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Khawaja Nazimuddin

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Khwaja Nazimuddin
Khwaja Nazimuddin

Khawaja Nazimuddin (July 19, 1894 - 1964) was the second Governor-General of Pakistan, and then the second Prime Minister of Pakistan.

He was born in Dhaka, into the family of the Nawabs of Dhaka (Bengal). He received his education from Aligarh Muslim University, and later Trinity Hall, Cambridge until the mid-1930s.

After returning to the subcontinent, he became involved in politics in his native Bengal. Nazimuddin was initially the educational minister, but climbed the ranks to become the Chief Minister of the province prior to partition. Nazimuddin also became the head of the Muslim League in Eastern India.

Upon the formation of Pakistan, he became an important part of the early government. After the early death of Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Nazimuddin succeeded him as the Governor General of Pakistan. At this point in time, the position was largely ceremonial, and executive power rested with the Prime Minister. The first Prime Minister of Pakistan, Liaquat Ali Khan was assassinated in 1951, and Nazimuddin stepped in to replace him.

During Nazimuddin's time as Prime Minister, Pakistan saw a growing rift within the Muslim League, especially between Punjabi and Bengali groups, as those were the two largest ethnic groups of Pakistan, but were separated by India. During his reign, a framework was begun for a constitution that would allow Pakistan to become a republic, and end its Dominion status. Progress was made, but Nazimuddin's time as Prime Minister would be cut short in 1953.

In 1953, a religious movement began to agitate for the removal of the Ahmadi religious minority from power positions, and a declaration of this group as non-Muslim. Nazimuddin resisted such pressures; but riots broke out in The Punjab against both the government and followers of this religious minority. Nazimuddin responded by changing the governor of that province to Feroz Khan Noon, but this was to no avail. Ghulam Muhammad, who had replaced Nazimuddin as Governor-General, asked the Prime Minister to step down. However, the PM refused, but Muhammad got his way by invoking an reserve power that let him dismiss the Prime Minister. The Supreme Court did not rule on the legality of the dismissal, but instead forced new elections. The new prime-minister was another Bengali born statesman: Muhammad Ali Bogra.

The removal of Nazimuddin, the Prime Minister, by the Governor-General, Muhammad, signaled a troubling trend in Pakistani history of Prime Ministers being removed by the President or Generals claiming executive power.


Preceded by:
Mohammad Ali Jinnah
Governor-General of Pakistan
1948–1951
Succeeded by:
Ghulam Muhammad
Preceded by:
Liaquat Ali Khan
Prime Minister of Pakistan
1951–1953
Succeeded by:
Muhammad Ali Bogra

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