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Iskandar Mirza (1898-1969)

Iskandar Mirza (1898-1969)

Iskander Mirza, the first President of Pakistan, was born on 14th December 1898 at Murshidabad a town and district of British India in the Presidency division of Bengal. He belonged to a feudal family of Bengal and was the great-grandson of the last Nawab of Bengal, Mir Jafar. He completed his early education at Elphinstone College in Bombay. Later on, he joined Sandhurst Academy in England for army training in 1918. Upon his return he was commissioned into the British Indian Army in 1920. He served as an Assistant Commissioner in North West Frontier Province and District Officer in Tribal Areas till 1931. He also severed as Joint Sectary in the Ministry of Defense of United India. Before the partition of India he was the senior-most Muslim Civil Servant in the Indian Ministry of Defense. During this time he gained a firsthand experience in defense strategy.

After the creation of Pakistan, he served as Secretary to the Government from 1948 to 1952. He was appointed Governor of East Pakistan in 1954. Ghulam Muhammad was succeeded by Iskander Mirza so he became the last Governor-General of Pakistan. According to the 1956 Constitution he became the first President of Pakistan. He remained in his from March 1956 to 24th October 1958. President Iskander Mirza abrogated the 1956 Constitution with the help of General Ayub Khan, the Chief Martial Law Administrator and enforced the first martial law to crush the rebellions in East Pakistan. On 27th October 1958, Ayub Khan ordered to have President Mirza arrested, with the help of Military Police. He was then exiled to London until his death. He died of a heart attack in London on 12th November 1969.

He is criticized for facilitating the first Martial Law in the history of Pakistan. Iskander Mirza was considered a power hungry person like Ghulam Muhammad. He also wanted to dominate the political scene of the country by any means possible. Being the Head of State, he always remained active in power politics and played the role of a kingmaker.

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