Mohammad Ali Bogra

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Muhammad Ali of Bogra
53bogra nehru (cropped).jpg
Prime Minister of Pakistan
In office
17 April 1953 – 12 August 1955
Monarch Elizabeth II
Governor General Malik Ghulam Muhammad
Preceded by Khawaja Nazimuddin
Succeeded by Chaudhry Muhammad Ali
Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
13 June 1962 – 23 January 1963
President Ayub Khan
Preceded by Manzur Qadir
Succeeded by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
In office
24 October 1954 – 12 August 1955
Preceded by Muhammad Zafarullah Khan
Succeeded by Hamidul Huq Choudhury
Minister of Defence
In office
17 April 1953 – 24 October 1954
Preceded by Khawaja Nazimuddin
Succeeded by Ayub Khan
Personal details
Born (1909-10-19)19 October 1909
Barisal, Bengal Presidency, British India
(now in Bangladesh)
Died 23 January 1963(1963-01-23) (aged 53)
Dacca, East Pakistan, Pakistan
(now Dhaka, Bangladesh)
Resting place Bogra, East Pakistan, Pakistan
(now in Bangladesh)
Political party Muslim League
Alma mater University of Calcutta

Muhammad Ali of Bogra[1] (19 October 1909 – 23 January 1963) was a prominent Bengali politician and diplomat. He served as the third Prime Minister of Pakistan. He was also the country's ambassador to Burma, the United States and Canada. He also served as the Foreign Minister of Pakistan.

Ali studied in Presidency College, Calcutta. He was elected to the Bengal Legislative Assembly from Bogra in 1937. He was a minister in the cabinet of Prime Minister H. S. Suhrawardy in British Bengal. In 1948, he opposed Muhammad Ali Jinnah's stance against Bengali as a federal language of Pakistan.

Early life and family[edit]

Muhammad Ali was born in 1909 in Barisal to Nawabzada Altaf Ali, a Justice of the Peace. His grandfather was Syed Nawab Ali Chowdhury, one of the founders of the University of Dhaka. Ali grew up in the Nawab estates of Bogra and was schooled in Hastings House in Calcutta. He attended Presidency College in Calcutta University. [2]

He was married twice. He first married Hamida with whom he had two sons.[3] In 1955, he married again to Aliya Saddy.[3]

Political career[edit]

As a member of the All India Muslim League, Ali was elected to the Bengal Legislative Assembly during the 1937 elections. His constituency was Bogra District. His father was a member of the assembly's upper house from the Krishak Praja Party. Ali served in opposition until 1943, when the Muslim League gained power in Bengal. He became a member of the H. S. Suhrawardy ministry, holding the portfolios of health, finance and local-government at different intervals. As health minister, he founded the Dhaka Medical College and the Lake Medical College Hospital in Calcutta.[4]

Upon the formation of Pakistan in 1947, Bogra was elected to the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan but after disagreement with Mohammed Ali Jinnah, the Governor-General, over the issue of the Bengali Language, he was sent abroad as an Ambassador and served in Burma, Canada, and eventually as a two-time Ambassador to the United States.[citation needed]

Prime minister[edit]

In 1953, he was selected by Governor General of Pakistan Ghulam Muhammad to replace Khawaja Nazimuddin as the Prime Minister. Bogra was a relatively unknown personality to the national political scene of that time. He was serving as Ambassador to the US when he was recalled to take the office of Prime Minister. As Prime Minister, he set out to form a constitution.[citation needed]

To complete this, he outlined his famous "Bogra Formula" that sought to form a bicameral legislature. An Upper House would have contained 50 seats, 10 from each province, i.e. with 10 from East Pakistan and 40 from West Pakistan. A Lower House would have contained 300 seats. The lower house seats would be determined by population of province, and East Pakistan would have 165 seats, while the four provinces of West Pakistan would have a combined 135 seats, but would be split among the provinces. A provision was also put in place that stated that if the President of Pakistan were from West Pakistan, then the Prime Minister would have to be from East Pakistan, and vice-versa. The plan was very popular, but was killed when Ghulam Muhammad dissolved the Pakistani Assembly later in 1953.[citation needed]

Bogra Formula[edit]

After taking charge as Prime Minister, Muhammad Ali Bogra declared that formulation of the Constitution was his primary target. He worked hard on this project and within six months of assuming power, came out with a constitutional formula. His constitutional proposal, known as the Bogra Formula, was presented before the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan on 7 October 1953.

Main points of Bogra Formula[edit]

  1. A Bicameral Legislature with equal representation for all the five provinces of the country in the Upper House. 50 seats were reserved for the Upper House.
  2. The 300 seats for the Lower House were to be allocated to the provinces on the basis of proportionate representation.
  3. 165 seats were reserved for East Pakistan, 75 for Punjab, 19 for Sindh and Khairpur, 24 for N. W. F. P., tribal areas, and 17 for Baluchistan. Both the wings were to have 175 seats each in the two houses of the Legislative Assembly.
  4. Both the houses were given equal power, and in case of a conflict between the two houses, the issue was to be presented before a joint session.
  5. If the head of the state was from West Pakistan, the Prime Minister was to be from East Pakistan, and vice versa.
  6. The two houses of the Legislative Assembly formed the Electoral College for the presidential elections and the President was to be elected for a term of 5 years.
  7. Board of Ulema was replaced with the Supreme Court in deciding whether a law was in accordance with the basic teachings of the Holy Quran and Sunnah or not.

Reaction in East and West Pakistan[edit]

The Bogra Formula was appreciated by the masses of both East and west Pakistan. There was great enthusiasm amongst the people as they considered it as a plan that could bridge the gulf between the two wings of Pakistan and would act as a source of unity for the country. The proposal was discussed in the Constituent Assembly for 13 days, and a committee was set to draft the constitution on 14 November 1953. However, before the constitution could be finalised, Ghulam Muhammad, the then Governor General of Pakistan. dissolved the Assembly.[citation needed]

Resignation and death[edit]

Bogra was forced to resign in 1955 by the new Governor General, Iskander Mirza. He returned to his post as ambassador to the United States. In 1962 he became the foreign minister of Pakistan, until his death in 1963.[citation needed]

Ali is buried on the grounds of the Bogra Nawab Palace in Bangladesh.[5]

See also[edit]


External links[edit]

Diplomatic posts
Preceded by
Abol Hassan Ispahani
Ambassador to the United States
Succeeded by
Amjad Ali
Preceded by
Amjad Ali
Ambassador to the United States
Succeeded by
Aziz Ahmed
Political offices
Preceded by
Khawaja Nazimuddin
Prime Minister of Pakistan
Succeeded by
Chaudhry Muhammad Ali
Minister of Defence
Succeeded by
Ayub Khan
Preceded by
Muhammad Zafarullah Khan
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Hamidul Huq Choudhury
Preceded by
Manzur Qadir
Minister of Foreign Affairs
Succeeded by
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto