Ghulam Ishaq Khan – Prominent Pakistani banker and economist


Ghulam Ishaq Khan

Prominent Pakistani banker and economist

Ghulam Ishaq Khan was a Pakistani bureaucrat who served as the country’s seventh President from 1988 until his
resignation in 1993. He founded the Ghulam Ishaq Khan Institute, which bears
his name.

Ghulam Ishaq, who was raised in
Bannu graduated from Peshawar University and joined the Indian Civil Service
before deciding to move to Pakistan after the country’s independence in 1947.
President Ayub Khan appointed Ghulam Ishaq as the first chairman of the Water
and Power Development Authority in 1961, and he also served as Finance
Secretary from 1966 to 1970. President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto appointed him
Governor of the State Bank a year later, and he became Defence Secretary in
1975, assisting Pakistan’s atomic bomb program. President Zia-ul-Haq
appointed him Finance Minister in 1977, and he oversaw the country’s highest
GDP growth average. Ghulam Ishaq, who was elected Senate Chairman in 1985, was
elevated to the presidency following Zia’s death in an air crash on August 17,
1988. On December 13, he was elected president as the consensus candidate of
the Islami Jamhoori Ittihad and the Pakistan People’s Party.


Ghulam Ishaq Khan was born on
January 20, 1915, in Ismail Khel, a rural locality on the outskirts of Bannu
District, both villages in the British Indian Empire’s North-West Frontier
Province, now Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Province, Pakistan. He belonged to the Bangash Pashtun ethnic group. His son-in-law, former federal minister Anwar Saifullah
Khan, is still active in politics, as is another son-in-law, former Sindh
minister, and advisor Irfanullah Khan Marwat. One of his granddaughters married
Haroon Bilour of the ANP, and another to Omar Ayub Khan, grandson of former
military dictator Ayub Khan and son of politician Gohar Ayub Khan.

Following his education in Bannu,
Khan attended Islamia College before transferring to Peshawar University. He
earned a BSc in both Chemistry and Botany. Khan, who had been looking for a job
at a university, joined the Indian Civil Service in 1941, serving in various
provincial assignments on behalf of British India. Khan chose Pakistan after
its independence in 1947 and was assigned to the bureaucracy of the provincial
government of North-West Frontier Province in 1947. As secretary of the
irrigation department, he took over the provincial secretariat, a position he
held until 1955.

Public service

Khan was appointed Home Secretary
in the Sindh provincial government in 1956 but was later appointed Secretary
of Development and Irrigation by the Sindh government. In 1958, he was promoted
to the federal government level and assigned to the Ministry of Agriculture (MoA)
secretariat control, an appointment approved by President Ayub Khan. Khan had
been a member of the Water and Power Development Authority’s (WAPDA) Board of
Governors since 1958, before being appointed Chairman in 1961. As Chairman, he
was instrumental in the construction and financial development of the Mangla
and Warsak dams.

In 1966, Khan resigned as
chairman to become the Federal Finance Secretary to the Government of Pakistan,
a position he relinquished to incoming Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in
1970. Following Pakistan’s defeat by India in the Indo-Pakistani War of 1971,
Khan was tasked with overseeing all retail and commercial services for the
nation’s battered economy. In 1971, Bhutto appointed him Governor of the State
Bank of Pakistan, where he was tasked with formulating and implementing
monetary and credit policy in accordance with government policy with a
socialist slant. In the latter role, he questioned the wisdom of many of the economic
policies of then-Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who was eager to intensify
his nationalization and socialist influence in the financial institutions,
despite the economy’s slowdown.

Minister of Finance (1977-85)

After Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali
Bhutto was deposed in a staged coup in 1977, Khan was instrumental in
stabilizing Chief of Army Staff General Zia-ul-Haq in Bhutto’s capacity.
Following a meeting with the military leadership at the JS HQ, Khan reportedly
stated that “this action was going to harm the country, but since it
couldn’t be reversed, they should do their best to salvage whatever they
could.” General Zia-ul-Haq, who was acting as Chief Martial Law The administrator at the time immediately appointed him as Finance Minister
(CMLA). Khan was given authority over the Planning Commission, Economic
Coordination Committee, and Executive Committee of the Space Research Council
by assembling a team of economic experts and technocrats. Khan worked to regain
control of the national economy while utilizing the shattered private sector.
In 1977, Khan supported General Haq’s bid for President of Pakistan, who
tightened the country’s grip on martial law.

Khan supported the implementation
of economic Islamization in the 1980s by introducing a risk-free interest rate
system and establishing corporatization in the industrial sector. Khan oversaw
revenue collection and gave the state-owned enterprises (SOEs) a modern face
after they were nationalized in the 1970s. His policies and economic expertise
eventually resulted in an increase in GDP and GNP growth, assisting Pakistan’s
economy to become one of the fastest-growing in South Asia.

He kept his ties with the nuclear
society and prioritized nuclear deterrence by channeling financial funds for
the development of atomic bomb projects. Khan granted the Bank of Credit and
Commerce International tax exemption (BCCI). Khan, along with attendees General
Zahid Ali (E-in-C), General KM Arif (COAS), AVM MJ O’Brian (AOC), and Munir
Ahmad was among the invited secret dignitaries who witnessed the first Cold
fission test, Kirana-I, in 1983. (Chair PAEC). Khan backed President Zia’s
referendum on Islamization in 1984.

Following the non-partisan
general elections held in 1985, Khan was succeeded by an economist, Mahbub ul
Haq. Khan has decided to run as an independent in the upcoming indirect senate
elections. In 1985, he was appointed Chairman of the Senate, a position he held
until 1988.

Following the controversial and
mysterious aviation accident in Bahawalpur, Khan appeared on national
television and announced General Zia-ul-death. Haq’s According to Pakistan’s
Constitution, Khan was the second in line of succession to the President of
Pakistan. In 1988, however, General Mirza Aslam Beg called for general
elections. Khan served as acting President until the elections, in accordance
with the Constitution’s succession rules. After reaching an agreement with the
leftist Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), Khan ran for president on a PPP
platform. In the elections, Khan received 608
votes while competing against four other candidates; he was also backed by the
conservative IDA led by Nawaz Sharif. He became Pakistan’s oldest president at
the time he took office.

He renegotiated
for the presidency with the PPP but dropped out in favor of Farooq Leghari in
the 1993 general elections. He left national politics and avoided contact with
the international and domestic news media. He died on October 27, 2006,
following a bout with pneumonia.

1 thought on “Ghulam Ishaq Khan – Prominent Pakistani banker and economist”

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *