Election 2008

NA to elect 19th PM tomorrow

ISLAMABAD: The National Assembly would elect 19th Prime Minister in a session of the Lower House being convened for the purpose at the Parliament House on Monday tomorrow. It is highly expected that the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) nominated Leader of the House Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani would be elected unopposed as Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) has formally announced to withdraw its prime minister candidate after mutual consultation with Pakistan Muslim League (Q).

The leader of Muttahida Qaumi Movement Dr. Farooque Sattar Saturday talking to media along with Muslim League (Q) leader Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain told the media that he was withdrawing as PM candidate of the joint opposition after mutual consultation. The office of Prime Minister was created when Pakistan gained independence in 1947. It is, however, very unfortunate that none of the 18 prime ministers, elected in the country’s history had completed its full term of five years.

The first Prime Minister of Pakistan was Liaquat Ali Khan who was appointed to the position by the first Governor-General, Quaid-e-Azam Muhammmad Ali Jinnah on August 15, 1947. He remained Premier for four years and two month till October 16, 1951. The country’s second Prime Minister was Khawaja Nazimuddin, who remained Premier for 18 months from October 17, 1951 till April 17, 1953. The Third Prime Minister was Muhammad Ali Bogra, who remained in power for two years and four months from April 17, 1953 till August 11, 1955.

The second National Assembly came to existence in 1955 and Chaudhary Muhammad Ali became the fourth Prime Minister of Pakistan on August 11, 1955. He held the office for 13 months till September 12, 1956. Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy was the fifth Prime Minister, who also remained in power for 13 months from September 12, 1956 till October 18, 1957.

Ibrahim Ismail Chundrigar remained as sixth Prime Minister of the country only for two months from October 18, 1957 till December 16, 1957. The seventh Prime Minister was Feroz Khan Noon from December 16, 1957 to October 8, 1958 for about 10 months. The office of Prime Minister continued until 1958. Many Prime Ministers were removed by the Head of State. In 1958 martial law was declared by Iskander Mirza, and the office of Prime Minister essentially disappeared until 1973. The office was discontinued in 1958 and revived in 1973.

In 1973 a new constitution was written giving the Prime Minister executive power once again, and making Pakistan a Parliamentary system. The architect of that constitution, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, became the eighth Prime Minister on August 14, 1973. Z A Bhutto remained in power for three years, ten months and 21 days.

He was overthrown in 1977, and martial law declared again, with the office of Prime Minister being suspended until 1985 when Muhammad Khan Junejo was appointed as the ninth Premier of the country on March 23, 1985 by the newly elected National Assembly Junejo remained Prime Minister for three years and two months till May 29, 1988. The power of the Prime Minister’s office peaked in the late 1990s, with the removal of institutional check and balances, and the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment and Fourteenth Amendments.

The Assembly also brought the eighth amendment to the 1973 constitution, and gave the President powers that balanced those of the Prime Minister. The President was now able to dismiss the Prime Minister and the National Assembly (effectively calling for new elections) without prior consultation with the Prime Minister. Her government was dismissed on August 6, 1990.

Nawaz Sharif became the next prime minister and remained in power from November 6, 1990 to April 18, 1993. During his first tenure, Nawaz Sharif was removed from the office of the Prime Ministership but was later restored by the Supreme Court and remained Premier till July 8, 1993.
Benazir Bhutto became the Prime Minister for the second term on October 19, 1993. She was again dismissed this time by the then President Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari on November 5, 1996.

Nawaz Sharif also came to power again and remained Prime Minister from February 17, 1997 to October 12, 1999 when he was overthrown by the then Chief of the Army Staff General Pervez Musharraf in a bloodless coup. From 1990 onwards, the offices of President and Prime Minister would clash, with the President dissolving the National Assembly, and thus dismissing the Prime Minister a total of three times until 1996, with new elections each time.

After the coup of Pervez Musharraf in 1999, Musharraf assumed the role of Chief Executive, and was the sole ruler of Pakistan. In October 2002, general elections were held, with no party gaining a majority of the popular vote or National Assembly of Pakistan. On November 23, 2002 new Prime Minister Zafarullah Khan Jamali of the Pakistan Muslim League (Q) was appointed after much political wrangling.

Jamali resigned on June 26, 2004, holding the post for a year and seven months. Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain became Prime Minister for 55 days, from June 30, 2004 to August 26, 2004. Shaukat Aziz was later elected Prime Minister on August 28, 2004, by a vote of 191 to 151 in the National Assembly. He remained Premier for three years, two months and 17 days from August 28, 2004 to November 15, 2007. The 13th National Assembly would now elect the 19th Prime Minister of Pakistan on Monday, March 24, 2008 and would take oath on the very next day. President Pervez Musharraf would administer oath to the new Prime Minister.-SANA

About the author

Rubab Saleem

Rubab Saleem is Editor of Pakistan Times

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