargodha, Punjab, in 1900. He was born into the Tiwana family of Shahpur,[1] and his father Sir Umar Hayat Khan was a wealthy landowner and soldier who was an elected member of the Council of the Secretary of State for India. He was educated at Aitchison College in Lahore.[2]

Military career

At the age of 16, Tiwana volunteered for war service, and on 17 April 1918 he was commissioned into the 17th Cavalry as a temporary honorary second lieutenant in the Indian Land Forces.[3] In addition to his few months of First World War service, Khizar also briefly served in the Third Anglo-Afghan War which followed, earning a mention in dispatches. He was advanced to honorary second lieutenant on 21 November 1919[4] and was promoted to the honorary rank of captain on 17 April 1923.[5] He thereafter assisted his father in the management of the family estates in the Punjab, taking responsibility for them while his father was in London. He was promoted to honorary major on 17 April 1936[6] and to honorary lieutenant-colonel on 12 January 1943.[7]

Entry into politics

Khizar was elected to the Punjab Legislative Assembly in 1937. He immediately joined the cabinet of Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan as Minister of Public Works and Local Self Government.[8] Khizar lacked public speaking skills and administrative experience and obtained the position largely through his father's reputation and the standing of his family.[8] Despite this, he became a trusted member of the cabinet and was entrusted with the home portfolio responsible for dealing with the police and law and order.[8] At the outbreak of the Second World War he had been placed in charge of the Manpower Committee of the Punjab War Board and the Civil Defence Departments.[8] In 1940 he was responsible for handling the Unionist Party's dealings with the Allama Mashriqi and for arranging security at the All-India Muslim League sessions in Lahore.

His achievements included overseeing reform of the panchayat system by extending their administrative, fiscal and judicial functions, and ensuring improvements to infrastructure and irrigation networks.[9] He steadfastly supported the Unionist pro-agricultural policies, and sympathised with their endeavours to promote communal harmony.[9]

Premier of the Punjab

Malik Khizar Hayat Tiwana (right), Premier of the Punjab, with Sikh leader Master Tara Singh (centre), and Mohammad Ali Jinnah, leader of the All India Muslim League at the Simla Conference called by viceroy Lord Wavell in June 1945.
Malik Khizar Hayat Tiwana (right), Premier of the Punjab, with Sikh leader Master Tara Singh (centre), and Mohammad Ali Jinnah, leader of the All India Muslim League at the Simla Conference called by viceroy Lord Wavell in June 1945.

In 1942 Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan unexpectedly died creating a vacancy as Premier. The position was eyed by the three dominant Muslim factions, the Noon-Tiwana, Daultanas and the Hayats.[10] Khizar was unanimously selected as his successor on 23 January 1943.[10]

Khizar assumed control during the height of the Second World War. Many Punjabi soldiers had been killed, others returned maimed, and demobilised soldiers were not being immediately allotted parcels of land in the canal colonies. To feed Bengalis suffering the Bengal famine of 1943, the central government in Delhi instructed Khizar's government to introduce rationing in the Punjab and fix grain prices which in turn affected landowner's financially.[11] A war weariness descended over the Punjab, and food shortages, fixed prices, and their support for conscription, damaged attitudes towards Khizar's government from rich and poor Muslim alike.[11]

Like Sikandar, Khizar was staunchly opposed to the idea of Pakistan, yet unlike his predecessor was less willing to compromise or bow to Jinnah's dictation.[12] Jinnah increasingly sought to enforce the Sikandar-Jinnah pact and wield influence over the government claiming that as the Muslims of the Unionist party also belonged to the Muslim League, the Punjab government was a League government and should submit to directives of the Muslim League leadership.[12] In April 1944 Jinnah demanded that the name of the Unionist Party be changed to the Muslim League Coalition Party.[13] Khizar rebuffed these demands asserting that his government was a coalition with Hindus, rather than a Muslim League government[12] Tension with Jinnah simmered until Khizar was expelled from the Muslim League later that year.[12] This opened a rift within the Unionist Party, with Muslim members now forced to choose between Khizar and the Muslim League.[12] Following this clash, the Muslim League waged an increasing vitriolic campaign against him, denouncing him as a 'quisling' and 'kafir'. Mock funerals were held outside his official residence and he was greeted wherever he went with black flags of protest.[14]

Khizar suffered a further blow in January 1945 with the death of Sir Chhottu Ram. Ram was the leader of the Hindu Jats in south eastern Punjab, a pillar of the Unionist Party and greatly respected by Muslims in the province.[12] Jinnah increased the pressure on Khizar at the Simla Conference of 1945. Convened by the Viceroy of India Lord Wavell, the conference was to put together an interim government in India following the war. Jinnah insisted that any Muslim nominee to the government must be selected by the Muslim League, as only they spoke for the entirety of Muslims in India. This was seen as an attempt to undermine the influence of the Unionist Party, and its ability to represent its Muslim constituency.[12] In September 1945, Sir Feroz Khan Noon, a member of the Noon-Tiwana faction, resigned from the Unionist party and urged Khizar and other Unionists to join the Muslim League.[10] Noon had previously been a key ally for Khizar, assuring him that he would help heal his rift with Jinnah and urging him to not divide the Punjabi Muslims - the heart of Muslim India.[15] Noon's defection opened the gates for further defections from the party. Other defectors included Sikandar's son, Shaukat Hayat Khan and Mumtaz Daultana, who both realigned their families support towards the Muslim League.

At the Indian provincial elections of 1946, the Muslim League won seventy nine seats to the Punjab Assembly, and reduced the Unionists to just ten. Despite this crushing defeat for Khizar and the Unionists, the Muslim League were unable to form a government as they lacked an absolute majority. Khizar struck a deal with the Congress Party and Akali Dal and was invited to form a coalition government. His cabinet included Sir Muzaffar Ali Khan Qizilbash, Bhim Sen Sachar and Baldev Singh.[16] The coalition proved a disaster, as for the first time a predominately non-Muslim government held power. From the outset the Muslim League organised a programme of civil disobedience and disruption to the province.[17] The Muslim League argued it was an example of Hindu connivance to defeat the interests of the Muslim community.[18] Khizar was portrayed as a traitor, clinging to power and office without regard for the interests of the Muslims.[18]

Khizar remained opposed to the partition of India to the end.[19][20] He felt that Muslims, Sikhs and Hindus of the Punjab all had a common culture and was against dividing India to create a religious segregation between the same people.[21] Malik Khizar Hayat Tiwana, himself a Muslim, remarked to the separatist leader Muhammad Ali Jinnah: "There are Hindu and Sikh Tiwanas who are my relatives. I go to their weddings and other ceremonies. How can I possibly regard them as coming from another nation?"[21] He refused to accept the two-nation theory, and believed that a Muslim majority government in the Punjab would be an important guarantee of the rights of Muslims in a minority province.[17] Tiwana advocated for amity between the religious communities of undivided India, proclaiming March 1 as Communal Harmony Day and aiding in the establishment of a Communal Harmony Committee in Lahore presided over by Raja Narendra Nath with its secretary being Maulvi Mahomed Ilyas of Bahawalpur.[21] As a last ditch attempt to avoid partition, Khizar attempted to convince the British to accept his proposal for an independent Punjabi state, a separate entity to both India and Pakistan.[22]

He was made a Knight Commander of the Order of the Star of India in the 1946 New Year Honours[23] and was a member of the Indian delegation to the Paris Peace Conference in the summer of 1946. Due to the boycotts engulfing the Punjab, he resigned as Premier on 2 March 1947. Sir Evan Jenkins, as Governor of the Punjab assumed direct control of the Punjab until the day of partition, 14 August 1947.[17]

Later life

He retired from politics following his resignation, and lived for a time in Simla and Delhi following independence. He returned to the Kalra Estate in the newly created Pakistan in October 1949.[24]

In 1951, Mumtaz Daultana targeted those who were against the Pakistan movement by proposing a law confiscating without redress, all land grants issued during the premiership of Khizar.[25] In Tiwana's hometown of Shahpur, this would amount to 10,000 acres. Alarmed by these measures, Khizar appealed to the British government without success.[25] In 1954, Daultana would confiscate all the private canals owned by Khizar under the guise of the Punjab Minor Canals Bill.[25]

In his final visit to the United States, Malik Khizar Hayat Tiwana, reflecting on the creation of Bangladesh, echoed his opposition to the partition of India, particularly the division of the Punjab Province, stating: "I still think a Punjabi Muslim has more in common with a Punjabi Hindu than with a Bengali (or any non-Punjabi really) and I think the separation of East Pakistan proved that."[26]

He died in Butte City, California, on 20 January 1975.[27]


  1. ^ A. F. Rose, A Glossary of the Tribes and Castes of Punjab and North-West Frontier Province (1911)
  2. ^ Ian Talbot, Khizr Tiwana, the Punjab Unionist Party and the Partition of India, Routledge, 16 December 2013, p. i.
  3. ^ The London Gazette, Issue 31013, 15 November 1918, p. 13508
  4. ^ The London Gazette, Issue 31773, 10 February 1920, p. 1699
  5. ^ The London Gazette, Issue 32975, 19 September 1924, p. 6910
  6. ^ The London Gazette, Issue 34295, 19 June 1936, p. 3925
  7. ^ The London Gazette, Issue 35857, 12 January 1943 (Supplement), p. 259
  8. ^ a b c d Ian Talbot, Khizr Tiwana, the Punjab Unionist Party and the Partition of India, Routledge, 16 December 2013, p. 70.
  9. ^ a b Ian Talbot, Khizr Tiwana, the Punjab Unionist Party and the Partition of India, Routledge, 16 December 2013, p. 76.
  10. ^ a b c Ayesha Jalal, The Sole Spokesman: Jinnah, the Muslim League and the Demand for Pakistan, Cambridge University Press, 1994.
  11. ^ a b Mehtab Ali Shah, The Foreign Policy of Pakistan: Ethnic Impacts on Diplomacy 1971-1994, I.B. Tauris, 15 November 1997, p. 131.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g Penderel Moon, Divide and Quit, University of California Press, 1962, p. 39.
  13. ^ Hardy, The Muslims of British India, CUP Archive, 7 December 1972, p. 234.
  14. ^ Ian Talbot, Khizr Tiwana, the Punjab Unionist Party and the Partition of India, Routledge, 16 December 2013.
  15. ^ Firoz Khan Noon to Khizar Hayat Khan, 21 August 1945, SHC/Punjab vol. IV, 15.
  16. ^ J. Henry Korson, Contemporary Problems of Pakistan, Brill Archive, 1974, p. 20.
  17. ^ a b c J. Henry Korson, Contemporary Problems of Pakistan, Brill Archive, 1974, p. 19.
  18. ^ a b Penderel Moon, Divide and Quit, University of California Press, 1962, p. 72.
  19. ^ Mansingh, Surjit (2006). Historical Dictionary of India. Scarecrow Press. ISBN 9780810865020. Both Sikander Hayat Khan and his successor, Khizr Hayat Khan Tiwana, vehemently opposed the idea Partition when it was mooted in the early 1940s, partly because as Punjabi Muslims they did not agree with Jinnah on the need for a Pakistan and largely because the thought of partitioning Punjab, as an inevitable consequence, was so painful.
  20. ^ Singh, Pashaura; Fenech, Louis E. (2014). The Oxford Handbook of Sikh Studies. Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780191004124. Khizr Hayat Khan Tiwana, a Unionist, who was the last Premier of the unified Punjab opposed Jinnah and the 1947 partition of India from a Punjabi nationalist perspective.
  21. ^ a b c Talbot, Ian (1996). Khizr Tiwana, The Punjab Unionist Party and the Partition of India. Curzon Press. pp. 77, 303. Khizr was opposed to the division of India on a religious basis, and especially to suggestions about partitioning Punjab on such a basis. He sincerely believed that Punjabi Muslims had more in common with Punjabi Hindus and Sikhs.
  22. ^ Pashaura Singh, Louis E. Fenech, The Oxford Handbook of Sikh Studies, OUP Oxford, 27 March 2014, p. 486.
  23. ^ "No. 37407". The London Gazette. 28 December 1945. p. 7.
  24. ^ "Remembering Khizar Hayat Tiwana". Archived from the original on 2017-03-07.
  25. ^ a b c Roger D. Long, Gurharpal Singh, Yunas Samad, Ian Talbot, State and Nation-Building in Pakistan: Beyond Islam and Security, Routledge, 8 October 2015, p. 27.
  26. ^ Talbot, Ian (2013). Khizr Tiwana, the Punjab Unionist Party and the Partition of India. Routledge. p. 173. ISBN 978-1-136-79029-4.
  27. ^ "Nawab Tiwana, Ex‐Minister of Punjab, Led Unionists". The New York Times. 25 January 1975.

Further reading