Prime Ministers of Pakistan: Numbered Days

Posted on August 6, 2018
Filed Under >Pakistaniat, People, Politics
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As Pakistan prepares to induct in a new Prime Minister, we thought we would interrupt our hiatus to quickly look back at how others who have held this office have fared in terms of length of tenure in office.

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Of course, Pakistan has yet to have a Prime Minister successfully complete a term in office and peacefully transfer charge to the next. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto did complete his term when the 1977 elections were held, but the transition ended in Martial Law and Bhutto’s own hanging.

The longest uninterrupted time in the Prime Ministerial office was PPP’s Yousuf Raza Gillani’s 1547 days in office; which ended with his ouster by order of the Supreme Court. In doing so, he crossed the 1525 days tenure of Pakistan’s first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan, which had itself been cut short by his assassination. Nawaz Sharif’s latest, and third, term as Prime Minister ended 11 days short of that mark (at 1514 days), and also ended with ouster by order of the Supreme Court.

The dubious honour of being Prime Minister of Pakistan for the shortest period goes of Nurul Amin who was Prime Minister for 14 days when Gen. Yahya Khan appointed him Prime Minister after the 1971 general elections. Nurul Amin was also the only ever Vice President of Pakistan from 1970 to 1972. Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, with 57 days in office, and Ibrahim Ismail Chundrigar, with 61 days in office.

One should add here that Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was President for 602 days (20 December, 1971 to 13 August, 1973) before becoming Prime Minister. If these days were added to his total, his stint in power would become 2024 days (nearly 5-and-a-half years), making him the longest serving of the elected leaders.

We have not counted caretaker Prime Ministers in this analysis and, of course, periods when Pakistan did not have a Prime Minister are not included.

Of course, no Prime Minister of Pakistan has completed 5 years in office, but there have been three instances of four year terms: Liaquat Ali Khan (1947-51), Yousuf Raza Gillani (2008-12) and Nawaz Sharif (2013-17). Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto‘s (1973-77) term fell just short of the 4-year mark, at 1422 days. He is joined by his daughter Benazir Bhutto (1993-96), Mohammad Khan Junejo (1985-88) and Shaukat Aziz (2004-07) in having completed three years in office (respectively 1113, 1163 and 1174 days; ZAB was 1422 days).

Interestingly, many think of Mr. Junejo as a short-lived Prime Minister – turns out, in Pakistan terms, he was not!

Six Prime Ministers of Pakistan, not counting caretakers, were in office for less than one year: Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, Feroze Khan Noon, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, I.I. Chundrigar, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Nurul Amin (respectively 303, 296, 275, 61, 57 and 14 days).

Our analysis is for individual terms in office. However, if we were to add total number of days as Prime Minister, across multiple terms, then Nawaz Sharif has been the longest serving Prime Minister of Pakistan with his three terms spanning over 3467 days, cumulatively. This would add up to around nine-and-a-half years; but still less than two full terms of 5-years each. Second on this list would be Benazir Bhutto whose two terms combined to only 1726 cumulative days in office, or about four-and-two-thirds years; still less than a full 5-year term. This means that Benazir’s total stint in power was less than her father’s (including ZAB’s tenure as President and then as Prime Minister).

In case you are wondering, the longest stints-in-power are all of our military rulers, who have preferred the title of President: Gen. Zia-ul-Haq still holds the record for the longest stint-in-power (including various offices) – 4062 days: 11 years, 1 month and 13 days. Gen. Ayub Khan is second on this count, holding power under various titles for 3803 days. While these are both longer periods than Nawaz Sharif’s cumulative time in office, Mr. Sharif can at least have the satisfaction that he was cumulatively Prime Minister of Pakistan for 233 days more than his tormentor Gen. Pervez Musharraf, who had ousted him from office in 1999 and then enjoyed a stint-in-office lasting 3234 days under various titles, including Chief Executive.

Enough with the numbers. We wish the new Prime Minister of Pakistan well and hope that this time the historical trend will be defied. Even though history, especially in Pakistan, is not an easy master to defy.

6 responses to “Prime Ministers of Pakistan: Numbered Days”

  1. NTS RESULT says:

    Pakistani has always face these hurdles.

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