Giving the devil his due is not a populist sentiment but surely it is an irrefutable fact. The revival of the state of Bhawalpur is the verdict of history which is being resurrected in the National Assembly and the Senate of Pakistan–ironically on the orders of President Zardari, who despite his money antics has been a superb constitutionality, a brilliant politician and a stupendous strategist.
One of the biggest protagonists of the state is the former Senator and ex-Federal Minister, Muhammad Ali Durrani. He says that:
- Bahawalpur, once the richest state of the sub-continent, is now the poorest one with 56 per cent of its population living below the poverty line and where the infant mortality rate is the highest in the region.
- It is also a place with the lowest literacy rate (31 per cent) but contributing a lot in Punjab’s rural economy in terms of highest agriculture yields of various crops.
- Bhawalpur heart is Multan and gateway to Sindh and the Punjab
- The demand for Bhawalpur is different than the demand for the Saraiki province which is based on linguistic barriers.
- Bhawalpur province is not based on any religious, linguistic or ethnic basis–it is not a demand for the creation of a new province. It is a demand to restore a province.
Bhawalpur was an independent state along with Khairpur state. Both opted to join Pakistan. They were dissolved when the one unit was created. When the one unit was broken back up in 1973, Bhawalpur was not restored as a province.
1690 Bahawalpur State founded.
22 Feb 1833 British protectorate.
7 Oct 1947 Bahawalpur accedes to Pakistan.
14 Oct 1955 State extinguished.
Emirs (full title from 5 Jan 1740, Nawwab Amir)
1690 – 1702 Bahadur Khan II (b. 16.. – d. 1702)
1702 – 1723 Mobarak Khan I (b. 16.. – d. 1726)
1723 – 11 Apr 1746 Sadeq Mohammad Khan I (d. 1746)
11 Apr 1746 – 12 Jun 1750 Mohammad Bahawal Khan I (d. 1750)
12 Jun 1750 – 4 Jun 1772 Mobarak Khan II (d. 1772)
4 Jun 1772 – 13 Aug 1809 Mohammad Bahawal Khan II (b. 1753 – d. 1809)
13 Aug 1809 – 17 Apr 1826 Sadeq Mohammad Khan II (b. 1781 – d. 1826)
17 Apr 1826 – 19 Oct 1852 Mohammad Bahawal Khan III (d. 1852)
19 Oct 1852 – 20 Feb 1853 Sadeq Mohammad Khan III (d. 1861)
20 Feb 1853 – 3 Oct 1858 Fath Mohammad Khan (d. 1858)
3 Oct 1858 – 25 Mar 1866 Mohammad Bahawal Khan IV (d. 1866)
25 Mar 1866 – 14 Feb 1899 Sadeq Mohammad Khan IV (b. 1862 – d. 1899)
25 Mar 1866 – 12 Feb 1879 Begum Sahiba (f) -Regent (d. 1879)
14 Feb 1879 – 28 Nov 1879 Mahabat Khan -Regent (1st time)
14 Feb 1899 – 15 Feb 1907 Mohammad Bahawal Khan V (b. 1883 – d. 1907)
14 Feb 1899 – 12 Nov 1903 Mahabat Khan -Regent (2nd time)
14 Feb 1899 – 12 Nov 1903 Leopold John Herbert Grey (b. 1840 – d. 1921)
15 Feb 1907 – 14 Oct 1955 Sadeq Mohammad Khan V (b. 1904 – d. 1966)
15 Feb 1907 – 1916 Muhammad Khan -Regent (1st time) (b. 1884 – d. 1955)
1916 Rahim Bakhsh Maulvi -Regent (d. 1936)
1916 Malik Khuda Bashsh Khan -Regent (d. 1930)
1916 – 8 Mar 1924 Muhammad Khan -Regent (2nd time) (s.a.)
“This region produces 44 per cent of the total cotton yield, 45 per cent of mangoes, 25 per cent livestock, 22 per cent wheat, 20 per cent of rice (ire) and 18 per cent of the sugarcane, but it got Rs15 billion only under the last PFC award out its actual share of Rs 85 billion”, he complained. “If Bahawalpur becomes a province its development budget would not be less than Rs 110 billion”, he added. Interestingly, Bahawalpur is the only region in Pakistan where government is the major land owner instead of the people. Most of the state assets lie in Bahawalpur where 64 lac acres of Cholistan land is also under the control of provincial government, he further informed this scribe while pleading his case for provincial status for the region.
The State of Bahawalpur acceded to Pakistan in 1947 and under the agreement of accession, it was to join as a federating unit of Pakistan.
- On 29th of April, 1951, Bahawalpur was given the status of a province with its own Assembly which in turn surrendered its status as independent state and Nawab of Bahwalpur was given the status of governor.
- Elections were held in 1952 and a provincial government was put in place the same year.
- This arrangement continued till 1954 when Ghulam Muhammad dissolved the assemblies.
- The draft constitution of 1954, though never implemented, also recognised Bahawalpur as separate province with seven National Assembly seats, 42 provincial assembly seats and 4 senate seats out of 50.
- Then One Unit was created in 1955 and Bahawalpur was made part of it as a federating unit.
- In 1970, Yahya Khan issued a Legal Frame Work Order and Bahawalpur was made part of Punjab without any reference to its 1955 status.
- Afterwards a movement was launched for restoration of Bahawalpur province. In 1971 elections, Muttahida Mahaz Bahawalpur won maximum seats. The movement died down due to East Pakistan fiasco.
- The two MNAs from Bahawalpur, Nizamuddin Haider and Makhdoom Noor Muhammad Qureshi did not sign 1973 Constitution.
Rupee News supports the revival of the province of Bhawalpur.