On December 16, 1957, Malik Feroz Khan Noon took over the office of Prime Minister from Chundrigar. Malik Feroz Khan Noon was the last in the line of Prime Ministers under the President-ship of Iskander Mirza. Being the leader of the Republican group in the National Assembly, Noon came to power by forging an alliance with five different political groups, Awami League, National Awami Party, Krishak Sramik Party, National Congress and the Scheduled Caste Federation. Though the coalition was dependent on the support of such a large number of political parties, it was able to form a stable government.
The Noon Cabinet was fortunate to have the support of the Bengali and Punjabi group of politicians, reaching an accord between them for the first time. H. S. Suhrawardy’s Awami League Party assured full cooperation to the cabinet of Feroz Khan Noon. President Iskander Mirza was distressed by the alliance of Suhrawardy and Noon. He not only felt a serious threat to his office but also perceived that he had lost his grip over the politicians. He tried to counter by bring other politicians to his side and making alliances with other political parties.
On the other side, in West Pakistan, Muslim League had become quite popular under the leadership of Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan. As events were going against Iskander Mirza, he displayed his willingness to dissolve West Pakistan’s One Unit for his own interests.
President Iskander Mirza also tried to seek the help of Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan in June 1958, and also started negotiations with the Governor of East Pakistan in order to break the strength of the Awami League there. The tussle for power reached a critical point. The Awami League, being the party in power, affronted the Speaker of the Assembly.
The Krishak Sramik Party also criticized the government for its actions. With all these events in progress, an attack on the Deputy Speaker occurred from which he could not survive.
Under these tumultuous circumstances of political instability, President Iskander Mirza turned towards General Ayub Khan, the Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces of Pakistan. At midnight between October 7 and 8, 1958, the President of Pakistan abrogated the Constitution and imposed Martial Law in the country. This brought an end to the term of Malik Feroz Khan Noon, which lasted for less than a year. The Parliamentary Government came to an end in Pakistan, thus setting the stage for the recurrence of Martial Law again and again in the future.
This article was last updated on Sunday, June 01, 2003