Fazal Ilahi Chaudhry

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Fazal Elahi Chaudhry
فضل الہی چودھری
Fazal E Ch.jpg
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 (Martial Law)
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 in Punjab, Pakistan)
Died2 June 1982(1982-06-02) (aged 78)
Lahore, Punjab, Pakistan
Political partyPakistan Peoples Party
Alma materAligarh Muslim University (L.L.B)
University of the Punjab (M.A)

Fazal Elahi Chaudhry (Punjabi, Urdu: فضل الہی چودھری‎; 1 January 1904[1] – 2 June 1982), was a politician who served as the fifth President of Pakistan from 1973 until 1978, prior to the martial law led by Chief of Army Staff General Zia-ul-Haq. (see codename Fair Play). He also served as the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan from 1965 to 1969 and the 8th Speaker of the National Assembly of Pakistan from 1972 to 1973.

Early life[edit]

Fazal Elahi Chaudhry was born on 1 January 1904 into an influential 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, 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. In 1930, he started taking interest in politics and participated in the Indian general elections in 1930 for the Gujrat District Board and was elected unopposed.

Political career[edit]

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 the 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 the successful promulgation of country's constitution in 1973, Chaudhry was elected as the president, succeeded Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and became the first president of country from the Punjabi class of the Punjab Province. Taking an active role in the Pakistan Movement through the platform of the Muslim League, Chaudhry was appointed minister in the Liaquat Ali Khan government in 1947, and further joined the Pakistan permanent representative's delegation to the United Nations in 1951.

His presidency was a mere figurehead as per the constitution, since the heading of the government's operations remained the authority of prime minister. After the success of the 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 was relinquished from the office after resigning from his presidency, 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.

Speaker of the West Pakistan Assembly[edit]

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 West Pakistan Assembly. Chaudhry was its Speaker 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 1956 elections, he was elected as the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly.

President of Pakistan[edit]

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. He ended up joining the Pakistan Peoples Party. He contested the Presidential Elections of 1972 against s Khan Amirzadah Khan Of NAP & all opposition parties and was made President in 1973, when the head of the PPP, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was made Prime Minister.

Chaudhry was largely a figurehead, and was the first Pakistani 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 and had the power to appoint Prime Minister.


Fazal Elahi Chaudhry remained President until 1978, when he resigned after the military took control of the government under General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq.


Chaudhry died on 2 June 1982 at the age of 78.[3]


  1. ^ Profile of Fazal Elahi Chaudhry
  2. ^ "Former president Fazal Ilahi remembered". Pakistan Today. 2 June 2012. Retrieved 23 April 2016.
  3. ^ https://www.nytimes.com/1982/06/02/obituaries/fazal-elahi-dies-at-78-pakistani-ex-president.html

External links[edit]

Political offices
Preceded by
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Speaker of the National Assembly
Succeeded by
Sahibzada Farooq Ali
President of Pakistan
Succeeded by
Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq