Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
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 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.
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.
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.
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