Malik, who left the group earlier this year to be a “normal 22-year-old”, is also the youngest person ever to top the list.
This year marks the 12th edition of the annual poll by UK-based Eastern Eye newspaper.
Last year’s winner Bollywood star Hrithik Roshan slipped into second place this year, with Pakistani singer and actor Ali Zafar in third place.
Malik was in ninth position last year but ended up topping this year’s list following votes from across the globe.
The top five is completed with Indian TV star Barun Sobti in fourth position and actor Vivian Dsena in fifth position.
Other notable names in the top 10 are Bollywood heavy weight Salman Khan in seventh spot, and Shah Rukh Khan, often referred to as the King of Bollywood, holding the ninth spot.