Minar-i-Pakistan is built at the Iqbal Park Lahore where the famous Pakistan Resolution was passed on March 23, 1940, demanding the creation of Pakistan. The architect and engineer of this symbolic national emblem, Nasreddin Murat-Khan, was a Pakistani of Russian descent.
Nasreddin Murat Khan was born in Dagestan in 1904, having obtained degrees in architecture, civil engineering, and town planning from the University of Leningrad in 1930, Nasreddin held a variety of posts in his hometown and planned and designed many buildings of the Soviet Union, which includes a Lenin Memorial. Murat-Khan was keen to free the Muslim Caucasus region from Soviet control. As a result, he had to flee from Dagestan in fear of his life to Germany where he landed sometime in 1944.
In 1950, he migrated to Pakistan and was hired as Executive Engineer for PWD at Wah Ordnance Factory. He then was reassigned in 1951 as Special Architect, B&R Deptt., PWD, where he designed the buildings of the Nishtar Hospital and the Nishtar Medical College. In addition, he also prepared the designs of the Mansehra Mental Hospital, the Sahala Police Training College, the Sinclair Hall in Forman Christian College, the Gaddafi Stadium in Lahore, and the Textile College in Faisalabad among many other buildings, townships, residences, and other structures.
Murat-Khan’s most notable and memorable work is his design of the Minar-e-Pakistan monument, located at Minto Park later called Iqbal Park in the walled city of Lahore. The foundation stone of Minar-e-Pakistan was laid at Minto Park on 23 March 1960. In 1963, President Ayub Khan reportedly summoned Murat-Khan to his office and took out a fountain pen from his pocket, placed it upright on his desk, and instructed Murat-Khan to “build me a monument like this.
Minar-e-Pakistan was designed by him and he oversaw the construction free of charge. Murat-Khan was very keen on the supervision of the construction and the design. He frequently visited the site to inspect building material, construction quality. He did not take his prescribed fee of Rs. 250,000 and instead donated the amount to the fund created for financing the construction of the Minar-e-Pakistan
A few months before the completion of Minar-e-Pakistan, he resigned from the committee overseeing the construction of Minar-e-Pakistan due to differences with the commissioner. It is said that his name was not mentioned anywhere around the Minar.
He contributed to the field of engineering and architecture in the Russian Federation, Germany, and then Pakistan. Murat-Khan died of a heart attack on 15 October 1970. In recognition of Murat-Khan’s services, the then President of Pakistan, General Ayub Khan, conferred on him the Tamghah-e-Imtiaz (Medal of Excellence) in 1963.