Monday, June 7, 2010

Ghulam Ishaq Khan (1915-2006)

Ghulam Ishaq Khan (20 Jan, 1915- 27 Oct, 2006) also known as Mr. Nuke or "Baba Atom Bomb", was the seventh President of Pakistan from 17 Aug, 1988 -18 July, 1993.He was a powerful player in the political equation of Pakistan.Under the constitution, the President of Pakistan is elected by a majority of the members of the National and Provincial Assemblies. Ishaq Khan was a seasoned senior bureaucrat-turned politician who had been a key figure in Pakistan for more than three decades. He was born in 1915 in the NWFP and completed his education in BS and MS from Peshawar University.  He was appointed to the prestiguous Civil Service of Pakistan after Independence in 1947. After holding various regional posts, including chairman of the West Pakistan Water anf Power Development Authority (1961-66), he was appointed to several positions in the central Govt -as secretary , Ministry of Finance (1966-70), and later as Governor of State Bank of Pakistan (1971-75). He was subsequently moved from the Bank and made Secretary General at  the Ministry of Defence. Although an unusal post for senior economics expert, it proved to be fortuitous in that it brought him close contact with senior officers of the aarmed forces.Among them was General Zia, who later ousted Bhutto and turned the management of the economy over to Ishaq Khan. During the martial law period (1977-85), Ishaq khan's titles changed, but he was responsible for all important economic decisions.Among other things he supported the Zia Government's efforts to Islamize the economy by changes in the fiscal and banking system.
In 1985, Ishaq Khan was elected to the Senate and later became chairman of the Senate.The death of Zia in 1988, thrust Ishaq Khanto the center of the political stage.When the military decided to use the constitution to handle the issue of  succession , Ishaq Khan, as Chairman of the Senate and therefore next in the line of succession , became acting President.. He and the emergency council he instituted decided to  hold general elections and to allow political parties to participate. Thus he country was guided back to democracy, Benaziir became Prime Minister, and Ishaq Khan was  subsequently elected preident by the National and Provincial Assemblies.
Ishaq Khan's position was considerably strengthened by the eighth amendment of the constitution done by Zia, in 1988.But in late 1992 and early 1993, the political tension he was eventually ndropped as a candidate infavour of Farooq Ahmaed Khan Legari. Ishaq died on Oct 2006.
He was one of the Key person of Pakistan's nuclear programme.