History Of Pakistan’s Prime Ministers Explained In 10 Points

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No Pakistani Prime Minister has completed a five-year term since Independence in 1947.

History Of Pakistan's Prime Ministers Explained In 10 Points

Pakistan has had 19 Prime Ministers so far. (File)

Cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan is the latest Pakistan Prime Minister to suffer the jinx of not completing a full term. Prime Ministers in Pakistan have had a troubled history, punctuated by the Army’s long stints in power.

Following 10 points sum up the history of Pakistani Prime Ministership

  1. No Pakistani Prime Minister has completed a five-year term since Independence in 1947. While three PMs have completed four years in office, five more – including Imran Khan – have occupied the office for at least three years.

  2. Pakistan has had 19 Prime Ministers so far. While Nawaz Sharif was the PM thrice, his arch-rival Benazir Bhutto held the position twice. However, both leaders, like other PMs, could not complete their terms. In addition, there have been seven caretaker Prime Ministers.

  3. Three civilian governments have been overthrown by the Pakistan Army. In 1958, the Feroz Khan Noon government was dismissed and Martial Law was established under Gen Ayub Khan. In July 1977, General Zia ul Haq overthrew Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in a coup codenamed “Operation Fairplay”. In the third instance, General Pervez Musharraf deposed Nawaz Sharif in October 1999.

  4. Pakistan has had four army chiefs as President and they ruled the country for 32 of 75 years. General Zia was President between 1978 and 1988, while serving as the army chief. Gen Yahya Khan remained the army chief-cum-president from 1969 to 1971. Gen Musharraf repeated the feat between 2001 and 2007. Ayub Khan promoted himself to the rank of Field Marshal after becoming President.

  5. Five Prime Ministers have served under a military president so far. Nurul Amin was the first to briefly serve as Prime Minister under Gen Yahya Khan. Shaukat Aziz (2004-2007) was the last Prime Minister to serve under an army chief-cum-president.

  6. Nawaz Sharif served as PM for three non-consecutive terms, totalling nine-and-a-half years. However, he lost his position twice – 1993 and 2017 – over charges of corruption – and had to face a military coup in 1999.

  7. Liaquat Ali Khan, Pakistan’s first PM, holds the record for the single-longest term. He remained Prime Minister for 1,524 days (easier in years?) before being assassinated on October 16, 1951. Notably, he is the only Pakistani PM to die in office.

  8. Nurul Amin, a prominent Bengali politician, served as Prime Minister for just 13 days amid the 1971 war. He was also the Vice President between 1971 and 1973 – the only Pakistani to have held the position.

  9. Pakistan took 23 years to hold its first general elections. When the polls were conducted in 1970, the Awami League won all but two seats in East Pakistan and the Pakistan Peoples Party secured a majority in West Pakistan. The consequent political chaos contributed to the creation of Bangladesh.

  10. The first 11 years of Pakistan saw seven Prime Ministers. After Liaquat Ali Khan’s assassination in 1951, six people held the position in the subsequent seven years. During the tumultuous decade, Mohammad Ali Bogra held the position for the longest period – two years and 117 days.

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