The Most Famous

POLITICIANS from Pakistan

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This page contains a list of the greatest Pakistani Politicians. The pantheon dataset contains 15,710 Politicians, 54 of which were born in Pakistan. This makes Pakistan the birth place of the 47th most number of Politicians behind Estonia and Croatia.

Top 10

The following people are considered by Pantheon to be the top 10 most legendary Pakistani Politicians of all time. This list of famous Pakistani Politicians is sorted by HPI (Historical Popularity Index), a metric that aggregates information on a biography’s online popularity. Visit the rankings page to view the entire list of Pakistani Politicians.

Photo of Akbar

1. Akbar (1542 - 1605)

With an HPI of 82.79, Akbar is the most famous Pakistani Politician.  His biography has been translated into 137 different languages on wikipedia.

Abu'l-Fath Jalal-ud-din Muhammad Akbar (Persian: ابو الفتح جلال الدين محمد اكبر; October 1542– 27 October 1605), popularly known as Akbar the Great, (Akbar-i-azam اکبر اعظم), and also as Akbar I (IPA: [əkbər]), was the third Mughal emperor, who reigned from 1556 to 1605. Akbar succeeded his father, Humayun, under a regent, Bairam Khan, who helped the young emperor expand and consolidate Mughal domains in India. A strong personality and a successful general, Akbar gradually enlarged the Mughal Empire to include much of the Indian subcontinent. His power and influence, however, extended over the entire subcontinent because of Mughal military, political, cultural, and economic dominance. To unify the vast Mughal state, Akbar established a centralised system of administration throughout his empire and adopted a policy of conciliating conquered rulers through marriage and diplomacy. To preserve peace and order in a religiously and culturally diverse empire, he adopted policies that won him the support of his non-Muslim subjects. Eschewing tribal bonds and Islamic state identity, Akbar strove to unite far-flung lands of his realm through loyalty, expressed through an Indo-Persian culture, to himself as an emperor. Mughal India developed a strong and stable economy, leading to commercial expansion and greater patronage of culture. Akbar himself was a patron of art and culture. He was fond of literature, and created a library of over 24,000 volumes written in Sanskrit, Urdu, Persian, Greek, Latin, Arabic and Kashmiri, staffed by many scholars, translators, artists, calligraphers, scribes, bookbinders and readers. He did much of the cataloging himself through three main groupings. Akbar also established the library of Fatehpur Sikri exclusively for women, and he decreed that schools for the education of both Muslims and Hindus should be established throughout the realm. He also encouraged bookbinding to become a high art. Holy men of many faiths, poets, architects, and artisans adorned his court from all over the world for study and discussion. Akbar's courts at Delhi, Agra, and Fatehpur Sikri became centres of the arts, letters, and learning. Timurid and Perso-Islamic culture began to merge and blend with indigenous Indian elements, and a distinct Indo-Persian culture emerged characterized by Mughal style arts, painting, and architecture. Disillusioned with orthodox Islam and perhaps hoping to bring about religious unity within his empire, Akbar promulgated Din-i-Ilahi, a syncretic creed derived mainly from Islam and Hinduism as well as some parts of Zoroastrianism and Christianity. Akbar's reign significantly influenced the course of Indian history. During his rule, the Mughal Empire tripled in size and wealth. He created a powerful military system and instituted effective political and social reforms. By abolishing the sectarian tax on non-Muslims and appointing them to high civil and military posts, he was the first Mughal ruler to win the trust and loyalty of the native subjects. He had Sanskrit literature translated, participated in native festivals, realising that a stable empire depended on the co-operation and good-will of his subjects. Thus, the foundations for a multicultural empire under Mughal rule were laid during his reign. Akbar was succeeded as emperor by his son, Prince Salim, later known as Jahangir.

Photo of Shah Jahan

2. Shah Jahan (1592 - 1666)

With an HPI of 79.61, Shah Jahan is the 2nd most famous Pakistani Politician.  His biography has been translated into 83 different languages.

Shahab-ud-din Muhammad Khurram (Persian: شهاب‌الدین محمد خرم‎; 5 January 1592 – 22 January 1666), better known by his regnal name, Shah Jahan (Persian: شاه جهان‎, lit. 'King of the World'), was the fifth Mughal emperor, and reigned from 1628 to 1658. Under his reign, the Mughal Empire reached the peak of its cultural glory. Although an able military commander, Shah Jahan is best remembered for his architectural achievements. His reign ushered in the golden age of Mughal architecture. Shah Jahan commissioned many monuments, the best known of which is the Taj Mahal in Agra, in which is entombed his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. His relationship with Mumtaz Mahal has been heavily adapted into Indian art, literature and cinema. He owned the royal treasury and several precious stones such as the Kohinoor, worth around 23% of the world GDP during his time, and he has thus often been regarded as the wealthiest Indian in history.Shah Jahan was considered the most competent of Emperor Jahangir's four sons. Jahangir's death in late 1627 spurred a war of succession, from which Shah Jahan emerged victorious after much intrigue. He put to death all of his rivals for the throne and crowned himself emperor in January 1628 in Agra, under the regnal title "Shah Jahan" (which was originally given to him as a princely title). His rule saw many grand building projects, including the Red Fort and the Shah Jahan Mosque. Foreign affairs saw war with the Safavids and conflict with the Portuguese, and positive relations with the Ottoman Empire. Domestic concerns included putting down numerous rebellions, and the devastating famine from 1630-32. In September 1657, Shah Jahan fell seriously ill. This set off a war of succession among his four sons in which his third son, Aurangzeb, emerged victorious and usurped his father's throne. Shah Jahan recovered from his illness, but Emperor Aurangzeb put his father under house arrest in Agra Fort from July 1658 until his death in January 1666. He was laid to rest next to his wife in the Taj Mahal.

Photo of Porus

3. Porus (-400 - -316)

With an HPI of 72.67, Porus is the 3rd most famous Pakistani Politician.  His biography has been translated into 43 different languages.

Porus (IPA: [porus]) or Poros (from Ancient Greek: Πῶρος, Pôros), was an ancient Indian king, whose territory spanned the region between the Hydaspes (Jhelum River) and Acesines (Chenab River), in the Punjab region of the Indian subcontinent. He is credited to have been a legendary warrior with exceptional skills. Porus fought against Alexander the Great in the Battle of the Hydaspes (326 BC), thought to be fought at the site of modern-day Mong, Punjab, which is now part of Pakistan. Though not recorded in any available ancient Indian source, Ancient Greek historians have described the battle and the aftermath of Alexander's victory. Anecdotally, after the defeat and arrest of Porus in the war, Alexander asked Porus how he would like to be treated. Porus, although defeated, proudly stated that he would like to be treated like a king. Alexander was reportedly so impressed by his adversary that he not only reinstated him as a satrap of his own kingdom but also granted him dominion over lands to the south-east extending until the Hyphasis (Beas). Porus reportedly died sometime between 321 and 315 BC.

Photo of Muhammad Ali Jinnah

4. Muhammad Ali Jinnah (1876 - 1948)

With an HPI of 72.46, Muhammad Ali Jinnah is the 4th most famous Pakistani Politician.  His biography has been translated into 86 different languages.

Muhammad Ali Jinnah (born Mahomedali Jinnahbhai; 25 December 1876 – 11 September 1948) was a barrister, politician and the founder of Pakistan. Jinnah served as the leader of the All-India Muslim League from 1913 until Pakistan's independence on 14 August 1947, and then as Pakistan's first Governor-General until his death. He is revered in Pakistan as Quaid-i-Azam ("Great Leader") and Baba-i-Qaum, ("Father of the Nation"). His birthday is a national holiday in Pakistan. Born at Wazir Mansion in Karachi, Jinnah was trained as a barrister at Lincoln's Inn in London. Upon his return to British India, he enrolled at the Bombay High Court, and took an interest in national politics, which eventually replaced his legal practice. Jinnah rose to prominence in the Indian National Congress in the first two decades of the 20th century. In these early years of his political career, Jinnah advocated Hindu–Muslim unity, helping to shape the 1916 Lucknow Pact between the Congress and the All-India Muslim League, in which Jinnah had also become prominent. Jinnah became a key leader in the All India Home Rule League, and proposed a fourteen-point constitutional reform plan to safeguard the political rights of Muslims. In 1920, however, Jinnah resigned from the Congress when it agreed to follow a campaign of satyagraha, which he regarded as political anarchy. By 1940, Jinnah had come to believe that Muslims of the Indian subcontinent should have their own state to avoid the possible marginalised status they may gain in a Hindu-Muslim state. In that year, the Muslim League, led by Jinnah, passed the Lahore Resolution, demanding a separate nation. During the Second World War, the League gained strength while leaders of the Congress were imprisoned, and in the elections held shortly after the war, it won most of the seats reserved for Muslims. Ultimately, the Congress and the Muslim League could not reach a power-sharing formula for the subcontinent to be united as a single state, leading all parties to agree to the independence of a predominantly Hindu India, and for a Muslim-majority state of Pakistan. As the first Governor-General of Pakistan, Jinnah worked to establish the new nation's government and policies, and to aid the millions of Muslim migrants who had emigrated from the new nation of India to Pakistan after independence, personally supervising the establishment of refugee camps. Jinnah died at age 71 in September 1948, just over a year after Pakistan gained independence from the United Kingdom. He left a deep and respected legacy in Pakistan. Innumerable streets, roads and localities in the world are named after Jinnah. Several universities and public buildings in Pakistan bear Jinnah's name. According to his biographer, Stanley Wolpert, Jinnah remains Pakistan's greatest leader.

Photo of Benazir Bhutto

5. Benazir Bhutto (1953 - 2007)

With an HPI of 72.11, Benazir Bhutto is the 5th most famous Pakistani Politician.  Her biography has been translated into 112 different languages.

Benazir Bhutto (Sindhi: بينظير ڀُٽو‎; Urdu: بینظِیر بُھٹّو‎; Urdu pronunciation: [beːnəˈziːr ˈbʱʊʈ.ʈoː]; 21 June 1953 – 27 December 2007) was a Pakistani politician who served as Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1988 to 1990 and again from 1993 to 1996. She was the first woman to head a democratic government in a Muslim majority nation. Ideologically a liberal and a secularist, she chaired or co-chaired the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) from the early 1980s until her assassination in 2007. Of mixed Sindhi and Kurdish parentage, Bhutto was born in Karachi to a politically important, wealthy aristocratic family. She studied at Harvard University and the University of Oxford, where she was President of the Oxford Union. Her father, the PPP leader Zulfikar Bhutto, was elected Prime Minister on a socialist platform in 1973. She returned to Pakistan in 1977, shortly before her father was ousted in a military coup and executed. Bhutto and her mother Nusrat took control of the PPP and led the country's Movement for the Restoration of Democracy; Bhutto was repeatedly imprisoned by Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq's military government and then exiled to Britain in 1984. She returned in 1986 and—influenced by Thatcherite economics—transformed the PPP's platform from a socialist to a liberal one, before leading it to victory in the 1988 election. As Prime Minister, her attempts at reform were stifled by conservative and Islamist forces, including President Ghulam Ishaq Khan and the powerful military. Her administration was accused of corruption and nepotism and dismissed by Khan in 1990. Intelligence services rigged that year's election to ensure a victory for the conservative Islamic Democratic Alliance (IJI), at which Bhutto became Leader of the Opposition. After the IJI government of Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was also dismissed on corruption charges, Bhutto led the PPP to victory in the 1993 elections. Her second term oversaw economic privatisation and attempts to advance women's rights. Her government was damaged by several controversies, including the assassination of her brother Murtaza, a failed 1995 coup d'état, and a further bribery scandal involving her and her husband Asif Ali Zardari; in response to the latter, President Farooq Leghari dismissed her government. The PPP lost the 1997 election and in 1998 she went into self-exile in Dubai. A widening corruption inquiry culminated in a 2003 conviction in a Swiss court. Following United States-brokered negotiations with President Pervez Musharraf, she returned to Pakistan in 2007 to compete in the 2008 elections; her platform emphasised civilian oversight of the military and opposition to growing Islamist violence. After a political rally in Rawalpindi, she was assassinated. The Salafi jihadi group al-Qaeda claimed responsibility, although the involvement of the Pakistani Taliban and rogue elements of the intelligence services was widely suspected. She was buried at her family mausoleum in Garhi Khuda Baksh. Bhutto was a controversial figure. She was often criticised as being politically inexperienced, was accused of being corrupt, and faced much opposition from Pakistan's Islamist lobby for her secularist and modernizing agenda. In the early years of her career she was nevertheless domestically popular and also attracted support from Western nations, for whom she was a champion of democracy. Posthumously, she came to be regarded as an icon for women's rights due to her political success in a male-dominated society.

Photo of Kanishka

6. Kanishka (78 - 144)

With an HPI of 71.26, Kanishka is the 6th most famous Pakistani Politician.  His biography has been translated into 39 different languages.

Kanishka I (Greco-Bactrian: κανηþκε Kanēške, Brahmi: Kā-ṇi-ṣka, Sanskrit: कनिष्क), or Kanishka the Great, an emperor of the Kushan dynasty in the second century (c. 127–150 CE), is famous for his military, political, and spiritual achievements. A descendant of Kujula Kadphises, founder of the Kushan empire, Kanishka came to rule an empire in Bactria extending to Pataliputra on the Gangetic plain. The main capital of his empire was located at Puruṣapura in Gandhara, with another major capital at Kapisa. His conquests and patronage of Buddhism played an important role in the development of the Silk Road, and in the transmission of Mahayana Buddhism from Gandhara across the Karakoram range to China. Around 127 CE, he replaced Greek by Bactrian as the official language of administration in the empire.Earlier scholars believed that Kanishka ascended the Kushan throne in 78 CE, and that this date was used as the beginning of the Saka calendar era. However, historians no longer regard this date as that of Kanishka's accession. Falk estimates that Kanishka came to the throne in 127 CE.

Photo of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto

7. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (1928 - 1979)

With an HPI of 70.72, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is the 7th most famous Pakistani Politician.  His biography has been translated into 75 different languages.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (Sindhi: ذوالفقار علي ڀٽو‎; Urdu: ذُوالفِقار علی بُھٹّو‎‎; 5 January 1928 – 4 April 1979) was a Pakistani barrister and politician who served as the 9th Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1973 to 1977, and prior to that as the fourth President of Pakistan from 1971 to 1973. He was also the founder of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and served as its chairman until his execution in 1979.Born in modern-day Sindh and educated at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Oxford, Bhutto trained as a barrister at Lincoln's Inn, before entering politics as one of President Iskander Mirza's cabinet members, and was assigned several ministries during President Ayub Khan's military rule from 1958. Appointed Foreign Minister in 1963, Bhutto was a proponent of Operation Gibraltar in Kashmir, leading to war with India in 1965. After the Tashkent Agreement ended hostilities, Bhutto fell out with Ayub Khan and was sacked from government. Bhutto founded the PPP in 1967 on a socialist platform, and contested general elections held by President Yahya Khan in 1970. While the Awami League won a majority of seats overall, the PPP won a majority of seats in West Pakistan; the two parties were unable to agree on a new constitution in particular on the issue of Six Point Movement which many in West Pakistan saw as a way to break up the country. Subsequent uprisings led to the secession of Bangladesh, and Pakistan losing the war against Bangladesh-allied India in 1971. Bhutto was handed over the presidency in December 1971 and emergency rule was imposed. When Bhutto set about rebuilding Pakistan, he stated his intention was to "rebuild confidence and rebuild hope for the future".By July 1972, Bhutto recovered 43,600 prisoners of war and 5,000 sq mi of Indian-held territory after signing the Simla Agreement. He strengthened ties with China and Saudi Arabia, recognised Bangladesh, and hosted the second Organisation of the Islamic Conference in Lahore in 1974. Domestically, Bhutto's reign saw parliament unanimously approve a new constitution in 1973, upon which he appointed Fazal Ilahi Chaudhry President and switched to the newly empowered office of Prime Minister. He also played an integral role in initiating the country's nuclear programme. However, Bhutto's nationalisation of much of Pakistan's fledgling industries, healthcare, and educational institutions was met with economic stagnation. After dissolving provincial feudal governments in Balochistan was met with unrest, Bhutto also ordered an army operation in the province in 1973, causing thousands of civilian casualties. Despite civil disorder, the PPP won parliamentary elections in 1977 by a wide margin. However, the opposition alleged widespread vote rigging, and violence escalated across the country. On 5 July that same year, Bhutto was deposed in a military coup by his appointed army chief Zia-ul-Haq, before being controversially tried and executed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 1979 for authorising the murder of a political opponent.Bhutto remains a contentious figure, being hailed for his nationalism and secular internationalist agenda, yet, is criticized for intimidating his political opponents and for human rights violations. He is often considered one of Pakistan's greatest leaders, and his party, the PPP, remains among Pakistan's largest, with his daughter Benazir Bhutto being twice elected Prime Minister, while his son-in-law and Benazir's husband, Asif Ali Zardari, served as president.

Photo of Aga Khan III

8. Aga Khan III (1877 - 1957)

With an HPI of 68.95, Aga Khan III is the 8th most famous Pakistani Politician.  His biography has been translated into 29 different languages.

Sir Sultan Mahomed Shah, Aga Khan III (2 November 1877 – 11 July 1957) was the 48th Imam of the Nizari Ismaili religion. He was one of the founders and the first permanent president of the All-India Muslim League (AIML). His goal was the advancement of Muslim agendas and protection of Muslim rights in India. The League, until the late 1930s, was not a large organisation but represented the landed and commercial Muslim interests of the British-ruled 'United Provinces' (as of today Uttar Pradesh). He shared Sir Syed Ahmad Khan's belief that Muslims should first build up their social capital through advanced education before engaging in politics. Aga Khan called on the British Raj to consider Muslims to be a separate nation within India, the so-called 'Two Nation Theory'. Even after he resigned as president of the AIML in 1912, he still exerted major influence on its policies and agendas. He was nominated to represent India to the League of Nations in 1932 and served as President of the League of Nations from 1937 to 1938.

Photo of Muhammad bin Tughluq

9. Muhammad bin Tughluq (1290 - 1351)

With an HPI of 68.41, Muhammad bin Tughluq is the 9th most famous Pakistani Politician.  His biography has been translated into 32 different languages.

Muhammad bin Tughluq (also Prince Fakhr Malik Jauna Khan, Ulugh Khan; died 20 March 1351) was the Sultan of Delhi from 1325 to 1351. He was the eldest son of Ghiyas -ud -Din -Tughlaq, the founder of the Tughluq dynasty. His wife was the daughter of the Raja of Dipalpur. Ghiyas-ud-din sent the young Muhammad to the Deccan to campaign against king Prataparudra of the Kakatiya dynasty whose capital was at Warangal in 1321 and 1323. Muhammad has been described as an "inhuman eccentric" with bizarre character by the accounts of visitors during his rule. He is also known for wild policy swings. Muhammad ascended to the Delhi throne upon his father's death in 1325. He was interested in medicine and was skilled in several languages — Persian, Arabic, Turkish and Sanskrit. Ibn Battuta, the famous traveler and jurist from Morocco, was a guest at his court and wrote about his suzerainty in his book.

Photo of Manmohan Singh

10. Manmohan Singh (1932 - )

With an HPI of 67.73, Manmohan Singh is the 10th most famous Pakistani Politician.  His biography has been translated into 91 different languages.

Manmohan Singh (Punjabi: [mənˈmoːɦən ˈsɪ́ŋɡ] (listen); born 26 September 1932) is an Indian economist, academic, and politician who served as the 13th Prime Minister of India from 2004 to 2014. The first Sikh in office, Singh was also the first prime minister since Jawaharlal Nehru to be re-elected after completing a full five-year term. Born in Gah, Singh's family migrated to India during its partition in 1947. After obtaining his doctorate in economics from Oxford, Singh worked for the United Nations during 1966–69. He subsequently began his bureaucratic career when Lalit Narayan Mishra hired him as an advisor in the Ministry of Commerce and Industry. During the 1970s and 1980s, Singh held several key posts in the Government of India, such as Chief Economic Advisor (1972–76), governor of the Reserve Bank (1982–85) and head of the Planning Commission (1985–87). In 1991, as India faced a severe economic crisis, newly elected Prime Minister P. V. Narasimha Rao surprisingly inducted the apolitical Singh into his cabinet as Finance Minister. Over the next few years, despite strong opposition, he as a Finance Minister carried out several structural reforms that liberalised India's economy. Although these measures proved successful in averting the crisis, and enhanced Singh's reputation globally as a leading reform-minded economist, the incumbent Congress party fared poorly in the 1996 general election. Subsequently, Singh served as Leader of the Opposition in the Rajya Sabha (the upper house of the Parliament of India) during the Atal Bihari Vajpayee government of 1998–2004. In 2004, when the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance (UPA) came to power, its chairperson Sonia Gandhi unexpectedly relinquished the premiership to Manmohan Singh. Singh's first ministry executed several key legislations and projects, including the Rural Health Mission, Unique Identification Authority, Rural Employment Guarantee scheme and Right to Information Act. In 2008, opposition to a historic civil nuclear agreement with the United States nearly caused Singh's government to fall after Left Front parties withdrew their support. Although India's economy grew rapidly under UPA I, its security was threatened by several terrorist incidents (including the 2008 Mumbai attacks) and the continuing Maoist insurgency. The 2009 general election saw the UPA return with an increased mandate, with Singh retaining the office of Prime Minister. Over the next few years, Singh's second ministry government faced a number of corruption charges—over the organisation of the 2010 Commonwealth Games, the 2G spectrum allocation case and the allocation of coal blocks. After his term ended in 2014 he opted out from the race for the office of the Prime Minister of India during the 2014 Indian general election. Singh was never a member of the Lok Sabha but served as a member of the Parliament of India, representing the state of Assam in the Rajya Sabha for five terms from 1991 to 2019. In August 2019, Singh filed his nomination as a Congress candidate to the Rajya Sabha from Rajasthan after the death of sitting MP Madan Lal Saini.

Pantheon has 54 people classified as politicians born between 400 BC and 1988. Of these 54, 19 (35.19%) of them are still alive today. The most famous living politicians include Manmohan Singh, Imran Khan, and Arif Alvi. The most famous deceased politicians include Akbar, Shah Jahan, and Porus. As of October 2020, 5 new politicians have been added to Pantheon including Raja Dahir, Agathokleia, and Rab Butler.

Living Politicians

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Deceased Politicians

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Newly Added Politicians (2020)

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Which Politicians were alive at the same time? This visualization shows the lifespans of the 23 most globally memorable Politicians since 1700.