Prof Dr Riaz Ahmad
ENGR Mian Hayyat Bakhsh whose 37th death anniversary was observed on 28 March 2019 was one of the most outstanding social figures of Pothohar region who was given the title of Sir Syed of Pothohar (Islamabad Inclusive). He was an engineer by profession. While fulfilling his professional commitments he was deeply involved in the promotion of education, social welfare, Islamic values amongst the social fabric of not only Rawalpindi but the whole of Pothohar society.
After receiving engineering degree from Wolwich, England, he started job at the Rawalpindi Electrical Company as Chief Engineer wherefrom he retired in 1967. Under the British Raj, position of Muslims was very weak because they were given meager representation in the services. As President of the All India Muslim Employees Association (Anjuman Ittehad-i-Karegran, Rawalpindi Division, Mian Bakhsh fought for the rights of the Muslims and went to Delhi in 1930 to attend the All-India Employees Convention where he pleaded the case of Muslim representation in the British Government services at All-India level.
Along with it he also functioned as Secretary, Anjuman-e-Islamia, Rawalpindi an organization which was running four Islamia schools in Rawalpindi under the presidentship of Khan Bahadur Mohammad Ismail. Actually this Anjuman-e-Islamia was formed as result of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan’s Movement for establishing Islamia Muslim School for imparting modern education to the Muslim children in an Islamic environment. This was made possible in pursuance of the goals of the All-India Muhammadan Educational Conference in 1886 by Sir Syed Ahmed Khan to establish such Islamic/Muslim schools all over India.
Mian Hayyat took up this cause further during the 1930s and 1940s. When in 1943 the Anjuman Faizul Islam was founded as an orphanage on the direction of Quaid-e-Azam, Mian Hayat Bakhsh was the Vice-President and Syed Mustafa Shah Gillani was the Secretary General of Rawalpindi Muslim League. The great contribution of Mian Sahib was that most of the meetings of Rawalpindi Muslim League as well that of Anjuman-e-Faizul Islam were hosted in his house. In recognition of his services Mian Sahib was appointed Life President of the Anjuman Faizul Islam in 1948, a position he occupied till his death in 1992.
During the Pakistan Movement, Mian Sahib also rendered marvelous services. When Quaid-e-Azam came to Rawalpindi to address a public meeting at Islamia High School, Murree Road in the first week of May, 1936, Mian Hayyat Bakhsh, as Secretary Anjuman-i- Islamia, not only received the Quaid at the Rawalpindi Railway Station but made befitting arrangements for holding public address of the Quaid. As a matter of fact when the Quaid reached Lahore on 29th April 1936 and he was planning to go to Kashmir, Quaid-i-Azam wrote a letter to Khan Bahadur Muhammad Ismail, President of the Anjuman Islamia, Rawalpindi. He was entrusted the job of receiving the Quaid at Rawalpindi Railway Station and organizing the function.
As mentioned before, he was also Vice President of Rawalpindi Muslim League and most of the meetings of the District Muslim League were hosted at his house at Committee Chowk, Murree Road, Rawalpindi. When the famous Lahore session of 22-24 March 1940 was held when the Pakistan Resolution was passed, Mian Hayat Bakhsh not only led a sizable delegation from Rawalpindi Division but helped in the construction of the stage at Minto Park with the help of Sajjad Hussain Qureshi, later Governor of Punjab.
The climax of all these activities for the cause of Pakistan was anti Khizar Hayyat demonstration in January-March 1947 when on a call from the Quaid the Muslim League started the Movement against the Chief Minister of Punjab. Actually as a result if 1946 elections, Sir Khizr Hayat khan Tiwana was appointed Punjab Chief Minister because of British-Congress nexus, whereas the majority of 88 members in a House of 175 was with Nawab of Mamdot, leader of the Muslim League. Mian Sahib took active part and led anti-Khizar Movement in Rawalpindi as an organizer. Forced by the pressure of the Movement, finally Tiwana resigned from the Ministry. The infuriated Muslim League workers blocked trains for a number of days at different railway stations in Punjab.
Before this also when the elections were held in Rawalpindi in early 1946, Mian Hayyat Bakhsh along with his son, Main Siddique Akbar, presently President of Anjuman-i-Faizul Islam, Rawalpindi, who was student at the time, also participated in a number of meetings for canvassing in favour of the Muslim League candidates for the Punjab Assembly. Thus Rawalpindi Division had the distinction of securing 100% victory of the Muslim League candidates from Rawalpindi Division. On the establishment of Pakistan on 14 August 1947, Mian Hayat Bakhsh led a contingent of Muslim League National Guard to the Committee Chowk ground and saluted the Pakistan flag.
After the establishment of Pakistan when thousands of Muslim refugees came from India to Rawalpindi, it became problem for the Government as how to settle them in such large numbers, Mian Hayat Bakhsh volunteered his services and he was appointed as Honorary Settlement Commissioner to help the Government to solve the problem of inflowing Muslim refugees into Rawalpindi. He helped in the settlement, rehabilitation and proper care for the poor and downtrodden refugees in many ways and rendered remarkable services by welcoming all of them with an open heart.
Proper health care and providing food and shelter to the refugees was done in a laudable manner. In recognition of his services he was later appointed Minister for Social Welfare and Religious Affairs by the Government of Punjab in the 1980s and functioned as member, Majlis-i-Shura Pakistan for a number of years. Moreover, in recognition of his meritorious services he was awarded Tamghai-i-Quaid-i-Azam by the Government of Pakistan.