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Death Wish of the Leadership of Pakistan

A senior Air warrior and a PG in management and law is well qualified to write on contemporary Legal matters



Most people must be aware of the famous series of movies named 'Deathwish ' starring the macho Hollywood star Charles Bronson. I am however not referring to this movie but only using it as a synonym to what has happened to the Pakistan leadership right from 1950 to 2016. Why did this happen? I cannot say because such a situation has never occurred in any other country in the world. Sadly in India's neighboring country most of the leaders or the chief executives were removed, not by a due process of law but by extraconstitutional means like hanging for murder, military coups, assassinations, being blown to smithereens, or being sent into exile; never to return. This fact was brought to my notice by my friend from the Royal Air Force, in one of our discussions in the Singapore club bar.



The trail begins in 1947 when the state of Pakistan was carved out of the erstwhile Indian state in the sub-continent, then a colony of the British in 1947. The first governor-general was Muhammad Ali Jinnah a towering intellectual and personality who believed in secularism but unfortunately, he died soon after independence and his ideals also died with him.

After his death, there has been complete instability and a succession of rulers became presidents and Prime Minister only to bite the dust due to unnatural causes. Let's have a look at them.

- Liaquat Ali Khan. He was the first Prime Minister of Pakistan and Defence Minister. Liaquat rose to political importance as a member of the All-India Muslim League. He played an important role in the independence movement of Pakistan from the British Empire. On 16 October 1951, he was shot dead by a 29-year-old youth named Said Akbar Babrak at Rawalpindi.

- General Iskandar Mirza. CIE, OSS, OBE, was the first president of Pakistan. He was elected in this capacity in 1956. He was dismissed by his appointed army commander General Ayub Khan in 1958. Mirza was put on the first plane to London and told never to return. He died there on 13 November 1969 and General Ayub refused to allow his body to enter Pakistan and The Shah of Iran helped and he was buried in Tehran.

-General Yahya Khan. He took over as president in the middle of 1969 when a discredited Ayub Khan had to resign. He was the third president of Pakistan but had to leave in ignominy after Bangladesh was created from East Pakistan. He was succeeded by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who put him under house arrest till he was released in 1979 by general Zia -ul Haq and died shortly after.

- Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. He was a maverick politician who had a big hand in the break up of Pakistan when after a war of liberation more than half the country seceded. He was Prime Minister and the fourth president of Pakistan. He was ousted in a military coup by his protege general Zia-ul Haq and after a fake trial before anti-Bhutto judges hanged to death as a common criminal on 4 April 1979 in Rawalpindi jail.

-General Zia ul Haq. He was the first fifth president of Pakistan and instrumental in the execution of Bhutto. He died on 17 August 1988 when the plane in which he was traveling along with six generals and the American Ambassador was blown over Bhawalpur and it crashed. The inquiry into his death has never been made public.

-Benazir Bhutto. She was the daughter of Ali Bhutto and a woman with her own personality and following. She was twice Prime Minister from 1988 to 1990 and from 1993 to 1996. It was expected that she would come back to power but terrorists attacked her after a public meeting in Rawalpindi and she was blown to death on 27 December 2007. The then-president of Pakistan General Parvez is facing trial for her murder.

- General Pervez Musharraf. He became president after executing a military coup against Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who had appointed him as the Army chief. Nemesis caught up with him and to avoid impeachment he resigned as president on 18 August 2008. He fled to London but returned but was arrested and tried for treason as well as the murder of Benazir Bhutto. He was allowed to go abroad for medical treatment to Dubai from where he never came back; knowing fully well that he would be sentenced to life in prison.

- Nawaz Sharif- He has been Prime Minister of Pakistan on three occasions and on the last occasion in 2013 made a comeback. He won a big majority in parliament but the army never liked him. He had earlier been banished from the country for 10 years by President Musharraf. In the general elections in 2018, he was disqualified from contesting on flimsy grounds and the Army protege and puppet Imran Khan became Prime Minister. Nawaz Sharif was arrested and lodged in jail and given10 years RI but things have been slowly changing in Pakistan and there were many who were saying that it is wrong to keep a former Prime Minister of Pakistan in jail. He was allowed to proceed to London with an understanding and now he's in exile.


A statement of fact

What I have brought out are the bare facts that cannot be contested. But the wheels churn within wheels in Pakistan and obviously there is a lot more than what we see. One of the banes of Pakistan is repeated military coups and to top it a subservient judiciary. On three occasions the Supreme Court of Pakistan has justified military rule under the Doctrine of necessity. This is an ancient Roman law that has never been put into practice and I am not aware, whether the doctrine of necessity has been used in any other country. However, it is to the credit of the Pakistan Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry in a landmark judgment in the case of Sindh High Court Bar Association (SHCBA) laid to rest the extra-constitutional 'doctrine of necessity and the possibility of future military regimes in Pakistan.



Muhamed Ali Jinnah had a dream for Pakistan, unfortunately, the dream has not been realized. The removal, killings, hangings, and assassinations read like a macabre tale. It is as if a death wish has enveloped the leadership. No Pakistan Prime Minister has ever completed his term of five years and one sincerely hopes that Imran Khan will complete his term.

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The fact that has emerged is that for the last 70 years Pakistan has been facing a lot of instability. On 4 occasions martial law has been imposed and it led nowhere. After the ouster of General Musharraf in 2008, there have been a number of changes of Prime Minister. The Army could not forgive Nawaz Sharif after General Musharraf was sentenced to death by a special bench of the High Court. They conspired to remove him and now Imran Khan has decided that he must share power with general Bajwa who has now been given an extension.


Kazmi, Muhammad Raza (2003). Liaquat Ali Khan: His life and work. Oxford University Press.

Jones Owen Bennett (2020) Bhutto Dynasty The Struggle for Power in Pakistan. India Viking.

Political instability in Pakistan and consequences;

On the Same Page -The History of Martial Law in Pakistan;


MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on October 04, 2021:

Thank you, Chitra, it's so sad that such events should take place just across the border. The country is riven by so many things and has been branded in the Greylist by FATA for terror financing.Its very sad.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on October 04, 2021:

These are historical facts, which most people of our generation has witnessed.

Well written and informative article!

Thank you for sharing!

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on October 04, 2021:

Thank you, Dr. Naseem, I value your comment.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on October 04, 2021:

Bill, thanks for your valued comment. I feel sad for Pakistan and hope this macabre drama ends.

Dr. Naseem on October 04, 2021:

I have read your article it was really fascinating. I never knew that so many presidents and Prime Ministers of my country I've been put to the sword. I thank you for educating us and I sincerely hope the Army which has really destroyed Pakistan is sent back to the barracks.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on October 04, 2021:

It's almost unbelievable that this sort of thing happens, but I do believe it. I have no frame of reference to imagine living in a country where this sort of political retribution is commonplace. Thanks for the education.

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