Cairo: Years before his country gained independence from Britain in 1971, Khalifa bin Salman - who passed away Wednesday - was already engaged in co-founding modern Bahrain. At age of 18, he was an aide in the royal court of his father Salman Al Khalifa, who ruled Bahrain from 1942 to 1961.
Khalifa Jr, who was born in 1935, was tasked with solving citizens’ problems, an assignment that earned him an early experience and insight into people’s needs. In 1956, his father appointed him as a member of the Education Council and assigned him the task of education development in the country.
In 1958, he was appointed a secretary of the government, a key administrative post in which he served for several years. In 1960, he was named the head of the government’s finances, a position that showed his skills in helping chart economic modernisation of Bahrain. That post was the last held by Khalifa in the region of his father.
When his older brother Isa took over the rule of Bahrain in 1961, Khalifa replaced him in heading the Municipality Council, a post he used to revamp municipal services.
Khalifa is also credited with setting up an irrigation council tasked with drawing up a water conservation policy for Bahrain.
A milestone in his career came in 1966, when he was appointed the head of the Administrative Council that sought to develop governmental departments, devise a raft of coherent administrative laws and groom qualified civil servants.
Nearly four years later, Khalifa was named the head of the newly created State Council that later developed into the Council of Ministers.
As Bahrain gained independence in 1971, the country’s then ruler Isa Bin Salman issued decrees changing the official name of Bahrain from the Emirate of Bahrain to the State of Bahrain. By virtues of the same decrees, the names of the State Council and its head became the Council of Ministers and the prime minister.
Khalifa thus became Bahrain’s prime minister, a post he held until his death on Wednesday in a US hospital. Khalifa also occupied such senior posts as the head of the Higher Oil Council to manage the country’s oil resources. In 1982, Bahrain established a civil service department to draw up employment policy and upgrade of employees’ skills. Khalifa was also put in charge of this.
In recognition of Khalifa’s enormous contributions to Bahrain’s human and administrative development, Emir Hamad Bin Isa in October 2009 conferred on him the prestigious title His Royal Highness.
In July, Khalifa travelled to the US for medical treatment. He is survived by four children.