Unionist Party (Punjab)

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The Unionist Party (Punjab) was a political party of the Punjab, British India. It was founded by Sir Fazli Husain, Sir Chotu Ram and Sir Sikandar Hayat Khanin 1923 and basically represented the Punjabi zamindar (rural/agrarian)interests. The party was secular in nature and believed in a strong and united Punjabi entity, bringing together Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs and other communities of this province,

Under the leadership of Sir Sikandar Hayat Khan, the party won the general elections of 1936 and formed a coalition government along with the Indian National Congress and Sikh Akali Dal from 1937 onwards. However, in October 1937, the Muslim members in the party were also allowed to merge with the All India Muslim League by an agreement reached between Sir Sikandar and Mr Muhammad Ali Jinnah at Lucknow. This famous agreement was called the Jinnah-Sikandar Pact.

Mian Fazl-i-Hussain and Chhotu Ram laid the foundation of the Punjab National Unionist Party in 1923. It was originated by a group of rural members of the Punjab Legislative Council. These members were elected on personal prestigious position and were the big landlords and influential politicians of the Punjab. The fundamental theme of their politics was to defend the provincial interest as well as the interest of the British Raj. The group consisted of 24 Muslim landlords and 6 Hindu Jats under the leadership of Rao Bahadur Lal and the party was based on non-communal basis. The prominent Muslim landed elites were Nawab Muzafar Ali Qazilbash, Nawab Shah Nawaz Mamdot, Malik Khizar Hayat Khan Tiwana, Malik Atta Muhammad Khan Nawab of Kalabagh, Mian Ahmad Yar Khan Daultana and right hand man of Fazl-i-Hussain Sir Mohammad Zafarullah Khan. The membership was open to every community member irrespective of caste, creed, religion or color. Basically it was the fusion of Muslims, Hindus and Sikhs landed gentry of the rural Punjab they merged different groups in Punjab. This party along with Justice Party and B R Ambedkar accepted Simon Commission’s Report, which was rejected by Indian National Congress and Muslim League and other major parties.