Chaudhry Muhammad Ali Becomes Prime Minister

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On October 24, 1954, Malik Ghulam Muhammad dissolved the Constituent Assembly of Muhammad Ali Bogra on the grounds that it had “lost the confidence of the people”, and declared a state of emergency in the country. Muhammad Ali Bogra, however, remained as the Prime Minister, since he was again invited to form a cabinet known as the Ministry of Talents. On August 8, 1955, he was dismissed by the acting Governor General, Major General Iskander Mirza in the absence of Malik Ghulam Muhammad, who had gone on a temporary leave and was also subsequently forced to resign due to his ill health. Chaudhry Muhammad Ali was appointed as the new Prime Minister on August 11, 1955.

Chaudhry Muhammad Ali’s greatest achievement was framing the Constitution of 1956 and its approval by the Constituent Assembly. The entire country with great joy and enthusiasm celebrated the promulgation of this Constitution on March 23, 1956. The 1956 Constitution was Islamic and democratic in character, acceptable to people of all parts of the country, and had the blessings of almost all schools of thought.

Chaudhry Muhammad Ali, however, could not come up to the bargaining and the deals necessary to reconcile the various interest groups into accepting the One Unit and the adoption of the Constitution. He proved to be a poor politician who failed to control his own party. This ultimately led to his downfall. His greatest blunder was the selection of Dr. Khan Sahib as Chief Minister of the Unified Province of West Pakistan, despite the opposition of the Muslim League. Dr. Khan Sahib was an old Congressman who had opposed the creation of Pakistan, therefore the Muslim League opposed his appointment. Dr. Khan Sahib, however, enjoyed the support of the President Iskander Mirza. He dropped Muslim League members from his cabinet, and by bringing the dissident Muslim Leaguers and other supporters, formed his own party, the Republican Party.

In the Central Government, the Muslim League shared power as a major component of the coalition without being in office in any province. The Republican Party kept growing in number and claimed to be the single largest party in the National Assembly. Prime Minister Chaudhry Muhammad Ali was urged by the Muslim League to act against the West Pakistan Ministry. Chaudhry Muhammad Ali believed that as a Prime Minister, his actions should be governed by the good of the country and not by the resolution of any party. He believed that he was responsible only to the Cabinet and the Parliament. Thus, he refused the demands of the Muslim League. Disgusted with the scenario, Chaudhry Muhammad Ali resigned as a Prime Minister on September 8, 1956, also resigning from his membership of the Muslim League at the same time. His decision to resign of his own accord is considered as a unique example of political decorum in the history of Pakistan.

This article was last updated on Sunday, June 01, 2003