Malhi was a leading member of the Muslim League and was at the forefront of the Pakistan Movement. A lifetime member of the Muslim League, he belonged to the gentry of Punjab and served as West Pakistan's Minister for Law, Education and Parliamentary Affairs in 1955.
Chaudhry Naseer Ahmad Malhi was born the second son of Chaudhry Ghulam Haider Malhi, in 1913, in the town of Baddomalhi, in Sialkot district. Malhi's father was the leading aristocrat of the district, one of the elite of Punjab, was noted for his philanthropy, and was decorated by the British Governor for his services to the community. Malhi's great-grandfather, Chaudhry Ali Gohar Malhi, served as Governor of Punjab during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.
Malhi had two older sisters, two younger sisters, and an older stepbrother. He fathered three sons and two daughters, of whom only two sons and one daughter survived adolescence.
Malhi received his primary and secondary education at G.H. (Ghulam Haider) Muslim High School, named after his father, who was encouraged by Maulana Muhammad Ali to found this school in 1918, to educate aspiring students. The school was noted for offering free tuition and books to economically-disadvantaged pupils. The educational expenses of these students were personally met by Malhi's father.
After his secondary education, Malhi went on to earn a Bachelor of Arts (BA) degree in mathematics and Arabic from Government College Lahore (GCU) and a Bachelor of Laws (LLB) from the University of the Punjab, Lahore.
Malhi commenced his political career with the Congress Party. After attending the 1940 Lahore Conference held by the All India Muslim League, he recognised the immense potential that the Muslim League had for representing the Muslims of India. He joined the Muslim League's Sialkot chapter and rapidly ascended to become its president.
In 1943 Malhi met Muhammad Ali Jinnah at Jinnah House on Malabar Hill, Bombay. It was on Malhi's advice that what became the historic Sialkot Convention was planned for Punjab. Held in Sialkot city in May 1944, this convention was attended by Jinnah, Liaquat Ali Khan, Khawaja Nazimuddin, Muhammad Zafarullah Khan, Sardar Abdur Rab Nishtar, Sardar Shaukat Hayat Khan, Mumtaz Daultana, Maulvi Tamizuddin Khan, Iftikhar Hussain Khan Mamdot and Mian Iftikharuddin among other Muslim League luminaries.
The Sialkot Convention was a milestone in Muslim–Hindu politics. It is widely regarded as the landmark event which catapulted the Muslim League into prominence in undivided Punjab. It broke the Unionist Party's hold over the Muslims of Punjab and swayed their sentiments towards the Muslim League and the Pakistan movement, paving the way for the eventual formation of Pakistan.
Acknowledging the convention's impact, Jinnah stated, "I have a feeling today, that Pakistan has come into existence". Jinnah attributed the success of this convention to Malhi. Embracing him, he commented, "Mr. Malhi, no doubt, you are Lord Malhi". Jinnah made Malhi the head of the Muslim League of Punjab, a post that Malhi maintained until 1971.
After the independence of Pakistan, Malhi remained a prominent legislator. It was Jinnah's decision to appoint Malhi as Pakistan's second prime minister, after Liaquat Ali Khan. Jinnah personally notified Malhi of this decision; however, due to Jinnah's sudden death, the writ was never executed.
Nevertheless, as an active member of Pakistan’s political elite, Malhi served as the Minister of Education, Law and Parliamentary Affairs. It was during his tenure that school uniforms were introduced in Pakistan. He excluded Aitchison College from the list of schools receiving government assistance on the rationale that such elite institutions did not require federal aid.
Malhi led Pakistan's delegation at the Geneva Conference in 1955. At this conference he delivered a speech defending the rights of Afro-Asian countries and was awarded a gold medal. Following this success, Malhi led Pakistan’s delegation to the United Nations, where he addressed the United Nations General Assembly on the political challenges facing South Asia. His speech won acclaim for its political insight, and he was well received by the Assembly.
In his efforts to elevate Pakistan's fledgling profile, Malhi hosted an historic dinner for Eleanor Roosevelt, President of the United Nations General Assembly and former First Lady of the United States.
With the advent of martial law in the early sixties, Malhi became a vociferous opponent of the government of General Ayub Khan. In 1965 he allied himself with and supported Fatima Jinnah in her bid to democratically dislodge Ayub Khan from his assumed office.
Malhi was offered key ministry posts during the Nawab of Kalabagh's tenure as Chief Minister of West Pakistan. Though they were close personal friends, Malhi declined to accept the posts because of ideological differences. He was later offered a ministry post by General Zia, but he again declined.
Malhi successfully retained his seat in the National Assembly until 1971. As a result of the secession of East Pakistan and his disappointment with the corrupt politicking of later politicians, he retired from electoral politics.
Despite his withdrawal from active political life, Malhi remained an established member of Pakistan’s elite intellectual and political circles.
Malhi died peacefully on 12 July 1991. An egalitarian, he left behind a legacy of brilliant intellect, high character, altruism and incorruptible integrity.
Muhammad Ali Jinnah considered him among his most able stalwarts. Pakistan recognises him as one of its most dedicated founding fathers.Malhi and Faiz Ahmad Faiz were relatives.
He was the paternal uncle of Pakistan's Defense Secretary and Federal Interior Minister General Hamid Nawaz.
He was chairman of the reception committee for the Sialkot Convention.
He refused all salaries while in office.
He made history by becoming the first Asian man to host a White House dinner and pay for it from his personal resources.
The bill for the Sialkot Convention (Rs 40,000 in 1944, equivalent to tens of millions in today's currency) was paid by Malhi’s father, the largest landlord in Sialkot district at the time. This was unique for the Muslim League.
Ali Gohar Malhi, Malhi's great-grandfather, governed lands between the River Chenab and the River Ravi. They encompassed all areas between Wazirabad and Shahdara.