Ayub Khan (general)

For other uses, see Ayub Khan.
Field Marshal
Ayub Khan
ایوب خان

2nd President of Pakistan
In office
27 October 1958  25 March 1969
Preceded by Iskander Mirza
Succeeded by Yahya Khan
Minister of Defence
In office
28 October 1958  21 October 1966
Preceded by Ayub Khuhro
Succeeded by Vice-Admiral Afzal Rahman Khan
In office
24 October 1954  11 August 1955
Prime Minister Khawaja Nazimuddin
Muhammad Ali Bogra
Preceded by Muhammad Ali Bogra
Succeeded by Chaudhry Muhammad Ali
Minister of the Interior
In office
23 March 1965  17 August 1965
Preceded by K. Habibullah Khan
Succeeded by Ali Akbar Khan
Commander in Chief of Pakistan Army
In office
16 January 1951  27 October 1958
Preceded by General Douglas Gracey
Succeeded by General Muhammad Musa
Personal details
Born Mohammad Ayub Khan
(1907-05-14)14 May 1907
Rehana, Haripur District of North-West Frontier Province, British Indian Empire
(now in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan)
Died 19 April 1974(1974-04-19) (aged 66)
Islamabad, Pakistan
Citizenship British Indian Empire
Nationality British Subject (1907–1947)
Pakistan (1947–1974)
Political party Convention Muslim League
Other political
Pakistan Muslim League
Children Gohar Ayub Khan
Akhtar Ayub Khan
Begum Nasim Aurungzeb
Alma mater Aligarh Muslim University
Royal Military College, Sandhurst
Religion Islam
Civilian awards Nishane-e-Pakistan
Order of the Crown
Military service
Service/branch  British Indian Army
 Pakistan Army
Years of service 1928–1958
Rank Field Marshal
Unit 1st Battalion (now 5th Punjab), 14th Punjab Regiment
Commands Deputy Chief of Army Staff
Adjutant General, Army GHQ
GOC, Pakistan Eastern Command
14th Army Division, Dacca
Waziristan Brigade, British Indian Army
Battles/wars 1936–39 Waziristan campaign
World War II
Burma Campaign
Indo-Pak War of 1965
Military awards Hilal-e-Jurat

Mohammed Ayub Khan (Urdu: محمد ایوب خان; May 14, 1907 – April 19, 1974), widely known as Ayub Khan, HPk, NPk, HJ, was a Pakistani politician and a five-star rank army general who served as the second President of Pakistan from 1958 until being forced for resignation amid a popular uprising in East-Pakistan in 1969. He is noted for being the first and only Field Marshal as well as the first martial law ruler who assumed the presidency after exiling President Iskander Mirza when the latter imposed the martial law against Feroze government in 1958.[1]

Trained at British Sandhurst Military College, Ayub Khan fought in World War II as a Colonel in the British Indian Army. He opted for Pakistan and joined the military upon establishment as an aftermath of partition of British India in 1947. He served as chief of staff of Pakistan Eastern Command in East-Bengal and elevated as first native commander-in-chief of Pakistan Army in 1951 by then-Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan in a controversial promotion over several senior officers.[2] From 1953–58, he served in the civilian government as Defence and Home Minister and supported Iskander Mirza's decision to imposed martial law against Prime Minister Feroze Khan's government in 1958 .[3] Two weeks later, he took over the presidency from Mirza after the meltdown of civil-military relations between the military and the civilian President.[3][4][5]

After appointing General Musa Khan as an army chief in 1958, the policy inclination towards the alliance with the United States was pursued that saw the allowance of American access to facilities inside Pakistan, most notably the airbase outside of Peshawar, from which spy missions over the Soviet Union were launched.[6] Relations with neighboring China were strengthened but deteriorated with Soviet Union in 1962, and with India in 1965. His presidency saw the war with India in 1965 which ended with Soviet Union facilitating the agreement between two nations. At home front, the policy of privatisation and industrialization was introduced that made the country's economy as Asia's fastest-growing economies. During his tenure, several infrastructure programs were built that consisted the completion of hydroelectric stations, dams and reservoirs, as well as prioritizing the space program but reducing the nuclear deterrence.[7]

In 1965, Ayub Khan entered in a presidential race as PML candidate to counter the popular and famed non-partisan Fatima Jinnah and controversially reelected for the second term. He faced with allegations of widespread intentional vote riggings, authorized political murders in Karachi, and the politics over the unpopular peace treaty with India which many Pakistanis considered an embarrassing compromise. In 1967, he was widely disapproved when the demonstrations across the country were led by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto over the price hikes of food consumer products and, dramatically fell amid the popular uprising in East led by Mujibur Rahman in 1969. Forced to resigning to avoid further protests while inviting army chief Yahya Khan to imposed second martial law, he fought a brief illness and died in 1974.

His legacy remains mixed; he is credited with an ostensible economic prosperity and what supporters dub the "decade of development", but is criticized for beginning the first of the intelligence agencies' incursions into the national politics, for concentrating corrupt wealth in a few hands, and segregated policies that later led to the breaking-up of nation's unity that resulted in the creation of Bangladesh.[8][9]

Early years and personal life

Ayub Khan was born on 14 May 1907 in Rehana, a village in Haripur District in Hazara region[10][11] of then North-West Frontier Province (now Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan). He was of the Hindkowan decent that hailed from the Tarin[12][13][14][15] tribe of ethnic Pashtuns settled in Hazara region.[16]

He was the first child of the second wife of Mir Dad, a Risaldar-Major (a regimental JCO which was then known as VCO) in the 9th Hodson's Horse which was a cavalry regiment of the British Indian Army.:94[17] For his basic education, he was enrolled in a school in Sarai Saleh, which was about 4 miles from his village.:94[17] He used to go to school on a mule's back and was shifted to a school in Haripur, where he started living with his grandmother.:94[17]

He was admitted to study at the famed Aligarh Muslim University where he performed excellently and noted for his athleticism.:146[18] While pursuing towards college graduation, he was accepted into the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst by the recommendation of General Andrew Skeen; he did no complete his degree and departed to Great Britain.:147[18][19] Ayub Khan was fluent in Urdu, English and his regional Hindko dialect as well as Pashto.[20][21]

Military career

Brig. Ayub Khan meeting with Governor-General Jinnah, ca. 1947.

Ayub Khan's performance at the Sandhurst Military Academy in the United Kingdom was excellent, earning him many awards and scholarships by his British superiors.:124–125[22] He was commissioned as 2nd Lt. on 2 February 1928 in the 1/14th Punjab Regiment (1st Battalion of the 14th Punjab Regiment) of British Indian Army— it is now known as the 5th battalion of the Punjab Regiment of Pakistan Army.:125[22][23] Amongst those who passed out with him was the future Indian Army General J. N. Chaudhri.[24] After the standard probationary period of service in a British Army, he was appointed to the British Indian Army on 10 April 1929, joining the 1/14th Punjab Regiment Sherdils, later known as 5th Punjab Regiment.[25]

He was promoted to lieutenant on 2 May 1930 and to army captain on 2 February 1937.[26][27] On 19 May 1941, he was promoted to Major in the British Indian Army.[28]

During the World War II, he was promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel in 1942 and was posted to participate in first phase of Burma Front in 1942–43.:87–88[29] In 1945, he was promoted to colonel and assumed the command of his regiment to direct operations on second phase of Burma Front; however he was soon suspended without pay from that command temporarily for visible cowardice under fire.[30]

In 1946, he was posted back to the British India and was stationed in the North-West Frontier Province and in 1947, he was promoted as a one-star general, Brigadier-General, and commanded a Brigade in mountainous South Waziristan.:87[29] When the United Kingdom announced the partition of British India into India and Pakistan, he was one of the most senior serving generals in the British Indian Army and decided to opt for Pakistan in 1947.:125[22]:87[29] At the time of his joining, the Indian Army sent the military seniority list to Pakistan's Ministry of Defence (MoD) where he was the 10th ranking officer in terms of seniority with Service No. PA-010.:33[17][31]:94

Upon promoted as two-star assignment, he was elevated as Major-General and commanded the 14th Army Division as its GOC, stationed in Dacca, East-Pakistan.:34[17][31]:94 In 1949, he was appointed as army commander of Eastern Command and decorated with the Hilal-i-Jurat (HJ) by Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan for non-combatant service and called back to Army GHQ as an adjutant-general on November of same year.:94[17]


Further information: Chief of Army Staff (Pakistan)
General Ayub Khan arriving to take command of the Pakistan Army in 1951.

Prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan approved the relief papers of Lieutenant General Sir Douglas Gracey (later retired as an honorary general) on 16 January 1951 after his term was completed.[32] The Pakistan government already called for appointing a native chiefs of staff of army, air force, navy, and marines, and dismissed deputation appointments from the British military.:82[33]:30[34] The Army GHQ sent the nomination papers to Prime Minister's Secretariat for the appointment of commander-in-chief.[32] There were four-senior officers in the race: Major-General Iftikhar Khan, Major-General Akbar Khan, Major-General Ishfakul Majid, and Major-General N.A.M. Raza.[35]

Initially, it was Major-General Iftikhar Khan who was promoted to four-star rank and selected to be appointed as first native commander of the army but died in an airplane crash en route after finishing the senior staff officers' course in the United Kingdom.[32] All three remaining major-generals were bypassed including the recommended senior-most Major-General Akbar Khan and Major-General Ishfakul Majid.[32]

The Defence Secretary Iskandar Mirza, at that time, played a crucial role in lobbying for the army post selection as presenting with convincing arguments to Prime Minister Ali Khan to promote the junior-most Major-General Ayub Khan to the post despite the fact that his name was not included in the nomination list.[32] Ayub's papers of promotion were controversially approved and appointed as the first native Commander in Chief of Pakistan Army with a promotion to the three-star rank, Lieutenant-General, on 17 January 1951 by Prime Minister Ali Khan.:34[31]

With Ayub becoming the army chief, it marked the change in the military tradition of preferring native Pakistanis and ending the transitional role of British military officers.[36] Although, the Pakistani government announced the appointment of navy's native commander in chief in 1951, it was Ayub Khan who helped Vice-Admiral M.S. Choudhri to be appointed as first native navy's commander in chief, also in 1953.:82[33]:93–94[37] The events surrounding his appointment set the precedent for a native general being promoted out of turn, ostensibly because he was the least ambitious of the generals in the line of promotion and the most loyal to civil government at that time.[38] He, alongside with Admiral Choudhri, cancelled and disbanded the British military tradition in the navy and the army when the U.S. military's advisers were dispatched to the Pakistani military in 1955–57.[39] British military tradition were only kept in the air force due to being under its British commander and major staff consisting of Royal Air Force officers.[39]

In 1953, he went to his first foreign visit Turkey as an army chief, and was said to be impressed with Turkish military tradition; he only met with Turkish Defence minister during his visit.:26[40] Thereafter, he went to the United States and visited the US State Department and Pentagon to lobby for forging military relations.:26[40] He termed this visit as "medical visit" but made a strong plea for military aid which was not considered due to India's opposition towards this request.:27[40]

Three months before the end of his tenure as commander-in-chief, Ayub Khan deposed his mentor, Iskandar Mirza, Pakistan's president, in a military coup – after Mirza had declared martial law and made Ayub Khan the chief martial law administrator.[41]

Cabinet and Defence Minister

Further information: One Unit and Interservice rivalry

In 1954, Prime Minister Muhammad Ali Bogra's relations with the military and Governor-General Ghulam Muhammad deteriorated on issues of the economy.:191[42] Pressured had been built up to reconstruct the Cabinet which eventually witnessed with Lieutenant-General Ayub Khan becoming the Defence Minister and Iskander Mirza as Home Minister in 1954.:192[42]:124[43]

On 24 February 1954, he signed the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) and, together with Mirza, their role in the national politics began to grow.:192–193[42] In 1954, the work on controversial program, the One Unit, began which would integrate the four provinces into one united political entity, known as West-Pakistan, as a counterbalance to East-Pakistan.[44] Despite opposition from the ethnic parties and public in general, the program was launched by Prime Minister Bogra.[44] In 1955, Prime Minister Bogra was dismissed by Governor-General Muhammad and he was succeeded by the new Prime Minister Muhammad Ali as the Defence Minister.[44]

As an after of general elections in 1954 in East, the Awami League formed the government in East while the West was governed by the PML, but the PML government collapse soon after in West in 1956.[44] He was called on to join the Cabinet as Defence Minister by Prime Minister H.S. Suhrawardy and maintained closer relations with Iskander Mirza who now had become the first President of the country after the successful promulgation of Constitution in 1956.[44] In 1957, President Mirza promoted him to the four-star general while being part of the government and renewed his extension to serve as an army chief of staff.[45]

Around this time, the MoD led by General Ayub Khan began to see the serious interservice rivalry between the Army GHQ staff and the Navy NHQ staff.:381–382[46] Commander in Chief of Navy Vice-Admiral M. S. Choudri and his NHQ staff had been fighting with the Finance ministry and the MoD over the issues of rearmament and contingency plans.:381–382[46] Meanwhile, he continued to serve with Prime Minister Chundrigar and Feroz Noon's government as Defence Minister, and his resentment towards civilian politicians grew.[44]

In 1958, he chaired the Joint Chiefs of Staff meeting where he became involved with heated discussion with Admiral M. S. Choudri.[47] He reportedly complained against Admiral Choudri to President Mirza and criticized the Admiral Choudri of "neither having the brain, imagination or depth of thought to understand such (defence) problems nor the vision or the ability to make any contribution."[48] The impasse was broke with Admiral Choudhri resigning from the Navy in protest as result of having differences with Navy's plans of expansion and modernization.:381[37][46]:94 In 1958, Vice-Admiral Afzal Rahman Khan, who was known to be confident of General Ayub Khan, was appointed as naval chief by President Mirza.:104[49]

President of Pakistan (1960–1969)

Khan in 1958 with H. S. Suhrawardy and Mr. and Mrs. S. N. Bakar.
A formal group of Elizabeth in tiara and evening dress with eleven prime ministers in evening dress or national costume.
Khan (back row, second from the right) with Elizabeth II, former Queen of Pakistan at the 1960 Commonwealth Prime Minister's Conference, Windsor Castle

In a threat of being dismissed, Prime Minister H.S. Suhrawardy resigned and Prime Minister I.I. Chundiragar took over the post but in mere two months he too tendered resignation after losing confidence in running the government.:49[50] The Constituent Assembly elected Sir Feroz Noon for the post of the Prime Minister who had much larger support from the Western Republican Party and Eastern Awami League, and Krishak Sramik.:49[50]

This new alliance nearly threatened President Iskander Mirza because Suhrawardy and Feroz were now initially campaigning to become Prime Minister and President in the next general elections to be held.:49[50] The conservative Pakistan Muslim League, led under its President A.Q. Khan, was also gaining momentum in West Pakistan and threatened for the Dharna movement.:83[49] These events were against President Mirza hence he was willing to dissolve even Pakistan's One Unit for his advantage.[3]

On the midnight of 7 and 8 October 1958, President Mirza ordered a mass mobilization of Pakistan Armed Forces and abrogated the Constitution after sending a letter to Prime Minister Feroze and the Constituent Assembly about the coup d'état.:83[49] Most of the politicians became only aware of coup the next morning; only the U.S. Ambassador James Langley was kept aware of the political development in the country.:83[49] President Mirza appointed General Ayub as its chief martial law administrator (CMLA) to enforce the martial law in both exclaveWest and East Pakistan.:157–158[51] However, President Mirza soon realized his mistake by making Ayub as the CMLA and repented his actions in news media about the delicate position he had gotten himself into.[52] He regretted his decision and said: "I did not mean to do it," while offering assurances that the martial law would be for the shortest possible duration.[52] In an attempt to consolidate the powers in his own control, Mirza unsuccessfully tried to appoint Ayub as Prime Minister the following and asked him to appoint the technocratic Cabinet.[52] Such actions were not implemented due to Ayub Khan's protest against this attempt and briefly complained about Mirza's "high hand" methods.:149–150[53] President Mirza made a bold move by undercutting Ayub's rival in the army, navy and air force by co-opting military officers in his favors.:149–150[53] Informed of President Mirza's chicanery, Ayub dispatched the military unit to enter in presidential palace on the midnight of 26–27 October 1958 and placed him in a place to exile in to England.[54] Subsequently, Admiral A. R. Khan and four army and air force generals: Azam, Amir, Wajid, and Asghar Khan were instrumental in Ayub Khan's rise to power.:104[49]

Ouster of President Mirza was welcomed at public circles, Air Marshal Asghar Khan, the air force chief backed the actions for the martial law enforcement.:104[49][52] He relieved the army command and appointed General Muhammad Musa as the new army chief while he promoted himself to the five-star rank, Field Marshal– a rank that many of his critics said that he never deserved.:22[55][56]

In 1960, a referendum, that functioned as Electoral College, was held that asked the general public:"Do you have confidence in Mohammed Ayub Khan?".[56] The voter turnout was recorded at 95.6% and such confirmation was used as impetus to formalise the new system– a presidential system.[56] Ayub Khan was elected president for next five years and decided to pay his first state visit to United States with his wife and daughter Begum Naseem Aurangzeb in July 1961.[56] Highlights of his visit included a state dinner at Mount Vernon, a visit to the Islamic Center of Washington, and a ticker tape parade in New York City.[57]

Constitutional and legal reforms

President Ayub Khan meeting Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin in 1960s.

A Constitutional Commission was set-up under the Supreme Court to implement the work on the Constitution that was led by Chief Justice Muhammad Shahabuddin and Supreme Court justices.[58] The Commission reported in 1961 with its recommendations but President Ayub remained unsatisfied; he eventually altered the constitution that was entirely different from the one recommended by the Shahabuddin Commission.[58] The Constitution reflected his personal views of politicians and the restriction of using religions in politics.[58] His presidency restored the writ of government through the his promulgated constitution and lifted the martial law enforced since 1958 that had banned the political freedom.[58]

The new Constitution did respected Islam but did not declare Islam as state religion and was viewed as a liberal constitution.[58] It also provided for election of the President by 80,000 (later raised to 120,000) Basic Democrats who could theoretically make their own choice but who were essentially under his control.[58] He justified this as analogous to the American Electoral College and cited Thomas Jefferson as his inspiration.:75[59] The Ayub administration "guided" the print newspapers though his takeover of key opposition papers and, while Ayub Khan permitted a National Assembly, it had only limited powers.[58]

On 2 March 1961, he passed and signed the "Muslim Family Laws" bill through the ordinance under which unmitigated polygamy was abolished, consent of the current wife was made mandatory for a second marriage, brakes were also placed on the practice of instant divorce where men could divorce women by saying:"I divorce you" three times under Islamic tradition.:203–204;205[60]

The Arbitration Councils were set up under the law in the urban and rural areas to deal with cases of: (a) grant of sanction to a person to contract a second marriage during the subsistence of a marriage; (b) reconciliation of a dispute between a husband and a wife; (c) grant of a maintenance allowance to the wife and children.[61]

Economy and infrastructure

Industrialization and rural development through constructing modern national freeways are considered his greatest achievements and his era is remembered for successful industrialization in the impoverished country.[45] Strong emphasis on capitalism and foreign direct investment (FDI) in the industry is often regarded as "Great Decade" in the history of the country (both economical and political history).[45] The "Great Decade" was celebrated, which highlighted the development plans executed during the years of Ayub's rule, the private consortium companies, industries and credited with creating an environment where the private sector was encouraged to establish medium and small-scale industries in Pakistan.[45] This opened up avenues for new job opportunities and thus the economic graph of the country started rising.[45] He oversaw the development and completion of mega projects such as hydroelectric dams, power stations, and barrages in all over the country.:81[62] During 1960–66, the annual GDP growth was recorded at 6.8%.:304[63]

Several energy conservation programs were completed such as World's one of the largest dam, the Mangla Dam and several small dams and water reservoirs in West Pakistan while completing one dam in East Pakistan: Kaptai Dam.:85[62] Plans toward harnessing energy from nuclear sources were authorized by President Ayub against the wishes of his own administration over the cost of nuclear power plants.:54[64] Initially, there were two nuclear power plants to be established in the country: one was in Karachi and the second one in Dhaka.:54[64] It was Dr. Abdus Salam who had personally approved the project in Karachi against the wishes of his own government, while the project in East was never materialized.[65]

Extensive education reforms were supposedly carried out and 'scientific development efforts' also supposedly made during his years.[45] These supposed policies could not be sustained after 1965, and the economy collapsed and led to the economic declines which he was unable to control.[66][67]

He also introduced a new curricula and textbooks for universities and schools after building many public-sector universities and schools were built during his era.:183[68] He also introduced agricultural reforms according to which no one could occupy land less than 12.5 acres (500 irrigated land and 1000 unirrigated.) An oil refinery was established in Karachi, and these reforms led to 15% GNP growth of the country that was three times greater than that of India.[45] Despite the increase in the GNP growth, the profit and revenue was gained by the famous 22 families of the time that controlled 66% of the industries and land of the country and 80% of the banking and insurance companies of Pakistan.[45]

Defence spending

During his era, the Navy was able to induct submarines and slowly modified itself in terms of acquisitions of warships.[33] However, he drastically reduced funding of military in 1950s and prioritized less on the issue of nuclear weapons in 1960s.:22[64][69]:55 Major procurement of weapons for the military was relied from the United States's generous donations.:22[69] Major funding was made available for military acquisitions and procurement towards conventional weaponry for conventional defence.:22[69] In 1960s, Pakistani military had American produced conventional weaponry in terms Jeep CJ, M48 Patton, M24 Chaffee, and M16 rifles, F-86, and submarine– all acquired through Foreign Military Sales program.:22[69] In 1961, President Ayub started the nation's full fledge space program that was established with the cooperation of the Air Force, and created civilian Suparco that launched unmanned space missions throughout 1960s.:235–236[64]

He focused the nuclear issue towards civil power and bypassed recommendations towards military-use of nuclear technology and reportedly spend ₨. 721 million on civil-use of technology in terms of education and nuclear power plants.:53[64] Finance minister Muhammad Shoaib argued against spending on nuclear technology and was against of establishing a nuclear power plant in Karachi over on cost.:54[64] It was Dr. Abdus Salam who had personally approved the project against the wishes of his own government.[65]

After the Sino-Indian war in 1962, the military appointments in civilian institutions grew further and defence spending on budget hiked.[44] The physical size of the Pakistan Army's ground troops exponentially grew and the size of military budget grew from 5.79% (1960s) to 9.78% (1966) until being brought down to 6.1% (1967).[44]

Foreign policy

U.S. alliance and 1960 U-2 incident

President Ayub with President Kennedy in Washington D.C., ca. 1961.

The foreign relations with the United States and European Union were prioritized and were main feature of his foreign policy while downplaying foreign relations with the Soviet Union. While he enjoyed support from President Dwight Eisenhower in 1950s and convinced the United States alongside with Prime Minister Ali Khan to forged military relations in an alliance against regional communism.[70] His obsession towards modernization of the armed forces in shortest time possible saw the relations with United States as the only way to achieve his organization and personal objectives as he argued against civilian supremacy that would affect the American interests in the region as a result of an election.[70]

President Ayub receiving President Johnson in Karachi, ca 1967.

Leasing an airbase in Peshawar in 1950s, the Central Intelligence Agency's spy activities grew immensely during his presidency but such activities were exposed in 1960 when the Soviet Union's air defence intercept and shot down the U-2 plane by the S-75 missile, and captured its pilot.[70] This incident severely compromised the national security of Pakistan that brought the Soviet ire on Pakistan but President Ayub had all knowledge of the operation and full aware of what happened in the Soviet Union.[70] While in United Kingdom to pay state visit, the CIA station chief told President Ayub who shrugged his shoulders and said that he had expected this would happen at some point.[70]

Ayub Khan had to publicly offered his apologies to the Soviet Union after USSR Secretary General Nikita Khrushchev made a threat to bomb Peshawar.:43[64] President Ayub directed initiatives to Foreign Office to reduce tensions with the Soviet Union by facilitating state visits of Soviet Premier Alexei Kosygin and Soviet Foreign minister Gromyko in Pakistan on a condition of downplaying relations with the United States.:43[64]

In 1960, he signed the historic frontier agreement with China despite the US urgings and was a significant event in history of Cold war where a noncommunist country had entered in alliance with communist country.:157[71]

In 1961–65, Ayub lost much of the support from President John Kennedy and President Lyndon Johnson who sought closer relations with India and placed an embargo on both nations during the war in 1965.:44–45[72] In 1966–67, he wrestled with the United States' dictation on country's foreign policy while strengthening relations with Soviet Union and China, whereas he successfully signed an border agreement to resolve border disputes in 1960s.[73] Relations with Soviet Union were eventually normalized when Soviets facilitated peace treaty with India in 1965, and reached a trade treaty the following year.:171–175[74] Despite initiatives made towards normalizing with Soviet Union, Ayub Khan remained inclined towards the United States and western world, having well-received President Johnson in Karachi in 1967.:174[74]

In 1961-62, Ayub paid a state visit to the United Kingdom where he garnered a lot of public interests from the British public when his involvement was revealed in the Christine Keeler affair.[75][76]

India: 1959 joint defence and 1965 war

In 1959, Ayub Khan's interest in building defence forces already diminished when he made an offer of joint defense with India during the Sino-Indo clashes in October 1959 in Ladakh, in a move seen as a result of American pressure and a lack of understanding of Foreign affairs[77] Upon hearing this proposal, India's Prime Minister Nehru reportedly counter-ask Defence Minister Ayub: Joint Defence on what?.":84–86[73] India remained uninterested with such proposal and Prime Minister Nehru decided to push his country's role in the Non-Aligned Movement:85[73] In 1960, President Ayub signed the water treaty with Prime Minister Nehru that was facilitated by the World Bank as its witness.[78] In 1964, the Pakistan Army engaged with Indian Army in several skirmishes, and a secretive operations began to place around that time.

The war with India in 1965 was a turning point in his presidency, and it ended in a settlement reached by Ayub Khan at Tashkent, called the Tashkent Declaration, which was facilitated by the Soviet Union. The settlement was perceived negatively by many Pakistanis and led Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to resign his post and take up opposition to Ayub Khan.[66] According to Morrice James, "For them [Pakistanis] Ayub had betrayed the nation and had inexcusably lost face before the Indians."[79]

According to Sartaj Aziz, it was Foreign Minister Bhutto that had gone on a populist Anti-Indian and Anti-American binge during the meeting in a cabinet meeting with President Ayub.[80] Bhutto succeeded in the meeting on spellbinding the ruling President into thinking he was becoming a world statesman fawned upon by the enemies of the United States.[80] When authorizing the Operation Gibraltar, Deputy Chairman of Planning Commission had famously told the President in the meeting: "Sir, I hope you realize that our foreign [p]olicy and our economic requirements are not fully consistent, in fact they are rapidly falling out of line".[80] Aziz vetoed the Operation Gibraltar against India, fearing the economical turmoil that would jolt the country's economy, but was rebuffed by his senior bureaucrats.[80] In that meeting, Foreign Minister Bhutto convinced the President and the Finance Minister Muhammad Shoaib that India would not attack Pakistan due to Kashmir being a disputed territory, and per Bhutto's remarks: "Pakistan’s incursion into Indian-occupied Kashmir, at [A]khnoor, would not provide [India] with the justification for attacking Pakistan across the international boundary because Kashmir was a disputed territory".[80] This theory proved wrong when India launched a full-scale war against West-Pakistan in 1965.[80]

His army chief General Musa Khan did not order the Pakistan Army without the confirmation by President Ayub Khan despite Foreign Minister Bhutto's urging :182–183[53] However, after Indian Army advanced towards the Rann of Kutch, General Musa Khan order the army to responded against the opposing force.:183[53] He faced serious altercations and public criticism with air chief AM Asghar Khan for hiding the details of the war.[81] The Air AHQ began fighting the President over the contingency plans, and this inter services rivalry ended with Air Mrshl Asghar Khan's resignation.[81] To reduce interservices tensions and criticism, navy commander Admiral A.R. Khan authorised the shelling operation against Indian Navy posts in shores of Dwarka, India.:25[55]

About the 1965 war's contingency plans, AM Nur Khan briefly wrote that "Rumours about an impending operation were rife but the army had not shared the plans with other forces."[81]

Ayub Khan's main sponsor, the United States, did not welcome the move and the Kennedy administration placed an economic embargo that caused Pakistan to lose $500 million aid and grants that had been received through consortium.[80] Ayub Khan could not politically survive in the aftermath of 1965 war with India and fell from the presidency after surrendering the presidential power to Army Commander General Yahya in 1969.

End of Presidency

Presidential election of 1965

In 1964, President Ayub Khan had been confident in his apparent popularity and saw the deep divisions within the political opposition which ultimately led him to announce the presidential elections in 1965.[82] He earned the nomination from Pakistan Muslim League (PML) and was shocked to see when Fatima Jinnah earned the nomination from the Combined Opposition Parties.[82]

Fatima Jinnah had gained a lot of support from Karachi, Lahore, and various parts in West Pakistan and East Pakistan as opposed to President Ayub Khan.[82] Jinnah targeted the Indus Waters Treaty and his over-reliance on the United States and troubled relations with the Soviet Union.[82] During the elections, President Ayub earned notoriety when his son, Gohar Ayub Khan, was named in media for his involvement in authorizing political murders in Karachi, particularly those who supported Jinnah.:232[83]

Angry protesters took their demonstrations in streets in Sindh and slogans were chanted against President Ayub.:232[83] Fatima Jinnah won the landslide voting but Ayub Khan won the elections through the Electoral College.:xxx[84] During this time, Ayub Khan exploited the intelligence community to tape politicians telephone and monitor their gatherings for his own advantage.[82] For that purpose, the Military Intelligence became extremely active during the presidential elections keeping politicians in mass surveillance and while Intelligence Bureau taped telephone recordings rather than keeping their work nation's defence and security.[85] This was the first time in the nation's history that intelligence community had directly interfered in the national politics, and intelligence community continued this role in successive years.[85]

It was reported that the elections were widely rigged by the state authorities and machinery under the control of Ayub Khan and it is believed that had the elections been held via direct ballot, Fatima Jinnah would have won.[82] The Electoral College consisted of only 80,000 Basic Democrats, who were easily manipulated by President Ayub Khan and bitterly won the elections with 64%.[86] The election did not conform to international standards per many journalists of the time and many saw the results with great suspicions.[82]

1969 nationwide riots and resignation

The controversial winning over Fatima Jinnah in presidential elections and the outcomes of war with India in 1965 brought devastating results for Ayub Khan's image and his presidency.:52–53[87] Upon returning from Tashkent, Foreign Minister Bhutto went to the television media and criticized President Ayub for selling nation's honor and sacrifice which promoted President Ayub to deposed Bhutto.:52–53[87] In Karachi, the public resentment towards Ayub had been rising since the 1965 elections and his policies were widely disapproved.[88]

In 1967, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto formed the socialist Pakistan Peoples Party and attacked Ayub administration's economic, religious, and social policy while taking the nationwide tour.:196[89] Detention of Bhutto further inflamed the opposition and demonstration sparked in all over the country with East Pakistani Awami League charging Ayub administration of segregating policies towards East.:197[89] Labour unions called for labour strikes against Ayub Khan's labour legislation and dissatisfaction was widespread in the country from country's middle class by the end of 1968.:198[89] When the Ayub Khan was presented with the Six points by Rahman and Bhutto's called for disapproving Ayub; he responded by imprisoning both leaders but that made matters worst for Ayub's administration.:198[89] Left-wing parties, allied with the conservative mass, began advocating for the Islamic parliamentary democracy system against his presidential rule.[90]

In 1968, he survived a failed assassination attempt while visiting Dacca and was visibly shaken after this attempt, according to the close aides; though this was not reported in the press of the day.:53[91]

In 1969, Ayub Khan opened up the negotiations with the opposition parties in what was termed as "Round Table Confernce" where he held talks with every opposition party except for Awami League and Pakistan Peoples Party.:198[89] However, no results were yielded and strong anti-Ayub demonstration sparked in all over the country that called for his resignation.:198[89] During this time, Ayub Khan survived a near-fatal cardiac arrest that put him out of the office, and later survived a paralysis attack that put him on wheelchair.:43–47[92] The Police were unable to control the situation and the law and order situation worsen in the country, especially in East where the serious uprising and riots were quelled in 1969, that at one point, his Home and Defence Minister Vice-Admiral Rahman told the journalists that the "country was under the Mob rule and that Police were not strong enough to tackle the situation.":130[93]

The PPP also led very strong protests, street demonstrations, and riots against the Ayub Khan's administration when the prices of food consumer products such as sugar, tea, and wheat, hiked up and eventually people widely disapproved of Ayub Khan by chanting slogans and employing insults on referring to Ayub in 1969.:39–40[94] On the streets of major cities of West Pakistan, there were massive wall chalking that were identified as derogatory and pejorative terms employed on Ayub and his image that made headlines in the print and electronic media.:41[94] Ayub Khan, himself, was shocked when hearing the young protesters and college students in West had been referring him to as "Dog."[90] According to the Dawn editorial in 2014, it was first time in the history when the derogatory language was used against country's politicians.[90]

Elements in the military began supporting the political parties that brought the demise of Ayub Khan's era, and on 25 March 1969, President Ayub Khan resigned from office and invited army chief General Yahya Khan to take over the control of the country.:48[2][92]

Death and legacy

Ayub Khan did not comment on war with India in 1971 and died of heart attack on 19 April 1974 at his lavish villa near Islamabad.[95][96][97]

His presidency was characterised by an increasing dependency on East for export revenues, coupled with an exclusion of East Pakistan from political influence.[98] This laid the foundation for breaking up of the nation's unity in 1971.[98]

Ayub Khan's presidency allied Pakistan with the American-led military alliance against the Soviet Union which helped Pakistan developed its strong economic background, long-term political and strategic relations with the United States.[2] Major economic aid and trade from the United States and European Union ultimately led Pakistan's industrial sector developed rapidly but the but the consequences of cartelization included increased inequality in the distribution of wealth.[2] After 1965, he became extremely concerned about the arrogance and bossiness of the US over the directions of nation's foreign policy when the US publicly criticized Pakistan for building ties with China and Soviet Union; he authored a book over this issue known as "Friends not Masters."[99][100]

Relocation of the federal capital was undertaken under Ayub administration from Karachi to mountainous but excessively planned city: Islamabad.[2] Facilitated by the World Bank, Ayub administration became a party of the Indus Waters Treaty with archrival India to resolve disputes regarding the sharing of the waters of the six rivers in the Punjab Doab that flow between the two countries. Khan's administration also built a major network of irrigation canals, high-water dams and thermal and hydroelectric power stations.[101]

He subsidized fertilizers and modernized agriculture through irrigation development, spurred industrial growth with liberal tax benefits.[2] In the decade of his rule, the GNP rose by 45% and manufactured goods began to overtake such traditional exports as jute and cotton.[100] However, the economists in Planning Commission alleged that his policies were tailored to reward the elite families and major landowners in the country.[100] In 1968, his administration celebrated the so-called "Decade of Development" when the mass protests erupted in all over the country due to an increasingly greater divide between the rich and the poor.[100] This laid the foundation for breaking up of the nation's unity in 1971.[98]

In recent times, the myth of the so-called Decade of Development has also been trashed by economists.[102]

Criticism, personal wealth, and family

After 1965, the corruption in government, nepotism, and suppression of free speech, thought, and press increased unrest and turmoils in the country against Ayub administration.[45] Public criticism of his personal and son's wealth increased and Ayub's image was shattered when his son's actions after his father's election in the allegedly rigged 1965 Presidential elections against Fatima Jinnah is a subject of criticism by many writers. In 2003, the nephew of the Quaid-i-Azam, Akbar Pirbhai, re-ignited the controversy by suggesting that she was assassinated by the Ayub Khan establishment .[103][104] His son, Gohar, said that he led a victory parade right into the heartland of opposition territory in Karachi in a blatantly provocative move and the civil administration's failure to stop the rally led to fierce clashes between opposing groups with many locals being killed.[105] Gohar Ayub Khan also faced criticisms during that time on questions of family corruption and cronyism through his business links with his father-in-law retired Habibullah Khan Khattak.

One Western commentator in 1969 estimated Gohar Ayub's personal wealth at the time at $4 million, while his family's wealth was put in the range of $10–20 million.[106]

Ayub Khan is critiqued for the growth in income inequality 5 million people fell below the poverty line.[107] He is also blamed for not doing enough to tackle the significant economic disparity between East and West Pakistan whilst he was aware of the acute grievances of East Pakistan he did try to address the situation. However, the Ayub Khan regime was so highly centralized that, in the absence of democratic institutions, densely populated and politicized East Pakistan province continued to feel it was being slighted.[108]

Sadaf Farooq from School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Reading argued that workers wages fell by 60% in 1960s and the policy of promoting entrepreneur elite and Industrial cartels to get economic growth generated increasing regional and social tensions among the nation and the emergence of business and industrial cartels.[109]

After his death, his family members became active in national politics in 1990s till present; however, his family members and sons have been subject of controversies since then.[110] His son, Gohar, is an active member of conservative PML(N) and was the Foreign Minister in Sharif ministry in 1990s but was removed due to his controversial statements without authorization in regards to India.[110] His daughter Begum Nasim Aurangzeb remained inactive in politics and was married to Miangul Aurangzeb, the Wali of Swat.[110]

His grandson, Omar, served in the Aziz ministry as a Finance Minister in 2000s but joined the PML(N) in 2010; he was declared ineligible for general election held in 2013 due to the allegations proved for vote riggings.[110] His grandson, Yousaf, is a party worker of PTI but marred with controversy that involved him in a corruption issues.[110]


Foreign honour

See also


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Further reading

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Muhammed Ayub Khan.
Military offices
Preceded by
Douglas Gracey
Chief of Army Staff
Succeeded by
Muhammad Musa
Political offices
Preceded by
Muhammad Ali Bogra
Minister of Defence
Succeeded by
Chaudhry Muhammad Ali
Preceded by
Iskander Mirza
President of Pakistan
Succeeded by
Yahya Khan
Chief Martial Law Administrator
Preceded by
Muhammad Ayub Khuhro
Minister of Defence
Succeeded by
Afzal Rahman Khan
Preceded by
Khan Habibullah Khan
Minister of the Interior
Succeeded by
Chaudhry Ali Akbar Khan
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