Fazal Ilahi Chaudhry

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Fazal Ilahi Chaudhry
فضل الٰہی چودھری
5th President of Pakistan
In office
14 August 1973 – 16 September 1978
Prime MinisterZulfikar Ali Bhutto
Preceded byZulfikar Ali Bhutto
Succeeded byMuhammad Zia-ul-Haq
8th Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan
In office
15 August 1972 – 13 August 1973
DeputyMohammad Haneef Khan
Preceded byZulfikar Ali Bhutto
Succeeded bySahibzada Farooq Ali
6th Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan
In office
12 January 1965 – 25 March 1969
Preceded byMohammad Afzal Cheema
Succeeded byA. T. M. Abdul Mateen
Speaker of the Provincial Assembly of West Pakistan
In office
20 May 1956 – 7 October 1958
Preceded byPosition established
Succeeded byMubin-ul-Haq Siddiqui
Member of the National Assembly of Pakistan
In office
14 April 1972 – 13 August 1973
ConstituencyNW-36 (Gujrat-II)
In office
12 June 1965 – 25 March 1969
ConstituencyNW-24 (Gujrat-I)
In office
8 June 1962 – 7 June 1965
ConstituencyNW-24 (Gujrat-II)
Member of the Provincial Assembly of West Pakistan
In office
19 May 1956 – 7 October 1958
ConstituencyGujrat District
Member of the Provincial Assembly of Punjab
In office
7 May 1951 – 14 October 1955
In office
15 August 1947 – 25 January 1949
Personal details
Born(1904-01-01)1 January 1904
Kharian, Punjab, British India (now, Punjab, Pakistan)
Died2 June 1982(1982-06-02) (aged 78)
Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
Political partyPPP
Alma mater

Fazal Ilahi Chaudhry (Urdu: فضل الٰہی چودھری; 1 January 1904 – 2 June 1982) was a Pakistani politician who served as the fifth president of Pakistan from 1973 to 1978 prior to the martial law led by Chief of Army Staff General Zia-ul-Haq.[1] He also served as the deputy speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan from 1965 to 1969 and the eighth speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan from 1972 to 1973.

Early life[edit]

Fazal Ilahi Chaudhry was born on 1 January 1904 into an influential Punjabi Gujjar family[2] in Marala village, near the city of Kharian, Gujrat District in Punjab Province. After receiving his education from there, Chaudhry joined the prestigious Aligarh Muslim University in 1920,[3] receiving his LLB in Civil law in 1924. Thereafter, Chaudhry returned to Punjab and attended the Punjab University's post-graduate school in law and political science. In 1925, Chaudhry obtained his MA in Political Science in 1925, and the advanced LLM in Law and Justice, in 1927.

After completing his education, Chaudhry established his law firm in Lahore, advocating for the civil law and liberties, and went back to Gujrat and started practising the civil law.

Political career[edit]

Early years (1942-1956)[edit]

In 1930, Chaudhry started taking interest in politics and participated in the 1930 Indian general election for the Gujrat District Board and was elected unopposed.[4] 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 Indian provincial elections on Muslim League's ticket and played an important role in propagating the ideas of the Muslim League among the people of his area. Upon the independence of Pakistan, he was given the post of Parliamentary Secretary, and was included in Liaquat Ali Khan's cabinet, serving as the education and health minister.

He further joined Pakistan permanent representative's delegation to the United Nations in 1951.[5] 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.

Speaker and deputy speaker roles (1956-1972)[edit]

In the 1956 elections, he was elected as member of the West Pakistan Assembly. Chaudhry served as the first Speaker of the West Pakistan Legislative Assembly from 20 May 1956 to 7 October 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. Chaudhry joined the Convention Muslim League, and after the 1965 presidential election, he was elected as the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly, a role he served in till 1969.[6]

He was elected as member of the National Assembly in 1970 on the ticket of the Pakistan Peoples Party, and was later elected as the Speaker of the National Assembly in 1972.[7] He ended up joining the Pakistan Peoples Party.

President of Pakistan (1973-1978)[edit]

He contested the Presidential Elections of 1973 against Khan Amirzadah Khan of NAP and all opposition parties, and was elected president in 1973 (receiving 139 votes against Khan's 45),[8] when the head of the PPP, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was made Prime Minister. He was the first Punjabi President of Pakistan.

Chaudhry was largely a figurehead, and was the first Pakistani President with less power than the Prime Minister.[1][9][10] This was due to the new constitution of 1973 that gave more powers to the Prime Minister. Previously, the President had been the chief executive of Pakistan and had the power to appoint Prime Minister. After Operation Fair Play - a codename of the operation to remove Zulfikar Ali Bhutto from power - Chaudhry continued his presidency but had no influence in the government operations or the military and national affairs.

After contentious relations with the military, Chaudhry decided to resign from his post[4] despite the urging of the Chief of Army Staff and Chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff. On 16 September 1978, Chaudhry handed the charge of the presidency to ruling military general Zia-ul-Haq who succeeded him as the sixth president, in addition to being the Chief Martial Law Administrator and the Chief of Army Staff.


Chaudhry died of a heart ailment on 2 June 1982 at the age of 78.[11][4]



  1. ^ a b "The Democratically Elected and the Military Presidents of Pakistan". Dunya News. 14 February 2008. Retrieved 8 April 2022.
  2. ^ "Former president Fazal Ilahi remembered". Pakistan Today. 2 June 2012. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  3. ^ "Tareekh e Pakistan - Deat of Fazal Elahi Choudhry (فضل الٰہی چوہدری کی وفات) | Online History Of Pakistan". www.tareekhepakistan.com. Retrieved 8 April 2022.
  4. ^ a b c "Former Pakistani President Chaudhry Fazal Elahi died Tuesday of..." UPI. Retrieved 8 April 2022.
  5. ^ "Fazal Ilahi Chaudhry | The Asian Age Online, Bangladesh". The Asian Age. Retrieved 8 April 2022.
  6. ^ "Toothless lions? | Special Report | thenews.com.pk". www.thenews.com.pk. Retrieved 8 April 2022.
  7. ^ "National Assembly of Pakistan". na.gov.pk. Retrieved 8 April 2022.
  8. ^ "New President of Pakistan Named in Government Shift". The New York Times. 11 August 1973. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 8 April 2022.
  9. ^ "Dr Alvi is third Pak president to assume charge at the age of 69". www.thenews.com.pk. Retrieved 8 April 2022.
  10. ^ Current World Leaders: almanac. Almanac of Current World Leaders. 1977.
  11. ^ Upi (2 June 1982). "Fazal Elahi Dies at 78; Pakistani Ex-President". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 8 April 2022.

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by Speaker of the National Assembly
Succeeded by
President of Pakistan
Succeeded by