Our Beacon Forum

Fifteen Prime Ministers of Pakistan
By:Saeed Qureshi, TX
Date: Wednesday, 18 July 2018, 10:50 pm

July 16,2018
of the Fifteen Prime Ministers of Pakistan Completed Five
Years’ Term
By Saeed Qureshi
Recently one of my email
interlocutors Mr.
Shuja-ur-Rahman Khan sent me an interesting and revealing
email. This email recapitulates the democratic and
constitutional setback of the past 71 years of Pakistan
existence as an independent state.

In Pakistan, the political culture
based upon universal democratic system has remained
unfulfilled, wholly or partially. There has been emphasis
and even efforts on making Pakistan a theocratic state by
the religious right and religious
parties and groups. That is why Pakistan nomenclature was
changed from to Islamic Republic of Pakistan.

Let us go through the
time tunnel since 1947 until the present period. The former
prime minister

Sharif and his daughter Maryam were arrested in Lahore on
July 13 on their arrival from London after an accountability
court found them guilty over his family's ownership of
four luxury
flats in London. The case is known as
“Avenfield properties corruption reference”.
Nawaz Sharif was
first disqualified from holding the portfolio of the prime
minister by a superior court. Later he was sentenced by the
accountability Court 11 years jail term along with his
daughter Mariam Nawaz who is punished
with 8 years in jail. They are already lodged in Rawalpindi
Adiala jail.
Pakistan’ birth as new state in 1947 until this year
(2018), there have been a total of 10 governments and 15
prime ministers in Pakistan. Out of these ten governments
there were three military
regimes. It should sound unbelievable to many of my readers
that all the prime ministers couldn’t complete their
constitutional tenure of five years in office.

The first
government was in place from
1958 to
1971, the second from 1977 to 1988, the third from 1999 to
The last and
the 10th government including both the civilian and military
phase was in place from 2008 to 2018. During the last phase,
the PPP remained in power from 2008 to 2013. It was followed
by PMNL (Pakistan
Muslim league Nawaz) government whose tenure continued from
June 2013 – July 2017 with Nawaz Sharif as the Prime
Minister. Nawaz Sharif was disqualified by the supreme court
and is now in jail along with his daughter. Shahid Khaqan
Abbasi replaced Nawaz Sharif
and was in office from 1 August 2017 – 31 May 2018.
Abbasi was succeeded by Nasirul Mulk as caretaker prime
minister to oversee the general elections to be held this
year on July 25.

Out of a total period of
Pakistan’s existence for 71 years the share of army rule
was for 23 years. Field Marshall Ayub Khan from 1958 to
1969, General Yahya
Khan from March 1969 to Dec 1971 and the third phase was of
general Ziaul Haq that remained in vogue from Sept. 1978 to
August 1988.

As a result of people’s
agitation spearheaded by Zulfikar ali Bhutto, president Ayub
Khan handed over the power
to General Yahya Khan who remained in power saddle from
March 1969 to December 1971. It was during his tenure that
as a result of a civil war (March 1971-decmber 1971) the
Eastern wing of Pakistan separated from West
The third phase of military government was headed by
general Ziaul Haq being both president and martial law
administrator for 11 years (sept 1878 -August
Pakistan has been beset and rather
afflicted by serious crises from toppling the civilian
government, the palace intrigues for attainment of power
through backdoors and unconstitutional shortcuts one of
which was the establishment of
military rule.
In comparison the kind of political
anarchy has been almost non-existent or rare both in India
and the formerly East Pakistan, separated from the
Federation of Pakistan in March 1971 under the nomenclature
pf Bangladesh.
The first prime minister of Pakistan
Liaquat Ali Khan (1947-1951) was assassinated in Rawalpindi
on October 16, 1951.The second prime minister Khaja
Nazimuddin (1951-1953) was removed, the third prime minister
Chaudhry Muhammad Ali (1955-1956)
resigned. Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy (1956-1957) resigned.
He was followed by A. R. Chundrigar (1957-1957) who also
resigned from his office. The came Firoz Khan Noon
(1957-1958) whose government was toppled. Zulfikar Ali
Bhutto remained the prime minister
from 1973 to 1977. He was not only toppled but hanged by
his military successor General Ziaul Haq. Muhammad Khan
Junejo was the eighth prime minister (1985-1988). On 29 May
1988, Prime Minister Junejo was dismissed by


The last two political phases are one
by Benazir Bhutto who ruled from 1988 to 1990 and for the
second time in 1993-1996. She was assassinated in Rawalpindi
after addressing a public meeting. Prime minister Zafarullah
Jamali was at the
helm between 2000-2004 and was forced to resign. Yusuf Raza
Gillani served as the prime minister from 2008 to 2012. He
fell prey to a judicial disqualification.

Mian Nawaz Sharif had three stints as
the prime minister of Pakistan. The first was from 1990-1993
during which period President

Ishaq Khan dismissed Sharif on corruption charges in
1993. The
second term was from 1997 to 1999 when he was ousted by the
army and he went in self-deportation to Saudi Arabia.

His third phase as the prime minister
of Pakistan began in 2013 and ended with his judicial
disqualification in July 2017 because of the so called
“Avenfield Properties Corruption Reference”.

After his and his daughter Mariam
Nawaz’ return from England, the Accountability Court on
July 6 announced the verdict in the Avenfield properties
corruption reference filed by the National Accountability
Bureau (NAB). Nawaz Sharif was
sentenced to 11 years in jail. His daughter Maryam was
given 7 years for abetment after she was found
"instrumental in concealment of the properties of her
father" Besides 1 year was added in her jail term for
non-cooperation with the bureau.
In the
meantime, jailed former Pakistan prime minister Nawaz
Sharif, his daughter Mariam Nawaz and son-in-law Captain
Muhammad Safdar today filed an appeal in the Islamabad High
Court against the verdict in
one of the corruption cases and seeking their release on
The writer is a senior
journalist, former editor of Diplomatic Times and a former