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Dismissal of Nazimuddin’s Government (1953)

Pakistan higher bureaucracy was dominated by non-Bengalis. The bureaucracy disliked the Nazimuddin ministry right from the beginning and considered Nazimuddin a weak administrator, who was incapable of achieving the political, administrative and constitutional tasks that the country faced. However, the immediate cause of the dismissal of the Nazimuddin ministry was the Anti Ahmadiya riots and food shortages which created difficulties for Nazimuddin Government.

During 195-52 due to a lack of proper rainfall and then because of flood the crops were badly damaged in Punjab and Sindh. Moreover, the prospect of land reforms influenced wheat production so this food shortage was created by the landlords who had turned hostile due to the modest reforms made by the Doultana government in favor of agriculture tenants. With this background, when Nazimuddin showed an inability to declare Ahmadis non-Muslim the ulama restored to direct action. Five volunteers carrying placards with demands marched to the residence of the Prime Minister and the situation worsened when Mumtaz Doltana, who was he Chief Minister of Punjab endorsed the demands and appealed to the center for their acceptance.

Martial Law was imposed in Lahore to maintain the law and order situation by Ayub Khan who was Commander in Chief of the army, to control the disorder that had followed the direct action. Mumtaz Doltana not only retraced his earlier statement but also vacated the office of Chief Minister for Firoz Khan Noon. After a few days Punjab assembly passed the budget and the situation worsened for Nazimuddin, due to slashing of defense budget by one third in light of stringent financial condition. This situation created annoyance between the military leaders for the Nizamuddin Government. However, Nazimuuddin still enjoyed the confidence of the constituent assembly and could defeat his opponents in the assembly.

However, Ghulam Muhammad with the support of bureaucracy and military leadership used the discretionary power given to him by the provisional constitution and dismissed Nazimuddin. He was summoned by Ghulam Muhammad along with his cabinet and ordered to resign when Nazimuddin declined he was dismissed along with his cabinet. The Governor General had acted under section 10 of the adopted Government of India Act, thus Nazimddin became the victim of a bureaucratic military coup. Nazimuddin tried to resist his dismissal since he enjoyed the confidence of legislature and had also passed the budget for the year 1953-54. He also tried to contact the Queen in England in order to remove Ghulam Muhammad from the office of Governor General but failed to produce the desired effect. Muhammad Ali Bogra became the new Prime Minister of the country on 17th April 1953.

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