Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy - Pakistan Herald
Written by LegendsofPakistan   

Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy (September 8, 1892 - December 5, 1963) was a politician from Bengal in undivided India, and later in East
Bengal, who served as the fifth Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1956 until 1957.

He was considered a favourite of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. He is also considered to be the first populist leader in Pakistan's history. He joined Awami League that Maulana Bashani formed and finally took over the leadership from the Maulana. Awami League was the first opposition party in Pakistan in those days launched against the Muslim League.

Suhrawardy was born on 8 September 1892 to a Muslim family in the town of Midnapore, now in West Bengal. He was the younger son of Justice Sir Zahid Suhrawardy, a prominent judge of the Calcutta High Court and of Khujastha Akhtar Banu (c. 1874–1919) a noted name in Urdu literature and scholar of Persian. Kujastha was the daughter of Maulana Ubaidullah Al Ubaidi Suhrawardy and sister of, amongst others, Lt. Col. Dr. Hassan
Suhrawardy, OBE and SirAbdullah Al-Mamun Suhrawardy.

In 1956, he was made Prime Minister by President of Pakistan Iskander Mirza after the resignation of Chaudhry Muhammad Ali. Suhrawardy inherited a political schism that was forming in Pakistan between the Muslim League and newer parties, such as the Republican party. The schism was fed by the attempt to consolidate the four provinces of West Pakistan into one province, so as to balance the fact that East Pakistan existed as only one province. The plan was opposed in West Pakistan, and the cause was taken up by the Muslim League and religious parties. Suhrawardy supported the plan, but the vast opposition to it stalled its progress.

In order to divert attention from the controversy over the "One Unit" plan as it was called, Suhrawardy tried to ease economic differences between East and West Pakistan. However, despite his intentions, these initiatives only led to more political frictions, and were worsened when Suhrawardy tried to give more financial allocations to East Pakistan than West Pakistan from aids and grants. Such moves led to a threat of dismissal looming over Suhrawardy's head, and he resigned in 1957.

His contribution in formulating 1956 constitution of Pakistan was substantial as he played a vital role in incorporating provisions for civil liberties and universal adult franchise in line with his adherence to parliamentary form of liberal democracy.

In the foreign policy arena, he is considered to be one of the pioneers of Pakistan's pro-United States stand. He was also the first Pakistani Prime Minister to visit China and establish an official diplomatic friendship between Pakistan and China (a friendship that Henry Kissingerwould later use to make his now-famous secret trip to China in July 1971).

Disqualified from politics under the military regime of Ayub Khan, Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy died in Lebanon in 1963. His death was officially due to complications from heart problems, though some have alleged he was poisoned. After a befitting funeral attended by a huge crowd, he was buried at Suhrawardy Udyan in Dhaka. Khayaban-e-Suhrawardy in Islamabad is named after him.



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