Iskander Ali Mirza (Politician)

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Pakistani Politician. A Major-General of the British Army, Mirza attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst, becoming the first Indian graduate of the academy in 1920. He became Pakistan's first Defense Secretary in 1947 upon the formation the of Dominion of Pakistan and served as Governor of East Bengal in 1950, Minister of the Interior in 1954 and the last Governor-General of the Dominion of Pakistan from October 6, 1955 to March 23, 1956. When Pakistan established its first constitution as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, Miraz was elected by the general assembly as the country's first President serving from March 23, 1956 to October 27, 1958. His presidency was marked by marked by political instability, civil unrest, and immigration problems ending with Mirza's exile to England.[1] A Major-General of the - British Army

Title Description
Name: Iskander Mirza
In Urdu : اسکندر علی مرزا
Famous As: Former President of Pakistan
Nationality: Pakistan
Residence: London, England, United Kingdom
Education: University of Mumbai Royal Military Academy
Religion: Islam
Profession: Politician
Awards : Nishan-i-Lmar & Nishan-e-Pahlvi
Date: 13 November 1899
Place: West Bengal, India
Spouse: Naheed Begum (m. 1954) & Rifa'at Begum (m. 1922)
Children: Shah Taj Imam Mirza & Enver Mirza & Humayum Mirza
Date: 13 November 1969
Rest Place: London, England, United Kingdom
Died At Age: (aged 70)
Political Party: Republican Party
Old Political Affiliations: Muslim League (1950–55)
In Office
Role: President of Pakistan
Prime Minister: Muhammad Ali (1956) & H. S. Suhrawardy (1956–57) & I. I. Chudrigar (1957) & Feroze Khan(1957–58)
Preceded By: Republic proclaimed
Succeeded By: Ayub Khan
Political Party: Republican Party
Military service: British Indian Army
Rank: Major-General
Unit: Corps of Military Police
Battles/wars: Waziristan War Indo-Pakistani War of 1947
Military awards: Order of the British Empire & General Service Medal


Iskander Ali Mirza
Iskander Ali Mirza

Childhood Early Life

Iskander Ali Mirza Wife
Iskander Ali Mirza Wife
  • Mirza was born in a feudal family to Sahibzada Sayyid Muhammad Fateh Ali Mirza and Dilshad Begum, in the late 1890s in Murshidabad district of Bengal, then a part of British India.
  • His father was a descendent of the last Nawab of Bengal, Nawab Mansur Ali Khan.
  • He was a student of the ‘Elphinstone College’, Bombay (now Mumbai), and later moved to England to pursue his higher studies at the ‘Royal Military Academy’, Sandhurst. After completing his course in England, he returned to India and got appointed in the ‘British Indian Army’, in 1920.[2] he returned to India - got appointed


Iskander Ali Mirza as President
Iskander Ali Mirza as President
  • From 16th July 1920 onwards, Mirza started his career in the army. He was associated with a battalion named ‘Cameronians’, and was even a part of the ‘Khodad Khel Operations’ as well as the ‘Waziristan War’. He later got transferred to the ‘17th Poona Horse’ regiment as an Army Inspector.
  • In 1926, he parted ways with the ‘British Indian Army’, and entered the ‘Indian Political Service’ as ‘Assistant Commissioner’ of the ‘North West Frontier Province’.
  • He was then appointed as the District Officer in the early 1930s and he continued to serve in this post for a few years.
  • During the period 1938-1945, he was appointed as the Political Agent of the tribal areas. Later, he was the Political Agent of ‘North West Frontier Province’ and Odisha regions, for a year.
  • In 1946, he resumed the position of the Joint Defence Secretary in the ‘Ministry of Defence’ of British India, with the responsibility of splitting the ‘British Indian Army’ into two armies, namely India and Pakistan.
  • After the establishment of Pakistan as an Independent nation, Mirza was appointed as its Defence Secretary.
  • In 1954, he was selected as the Governor of East Pakistan in an attempt to bring peace to the turbulent atmosphere of the country by declaring governor’s rule.
  • The following year, due to ill health of the then Governor General Ghulam Mohammad, Mirza was appointed to the post as he was the most suitable person to assume the role.
  • In 1956, Iskandar Mirza became the first President of Pakistan, since the newly formed Pakistani Constitution substituted the Governor General’s position by the President of Pakistan.
  • During his presidency, the country suffered a lot of instability, and the martial law which he imposed is said to have been the reason behind this disorder.

Awards Achievements

Iskander Ali Mirza Great Career
Iskander Ali Mirza Great Career
Iskander Ali Mirza
Iskander Ali Mirza
  • In 1909, this political leader became a recipient of the ‘India General Service Medal’.
  • He was given the ‘King George V Silver Jubilee Medal’ in 1935, and two years later, he was felicitated with the ‘King George VI Coronation Medal’.
  • In 1939, this former Pakistani President was honoured with the ‘Officer of the Order of the British Empire’.
  • In the year 1945, Iskander Mirza received the ‘Companion of the Order of the Indian Empire’.
  • He was also given the ‘Pakistan Independence Medal’ in 1948, after the country gained independence.
  • The ‘Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Medal’ was given to this prominent leader in the year 1953.
  • The Empire of Iran honoured President Mirza with the ‘Grand Collar of the Order of Pahlavi’ in 1956.
  • In 1958, he received the ‘Order of the Supreme Sun’ from the Kingdom of Afghanistan.

Personal Life Legacy

Iskander Ali Mirza in British Army
Iskander Ali Mirza in British Army
  • Iskander Mirza married Rifaat Begum on 24th November 1922, and the couple were blessed with six children, which included four daughters and two sons.
  • One of his sons, named Humayun Mirza has authored the book ‘From Plassey to Pakistan: The Family History of Iskander Mirza’.
  • In 1954, this Pakistani leader married an aristocratic lady Naheed Amirteymour, who was the daughter of Iranian Statesman Amirteymour Kalali.
  • On 27th October 1958, President Iskander Mirza was made to resign from his presidential post and thereafter, sent into exile to London. It is believed that he lived the rest of his life at a hotel room in London. He led a poor life there as his only source of income was a meagre annual pension. He was helped by friends and close acquaintances in his survival in London.

End of Presidency

Iskander Ali Mirza
Iskander Ali Mirza
The two-man rule political regime was evolved under President Mirza and his appointed chief martial law administration and then-army chief General Ayub Khan. However, the two men had very different point of views on running the government with the new situation, even though they were responsible for bringing about the change.[3] Ouster of President - Iskander Mirza President Mirza had not envisaged any change in his previous powers; he wanted to retain the ability to maneuver things in keeping with his own whims.Judging from the situation, the things however had changed as the time and situation both were demanding the complete solution. General Ayub Khan came to an understanding that the real political power rested with the support from the military, and within a week of enforcing the martial law, President Mirza realized the delicate position he got himself into. In an interview with Dawn, President Mirza regretted his decision saying: "I did not mean to do it" while offering assurances that the martial law would be for the shortest possible duration.The new administration did not satisfy CMLA Ayub Khan who had more control in the administration than President Mirza. A military unit was dispatched by General Ayub Khan to enter the presidential palace on the midnight of 26/27 October 1958 that forcefully placed him in a plane to exile him in England.:104 Subsequently, Admiral A. R. Khan and four army and air force generals: Azam, Amir, Wajid, and Asghar Khan were instrumental in Ayub Khan's rise to power.[4] Military, State Society - in Pakistan

Defence secretary 194750

Iskander Ali Mirza Hold a Talk
Iskander Ali Mirza Hold a Talk
He was appointed as first Defence Secretary in the Liaquat administration by the Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan, who relied on running the government on British viceregal model with close coordination of civilian bureaucracy, the police and the military. As Defence secretary, he oversaw the military efforts in the first war with India in 1947, as well as witnessing the failed succession in Balochistan by Khan of Kalat.[5] Jammu and Kashmir War, 1947 In 1950, Mirza was promoted to two-star rank, having skipped the one-star promotion as Brigadier, and upgraded his rank as Major-General in the Pakistan Army by the promotion papers approved by Prime Minister Ali Khan. He was appointed as colonel commandant of the Military Police while serving as the Defence secretary in the in the Liaquat administration.: In 1951, Prime minister Ali Khan appointed him as the director of the Department of Kashmir and Afghanistan Affairs (DKA).His tenure as defense secretary also saw the deployment of Military Police in East-Pakistan as a result of the Bengali Language Movement, during which the East Pakistan Army fatally shot four student activists. Within a short span of time, the Military Police had the control of the state and its officer commanding submitted the report of their course of action to Major General Iskander Mirza in 1954.[6] The Causes of - Bangladesh War.