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CONVENTION MUSLIM LEAGUE

CONVENTION MUSLIM LEAGUE The Convention Muslim League was formed in 1963, a year after the promulgation of Pakistan’s second constitution (the constitution of 1962) By this time, President Ayub Khan had reached the conclusion that he had made a mistake by not allowing political parties to reenter the political arena Accordingly, Ayub Khan’s supporters in the National Assembly summoned a “convention” of Muslim Leaguers in May 1963 The convention, held in Rawalpindi, agreed to revive the Muslim League and to offer the party’s chairmanship to Ayub Khan The president accepted the offer However, several prominent Muslim Leaguers not invited to the convention in Rawalpindi refused to accept the legitimacy of this act They convened their own “council” and declared that they, too, had revived the old Muslim League By the middle of 1963, therefore, Pakistan had two Muslim Leagues, and they came to be distinguished by the manner of their revival The official party was informally named the “Convention Muslim League,” whereas the party in opposition to President Ayub Khan was named the “Council Muslim League” In keeping with Pakistan’s political tradition, a political party need not have a program in order to attract support



All it required was official patronage Once the Convention Muslim League was formed, it was able to attract a large following, not because the people who joined the party believed in the program it had to offer They came for the reason which had attracted them before to the officially sponsored political parties: they were in search of jobs and official patronage Once again, they seem to have made the right calculation In the elections to the National Assembly held in 1965, the Convention Muslim League won 124 out of the 156 seats it contested, 69 of which were from West Pakistan and 55 from East Pakistan Its overwhelming presence in the national legislature said little about its popularity, however The party was put to a real test in the general elections of 1970 when, with Ayub Khan no longer in power and without any support from the government, the Convention Muslim League polled only33 percent of the total votes cast The party’s best showing was in Punjab, where it received 55 percent of the vote and was able to win two seats in the National Assembly During the period of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (1971-1977), the Convention Muslim League played a marginal role in politics

It was dissolved along with other political parties when General Zia-ul-Haq wrested the reins of government from Bhutto in July 1977 The party was resuscitated later as the Pakistan Muslim League

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