Pakistani Nobel Laureates-Dr. Abdus Salam and Malala Yousufzai

malala and dr Abdus Salam

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Interview with Jamal Shah

Jamal Shah

I met Jamal Shah at an event in NCA in architecture department. He was there to guide the students. He was a very pleasant person to meet and very friendly in nature. One can feel this calm attitude of him towards anyone talking to him.

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Pakistani Politician and Twice Former Prime Minister of Pakistan-Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto

Born in Karachi, Benazir Bhutto quickly distinguished herself as a bright student and after completing her A-levels from Karachi Grammar School, she went abroad for further studies. After receiving her undergraduate degree from Harvard’s Radcliff College, she went on to Oxford University for further studies.

Bhutto actively stepped into politics after her father’s death and was detained for three years. After her release she resided in London but continued to participate in politics from there with her two brothers. When martial law was lifted, she returned to politics and anti Zia protests and demonstrations were taken to a whole new level as the public was very supportive of  Benazir Bhutto and were energized by her return, finally a serious challenger for Zia was there. With the public backing her every protest. The senior leadership of the Pakistan’s People party thought it was wise to let her contest for party leadership. She was thus, elected as the co-chairman of the PPP along with her mother. It was a brilliant decision, as at the age of 35, Benazir Bhutto swept the general elections and became the first woman Prime Minister of The Islamic Republic of Pakistan as well as the first women Prime minister of any Islamic state. It was an unprecedented honor and a victory that highlighted her capabilities.

Although threatened by terrorist groups to steer clear of her homeland, Benazir, or affectionately known as BB, struck a deal with President Musharraf and returned to Pakistan after staying at Dubai. Thousands of rejoicing PPP and democracy supporters gathered to meet her, but a suicide bomber struck her motorcade. Unfortunately Benazir Bhutto was murdered due to an attack on her by terrorists while she was campaigning for Pakistan People’s Party for 2008 elections.

Pakistan through the decades: Governor Generals and Presidents of Pakistan

First governor general of Pakistan Muhammad Ali Jinnah

Although Pakistan had become independent in 1947, it continued to follow the Government of India Act 1935 according to which the Governor General being the head of the state was the resident representative of  the monarch of Great Britain. The Governor General was recommended by the Prime Minister and appointed by the Monarch.

Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah was the first governor general of Pakistan and after him came Khawaja Nazimuddin (14th September 1948-17th October 1951), Ghulam Mohammed (17th October 1951 to 6th October 1955) and Iskander Mirza (6th October  1955 to 23rd March 1956).  

 In 1956, Pakistan became a republic and formed its own constitution in which the post of the governor general was replaced by that of the President and Iskander Mirza was appointed as the first President of Pakistan.  Since then the list of people who have served as the president of Pakistan is as follows:

Iskander Mirza (23rd March 1956 to 27th October 1958)

General Ayub Khan (27th October 1958 to 25th March 1969)

 Yahya Khan (25th March 1969 to 20th Dec 1971)

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (20th Dec 1971 to 13th Aug 1973)

Fazal Illahi Chaudhry (13th Aug 1973 to 16th Sept 1978)

Gen Zia ul Haq (16th Sept 1978 to 17th Aug 1988)

Ghulam Ishaq Khan (17th Aug 1988 to 18th Julsy 1993)

Wasim Sajjad (18th July 1993 to 14th November 1993) First Term

Farooq Leghari (14th November 1993 to 2nd December 1997)

Wasim Sajjad (2nd December 1997 to 1st January 1998) Second Term

Mohammad Rafiq Tarrar (1st January 1998 to 20th June 2001)

Pervaiz Musharraf (20th June 2001 to 18th August 2008)

Asif Ali Zardari (6th September 2008-present)

The President in Pakistan enjoyed more power than the prime minister and on a couple of occasions exercised this power by dismissing the elected prime ministers on various charges such as corruption, incompetence etc. Ghulam Ishaq Khan dismissed Benazir Bhutto’s and Nawaz Sharif’s government and Farooq Leghari dismissed Benazir’s government. Zia ul Haq and President Musharraf also used their powers excessively.  In 2010 however  the eighteenth amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan gave more power to the prime minister making him the most powerful man in Pakistan.

Pakistan through the decades: Army rulers of Pakistan

Army rulers of Pakistan

Pakistan is a country full of natural resources, beautiful landscapes and hardworking intelligent people; it is also a country which is unfortunate to be ruled by insincere and incompetent rulers. The army chiefs of Pakistan have on four occasions overthrown the elected governments on charges of corruption and have ruled the country. However these army chiefs have proved to be equally power hungry and greedy. Driven by narcissism they thought that they were a gift of God to the nation and instead of doing any good they did more damage.

The first army ruler of Pakistan was General Ayub Khan. Ayub Khan had a good military record and was the Commander in Chief of the Pak Army in 1951. He also served as a defence minister during the tenure of Mohammed Ali Bogra the 2nd Prime Minister of Pakistan. President Iskander Mirza appointed him as the first Chief Martial Law Administrator of Pakistan. Within two weeks of his appointment as CMLA, he ousted Iskander Mirza and appointed himself as the Field Marshal. Though Pakistan progressed economically under his rule, Ayub Khan made the serious mistake of allowing their ally US open a secret base in Pakistan to spy on USSR which led to embarrassing diplomatic incidents. Ayub Khan infamously rigged the general elections against Fatima Jinnah; however he too was forced to step down by the public.

Yahya Khan’s rule was perhaps one of the darkest phases Pakistan has gone through. A heavy drinker and a womanizer, he was also an incompetent rule. The relations between East Pakistan and West Pakistan were already quite sour when he took over and his oppressive strategies served as a catalyst thereby resulting in the creation of Bangladesh.

Zia-ul-Haq was another CMLA who overthrew the Bhutto government and later became the President. During his regime the Afghan-Russian was took place and through Pakistan, America helped the Afghans to resist the strong and advanced Russian attack. Taliban who have wrecked havoc in our country are a product of this alliance.  He allowed millions of Afghan refugees to seek shelter in Pakistan and thus introduced a culture of Kalashnikov and heroine in the country. He introduced Islamic practices in the judiciary and the running of the government and although his intentions were noble, his implementation was weak and instead of becoming an ideal Islamic State, Pakistan ended up tarnishing the image of Islam.

General Pervez Musharaf  came into power after removing Nawaz Sharrif. He too promised to restore democracy soon and the soon turned out to be a decade. The challenge faced by Musharaf was the impact of the 9/11 incident on Pakistan. America waged a war on Afghanistan on the pretext of finding Osama bin Laden and Musharraf allowed America to use its three airbases. His policies too proved to be disastrous for the country.

Pakistan over the decades: Chief of Army Staff of Pakistan

COAS of Pakistan over the decade

Chief of Army Staff or COAS is the highest post in the Pakistani army and is held by a senior officer of 4 star rank. Under the 1973’s constitution of Pakistan, the COAS is under the authority of the civilian leadership and reports directly to the president, prime minister, defence minister and the defence secretary of Pakistan.

Before the 1973 constitution, the COAS were referred to as Army Commander-in-Chief. There were six Commanders-in-Chief namely General Sir Frank Messervy (15TH Aug 1947 to 10th Feb 1948),  General Sir Douglas Gracey (11th  Feb 1948-16th Jan 1951), Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan (16th Jan 1951-26th Oct 1958), General Muhammad Musa (27th October 1958-17th June 1966), General Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan(18th June1966-20th Dec 1971), Lieutenant General Gul Hassan Khan (20th Dec 1971-3rd March 1972).

Among these Commanders-in-Chief, Field Marshal Ayub Khan and Yahya Khan overthrew the elected governments and declared martial law. Ayub Khan later became the president and remained on the post for almost a decade.

From 1973 onwards the Commander-in-Chief was replaced by COAS; the first COAS was General Tikka Khan (3rd March 1972-1st March 1976), General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq (1st March 1976-17th August 1988), General Mirza Aslam Beg (17th August 1988- 16th August 1991), General Asif Nawaz (16th August 1991-8th Jan 1993), General Abdul Waheed (11th Jan 1993-12th Jan 1996), General Jehangir Karamat (12th Jan 1996- 6th Oct 1998), General Pervez Musharraf (6th Oct 1998-Nov 28th 2007) and General Ashfaq Kiyani (29th Nov 2007-present).

General Zia ul Haq also declared martial law by overthrowing the elected government of Zulfiqar Ali  Bhutto in 1977. Zia ul Haq proceeded to become the president; he even held elections on no party basis and brought his puppet government in power. For eleven years he held the posts of both the COAS and the President until he died in a plane crash in 1988.

General Pervez Musharraf too declared emergency in 1998 and removed the elected government of Nawaz Sharif from power. For nine years he ruled overPakistanas the president while refusing to surrender his army uniform which he called his second skin. Then in 2007 on the insistence of almost the whole nation he gave up his army post. After Gen Musharraff, General Kayani served as COAS. After General Kiyani’s retirement, General Raheel Shareef took over the charge, in  2013. 

History of Elections in Pakistan

by on October 2, 2012
in Pakistan through decades

Elections in Pakistan

Whenever they hear the word elections in Pakistan, Pakistanis imagine it as “ill-actions”. The nation is not to be blamed for this grotesque image of the word because the previous experiences have not been pleasant. Pakistan was founded on 14th August 1947 and for the first fifteen years, no elections were held. The main reason behind this was that the constitution had not been finalized.

The first elections in Pakistan were held in 1962 by the military ruler Field Marshal Ayub Khan and the next in 1965. Ayub Khan contested the elections against Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah and defeated her; however he was accused of heavily rigging the elections. The only fair elections held in the country were perhaps under the tenure of General Yahya Khan in 1970. The outcome of these polls was that West Pakistan came under the rule of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party whereas Mujibur Rehman’s Awami League Party made a clean sweep inEast Pakistan. Later in 1971, after a bloody crisis, East Pakistan sought independence to become Bangladesh.

The next time the nation went to polls was in 1977. These elections were held by the Bhutto government and the government was accused of gross rigging and malpractices by its opponents. Curfew was imposed in most part of the country as the people had refused to accept the results and taken to rioting. Finally army moved in and Zia ul Haq ousted Bhutto and promised to hold fair elections within three months. However this was never to happen Zia instead held a referendum and got himself elected. In 1985 elections on non-party basis were held by the Zia regime and Zia prolonged his rule to eleven more years before being killed in a plane crash.

Elections were again held in 1988 and thus began a musical chair play of power between PPP and PML. In he first round (1988) PPP won and Benazir Bhutto became the prime minister of Pakistan. However after 20 months in 1990 the nation once again went to the polling booths as Benazir’s inefficient government was dismissed by Ghulam Ishaq Khan. This time it was PML’s turn to win and Nawaz Sharif became the prime minister of Pakistan. Differences between the president and the prime minister sent Nawaz Sharif packing and once again elections were held with PPP emerging as the winner this time. Benazir’s second term as a prime minister met the same fate and this time her government was sacked on the charges of corruption in 1996.

The 1997 elections ushered Nawaz Sharif as the prime minister and this time differences with the army chief General Pervez Musharraf caused Nawaz Sharif to lose his government in 1999. Musharraf became the chief executive and in 2002 held a referendum and elections which saw him being elected as the  president and a section of PML which became independent and now went as PML Q was elected to form the government. In 2007 Musharraf got himself elected as the president again and to avoid any legal challenges sacked the judiciary.

According to Musharraf new elections were to be held on 8th January 2008 but were postponed for a month due to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.  These elections brought PPP into power.

10th General elections of Pakistan were held in May 2013 and PMLN came into power with a sweeping majority. 

The third Governor General of Pakistan: Malik Ghulam Muhammad

Pakistan's governor general Malik Ghulam Muhammad


Birth: 20th April 1895

Tenure: 17th October 1951 – 7th August 1955

Death: 12th September 1956

Malik Ghulam Muhammad as Governor General:

Ghulam Muhammad was the Finance Minister of Pakistan in 1947. After Liaqat Ali Khan’s death he became the Governor General of Pakistan because Khawaja Nazimuddin was made the Prime Minister. As the governor general of Pakistan, Ghulam Muhammad’s first major duty was to represent Pakistan at the Coronation of Queen Elizabeth II held in 1953 in London. He was present in Westminster Abby along with Governor Generals of other nations such as New Zealand, Ceylon, Canada, Australia and South Africa.

Challenges faced by Malik Ghulam Muhammad:

The Assembly of Pakistan made efforts to change the constitution in 1954 in order to maintain a check over the Governor General’s powers in response to this Malik Ghulam Muhammad dismissed the Assembly itself. The Supreme Court challenged this action. However, Malik Ghulam Muhammad was successful despite a rebellious letter written by the Chief Justice. In later years this action was seen as the start of the so called royal politics in Pakistan in which non-elected officials get to govern the country and have extensive influence over the society and the provinces.


Malik Ghulam Muhammad had to take a leave of absence in 1955 due to his deteriorating health. Iskander Mirza, the acting governor general dismissed Malik Ghulam Muhammad and he died a year later in 1956. 

Pakistan through the decades: List of Chief Justice of Pakistan

iftikhar chaudhry

A justice system is as important for the society as the creation of society itself. It implies ensuring that each and every member of the society is getting his rights without any external pressure or threats. For the creation of a just society, it is essential that a justice system is developed on equality basis for the countrymen. The justice system of Pakistan is headed by the Supreme Court the office of which is controlled by the Chief Justice. Pakistan has had twenty-two Chief Justices who have taken charge of the office during their tenure. The first Chief Justice of Pakistan was Justice Abdur Rashid who remained in the office from 1949 till 1954. The current Chief Justice is Iftikhar M. Chaudhry who took charge of office in the year 2009. Given below is the list of Chief Justices of Pakistan who are twenty-two in number:

1)      Sir Abdur Rashid

2)      Muhammad Munir

3)      Muhammad Shahabuddin

4)      A. R. Cornelius

5)      Dr. S. A. Rahman

6)      Fazal Akbar

7)      Hamoodur Rahman

8)      Muhammad Yaqub Ali

9)      Shaikh Anwarul Haq

10)   Muhammad Haleem

11)   Muhammad Afzal Zullah

12)   Dr. Nasim Hasan Shah

13)   Sajjad Ali Shah

14)   Ajmal Mian

15)   Saeed -uz- Zaman Siddiqui

16)   Irshad Hasan Khan

17)   Bashir Jehangiri

18)   Sheikh Riaz Ahmad

19)   Nazim Hussain Siddique

20)  Abdul Hameed Dogar


Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry


Pakistan through the decades: Profile of main Pakistani Airlines

Pakistan International Airlines

The history of Pakistani Airlines started with the merging of Orient Airways with international airlines cooperation of Pakistan. At that time Pakistan International Airlines was the only operator that provided travelling facilities to passengers. Meanwhile private airlines emerged and started their services in Pakistan. However, currently there exist only three main Pakistani airlines which include PIA, Air Blue and Shaheen Air.

Pakistan International Airlines (PIA), only airline owned by the Government of Pakistan, provides its travelling facilities to 42 international destinations and 27 domestic flights are operated by it. It has an employment rate of 18,043 according to the survey (2008). The main bases of PIA lay in three big cities of Pakistan namely Lahore, Karachi and Islamabad.

Air blue is the privately owned Pakistani airline which is the second largest domestic airline of Pakistan. It provides its services to five international destinations and four domestic places. Besides, another main Pakistani airline is Shaheen Air that is the private-based cooperation. Like Air Blue, it operates among main cities of Pakistan and schedules international flights to five or six destinations. The main base of both of these privately owned airlines exist at Jinnah International Airport in Karachi.

In addition to the currently serving airlines described above, there were few others that do not serve anymore due to some reasons. They include Aero Asia International, Pearl Air, Pakistan Airways and some others. Some of them closed their services long time ago and some had been suspended prior to poor management issues.


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