In early 1948, A. R. Ghani, a Muslim from Transvaal, South Africa, offered two prizes of five thousand rupees each for the poet and composer of a new national anthem for the newly independent state of Pakistan. The prizes were announced through a government press advertisement published in June 1948. In December 1948, the Government of Pakistan established the National Anthem Committee (NAC) with the task of coming up with the composition and lyrics for the official national anthem of Pakistan. The NAC was initially chaired by the Information Secretary, Sheikh Muhammad Ikram, and its members included several politicians, poets and musicians, including Abdur Rab Nishtar, Ahmad G. Chagla and Hafeez Jullundhri. The NAC encountered early difficulties in finding suitable music and lyrics.
When President Sukarno of Indonesia became the first foreign head of state to visit Pakistan on 30 January 1950, there was no Pakistani national anthem to be played. In 1950, the impending state visit of the Shah of Iran added urgency to the matter and resulted in the Government of Pakistan asking the NAC to submit an anthem without further delay. The NAC Chairman, then Federal Minister for Education, Fazlur Rahman, asked several poets and composers to write lyrics but none of the submitted works were deemed suitable. The NAC also examined several different tunes and eventually selected the one presented by Ahmed G. Chagla and submitted it for formal approval. On 21 August 1949, the Government of Pakistan adopted Chagla’s tune for the national anthem.
The anthem, without lyrics, was performed for the first time for a foreign head of state on the state visit of the Shah of Iran to Pakistan in Karachi on 1 March 1950 by a Pakistan Navy band.
It was later played for Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan during his official visit to the United States on 3 May 1950. It was played before the NAC on 10 August 1950. Official recognition to the national anthem, however, was not given until August 1954. The NAC distributed records of the composed tune amongst prominent poets, who responded by writing and submitting several hundred songs for evaluation by the NAC. Eventually, the lyrics written by Hafeez Jullundhri were approved and the new national anthem was broadcast publicly for the first time on Radio Pakistan on 13 August 1954, sung by Hafeez Jullundhri himself. Official approval was announced by the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting on 16 August 1954. The composer, Ahmed G. Chagla, died in 1953, before the new national anthem was officially adopted. In 1955, there was a performance of the national anthem involving 11 major singers of Pakistan, including Ahmad Rushdi, Kaukab Jahan, Rasheeda Begum, Najam Ara, Naseema Shaheen, Zawar Hussain, Akhtar Abbas, Ghulam Dastagir, Anwar Zaheer and Akhtar Wasi Ali.