governor general ghulam muhammad

GOVERNOR GENERAL GHULAM MUHAMMAD 1951-55-[INDO-PAK HISTORY].

After the death of Liaquat Ali khan, Ghulam Muhammad became the third Governor General of Pakistan. Ghulam Muhammad had worked for many years as a senior official in the Indian Civil Service and had a good reputation as finance expert. He had been the the Finance Minister in the Cabinet. He persuaded Khawaja Nazimuddin to become Prime Minister ( which under Liaquat Ali Khan had become a more prestigious office than Governor General).Ghulam Muhammad was the first of a number of major political figures in Pakistan who had risen from amongst the Civil Service to high office.(https://eastwestknowledge.com/lliaquat-ali-khan/)

In 1950 a planning Commission was set up to oversee economic development in Pakistan.In 1951 it launched a Six year plan for Pakistan,covering agriculture,fuel and power,industry and mining, transport and communications and social uplift schemes.In 1953 a planning Board was set up to review the development that had taken place and this produced a Draft Five Year plan in 1956 to follow on form the Six Year plan.Both these schemes played a major part to help bring about economic development in Pakistan.For example,in 1952 a major jute processing plant was opened at Narayanganj (East Pakistan) and the exploration for oil/gas led to the discovery of vast reserves of Natural gas at Sui in Balouchistan.

However,these were not easy times for the people of Pakistan.From 1951 to 1953 there was a severe drought in Pakistan.This affected food production and in 1953 severe food shortages led to rioting in most cities throughout Pakistan.The government was not well placed to deal with these shortages.During the Korean war there had been increased demand for Pakistan’s Jute and cotton,to supply the thousands of soldiers involved in the fighting but by 1953 demand had declined.This meant that Pakistan was making less money just when it needed to buy more foodstuffs.In April the USA agreed to donate a million tons of wheat to help Pakistan to overcome the food crisis.The rioting, however,had not been just about food shortages.It also had religious element.Some Ulemas had begun a campaign against the Ahmedis. They demanded that all Ahmedis be dismissed from office,including Zafarullah Khan, the foreign Minster.It was only after martial law was imposed and numerous arrests were made that the rioting was brought under control.

CONSTITUTIONAL MATTERS.

The recommendations of the Basic Principles Committee presented to the Assembly on 28 September 1950 had proved so unpopular that they were withdrawn for further considerations.Two years later, on 22 December 1952 a revised Report of the Basic Principle Committee was presented By the Nazimuddin. It altered the 1950 proposals by suggesting:

  • THE Head of the State must be Muslim.
  • There should be a House of Units with 60 members from East Pakistan and 60 from West Pakistan.
  • The House of People should have 400 members with 200 elected from each wing.
  • Religious Minorities would have representatives at National and Provincial levels.
  • The Cabinet was to be responsible to the National Assembly, not the Head of state.
  • The Head of state would choose a committee of Islamic Specialist to ensure that all legislation confirmed to Islamic Law.
  • The official Language should be settled by the Assembly.

These proposals also met with criticism,So Nazimuddin said,they would undergo further discussion.Further political changes and uncertainty meant that a Constitution was not settled until 1956,When Major General Iskander Mirza was in power.Pakistan had no official language,although Urdu had been suggested under the Quaid and had much government support.It was an issue that so many people felt strongly about that it would be hard to resolve without further unrest the Bengalis of East Pakistan,were particularly opposed to its use.Consequently no progress was made.

On 17 April 1953 Ghulam Muhammad dismissed Khwaja Nazimuddin and three other members of the Cabinet,blaming them for not controlling the Economy and the riots that resulted from food shortages in February.He did this despite the fact that they had received a vote of confidence from the Assembly Ghulam Muhammad said that ” I have been driven to the conclusion that the Cabinet of Khwaja Nazimuddin had proved entirely inadequate to grapple with the difficulties facing the country.”

Nazimuddin was angered,but decided not to resist,fearing that disagreement in the government would be disastrous for the country.The new Cabinet had eight old members and three new ones,including a new Prime Minister, Muhammad Ali Bogra,who had been the acting ambassador to the USA. Bogra wanted as much foreign aid as possible to boost Pakistan economy.In April 1953 the US.Canada and Australia agreed to send Pakistan a million tons of wheat, which helped to claim fears of famine that had sparked the riots.It was also Bogra who set up the Planning Board to produce a Five Year Plan that would,hopefully,avoid further food shortages.He also worked out a regional agreement,called the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO).Part of this involved Western aid for Pakistan,in term of both money,supplies and the help of various industrial experts.

The social and economic problems that Pakistan faced,coupled with Ghulam Muhammad’s desire to maintain the power of the position of Governor General,meant that there was little progress in getting on the new constitution.Instead,Ghulam Muhammad hoped to dominate Bogra to maintain his own power.But Bogra did not turn out to be quite as compliant as Ghulam Muhammad hoped.On 21 September 1954,while Ghulam Muhammad was out of the country,Bogra persuaded the Assembly to pass laws limiting the power of the Governor General by saying:

  • That all his minister,including the Prime Minister,must be member of the Assembly.
  • That the Assembly had to approve the Cabinet.
  • That the Governor General had to take the advice of his ministers.

There was an attempt by the Assembly to weaken the powers of the Governor General and increase its own powers.After voting through the above measures in just 15 minutes,the Assembly repealed the Public and Representative Disqualification Act.[PRODA], which said the Governor General could remove ministers from the National and provincial governments for up to five years.If they abused Public office.Then the Assembly adjourned for a month to discuss a new draft constitution.However,Ghulam Muhammad was not a man who took opposition lightly.He waited until Bogra was out f the country during the following week and then struck back.He declared a state emergency and then dissolved the Assembly.He made a statement saying:

The Governor General Ghulam Muhammad having considered the political crisis with which the country is faced, has decided a state emergency.The Constituent Assembly, as at present constituted,has lost the confidence of the people and can no longer function. Until such time as elections are held ,the administration of the country will be carried out a reconstituted Cabinet.

Amendment To the 1935 Government of India Act.

  • The Governor General shall appoint a member of the assembly as prime minister who has the confidence of the majority of the Assembly.
  • All ministers shall be appointed from the Assembly.
  • The Cabinet shall hold office on the confidence of the Assembly.
  • The Governor General shall be bound by the advice of the ministers.

This amendment cause a political crisis. Ghulam Muhammad was furious and was not prepared to accept the decision.On 24 October he declared a state of emergency and dissolved the Assembly.He justified his actions on the ground that the assembly had lost the confidence of the people.Press censorship was imposed but he promised to hold new elections to decide the main causes.

Ghulam Muhammad then chose a new cabinet. Having resisted his authority, he reappointed Bogra as Prime Minister, but selected five members of the cabinet who were not members of the Assembly,this included the Commander in Chief of the Army,General Ayub Khan.

Maulvi Tamizuddin,the Speaker of the dissolved Assembly,contested the dissolution in the Sindh High court,saying that the dissolution had been illegal and that non-Assembly members should not be appointed in the cabinet.In February 1955 the Court ruled in favour of Maulvi Tamizuddin. Ghulam Muhammad appealed to the Federal Court against this judgement.on 10 May 1955,this higher court ruled that Ghulam Muhammad had the authority to dismiss the Assembly ” if he was satisfied that the situation demanded it”.On 21 June 1955,elections were held for a new Constitution Assembly.It met for the first time on 7 July 1955.In August,Ghulam Muhammad fell ill and had to resign.He was replaced by General Iskander Mirza.

  • This Lecture was made and Research by Muhammad Fawad Khan.
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