Malik Barkat Ali’s role in freedom struggle

Malik Barkat Ali was a close associate of Allama Iqbal, who played a leading role from Punjab, in the political struggle waged from the platform of the All India Muslim League under the dynamic leadership of Quaid-e-Azam. He died on 5th April 1946. At a special session of All India Muslim League held in 1946 attended by 470 elected Muslim members of provincial assemblies, Quaid-e-Azam paid glowing tribute to him: “I am deeply grieved to hear the very depressing and sad news of the sudden death of Malik Barkat Ali. He was from the very beginning a true and loyal member of the Muslim League, and on all occasions, he rendered the greatest service to Muslim India. His advice and staunch support on all occasions was of greatest value to the League and myself. Muslim India has lost in him a great man, and I have lost in him not only a colleague, a collaborator but also a great friend. My deepest sympathies go out to his family in their bereavement for their irreparable loss.”.

Malik Barkat Ali was elected to Punjab Legislature on the Muslim League ticket in 1937 and 1946. He alone represented Muslim League in Punjab Legislature from 1937 to 1944 and participated in the annual sessions held at Bombay, Aligarh and Delhi in 1924, 1925 and 1926. He was elected as Vice President Punjab Muslim League on 12 May 1936 with Allama Iqbal as President. This close association with Allama Iqbal started in the late 20s and continued until Allama’s death in 1938. On 19 June 1930 Malik Barkat Ali and Allama Iqbal, jointly sponsored a resolution with Gokal Chand and Nanak in Lahore High Court Bar, condemning the unfair trial of Bhagat Singh. He was amongst four members nominated by Quaid e Azam to prepare the draft of the Lahore Resolution on 21 March 1940, which was adopted by the Executive Committee on 22 March and passed on 23 March 1940. He also served as patron of the Muslim Students Federation.

After a distinguished academic career, he started teaching at FC College. He briefly joined government service only to resign in 1914. He became editor of English weekly, “The Observer”. While there in 1916 he completed his legal studies gaining top position in the LLB examination of Punjab University. In an editorial written on June 8, 1916, he wrote: “At the present time, when clouds are thickening over the horizon of Indian Muslims, it is essential that the President of the Muslim League, at the gathering at Lucknow must be possessed of the rare quality of courage. As we look around in search of Muslim leaders, we must confess that the personality of Mr Jinnah emerges as the most appropriate”. Malik Barkat Ali was very critical of Sir Michael O.Dwyer, Lt. Governor, of Punjab from 1913, who imposed censorship asking proprietors to sack him, but they chose to suspend publication. It is unfortunate that Malik Barkat did not live to see the emergence of Pakistan as a sovereign independent democratic welfare state for which he had struggled all his life.


  1. The founders of Pakistan were men and women of character. Malik Barkat Ali,a rare commodity among down trodden musalman,was elected to the MLA’s seat twice.It speaks of his means,capacity to campaign and strength he created among his follwers

  2. This was my wife’s (Sharon Malik) Grandfather and she has the same photo which her Father gave her. She would love to hear from any of her relatives.

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