Tuesday, August 19, 2008

4 military dictators among 14 heads of state so far

4 military dictators among 14 heads of state so far
By Hasan Ali
Source: Daily Times
August 19, 2008

LAHORE: In its 61 years’ history, Pakistan has witnessed 14 heads of state including four governors general and ten presidents, out of whom four were military dictators and ten civilians.

Pakistan has remained under military rule for 33 years, and civilian rule for 28 years.

The first governor general of Pakistan was Muhammad Ali Jinnah. Following his death on September 11, 1948, Khawaja Nazimuddin became the second governor general of the country on September 14, 1948. After the assassination of then prime minister Liaqat Ali Khan he resigned from the post of president in October 1951 and became the new prime minister of Pakistan.

On October 19, 1951, the third governor general of Pakistan Malik Ghulam Muhammad took oath as head of state. He forced Nazimuddin to resign from office and when the latter refused to do so he dismissed him from his post in 1953. Ghulam Muhammad appointed Muhammad Ali Bogra as the new PM, but in 1954 he dismissed Bogra as well, citing his unsatisfactory performance.

Ghulam Muhammad took leave of absence on August 7, 1955. The acting governor general Iskander Mirza dismissed him. Mirza took oath as the fourth governor general of Pakistan on October 7, 1955. In 1956, Pakistan promulgated its first constitution. The president replaced the governor general as head of state. Mirza was elected as president.

In 1958, army chief General Ayub Khan declared the first martial law in the country on October 7, 1958. Ayub took oath as president on October 27, 1958. On June 8, 1962, martial law was lifted and a new constitution was introduced.

On March 25, 1969, he resigned and handed over power to the commander-in-chief of Pakistan Army, General Yahya Khan, who became president of Pakistan on the same day. In 1970 he held general elections, but just after the elections India attacked Pakistan. Bangladesh was established as an independent republic. Most of the blame was heaped on Yahya and on December 20, 1971 he hastily surrendered his powers to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Bhutto took oath as president of Pakistan on December 20, 1971 and remained the head of the state till August 14, 1973. The military took control of government under General Muhammad Ziaul Haq in 1978.

Zia took the president’s oath on September 16, 1978. He later had Bhutto executed. Zia initially ruled for a year as martial law administrator, and later assumed the post of president of Pakistan. He died in an aircraft crash near Bahawalpur on August 17, 1988.

Chairman of Senate Ghulam Ishaq Khan became the acting president and was formally elected to the position in December 1988. He remained president until 1993. In 1993, with the support of the Pakistan People’s Party, Farooq Leghari won the presidential election against Wasim Sajjad. In November 1996, utilising his powers under Article 58(2b) of the constitution of Pakistan, Leghari dismissed the PPP government of Benazir Bhutto. He remained president till December 2, 1997.

Justice (r) Muhammad Rafiq Tarar took oath as the 11th president of Pakistan on January 1, 1998. Tarar was mostly a figurehead. He was not removed from office when General Pervez Musharraf seized control of government in 1999.

In 1999, General Pervez Musharraf deposed the then prime minister Nawaz Sharif and served the country as chief executive till 2001. He formally became the president on June 20, 2001 as a result of a referendum. On November 3, 2007, Musharraf declared emergency in the country. However, he retired from the military on November 28, 2007. Musharraf remained the president of Pakistan for nine months after taking off his uniform. He resigned on August 18, 2008 after the ruling coalition decided to impeach him.

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