Chronology of prime ministers

Published June 27, 2004

ISLAMABAD, June 26: Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali and his cabinet became the 15th statistic on the list of the former prime ministers of the country who could not complete the five-year tenure of government or were unceremoniously removed from the office.

In the last 56 years, the tenure of the elected prime ministers remained less than that of the presidents. The historical record shows that presidents with military background claimed the heads of largest number of prime ministers during the last 56 years.

The tenure of presidents with military background in the country comes to more than half of the country's life while the elected presidents and prime ministers on an average spent a little over two years in office.

President Maj-Gen Iskander Mirza during his reign from March 23, 1956 till March 27, 1958 and as acting governor-general, claimed the scalps of five prime ministers including Mohammad Ali Bogra, Chaudhry Muhammad Ali, Hussein Shaheed Suhrawardy, I.I. Chundrigar and Malik Firoz Khan Noon.

On March 27, 1958, President Iskander Mirza handed over power to a military ruler, Gen Ayub Khan, who continued in office for 11 years till March 25, 1969.

Another uniformed President, Gen Ziaul Haque, assumed office through a military coup and sent the then prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to gallows through a "judicial murder."

Later, he dismissed the government of his handpicked prime minister Muhammad Khan Junejo during his reign from 1977 till 1988.

A civilian President, Ghulam Ishaque Khan, shares honours with Gen Zia for dismissing two elected prime ministers.

Another civilian President, Farooq Leghari, dismissed the government of prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

President Gen Pervez Musharraf assumed power through a military coup on October 12, 1998 and dismissed the government of an elected prime minister Nawaz Sharif.

Mir Zafarullah Khan Jamali has become the second prime ministerial statistic since President Musharraf is calling the shots.

Historical record shows that intrigues, conspiracies, and power tussles have so far led to replacements of 15 prime ministers in the short turbulent history of Pakistan. None of them could complete their tenure.

In the democratic history of Pakistan, the first prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, was assassinated in Rawalpindi on October 16, 1951, by a lone assassin Saeed Akbar. Liaquat Ali Khan was sworn-in as prime minister on August 15, 1947 and no conspirators of the first political assassination were brought to justice.

Second prime minister, the then Governor-General, Khawaja Nazimuddin, assumed charge of prime minister's office on October 15, 1951. After remaining in prime minister's office for less than two years, Khawaja Nazimuddin was dismissed by Governor-General Ghulam Muhammad on April 17, 1953. The governor-general in his announcement said he was "driven to the conclusion that the cabinet of Khawaja Nazimuddin has proved entirely inadequate to grapple with the difficulties facing the country."

On the same day Muhammad Ali Bogra, became the third prime minister of Pakistan. Prime Minister Bogra resigned from his office immediately after the election of Chaudhry Muhammad Ali as leader of the Muslim League parliamentary party on August 7, 1955. The then acting governor-general, Maj-Gen Iskander Mirza, asked Mr Bogra to continue in office till Chaudhry Muhammad Ali was sworn in as fourth prime minister on August 11, 1955.

After remaining in office for almost a year, Chaudhry Muhammad Ali resigned from the prime ministership on September 8, 1956 and from the membership of the Muslim League leading to fall of the Muslim League United Front government.

On September 12, 1956, Hussein Shaheed Suhrawardy was appointed as the fifth prime minister of Pakistan and a nine-member Republican-Awami League coalition cabinet was sworn in the same day.

After prime minister Suhrawardy developed differences with President Maj-Gen Iskander Mirza, he resigned from office on October 12, 1957. Ismail Ibrahim Chundrigar, leader of the Muslim League parliamentary party in the National Assembly was asked by President Mirza to form a new cabinet on October 18, 1957 and become the sixth prime minister of the country.

On December 14, 1957, I.I Chundrigar resigned after failing to form a new cabinet and President Mirza asked Malik Firoze Khan Noon to form a new government. As leader of the Republican Party, Mr Noon was sworn in as seventh prime minister on December 16, 1957.

On October 7, 1958, President Mirza proclaimed Martial Law throughout the country, abrogated the Constitution and dissolved the assemblies. Army chief, Gen Ayub Khan was appointed as chief martial law administrator who declared on October 8, 1958: "Our ultimate aim is to restore democracy but of the type that people an understand and work."

On December 7, 1971, President Gen Yahya Khan appointed Nurul Amin as eighth prime minister. Immediately after fall of East Pakistan on December 16, 1971, Gen Yahya handed over power to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who took over as President and chief martial law administrator on December 20, 1971.

Mr Bhutto was officially sworn in as ninth prime minister on August 14, 1973. However, he was deposed in a military coup by Gen Zia on July 4, 1977 and later hanged in what was later termed by the historians as "judicial murder" of a prime minister.

Gen Zia's nominee, Muhammad Khan Junejo, was sworn in as the 10th prime minister on March 24, 1985. When Mr Junejo returned from Philippines on May 29, 1985, Gen Zia dissolved the National Assembly and the cabinet in a move which took the prime minister by surprise.

On December 2, 1988, Benazir Bhutto was sworn in as the eleventh prime minister. Her government was dismissed by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan on August 6, 1990 and Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi took over as caretaker prime minister on August 7.

Nawaz Sharif was elected as the 12th prime minister by the National Assembly on November 7, 1990 and remained in office till President Ghulam Ishaque Khan dismissed his government on April 18, 1993.

Balakh Sher Mazari was appointed as caretaker prime minister the same day. However, the Supreme Court later restored the government but power tussle between the presidency and the prime minister house led to the downfall of both Ghulam Ishaq Khan and Nawaz Sharif on July 18, 1993. Former World Bank Vice President Moeen Qureshi was sworn in as caretaker prime minister.

On October 19, 1993, Benazir Bhutto was sworn in for the second time as the 13th prime minister of the country. President Farooq Leghari dismissed the government on November 5, 1996 and installed Malik Meraj Khalid as caretaker prime minister.

On February 17, 1997, Nawaz Sharif was sworn in for the second time as the 14th prime minister of the country. He was dismissed in a military coup by Gen Musharraf on October 12, 1998.

Prime Minister Jamali, sworn in as the 15th prime minister on November 23, 2002, resigned on June 26, 2004.


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