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Cabinet of Talents (1954-55)
Before the dissolution of the constituent assembly, Ghulam Muhammad instructed Muhammad Ali Bogra, the prime minister to form a cabinet for the benefit of the parliament. Hastily a ten-member cabinet was put together on 24th October 1954 which included five members of the previous cabinet three as ministers – Chaudhry Muhammad Ali, Dr. A.M Malik, and Ghiyyasuddin Pathan, two as ministers of state – Sardar Amir Azam Khan and Murtaza Raza Chaudhry. The new members of this cabinet were M.A. Isphani from the Muslim League, Mir Ghulam Ali Talpur, PML Vice President, Dr. Khan Sahib, Major General Sikandar Mirza, General Ayub khan commander in chief of the army.
Later on, five more ministers were added to this Cabinet, Habib Ibrahim Rahimtoola, Sayyed Abid Hussain, and Sardar Mumtaz Ali both from the Muslim League, Shrawardy and Hussain Sarkar. Bogra described it as the “cabinet of talents” which, in the nonexistence of an elected legislature, was responsible to people. Although he was the figurative head of the cabinet but had no authority over it. This Cabinet of Talents can be viewed as the beginning of the military taking over civilian responsibility, as is clear from the appointment of Mirza as Minister of Defense and his time as Interior Minister. Sikander Mirza became so important, that he provided strategy and policies of the cabinet. His main task was to facilitate the cabinet in constitution-making. For this purpose, he greatly employed the note that Ayub khan had drafted in London and presented in the USA to the closed military audience as the basis for constitution building. The cabinet first adopted the One Unit Plan, which sought amalgamation of the provinces and princely state of Pakistan into one province. The cabinet used influential and coercive methods to eliminate any hurdles in its way to implementing the One Unit Plan.
The cabinet wanted official authorization from all the legislative bodies wherever they existed. Mushtaq Ahmad Gurmani was appointed as the Governor of Punjab to convince the MPAs to agree to the One-Unit Plan. The NWFP assembly accepted the plan, even though Pir of Manki Sharif with five other members opposed and boycotted the plan. In Sindh, all political forces earlier combined and form a body known as the Security of Sindh. And on 23rd October 1954 74 out of 109 MPAs issued a signed statement against the idea of One Unit. In the wake of this event, the Cabinet of Talent replaced Sattar Pirzada with Ayub Khuhro, as Chief Minister and after one month Sindh Assembly also agreed to the One-Unit scheme. Mir of Khairpur state agreed with the plan and Amir of Bhawalpur also gave his consent after the dissolution of the ministry. Khan of Qalat, president of Balochistan States Union was coerced into a merger document on the behalf of states for the administration of West Pakistan.
The Governor-General established a council on 16th December 1954. Gurmani was made the chairman of this council which comprised of Governor and Chief Ministers of Units. It set up committees to settle the organization, staffing, integration of services. The cabinet engaged Sir Ivor Jenning, a British expert to prepare a draft constitution based on the American Presidential System, with a Vice President and President who were assigned wide executive and financial powers. This draft was adopted by the Cabinet of Talents as the country’s constitution and the Council of Administration finalized its report. However, the higher courts halted constitution-making by an executive decree.