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Saturday, September 06, 2008 E-Mail this article to a friend Printer Friendly Version
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Only three complete presidential terms in over 60 years

By Adnan Lodhi

LAHORE: Over the past 61 years of Pakistan’s history, no president has completed his tenure except for three ‘military presidents’.

Ayub Khan, Ziaul Haq and Pervez Musharraf have completed their first tenure and went for a second term though they failed to complete these.

Iskandar Mirza, Yahya Khan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Fazal Elahi Chaudhry, Ghulam Ishaq Khan, Farooq Leghari and Rafiq Tarar are among those presidents who have not completed their time in office. Fazal Elahi completed five years in office. However, he resigned after the military took over government in the wake of a dispute over general elections. There was no formal handing over of power.

Iskandar Mirza: The last Governor General and first president of Pakistan. His tenure lasted from March 23, 1956 to October 27, 1958.

Ayub Khan: Muhammad Ayub Khan was the first military president to complete a presidential term. Field Marshall Muhammad Ayub Khan was the second President, in power from 1958 to 1969. In 1964, Ayub Khan tried for another term, and contesting and winning elections against Fatima Jinnah. Though it was victory for Ayub Khan, international observes doubted the authenticity of the elections. Ayub Khan continued as president until 25 March 1969, when he passed the Presidency to Yahya Khan.

Yahya Khan: The third president of the country, he became extremely unpopular when East Pakistan separated to form Bangladesh. He was asked to resign from his post on December 20th, 1971.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto: The founder of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Zulfikar Ali Bhutto became the fourth president of Pakistan, and was in power from 1971 to 1973.

Fazal Elahi Chaudhry: Fazal Elahi Chaudhry was the fifth president of the country. He remained in office from August 14, 1973 until his resignation on September 16, 1978.

General Ziaul Haq: General Muhammad Ziaul Haq, the third military dictator, became president in 1978 and remained in office until 1984. Before transferring power to a civilian leadership, he held a referendum and won with 95 percent votes. Like his predecessor, Ayub Khan, the referendum of Zia was also said to be rigged. Zia died in an aircraft crash on August 17, 1988.

Ghulam Ishaq Khan: Ghulam Ishaq Khan was the seventh President of Pakistan and after the death of Muhammad Ziaul Haq in 1988, Khan became acting president, formally elected to the position in December of that year. He held the position until 1993.

Farooq Leghari: Farooq Leghari became the eighth President of Pakistan in 1993. He was forced to resign on December 2, 1997 by the then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif.

Rafique Tarar: Muhammad Rafiq Tarar became president on January 1, 1998 until June 20, 2001.

Pervez Musharraf: General (r) Pervez Musharraf was the third military ruler to complete his presidential tenure. He seized power in 1999, ousting Nawaz Sharif and imposed emergency in the country. On November 3, 2007, he again imposed emergency and forced senior judges to leave office. However, he left the armed forces, handing over the office to General Ashfaq Kayani in November 2007. The PML-Q was defeated in February 2008 elections and PML-N and PPP won a decisive victory. Both of the latter parties asked for Musharraf’s resignation and he resigned on August 18, 2008 at which point Chairman Senate Mohammadmian Soomro became acting president.

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