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Ch. Fazal Ilahi (January 1, 1904 - June 2, 1982) - Ex-President of Pakistan - Web Profile


Chaudhry Fazal Ilahi was President of Pakistan from August 14, 1973 until his resignation on September 16, 1978.

Chaudhry Fazal Ilahi was born in the district of Gujrat (the village Maralan, near the city of Kharian) in the Punjab province on January 1, 1904. He received his early education from his hometown and went to Aligarh University and later Punjab University from where he got a law degree, and went into practicing law. He did his M. A. in Political Science in 1925 and took his degree of Law from the University of Punjab in 1927. After completing his education, he went back to Gujrat and started practicing Law. He took part in the election of Gujrat District Board and was elected unopposed.

He joined the Muslim League in 1942. In 1945, he was elected from Gujrat as the President of Muslim League. He took part in the 1946 elections on Muslim League's ticket and played an important role in propagating the ideas of Muslim League among the people of his area. Upon the independence of Pakistan, Chaudhry got involved in the new government, moving up to high ranking positions in the National Assembly.

After Independence, he was given the post of Parliamentary Secretary. He was later appointed Minister for Education and Health. In 1951, he contested the elections of the Punjab Legislative Assembly on the Muslim League ticket and was elected as a member of the Punjab Assembly. In 1952, he represented Pakistan in the United Nations. In the 1956 elections, he was elected as member of the Assembly and later as the Speaker of the National Assembly. He remained as Speaker till 1958.

In 1962, when Ayub Khan announced the elections, he was selected as the Deputy Opposition Leader of the House on the basis of his experience and knowledge about parliamentary proceedings. He joined the Convention Muslim League, and after the 1956 elections, he was elected as the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly.

He was elected as member of the National Assembly in 1970 on the ticket of Pakistan Peoples Party and was later elected as the Speaker of the National Assembly. He would end up joining the Pakistan Peoples Party and would be made President in 1973, when the head of the PPP, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was made Prime Minister.

Chaudhry Fazal Ilahi was largely a figurehead (because he was threatened by the unrest created by the political parties and had no choice but to comply with the politicians actions; a feud between the Prime Minister and President would have further weakened the country), and was the first President with less power than the Prime Minister. This was due to the new constitution of 1973 that gave power to the Prime Minister. Previously, the President had been the chief leader of Pakistan, having the power to appoint Prime Ministers.

Chaudhry Fazal Ilahi would remain President until 1978, when he would resign after the military took control of the government under General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq. General Zia respected him dearly and came to visit him on his death-bed.

Chaudhry Fazal Ilahi died on June 2, 1982. His family since then has taken a very active role in politics to make Pakistan into the country it was meant to be. His brother Haji Rehamdad Ilahi was a Senator; his son Chaudhry Ata Elahi was an MNA; his nephews: Chaudhry Safdar was a Member of Provincial Assembly of Punjab and Major(retired) Muhammad Akram was former Inspector General Police (IGP) of Islamabad. Numerous members of the late Presdients family are in politics, the army and police.