Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Mohammed Zahir Shah
On November 8, 1933, he was proclaimed king after his father, Mohammad Nadir Shah , was assassinated. In 1964, he promulgated a new constitution. His cousin and former Prime Minister Mohammed Daoud Khan staged a coup and established a republican government, while Mohammed Zahir Shah was abroad.
Following a coup d'état in 1973, Zahir Shah abdicated in August and lived in exile in Italy for twenty-nine years. He is seen as a symbol of unity for Afghanistan, and has been given the title "Father of the Nation." On February 3, 2004, he was flown from Kabul to New Delhi, India for medical treatment after complaining of an intestinal problem. He was hospitalized for two weeks, and remains in New Delhi under observation. On May 18 he was brought to a hospital in the United Arab Emirates because of nose bleeding caused by heat. He was reported in stable condition as of May 2004. He was next scheduled to visit France to cure his stomach disease. He attended the December 7 2004 swearing in of Hamid Karzai as President of Afghanistan in Kabul.
He instituted programs of political and economic modernization, ushering in a democratic legislature, education for women and other such changes. These reforms put him at odds with the religious militants who opposed him.
He refused to return as a puppet leader during Soviet-backed Communist rule in the late 1970s. He has remained aloof from the bloody feuds that followed the Soviet withdrawal in 1989. However, critics contend that in Afghanistan's most difficult moments, he remained comfortably secluded in Italy and refused to speak out against the Taliban.
While in France for a medical check-up, he broke his femur by slipping in a bathroom, June 21, 2003. Rumors of his death followed both in Afghanistan and Pakistan. In an October 2002 visit to France, he had also slipped in a bathroom, bruising his ribs.
See the reigns of Nadir Shah and Zahir Shah for more detailed information on his rule.
The contents of this article is licensed from www.wikipedia.org under the GNU Free Documentation License. Click here to see the transparent copy and copyright details