SHAH SHUJA (1780-1842) or Shuja`ulMulk, the King of Kabul, was the youngest son of Taimur Shah and grandson of Ahmad Shah Durrani. Shah Zaman, his elder brother, appointed him governor of Peshawar. In 1800, Shah Zaman was defeated and dethroned by his half brother, Shah Mahmud, but Shah Shuja` defeated Shah Mahmud in 1803 and occupied the throne of Kabul. In 1809, Shah Mahmud again rose to power and defeated Shah Shuja`. In February 1810, Shah Shuja` escaped towards the Punjab.

Maharaja Ranjit Singh received him with honour at Sahival and provided .him with a residence at Rawalpindi. The Shah seized Peshawar in March 1810, only to be expelled within six months by Muhammad `Azim Khan Barakzai. He captured Peshawar a second time, but as he tried to take Attock in 1812, he was apprehended by Jahandad Khan and sent to Srinagar where he remained in the custody of `Ata Muhammad Khan, the governor of Kashmir. Soon afterwards, Fateh Khan, the wazir of Afghanistan, jointly with the Sikh forces invaded Kashmir.

At Srinagar, the Sikh commander, Diwan Muhkam Chand, had Shah Shuja` released from captivity and brought him to Lahore in March 1813. Here he was forced to surrender to Ranjit Singh the celebrated diamond KohiNur which his wife, Wafa Begam, had promised to give the Maharaja if he would have him rescued from the clutches of `Ata Muhammad Khan. In April 1815 disguised as a Muslim faquir, the Shah escaped from Lahore and, after wandering around for many months, reached Ludhiana in September 1815. The British government settled upon Shah Shuja` an allowance of 50,000 rupees per annum.

From Ludhiana, Shah Shuja` made a few attempts to recover his throne at Kabul, but in vain. Ultimately, he was restored to his throne on 7 August 1839 as a result of the tripartite treaty entered into by him, the British government and Maharaja Ranjit Singh. But he failed to establish himself in power. He was killed at the instance of Muhammad Akbar Khan on 5 April 1842, his family returnig to their old asylum in Ludhiana.

References :

1. Suri, Sohan Lal, `Umdat ut-Twarikh. Lahore, 1885-89
2. Burnes, Alexander, Cabool. London, 1843
3. Khushwant Singh, Ranjit Singh : Maharajah of the Punjab. London, 1962
4. Harbans Singh, The Heritage of the Sikhs. Delhi, 1983
5. Hasrat, Bikrama Jit, Life and Times of Ranjit Singh. Nabha, 1971