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Ibrahim Ismail Chundrigar (1898-1960)

Ibrahim Ismail Chundrigar was born in Midnapore, Ahmadabad, on 15th April 1898. He belonged to the Muslim Chundrigar family. He was the fifth Prime Minister of Pakistan and remained on this post for only two months, from 17th October 1957 to 16th December 1957. He completed his graduation from Bombay University and did his L.L.B. from the same University. After completing L.L.B. he started practicing law in 1920.

Chundrigar started his political career from the platform of Muslim League and took start as a political worker for the party. He got prominence, when the League gave a response to the Government of India Act 1935. The he was elected as a member of the Bombay Legislative Council in 1937. After a year, he was chosen as Deputy Leader of the party in that same legislature and became President of the Provincial Muslim League of Bombay in 1940. He shifted to Bombay at the personal request of Quaid-i-Azam Jinnah and remained at the position of President till October 1946. When Jinnah leader of the All-India Muslim League was asked, by the Raj, to nominate members for the Interim Government in 1946 he selected Chundrigar as one of his five nominees; Chundrigar took the portfolio of Commerce.

After the independence of Pakistan in 1947, Chundrigar was given the portfolio of Minister for Trade and Commerce in the first cabinet of Pakistan. He later served the country as an ambassador to Afghanistan, as governor of the North-West Frontier Province and also as governor of West Punjab from November 1951 to May 1953. He was also Minister for Law of Central Government for two years, from August 1955 to August 1957.

Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy had to resign from his Premiership, just after a year of taking oath for the office, in October 1957, under pressure from President Iskander Mirza, who refused to summon a meeting of the Parliament to attain a vote of confidence. Iskander Mirza then asked Chundrigar to form interim ministry. Chundrigar established his Ministry in the center, on 18th October 1957, with a collation to the Republican Party, Nizam-i-Islam Party, and the Krishak Sramik Party. From the very beginning Chundrigar held a weak position by virtue of being a nominated Prime Minister and soon after his appointment Iskander Mirza started exploiting the differences between the parties. As a consequence of this, Chundrigar had to resign as a Prime Minister on 11th December 1957; his reign lasted for only two months and therefore, he could not give any practical form to any of his program.

Chundrigar was more renowned as a constitutional lawyer than a politician; and obtained a lot of popularity, when he pleaded the case for the restoration of the first Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, by Molvi Tamiz-ud-din. He died in Lahore on 26th September 1960, at the age of 63 years.

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