Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum

  (Redirected from Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum Khan)

Nawab Khan Bahadur Sahibzada Sir Abdul Qayyum Khan KCIE (12 December 1863 – 4 December 1937), hailing from Topi, Swabi District, British India (modern day Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Pakistan) was an educationist and politician. Qayyum Khan helped Mortimer Durand during his negotiation of the Durand Line agreement with Afghanistan in 1893. Qayyum Khan became the first Chief Minister of the North-West Frontier Province on 1 April 1937. He is also known for establishing the Islamia College, Peshawar on the mould of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan's policy of educating Muslims.[1]

Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum started his career as a government servant but he eventually turned into an educationist and politician.[2]

Early lifeEdit

Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum was born into a well-known religious family of Topi. His paternal family traces its lineage back to the Lodhi dynasty.[3][4][5] His maternal family traces their lineage back to Husain ibn Ali.[6]

His paternal grandfather was Sahibzada Qutb-e-Alam (born 1800/01). His father was Sahibzada Abdur Rauf (born 1837/38). Abdur Rauf married his maternal cousin Zainab, daughter of Syed Amir (Kotha Mulla). The couple had four children; three daughters and one son. Two of the daughters died in childhood, while Khair-un-Nisa (born 1860) and Abdul Qayyum survived.[7] His mother died when he was 3 years old and his father was assassinated by rivals when he was 10 years old.[8] After the death of his father, he and his sister were brought to Kotha by their maternal uncle, Syed Ahmed Bacha.[9] He studied at the local madrassah where his uncle was a teacher. He was a bright student and caught the attention of a visiting Christian missionary Reverend Hughes. Rev. Hughes used to come to Kotha for religious discussion and propagation and had befriended Abdul Qayyums' uncles. Sensing that his nephew had more potential, Syed Ahmed Bacha was eventually convinced by Hughes to send him to Peshawar for modern education. Abdul Qayyum was admitted to the Municipal Board Middle School, Peshawar City from where he passed his Vernacular school exam in 1880.[10][11]

He subsequently gained admission to Edwards Mission High School,[12] where he passed his English middle school examination in 1883.[13] He took the examination for Naib-Tehsildar in September 1886 and passed on his first attempt.[14]

Early careerEdit

Due to the non-availability of a Naib Tehsildar post, he applied for training in Settlement Work. He eventually joined the Commissioner's Office and was employed as a Translator and Reader.[15] In 1887, Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum was appointed Naib Tehsildar. During this time he was part of the Black Mountain expedition of 1888. This was a punitive expedition against certain Hazara clans for unsettled offences, including the murder of several British officers.[16] During the expedition, Abdul Qayyum had the task of sending daily reports to the various government agencies.[17] His work was highly commended and he was awarded a silver medal, 'Hazara 88'.[18]

He was sent to Sialkot in 1890 for settlement training.[19]

He subsequently held several administrative portfolios, i.e., Tehsildar, Chief Political Agent of Hazara, Revenue Assistant and Treasury Officer, Extra Assistant Commissioner, Superintendent of the Commissioner's Vernacular Office, Assistant Political Agent Khyber, 'Assistant Political Agent' of Chitral, and then of Khyber Agency and then promoted to Assistant Political Agent of Khyber, Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), during the period 1891 to 1919.

In the year 1893 during the rule of Amir Abdur Rahman Khan of Afghanistan a Royal Commission for demarcating the Indo-Afghan Boundary, the Durand line between Afghanistan and the British Indian Empire, was set up and the two parties camped at Parachinar, now part of FATA Pakistan, which is near Khost Afghanistan.

From the British Indian side the camp was Attended by Sir Henry Mortimer Durand and Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum, then Assistant Political Agent Khyber. Afghanistan was represented by Sahibzada Abdul Latif and the Governor Sardar Shireendil Khan representing the King Amir Abdur Rahman Khan.[20]

Political careerEdit

In 1921, he went to visit his old friend George Roos-Keppel[21] who was severely ill at the time. He was shown a letter from the British government wanting to appoint Roos as Viceroy of India. Roos had replied that he would accept the position on the condition that Abdul Qayyum be made Chief Commissioner of the North West Frontier Province (NWFP).[22] However, Ross Keppel died shortly afterwards.

In 1924 he was nominated as a non-official member of the Indian Legislative Assembly[23] and remained a member until 1932. In November 1928 he was appointed as a member of a committee to examine the educational conditions in NWFP, Delhi and Ajmer-Merwara. The committee submitted a report in 1930, with an in-depth analysis, general recommendations and specific stress on female education, sanitation and necessary changes in curricula.[24]

He represented NWFP at the Round Table Conferences (India) 1931-33.

The 1st NWFP Legislative Council was established in 1932 and Abdul Qayyum was appointed the first and sole Minister of Transferred Departments. As a consequence of the Government of India Act 1935, the NWFP status was upgraded to a governors' province, hence requiring a separate Legislative Assembly. Following the first elections in NWFP in 1937, no single political party was able to gain a majority.[25] Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum became the first Chief Minister of the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa on 1 April 1937. However, this government could not last more than 6 months. Owing to Indian National Congress's opposition who considered him to be the 'spokesman of British imperialism', a vote of no-confidence was passed against him in September 1937.[26] He was replaced by the Congress ministry headed by Dr Khan Sahib.[27] Sir A. Qayyum died 92 days after his ouster from the office on 4 December 1937.[28]

The achievements of his short-lived government included:[29]

  • Provision of 2.4 million rupees for the Malakand Thermal Power plant
  • Establishment of a government training school in Peshawar
  • Special measures were taken for the growth and expansion of educational facilities, especially Islamia College
  • Removal of ban on political activities in the province, and the cancellation of 1935 administrative circular that made Urdu or English as mandatory language for instruction in government-aided schools[30]


A delegation from Islamia College, headed by the then Principal Mr R.L. Holdsworth came to visit Abdul Qayyum at his residence in Topi on 3 December 1937. They were discussing the Silver Jubilee plans of the college, scheduled for the spring of 1938.[31] After seeing his guests off, while walking back home he became dizzy, vomited and was about to fall down, but was supported by those around him.[32] He was sat down on a chair. He told his kinsmen that the life was ebbing out of his limbs on one side. He soon fell into a coma and died at around 1.30am the next morning. It was 4 December and also Eid.[33] His funeral was held the same day at 4pm and was attended by the Governor of NWFP and many high-ranking officials. The Eastern Times reported "... He was incomparably the greatest man that the Province had ever produced.".[34] After the death of Sir A. Qayyum, most of the members of his party (United Muslims Nationalist Party) joined the newly formed Muslim League, electing Saradar Aurangzeb Khan as its party leader in the assembly.[35]


In dedication to his services, there are numerous monuments named after him,[36] including


  1. ^ Ghaffar Khan: nonviolent Badshah of the Pakhtuns p112 Gandhi - 2008 "Ominously for the Raj, Khudai Khidmatgar candidates humbled four titled khans, Sahibzada Sir Abdul Qayyum (who, before the elections, had been nominated to serve as the Frontier's First Minister),"
  2. ^
  3. ^ Legislative Assembly debates India 1928, Vol 1, p681
  4. ^ Nasr, Nasrullah Khan, Sir Shahibzada Abudl Qayyum Khan, Peshawar 1949, p28
  5. ^ Islamia College Library Record Tazkira Sahibzada Abdur Rauf Mussanafir Kitab
  6. ^ Kosar, Abdul Razik, Al Haj,'Dur-i-Israr'
  7. ^ S.idrees 'Yadasht'
  8. ^ (Hilali, Toryali p.29)
  9. ^ yadasht, nasr
  10. ^ Archives 1887-1901, Cunningham, F.D.
  11. ^ Archives Comm. Rec.2256
  12. ^ S.IDREES YADASHT p.6
  13. ^ Archives Comm. Rec.2256
  14. ^ Archives Comm. Rec.2256
  15. ^ Archives, 1888, Qaiyum Sahibzada to Waterfield, W.G.Col.Com. Rec.2256
  16. ^ Archives, 1888, Black Mountain Expedition, Com. Rec.S. No.531
  17. ^ Archives, Black Mountain Expedition, 'Diaries on Black Mountain Expedition, S. No. 530
  18. ^ Archives,'Medal for Black Mountain Expedition to Sahibzada Abdul Qaiyum and Habib, S. No.1450
  19. ^ Archives, 1890, Dunlopsmith, J.R.Captain, Com. Rec.2256
  20. ^
  21. ^ P.C.L. 1920, A.P.Trevor p47
  22. ^ Ghafur, Arbab Abdul, Khalil, Mss. 'Tehkal'.
  23. ^ Archives, 1924 'Gazette of India' (Jan to June), Part 1.
  24. ^ ICP 'Report of the Primary Education Committee'
  25. ^ Indian Annual Register 1937, Vol. I, 166.
  26. ^ Shah, Sayed Wiqar Ali (1999). Ethnicity, Islam and Nationalism: Muslim Politics in the North-West Frontier Province 1937-47. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 58. ISBN 9780195790504. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  27. ^
  28. ^ Shah, Sayed Wiqar Ali Shah (1999). Ethnicity, Islam and Nationalism: Muslim Politics in the North-West Frontier Province, 1937-1947. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 61. ISBN 9780195790504. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  29. ^ Mir Abdul Samad Khan, Loai Pakhtoon: Sir Syed-i- Sarhad Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum Khan (Urdu), Peshawar: University Book Agency, 1982, 365.
  30. ^ Shah, Sayed Wiqar Ali (1999). Ethnicity, Islam and Nationalism: Muslim Politics in the North-West Frontier Province, 1937-1947. Oxford: Oxford University Press. pp. 59, 85. ISBN 9780195790504. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  31. ^ I.C.P.'Khyber', Op.Cit. Holdsworth/
  32. ^ S.Idrees, 'Yadasht'
  33. ^ T.R.Cell, 'Appointment of Sir A.Q as Minister'
  34. ^ 'The Eastern Times p.14'
  35. ^ Shah, Sayed Wiqar Ali Shah (1999). Ethnicity, Islam and Nationalism: Muslim Politics in the North-West Frontier Province, 1937-1947. Oxford: Oxford University Press. p. 61. ISBN 9780195790504. Retrieved 13 May 2020.
  36. ^ "Islamia College and Sir Syed of Sarhad". 4 August 2013.

External linksEdit

Academic offices
New office Chief Minister of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa
1 April 1937 – 7 September 1937
Succeeded by
Dr. Khan Sahib