General Nawab Sadiq Muhammad Khan Abbasi V GCSI GCIE KCVO (Urdu: جنرل نواب صادق محمد خان عباسی) (29 September 1904, in Derawar – 24 May 1966, in London) was the Nawab, and later Amir, of Bahawalpur State from 1907 to 1966. He became the Nawab on the death of his father, when he was only three years old. A Council of Regency, with Sir Rahim Bakhsh as its President, ruled on his behalf until 1924. The Nawab served as an officer with the Royal British Empire Army, fighting in the Third Afghan War (1919) and commanding forces in the Middle East during the Second World War. In August 1947, the Nawab received the title of Amir of Bahawalpur, acceding his State to the Dominion of Pakistan a month later. In 1955, the Amir was promoted to General in the Pakistan Army and merged his state into West Pakistan. He died in 1966, aged 61. Under his rule Bahawalpur State comprised an area larger than Denmark or Belgium, By 1947, Bahawalpur State’s institutions, largely set up by successive British advisors with support from the rulers, consisted of departments run by trained civil servants; there was a Ministerial Cabinet headed by a Prime Minister; the State Bank was the Bank of Bahawalpur with branches outside the State also, including Karachi; there was a high court and lower courts; a trained police force and an army commanded by officers trained at the Royal Indian Military Academy at Dehra Doon. Nawab had a keen interest in education, which was free till A level and the State’s Government provided scholarships of merit for higher education. In 1951, the Nawab donated 500 acres in Bahawalpur for the construction of Sadiq Public School. Nawab was known for his relationship with the Quaid-i-Azam, Founder of Pakistan.
Sir Sadeq Muhammad Khan Abbasi was born at Derawar on 29 September 1904, the only son and heir of Haji Nawab Muhammad Bahawal Khan Abbasi V, Nawab of the state of Bahawalpur. When only two and a half, his father fell ill and died while at sea off the Aden coast, on 15 February 1907, leaving Sadeq as ruler of Bahawalpur. He was educated at Aitchison College, Lahore. At the age of 15, Sadeq fought in the Third Afghan War in 1919, was knighted in 1922 when he reached his majority and was invested with the throne two years later by Lord Reading. In 1929 he visited Egypt and was a guest of the King. Very fond of cars, he bought a Rolls Royce Phantom car, 45WR, body by Thrupp & Maberly, one of the two Cars on display at the Cairo Show.
The Bahawalpur State under his rule was considered to be an important sovereign state in Punjab. The Bahawalpur State had a special privilege as it was larger than some states of the present time like Lebanon, Kuwait, Israel and Denmark in respect of area. Its population was two times more than the total population of United Arab Emirates. Its rulers also enjoyed special protocol and titles conferred by the British since 1866 as they were accorded 17 canons salute and had special access to the Viceroy of British India Bahawalpur state also had a separate mint to cast coins for its public and the facility remained intact until 1940. The British Government established a Regency Council under the supervision of 39 Maulvi Sir Rahim Bakhsh until the minor Nawab grew up as a young man. This Council was responsible for state administration. Special attention was paid to the education and upbringing of Nawab Sadiq Muhammad Khan. He started his education at a college in Lahore and completed it in England. He had an aptitude for military affairs and achieved several military titles, conferred on him by the British Empire. The Viceroy of India, Lord Reading awarded total authority of the state administration to Nawab Sadiq Muhammad Khan (V) on 8 March 1924.
Sir Sadeq continued his military career in the British Indian Army, which he had begun as a Lieutenant in 1921; by 1932 he was a Major, by 1941 a Lieutenant-Colonel, commanding troops in the Middle East during the Second World War. Since 1933, he had also been a Member of the Chamber of Princes, and since 1940, a member of the Indian Defence Council. Promoted to Major-General in 1946, the following year, on 15 August 1947, Sir Sadeq was promoted to the title of Amir of Bahawalpur. He acceded to the Dominion of Pakistan a month later.
After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, Nawab proved to be very helpful and generous to the government of Pakistan. He gave seventy million rupees to the government and the salaries of all the government departments for one month were also drawn from the treasury of Bahawalpur state. He gave his private property to the University of the Punjab, King Edward Medical College and the Mosque of Aitchison College, Lahore. At the time of the independence of Pakistan in 1947 all the princely states of the South Asia were given a choice to join either Pakistan or India. To try to convince the Nawab to join India, Pandit Nehru went to him while he was in London and offered various incentives in this regard but he didn’t accept them. On 5 October 1947 he signed an agreement with the government of Pakistan according to which Bahawalpur State acceded to Pakistan. Thus the State of Bahawalpur was the first state that joined Pakistan. The main factor was of course the Islamic sentiments of the Muslims who were in the majority in Bahawalpur. Moreover, the Nawab and Quaid-i-Azam were close friends and they had great respect for each other, even before the creation of Pakistan. The Ameer of Bahawalpur Refugee Relief and Rehabilitation Fund was instituted in 1947 for providing a central organization for the relief of refugees fleeing from the new India, and the Quaid acknowledged the valuable contribution of the Bahawalpur State for the rehabilitation of the refugees.
In 1953, Sir Sadeq represented Pakistan at the installation of Faisal II of Iraq and also at the coronation of Elizabeth II, who was also the new Queen of Pakistan. In 1955 an accord was signed between Sadeq Mohammad and Governor-General Malik Ghulam Muhammad, according to which the State of Bahawalpur would become part of the province of West Pakistan and the Nawab was to receive a yearly stipend, or privy purse, of 32 lakhs of rupees and was to keep the title of Nawab and its precedence both inside and outside Pakistan. In May 1966 Nawab Sadeq died in London, which ended his long 59 years as Nawab and Ameer of Bahawalpur; his body was brought back to Bahawalpur and was buried in his family's ancestral graveyard at Derawer Fort. His eldest son Haji Muhammad Abbas Khan Abbasi Bahadur succeeded to his father's title of Nawab of Bahawalpur, but with no administrative power. His grandson Nawab Salah-ud-din Ahmed Abbasi currently holds the title of Nawab.
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