Ex-PM Makes History

Ex-PM Makes History

Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is the only person who had the opportunity and fortune of becoming the Prime Minister of Pakistan three times. It is even more interesting that he was the only Prime Minister who had to vacate the office by a variety of different methods, i.e. through Article 58(2)(b) of the Constitution, through a military coup and by being disqualified by the Supreme Court.

Pakistan does not have a very good record when it comes to the tenure of office of the Prime Minister. Power struggles and rifts between the Prime Minister, President and military have often been the cause of fall of different prime ministers. Different prime ministers have been removed in the past for different reasons and by different powers, but Nawaz Shareef has been struck down for all such reasons, and now by the Supreme Court as well.

After Liaqat Ali Khan’s assassination, Khawaja Nazim Uddin became the Prime Minister of Pakistan but was deposed by the then Governor-General, Malik Ghulam Muhammad. The next Prime Minister, Muhammad Ali Bogra, met the same fate through the same Governor General. Chaudhri Muhammad Ali had to leave because of his conflict with the President whereas Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy was deposed by Iskander Mirza. I.I. Chundrigar was also forced to resign, while Feroze Khan Noon was dismissed after the martial law was declared in 1958. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was removed in the coup of General Zia and Muhammad Khan Junejo was dismissed by the President under the powers given to him in Article 58(2)(b) of the Constitution. Thereafter, the Benazir Bhutto’s government was also dismissed under Article 58(2)(b), first by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan and later by President Farooq Ahmed Khan Leghari.

Mian Muhammad Nawaz Sharif, however, has the unique record to be removed from office by almost all different modes of removal discussed above with the addition of one more, i.e. after being declared dishonest by the Supreme Court. This means that when students of constitutional law will study the misuse of Article 58(2)(b), they will study the case of Nawaz Sharif; when they read about the curse of martial law, they will go through the case of Nawaz Sharif; and when they see a legal and constitutional removal involving corruption, courts and the Constitution, they will again come across the unique case of Imran Khan Niazi and Others vs. Nawaz Sharif.

When Nawaz Sharif became Prime Minister for the third time, it was pompously celebrated that he would become the first person to hold this office for the third time. Now that he has been disqualified for life, he is again the first person to be removed from this prestigious office in this way. He has definitely made an indelible mark in the constitutional and political history of Pakistan.


The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of CourtingTheLaw.com or any organization with which he might be associated.

Ahmed Ozaif

Author: Ahmed Ozaif

The writer is a law graduate with two Masters and a distinction from Sydney Business School, UoW. He is a Co-editor and the Program Manager at Courting The Law.