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Ex Gov.Gen. Ghulam Muhammad’s 54th death anniversary today

SAMAA | - Posted: Aug 29, 2010 | Last Updated: 11 years ago
Posted: Aug 29, 2010 | Last Updated: 11 years ago

Staff Report

KARACHI: Today marks the 54th death anniversary of Malik Ghulam Muhammad, Governor General of Pakistan from 1951 until 1955. One of Ghulam’s first and major duties was to represent Pakistan as Governor General at Queen Elizabeth II’s Coronation in London in 1953. Ghulam Muhammad served as Pakistan’s first Finance Minister.

Malik Ghulam Muhammad was born in Lahore, Punjab, British India in 1895, and belonged to the Kakazai tribe of Pashtuns. He attended Aligarh Muslim University, after which he took up the accounting profession.

He assisted in the formation of a company in 1945 by the name of Mahindra & Mohammed, which is now known as Mahindra & Mahindra and is the largest SUV manufacturer in India. Later after the partition of India, Mr. Ghulam Muhammad migrated to Pakistan and became that nation's first finance minister.

After Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan’s assassination in 1951, Khwaja Nazimuddin became Prime Minister of Pakistan and Ghulam Muhammad was made Governor General. From this position, Ghulam Muhammad extended his control over Pakistan.

Nazimuddin challenged Ghulam Muhammad's actions, but the latter exercised powers reserved to the Governor General's office and dismissed Nazimuddin's government in the aftermath of the Lahore riots of 1953, effectively removing him from office. Muhammad Ali Bogra was sworn in as the new prime minister.

In 1954, the Assembly of Pakistan tried to change the constitution to establish checks on the Governor General's powers. In response, Ghulam Muhammad dismissed the Assembly, an action that was challenged in the Supreme Court.

Ghulam Muhammad emerged victorious when the Supreme Court upheld the dismissal in a split decision, despite dissenting opinion written by Justice (later Chief Justice) A.R. Cornelius and protests from members of the Assembly.

This action was seen as the beginning of “vice regal” politics in Pakistan, in which the military and civil bureaucracy and not elected officials, govern the country and maintain substantial influence over society and the provinces.

Ghulam Muhammad's health deteriorated and he took a leave of absence in 1955. The acting Governor General, Iskander Mirza, dismissed him and Ghulam Muhammad died the next year in 1956. SAMAA

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