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 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.
Chief Ministers perform the important duty of looking after the provinces. Their other duties include maintaining peace and harmony among the different communities living in the province and safeguarding the rights of the province. Currently there are five chief ministers in Pakistan; their brief introduction is as follows:
Syed Qaim Ali Shah: This seasoned politician is the chief minister of Sindh province of Pakistan. Born in 1935 in an influential family in Khairpur Sindh, Syed Qaim Ali Shah did his LLB from Karachi and started practicing law. He joined the Pakistan People’s Party in 1967 and is one of its earliest members. Qaim Ali Shah took oath as the 23rd chief minister of Sindh on 7th April 2008. This is his second term as a chief minister, previously he held this position during Benazir Bhutto’s government.
Shahbaz Sharif: The chief minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif belongs to PML-N group. He was born in 1950 in Lahore. He was sworn in as the Chief Minister in 2008 but he was ousted from his office as he was declared ineligible to contest elections by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. However he obtained a stay order and returned to his office which he holds to date. This is Shahbaz Sharif’s second term as a Chief Minister; earlier he held this post from 1997-1999 when his brother Nawaz Sharif was the prime minister. He is an astute politician who has worked for the betterment of Punjab.
Ameer Haider Khan Hoti: Ameer Haider Khan the son of a former Federal Minister Azam Khan Hoti is the 21st chief minister of Khyber Pakhtun Khawa province of Pakistan. He belongs to an illustrious family of politicians and is a member of the Awami National Party (ANP).
Nawab Aslam Raisani: The tribal head of Raisani Tribe and a member of PPP, Nawab Aslam Raisani is the 13th chief minister of Balochistan. Being a veteran politician with a deep understanding of the tribal culture and traditions; Raisani has introduced modern methods of farming in Balochistan.
Syed Mehdi Shah: Syed Mehdi Shah a member of the ruling PPP is the first chief minister of Gilgit Baltistan. He was appointed by the former Prime Minister of Pakistan Syed Yusuf Raza Gillani.
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.