Although Pakistan had become independent in 1947, it continued to follow the Government of India Act 1935 according to which the Governor General being the head of the state was the resident representative of the monarch of Great Britain. The Governor General was recommended by the Prime Minister and appointed by the Monarch.
Quaid-e-Azam Mohammed Ali Jinnah was the first governor general of Pakistan and after him came Khawaja Nazimuddin (14th September, 1948-17th October, 1951), Ghulam Mohammed (17th October, 1951 to 6th October, 1955) and Iskander Mirza (6th October, 1955 to 23rd March, 1956).
In 1956, Pakistan became a republic and formed its own constitution in which the post of the governor general was replaced by that of the President and Iskander Mirza was appointed as the first President of Pakistan.
Since then the list of people who have served as the president of Pakistan is as follows:
- Iskander Mirza (23rd March, 1956 to 27th October, 1958)
- General Ayub Khan (27th October, 1958 to 25th March, 1969)
- Yahya Khan (25th March, 1969 to 20th December, 1971)
- Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (20th December, 1971 to 13th August, 1973)
- Fazal Illahi Chaudhry (13th August, 1973 to 16th September, 1978)
- Gen Zia ul Haq (16th September, 1978 to 17th August, 1988)
- Ghulam Ishaq Khan (17th August, 1988 to 18th July, 1993)
- Wasim Sajjad (18th July, 1993 to 14th November, 1993) First Term
- Farooq Leghari (14th November, 1993 to 2nd December, 1997)
- Wasim Sajjad (2nd December, 1997 to 1st January, 1998) Second Term
- Mohammad Rafiq Tarrar (1st January, 1998 to 20th June, 2001)
- Pervaiz Musharraf (20th June, 2001 to 18th August, 2008)
- Asif Ali Zardari (9th September, 2008 to 9th September, 2013)
- Mamnoon Hussain (9th September, 2013 to 9th September, 2018)
- Arif Alvi (9th September, 2018 – present)
The President in Pakistan enjoyed more power than the prime minister and on a couple of occasions exercised this power by dismissing the elected prime ministers on various charges such as corruption, incompetence etc.
Ghulam Ishaq Khan dismissed Benazir Bhutto’s and Nawaz Sharif’s government and Farooq Leghari dismissed Benazir’s government. Zia-ul-Haq and President Musharraf also used their powers excessively.
In 2010, however the eighteenth amendment to the Constitution of Pakistan gave more power to the prime minister making him the most powerful man in Pakistan.