Fazal Elahi Chaudhry was born on January 1, 1904 in an influential Gujjarfamily in Marala village, near the city of Kharian, Gujrat District in Punjab Province. After receiving his education from there, Chaudhry joined the prestigious Aligarh Muslim University in 1920, receiving his LLB in Civil law in 1924. Thereafter, Chaudhry returned to Punjab and attended the Punjab University‘s post-graduate school in law and political science. In 1925, Chaudhry obtained his M.A. in Political Science in 1925, and the advanced LLM in Law and Justice, in 1927.
After completing his education, Chaudhry established his law firm in Lahore, advocating for the civil law and liberties, and went back to Gujrat and started practicing the civil law. In 1930, he started taking interest in politics and participated in the Indian general elections in 1930 for the Gujrat District Board and was elected unopposed.
He joined the Muslim League in 1942. In 1945, he was elected from Gujrat as the President of Muslim League. He took part in the 1946 elections on Muslim League’s ticket and played an important role in propagating the ideas of the Muslim League among the people of his area. Upon the independence of Pakistan, Chaudhry got involved in the new government, moving up to high ranking positions in the National Assembly.
Speaker of the West Pakistan Assembly
After Independence, he was given the post of Parliamentary Secretary. He was later appointed Minister for Education and Health. In 1951, he contested the elections of the Punjab Legislative Assembly on the Muslim League ticket and was elected as a member of the Punjab Assembly. In 1952, he represented Pakistan in the United Nations. In the 1956 elections, he was elected as member of the West Pakistan Assembly. Chaudhry was its Speaker from May 20, 1956 to October 7, 1958. In 1962, when Ayub Khan announced the elections, he was selected as the Deputy Opposition Leader of the House on the basis of his experience and knowledge about parliamentary proceedings. Chaudhry joined the Convention Muslim League, and after the 1956 elections, he was elected as the Deputy Speaker of the National Assembly.
President of Pakistan
He was elected as member of the National Assembly in 1970 on the ticket of the Pakistan Peoples Party and was later elected as the Speaker of the National Assembly. He ended up joining the Pakistan Peoples Party. He contested the Presidential Elections of 1972 against s Khan Amirzadah Khan Of NAP & all opposition parties and was made President in 1973, when the head of the PPP, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was made Prime Minister.
Chaudhry was largely a figurehead, and was the first Pakistani President with less power than the Prime Minister. This was due to the new constitution of 1973 that gave power to the Prime Minister; previously, the President had been the chief leader of Pakistan and had the power to appoint Prime Minister.
Fazal Elahi Chaudhry remained President until 1978, when he resigned after the military took control of the government under General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq. General Zia respected Chaudhry and came to visit him on his deathbed.
Chaudhry died on June 2, 1982.