Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy 5th Premier of Pakistan


By Mahjabeen Malik

Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy belonged to an eminent and well-educated Muslim family. He was born on 8 December 1892 in Madanpur (western Bengal). Although Hussain Shaheed Suharwardy was born with a golden spoon in his mouth yet he struggled hard for living a respectable life. His parents were highly qualified. Hussain’s mother, Banu was a renowned writer of Urdu language of her time and she was the first Muslim female who passed the Senior Cambridge examination. His grandfather Sir Zahid Suharwardiy was a patronizer of Arabic Academy in Dhaka and his father was a scholar of Persian and Arabic and a judge of Calcutta High Court.

Early Education

Hussain Shaheed Suharwardy got his early education from Calcutta and got his degree of graduation in Science from St. Caviares College in England. For higher education, he got admission in Oxford University and in1913, he passed out M.A and P.C.L. Hussain Shaheed Suharwardy was a revolutionary politician and a leader of the movement of Pakistan. Hussain Shaheed Suharwardy participated in All India Muslim leagues and served as a secretary of Muslim league in Bengal. After securing a degree of P.C.L, Hussain got training of Barrister-at-Law at Gray’s Inn in 1918.

 Political Career                      

Hussain returned to India after training as a lawyer at Gray’s Inn. He worked from 1922-1923 as a legislative at Calcutta High Court, meanwhile, he joined Muslim League and got as a member of Bengal Legislative Assembly. In 1924, Hussain Shaheed Suharwardy was appointed as a deputy mayor of Calcutta Corporation. During that period, he took part in Swaraj Party headed by the Mayor Chittaranjan Das of Calcutta. When Hindu Muslim riots broke in Calcutta in 1926, he left Swaraj party because of the riots of Hindu-Muslim in Calcutta.

In 1930s, he joined Muslim League and started supporting the idea of Pakistan. In 1936, he succeeded to secure the post of Secretary-General of the Muslim league’s Bengal section and protected the community in general elections held in 1934-37.

In 1937, he was selected as the head of the Ministry of Commerce and labour under the provincial government of Minister of Bengal A.K.Fazlul Haq. Premier K.Nazimuddin appointed him as a leader of the Ministry of Civil Supply in 1943 when the epidemic of famine broke out Bengal. Even though Richard Casey a British administrator and Governor of Bengal criticized Premier K. Nazimuddin for his selection of less competent figure yet Suharwardy scrutinized the facts and reported that central Government in New Delhi and black marketers had detained the transportation of wheat and rice to the presidency. Whereas an Indian author Madhushree Mukherjee said that British Prime Minister Winston Churchill is responsible for famine in the country because he had stopped the U.S aid to Bengal. Suhrwardy was also charged with working the Scorched-Earth policy to defy the Japanese Army’s proceeding in East and supervised to burn thousand of fishing boats to block any potential movement of invading Japanese Army troops. When Lord Wavell became the Viceroy the famine condition was eased with the help of Indian Army. Hindu press had criticized his role bitterly.

Hussain Shaheed Suharwardy established the only Muslim League government in Bengal after the election held in 1946. He formed the East Pakistan Awami Muslim League in 1953 and changed its name as Awami League. And in 1954, he joined Ministry of Muhammad Ali Bogra as Law Minister. His party also won general elections in 1954.  Ultimately he became the leader of opposition in 1955.

  1. S. Suhrawardy was elected as the fifth Prime Minister of Pakistan on September 12, 1956. During his term, he tried to eradicate economic gap between the two wings. In October 1957, Suhrawardy resigned from his Premiership due to the President’s refusal to organize a meeting of Parliament for in search of a vote of confidence. In 1956, he asked the U.S Presidentship of wheat flour and rice to Pakistan as to overcome a widespread shortage of food in East Pakistan. U.S aid and West Pakistan’s Fauji Foundation kept on sending wheat flour, rice and potatoes to East Pakistan on regular basis.

Personal life of Hussain Shaheed Suharwardy

In 1920, he got married to Begum Niaz Fatima, the daughter of Justice Sir Abdur Rahim who was also a politician. He had two children Ahmad Shahab Suharwardy and Jahan Suharwardy. His son died of pneumonia while he was studying in London and daughter married to Shah Ahmed Sulaiman, son of Justice Sir Shah Sulaiman.


Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy passed away on December 5, 1963. He died of a chronic disease of heart-attack in Lebanon but there is confusion about his death as some people are of the view that he was poisoned. However, there is no such proof or verdict.