Sahibzada Iskander Ali Mirza

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Mirza, Sahibzada Iskander Ali


Born Nov. 13, 1899, in Bombay; died Nov. 13, 1969, in London. Pakistani statesman.

Descended from a Muslim aristocratic family of Bengal, Mirza graduated from a college in Bombay and then from the Royal Military College at Sandhurst in Great Britain. Until 1926 he served in the British Indian Army, and after that held military-administrative posts. In 1947, with the rank of major general, Mirza became first defense secretary of the government of Pakistan.

Mirza was governor of East Pakistan during 1954–55, and then minister for interior states and frontier regions; he was appointed governor-general of Pakistan in 1955. When Pakistan was proclaimed a republic in March 1956, Mirza became its president. Mirza was connected with right-wing Pakistani parties such as the Muslim League and the Republican Party, and it was largely on his initiative that Pakistan joined SEATO in 1954, as well as the Baghdad Pact. Together with Ayub Khan, Mirza led a coup d’etat in early October 1958. But late that same month he was forced to surrender the presidency to Ayub Khan and emigrate to Great Britain.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.