The Nawab with a vision – ‘Bahawalpur is my home and its front door opens to Pakistan’

It was the 3rd of October, 1947, when the State of Bahawalpur joined Pakistan. The Nawab of Bahwalpur, Sadiq Muhammad Khan Abbasi, was a close friend of the Quaid. The foundations of their friendship were laid when a young Jinnah was approached to lay down terms and conditions of a loan, which the Nawab had requested from the British government for Sutlej River project. The two shared a vision, that of a land where the minorities of British India could live in peace and prosperity.

During the events of the Partition, the Nawab had made his mind. He wanted to go for Pakistan. But the veterans of Congress, Nehru and Patel had other thoughts. They approached Khan with lavish offers, hoping that would change his mind. But the Nawab replied,” Bahawalpur is my home and its front door opens to Pakistan and backdoor opens to India, and no gentleman ever enters his home from the backdoor.”

At the time of accession, the State of Bahawalpur gave $70 million and a freight full of goods. Salaries of all government employees for three years were paid by the Nawab. He later donated an additional $20 million.

Bahawalpur Treasury Office stamp was on the currency of Pakistan so that the world recognised it. The state also donated 800kg of gold. A double-track Railway line in Sindh was a donation of Al- Hajh Nawab Bahawal Khan IV (Father of Sir Sadqi Muhammad Khan).

In May 1935, Quetta was jolted by a severe earthquake killing thousands of people. Those who survived were taken to Lahore by a daily train service. As this train used to reach Bahawalpur in the afternoons, the Nawab ordered to give food, clothes and monetary help to the affected people and to supervise the arrangement. He himself daily visited the Sama-satta railway station.

Nawab Sir Sadiq was the only state ruler of Indo-Pak subcontinent who initiated a revolution in a very short period of time though his broad vision in education, social and financial sectors.

The impacts of these changes also influenced the Islamic world, besides the Indo-Pak subcontinent.  He established a prosperous state with reference to the economic stability through Sutlej Valley Project. The annual fiscal budget of Bahawalpur State was more in volume than the current budget of KP. Bahawalpur had the status of a “Grain House” for the Indo-Pak subcontinent due to its enormous agriculture production. The setup of a division of military force and Desert Rangers was a strategic and defensive measure for the protection of geographical boundaries.

The Nawab died in London on May 24, 1966, at the age of 61. He had ruled the state for more than five decades. He passed away from this world, but he is still alive in the hearts of the Muslims of the subcontinent. May his soul rest in peace!

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  1. Karan Rajpal says

    Hi Usman, would you know the source of the photograph? My great grandfather was the official photographer for the nawab of Bahawalpur, and had to move to India at the time of the partition. If it is from the Nawab’s archives, there might be more pictures that I can view.

  2. Rehman says

    Indian politicians were and are back stabbers. Muslims can not live with Hindus if Hindu rule the state its a fact and we should accept it. the current hindutva pm of india is a known butcher of Muslim of gujrat and a convicted murderer and surprisingly he still ruling the state and supported by majority, thats hindus for you

  3. Saqib says

    Good article. The portrait however is of Nawab Bahawal and not of Nawab Sadiq V under whose reign Bahawalpur State joined Pakistan.

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