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Iskander Mirza

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Iskander Mirza
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Iskander_mirza.jpg
Iskander Mirza

Date of Birth: November 15, 1899
Date of Death: November 15, 1969
President of Pakistan
Tenure Order: 1st President of Pakistan
Took Office: March 23, 1956October 27, 1958
Predecessor: None
Successor: Ayub Khan
Governor-General of Pakistan
Tenure Order: 4th Governor-General
Took Office: 19551956
Predecessor: Ghulam Muhammad
Successor: None - Position abolished

Iskander Mirza (November 15, 1899 - November 15, 1969) was the first President of Pakistan and held that position from 1956 until 1958. He was also the fourth Governor-General of Pakistan before it was replaced by the Presidency.

Iskander Mirza was born in Bengal in 1899 to a land-owning family. After completing his early education, he was educated at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst, becoming the first Indian graduate at the academy, and commissioned into the British Indian Army in 1919. He only served in the army for six years, after which Mirza became a civil servant, eventually becoming a joint secretary in the Ministry of Defense. In this position he was responsible for dividing the British Indian Army into the future armies of Pakistan and India.

Upon the formation of Pakistan, Mirza was made the Defense Secretary of the new nation, this appointment owed to Mirza's ranking as the highest Muslim civil servant in India at the time. In 1954 he was made the governor of East Pakistan and was responsible for a harsh crackdown on Bengali dissidents such as Sheikh Mujibur Rahman. This position was followed by ones as the Interior Minister, and Minister of Frontier Regions. In 1955 he was temporarly made the Governor-General, but this position would become permanent. Iskander Mirza was also a great advocate of the One Unit scheme. In his opinion religion was to be kept at a distance from politics.

In 1956, Pakistan established its first constitution, and the position of Governor-General was replaced by that of President. The two were essentially the same, but Mirza was officially elected as President by the Assembly. During his presidency, Pakistan was politically unstable, this was marked by four different Prime Ministers in two years.

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Isakander_Mirza_Being_Sworn_in_as_President_March_18,1956.jpg
Isakander Mirza Being Sworn in as President March 18,1956; seated is his wife

In 1958, Mirza felt increasingly threatened by rival factions in the government, and he declared martial law on October 7th. He appointed the commander-in-chief of the Pakistani Army, Ayub Khan as the martial law administrator. This move would back fire though, as Ayub Khan would soon force Mirza to step down and leave in exile. Khan declared himself President on October 27th after a bloodless coup d'état.

Mirza would live in exile in London till his death in 1969.



Preceded by:
Ghulam Muhammad
Governor-General of Pakistan
1955–1956
Succeeded by:
Preceded by:
President of Pakistan
1956–1958
Succeeded by:
Ayub Khan

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