Muslim League (Pakistan)

Muslim League (Pakistan)

On the foundation of Pakistan, the leader of the Muslim League, Mohammed Ali Jinnah, became the new nation's Governor-General, and another League leader, Liaquat Ali Khan became Prime Minister. The All India Muslim League was disbanded in December 1947 and succeeded by two organisations, the Pakistan Muslim League and the Indian Union Muslim League. Jinnah resigned as the president of the Muslim League on 17 December and the two Muslim Leagues respectively elected Ch. Khaliquzzaman as President of the Pakistan Muslim League and Nawab Muhammad Ismail as the president for Indian Union Muslim League.

Jinnah died in September 1948 and Liaquat was assassinated in October 1951. Robbed of its two senior leaders, the League began to disintegrate. By 1953, dissensions within the League had led to the formation of several different political parties. Liaquat was succeeded by Khawaja Nazimuddin, a Bengali, who was forced out of office in April 1953. Pakistan was racked by riots and famine, and at the first national elections in May 1955 (held by a system of indirect voting) the League was heavily defeated.

In October 1958 the Army seized power and the martial law regime of Muhammad Ayub Khan banned all political parties. This was the end of the old Muslim League. The name still held great prestige, however, and Ayub Khan later formed a new party, the Convention Muslim League. The opposition faction became known as the Council Muslim League. This latter group joined a united front with other political parties in 1967 in opposition to the regime. But when the military regime of Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan fell in December 1971, and Pakistan's first genuine free elections were held, both factions of the League were swept out of power: in West Pakistan by the Pakistan Peoples Party of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and in East Pakistan by the Awami League of Sheikh Mujibur Rahman.

In 1988, after the death of Pakistan's military ruler and later civilian President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, a new Muslim League was formed under the leadership of Nawaz Sharif, but it had no connection with the original Muslim League. Sharif was Prime Minister from 1990 to 1993 and again from 1997 to 1999, when he was ousted in Pakistan's third military coup. At the controversial elections held by the military regime of Pervez Musharraf in October, five different parties using the name Muslim League contested seats. The largest of these, the Pakistan Muslim League (Quaid-e-Azam), won 69 seats out of 272, and the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz), loyal to Nawaz Sharif, won 19 seats. After the last elections held in 2008, Nawaz Sharif's Muslim League is in the ruling coalition and the Quaid-e-Azam league is in opposition.

Current factions

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