Ayub Khan (general)

Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan (Urdu: محمد ایوب خان‎; 14 May 1907 – 19 April 1974), was the second president of Pakistan. He was an army general who seized the presidency from Iskander Mirza in a coup in 1958, the first successful coup d'état in the country. Popular demonstrations and labour strikes supported by the protests in East Pakistan ultimately led to his forced resignation in 1969.

Ayub Khan

ایوب خان
Muhammed Ayub Khan.JPG
Khan in 1961
2nd President of Pakistan
In office
27 October 1958 – 25 March 1969
Preceded byIskander Mirza
Succeeded byYahya Khan
4th Minister of Defense
In office
28 October 1958 – 21 October 1966
DeputyFederal Secretary Defence
See list
  • Muhammad Khurshid (1958-59)
    S. Fida Hussain (1959-61)
    Nazir Ahmed (1961-65)
Preceded byAyub Khuhro
Succeeded byV-Adm. Afzal Rahman Khan
In office
24 October 1954 – 11 August 1955
Prime MinisterMohammad Ali Bogra
DeputyAkhter Husain
(Defence Secretary)
Preceded byMohammad Ali Bogra
Succeeded byMohammad Ali
Minister of Interior
In office
23 March 1965 – 17 August 1965
DeputyInterior Secretary
Preceded byK. H. Khan
Succeeded byAli Akbar Khan
3rd Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistan Army
In office
23 January 1951[1] – 26 October 1958
DeputyChief of General Staff
See list
Preceded byGen. Douglas Gracey
Succeeded byGen. Musa Khan
Prime Minister of Pakistan
Chief Martial Law Administrator
In office
7 October 1958 – 26 October 1958
PresidentIskander Mirza
Preceded byFeroz Khan Noon
Succeeded byNurul Amin (1971)
Personal details
Muhammad Ayub Khan

(1907-05-14)14 May 1907
Rehana, NWFP, British India
Died19 April 1974(1974-04-19) (aged 66)
Islamabad, Pakistan
Cause of deathHeart attack
Resting placeRehana, Haripur, Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa
Citizenship British Indian (1907-1947)
 Pakistani (1947-1974)
Children2, including Gohar Ayub Khan
CabinetMinistry of Talents
Civilian awardsOrder of Pakistan.png Nishan-i-Pakistan
Yellow Crescent, Symbol of Islam.png Hilal-i-Pakistan
MY Darjah Utama Seri Mahkota Negara (Crown of the Realm) - DMN.svg Order of the CrownGCMG
Military service
Branch/service British Indian Army
 Pakistan Army
Years of service1928–58[a]
RankOF-10 Pakistan Army.svg Field Marshal[b]
UnitBadge of 15th Punjab Regiment 1922-47.jpg 15th Punjab Regiment
CommandsAdjutant-General, GHQ
GOC, 14th Infantry Division, Dacca
Battles/warsWar in Waziristan (1936–39)
World War II
Military awardsHilal-Jurat Ribbon.gif Hilal-e-Jurat

Trained at the British Royal Military College, Ayub Khan fought in World War II as a colonel in the British Indian Army before deciding to transfer to the Pakistan Army in the aftermath of the partition of British India in 1947. His assignments included command of the 14th Division in East-Bengal. He was elevated to become the first native Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistan Army in 1951 by Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan.[3] From 1953 to 1958, he served in the civilian government as Defence and Home Minister and supported President Iskander Mirza's decision to impose martial law against Prime Minister Feroze Khan's administration in 1958.[4] Two weeks later, he took over the presidency from Mirza after the meltdown of civil-military relations between the military and the civilian president.[4][5][6]

After appointing General Musa Khan as the army commander-in-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.[7] Relations with neighboring China were strengthened but deteriorated with Soviet Union in 1962, and with India in 1965. However, when the Soviet Union facilitated the meetings between Pakistan and India that led to the Tashkent Declaration in 1966, relations among the three nations improved. At the home front, the policy of privatisation and industrialization was introduced that made the country's economy Asia's fastest-growing economy. His tenure was distinguished by the completion of hydroelectric stations, dams and reservoirs, by prioritizing the space program and by reducing the nuclear deterrent.

In 1965, Ayub Khan entered the presidential race as the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) candidate to counter the popular and famed non-partisan Fatima Jinnah and was controversially reelected for a second term. He was faced with allegations of widespread intentional vote riggings, authorized political murders in Karachi, and the politics over the unpopular peace treaty with India which closed the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965 and which many Pakistanis considered an embarrassing compromise. In 1967, wide disapproval of price hikes of food prompted demonstrations across the country led by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Ayub Khan dramatically fell from power in 1969 amid the popular uprising in East Pakistan led by Mujibur Rahman. Forced to resign to avoid further protests while inviting army chief Yahya Khan to impose martial law for the second time, 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 wealth in a corrupt 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 lifeEdit

Ayub Khan was born on 14 May 1907 in Rehana, a village in then North-West Frontier Province[10] (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan . His family hailed from the Tareen[11][12][13] tribe of Pashtuns.[14] Batazai sub tribe of tareen.

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.[15] For his basic education, he was enrolled in a school in Sarai Saleh, which was about 4 miles from his village. 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.[14]

He went on to study at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and [16] while pursuing his college education, he was accepted into the Royal Military College at Sandhurst by the recommendation of General Andrew Skeen; he did not complete his degree at AMU and departed for Great Britain.[17][18] Ayub Khan was fluent in Urdu, English and his regional Northern Hindko dialect.[19]

Military careerEdit

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

Ayub Khan joined the Royal Military College, Sandhurst, as a trainee in July 1926.[20] He was commissioned as a 2nd Lt. on 2 February 1928 in the 1/14th Punjab Regiment (1st Battalion of the 14th Punjab Regiment) of the British Indian Army – before this he was attached to the Royal Fusiliers.[21][22] Amongst those who passed out with him was the future chief of army staff of the Indian Army, General Joyanto Nath Chaudhuri, who served as the army chief from 1962 to 1966 while Ayub was the president of Pakistan.[23] After the standard probationary period of service in the British Army, he was appointed to the British Indian Army on 10 April 1929, joining the 1/14th Punjab Regiment Sherdils, now known as the 5th Punjab Regiment.[24]

He was promoted to lieutenant on 2 May 1930 and to captain on 2 February 1937.[25][26] During World War II, he was promoted to the temporary rank of lieutenant-colonel in 1942 and was posted in Burma to participate in the first phase of the Burma Campaign in 1942–43.[citation needed] He was promoted to the permanent rank of major on 2 February 1945.[27] Later that year, he was promoted to temporary Colonel and assumed the command of his own regiment in which he was commissioned to direct operations in the second phase of the Burma Campaign; however, he was soon temporarily suspended without pay from that command for visible cowardice under fire.[28]

In 1946, he was posted back to British India and was stationed in the North-West Frontier Province. In 1947, he was promoted to brigadier and commanded a brigade in mountainous South Waziristan.[29] When the United Kingdom announced the partition of British India into India and Pakistan, he was one of the most senior serving officers in the British Indian Army who opted for Pakistan in 1947.[30][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.[31]

In the early part of 1948, he was given the command of the 14th Infantry Division in the rank of acting major-general as its GOC stationed in Dacca, East-Pakistan.[31] In 1949, he was decorated with the Hilal-i-Jurat (HJ) by Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan for non-combatant service and called back to General Headquarters as the Adjutant General of the army on November of same year.[citation needed]

Commander-in-chief of the Pakistan ArmyEdit

17 January 1951 - General Ayub Khan assumes charge as C-in-C of the Pakistan Army

General Sir Douglas Gracey relinquished the command of the Pakistan Army on 23 January 1951, under pressure of calls for "nationalisation" of the army.[1] The Pakistan government already called for appointing native commanders-in-chief of army, air force, navy and dismissed deputation appointments from the British military.[32][33] The General Headquarters sent the nomination papers to Prime Minister's Secretariat for the appointment of commander-in-chief.[34] There were four-senior officers in the race: Major-General Akbar Khan, Major-General Iftikhar Khan, Major-General Ishfakul Majid, and Major-General N.A.M. Raza, among these officers Akbar was the senior-most as he was commissioned in 1920.[35]

Initially, Gen. Iftikhar Khan (commissioned in 1929) was selected for appointment as the first native commander-in-chief of the army, but he died in an airplane crash en route to take command after finishing the senior staff officers' course in the United Kingdom. All three remaining generals were bypassed including the recommended senior-most Major-General Akbar Khan and Major-General Ishfakul Majid (commissioned in 1924).[34]

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 (commissioned in 1928) to the post despite the fact that his name was not included in the nomination list.[34] Ayub's papers of promotion were controversially approved and he was appointed as the first native commander in chief of the Pakistan Army with a promotion to lieutenant-general (acting full general) on 17 January 1951 by Prime Minister Ali Khan.[36]

Ayub's becoming the commander in chief of the Pakistan Army marked a change in the military tradition to one of preferring native Pakistanis; it ended the transitional role of British military officers.[37] Although the Pakistani government announced the appointment of the navy's native commander in chief in 1951, it was Ayub Khan who helped Vice-Admiral M.S. Choudhri to be appointed as the first native navy commander in chief, also in 1953.[32][38] The events surrounding Ayub's 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.[39] Ayub, alongside 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. British military traditions were only kept in the air force due to a British commander and major staff consisting of Royal Air Force officers.[40]

In 1953, Ayub visited Turkey, his first foreign visit as an army commander in chief, and was said to have been impressed with Turkish military tradition; he met only with the Turkish Defence minister during his visit. Thereafter, he went to the United States and visited the US State Department and Pentagon to lobby for forging military relations.[41] He termed this visit as a "medical visit" but made a strong plea for military aid which was not considered due to India's opposition.[42]

Cabinet and Defence MinisterEdit

On 24 February 1954, Ayub signed the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) pact for Pakistan and his role in national politics, along with that of Defense Minister Mirza, began to grow[43]

In 1954, Prime Minister Muhammad Ali Bogra's relations with the military and Governor-General Ghulam Muhammad deteriorated on issues of the economy.[44] Pressure built up to reconstruct the cabinet which eventually witnessed with General Ayub Khan becoming the defence minister and Iskander Mirza as home minister in October 1954.[45][46] Ayub Khan disdained civilian politicians, whose factional infighting had for years prevented adoption of a constitution. He wrote that he reluctantly joined the cabinet as defence minister with "two clear objectives: to save the armed forces from the interference of the politicians, and to unify the provinces of West Pakistan into one unit."[47]

The controversial One Unit Scheme integrated the four western provinces into one political entity, West Pakistan, as a counterbalance against the numerically superior population of East Bengal, which was renamed East Pakistan. The province of Punjab supported the project, but all the other provinces protested against it and its centralisation of power. Opposition was particularly strong in East Bengal, where it was seen as an attack on the democratic principle of political egalitarianism.[48]

In 1955, Prime Minister Bogra was dismissed by Governor-General Malik Ghulam Muhammad and he was succeeded by the new Prime Minister Chaudhry Muhammad Ali as the Defence Minister.[49]

After the 1954 provincial elections in East Pakistan, the Awami League formed the government there while West Pakistan was governed by the PML, but the PML government collapsed in 1956.[50] 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 the Constitution in 1956.[citation needed] In 1957, President Mirza promoted him from acting full general to the substantive rank of full general.[51][52]

Around this time, the MoD led by General Ayub Khan began to see the serious interservice rivalry between the General Headquarters staff and the Naval Headquarters staff.[53] 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.[54] Meanwhile, he continued to serve with Prime Minister Chundrigar and Feroz Noon's government as Defence Minister.[55]

In 1958, he chaired the joint military meeting where he became involved in a heated discussion with Admiral M. S. Choudri.[56] He reportedly complained against Admiral Choudri to President Mirza and criticized Admiral Choudri for "neither having the brain, imagination or depth of thought to understand such (defence) problems nor the vision or the ability to make any contribution".[57] The impasse was broken with Admiral Choudhri resigning from the navy in protest as result of having differences with the navy's plans of expansion and modernization.[58][59] In 1958, Vice-Admiral Afzal Rahman Khan, who was known to be a confidant of General Ayub Khan, was appointed as naval chief by President Mirza.[60]

President of Pakistan (1958–1969)Edit

Muhammad Ayub Khan
محمد ایوب خان
The President of Pakistan
In office
27 October 1958 – 25 March 1969
MinisterDefence Minister of Pakistan
  • Muhammad Khurshid (1958-59)
  • S. Fida Hussain (1959-61)
  • Nazir Ahmed (1961-65)
Opponent(s)Fatima Jinnah
Preceded byIskander Mirza
Succeeded byYahya Khan
Personal details
Political partyPakistan Muslim League
Ayub Khan in 1958 with H. S. Suhrawardy and Mr. and Mrs. S. N. Bakar.
Ayub Khan (back row, second from the right) with Elizabeth II, former Queen of Pakistan at the 1960 Commonwealth Prime Minister's Conference, Windsor Castle

Under threat of being dismissed, Prime Minister H.S. Suhrawardy resigned and Prime Minister I.I. Chundiragar took over the post but in a mere two months he too tendered his resignation after losing a vote of no confidence in the National Assembly. The Constituent Assembly then elected Sir Feroz Noon for the post of the prime minister; Noon had much wider support from the western Republican Party, the eastern Awami League, and the Krishak Sramik.[61]

This new alliance threatened President Iskander Mirza because Suhrawardy and Feroz began campaigning to become prime minister and president in the upcoming general elections.[62] The conservative Pakistan Muslim League, led by its President A.Q. Khan, was also gaining momentum in West Pakistan and threatened for the Dharna movement.[63] These events were against President Mirza hence he was willing to dissolve even Pakistan's One Unit for his advantage.[4]

At midnight on 7 October 1958, President Mirza ordered a mass mobilization of the Pakistan Armed Forces and abrogated the Constitution after sending a letter to Prime Minister Feroz and the Constituent Assembly about the coup d'état.[63] Most of the country's politicians only became aware of the coup the next morning; only U.S. Ambassador James Langley was kept fully informed of political developments in the country.[64] President Mirza appointed General Ayub as his chief martial law administrator (CMLA) to enforce martial law in both exclaves–West and East Pakistan.[65] However, President Mirza soon realized that making Ayub the CMLA had been a mistake which placed him in a delicate position. He expressed regret for his decision in the news media, saying, "I did not mean to do it," while offering assurances that the martial law would be for the shortest possible duration.[66] 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. Such actions were not implemented due to Ayub Khan's protest against this attempt and briefly complained about Mirza's "high hand" methods.[67] President Mirza made a bold move by undercutting Ayub's rival in the army, navy, marines, and air force by co-opting military officers in his favors.[68] 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 plane to exile in England.[69] Subsequently, Admiral A. R. Khan and four persons: General Azam Khan, Nawab of Kalabagh Amir Khan, General Dr. Wajid Khan, and Air Marshal Asghar Khan were instrumental in Ayub Khan's rise to power.[60]

The action came before ending of this tenureship as the army commander, and eventually took control of all civilian matters under his military administration.[70]

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.[60][66] He relieved the army command and appointed General Muhammad Musa as the new army chief and in 1959 he promoted himself to the five-star rank, Field Marshal.[2][71][self-published source?][72]

In 1960, a referendum, that functioned as Electoral College, was held that asked the general public:"Do you have confidence in Muhammad Ayub Khan?". The voter turnout was recorded at 95.6% and such confirmation was used as impetus to formalise the new system – a presidential system.[72] Ayub Khan was elected president for the next five years and decided to pay his first state visit to United States with his wife and also daughter Begum Naseem Aurangzeb in July 1961.[72] 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.[73]

Constitutional and legal reformsEdit

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. The commission reported in 1961 with its recommendations but President Ayub remained unsatisfied; he eventually altered the constitution so that it was entirely different from the one recommended by the Shahabuddin Commission. The Constitution reflected his personal views of politicians and the restriction of using religions in politics. His presidency restored the writ of government through the promulgated constitution and restored political freedom by lifting the martial law enforced since 1958.[74]

The new Constitution respected Islam but did not declare Islam as state religion and was viewed as a liberal constitution.[74] 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. He justified this as analogous to the American Electoral College and cited Thomas Jefferson as his inspiration.[75] 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.[76]

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.[77]

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.[78]

Economy and infrastructureEdit

Kaptai dam in East Pakistan being visited by Ayub Khan

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. 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).[79] 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.[79] This opened up avenues for new job opportunities and thus the economic graph of the country started rising.[80] He oversaw the development and completion of mega projects such as hydroelectric dams, power stations, and barrages in all over the country.[81] During 1960–66, the annual GDP growth was recorded at 6.8%.[82]

Several hydroelectric projects were completed, including the Mangla Dam (one of the world's largest dams), several small dams and water reservoirs in West Pakistan, and one dam in East Pakistan, the Kaptai Dam.[83] President Ayub authorized planning of nuclear power plants, overriding the concerns of his own finance minister, Muhammad Shoaib, about their cost.[84] Initially, two nuclear power plants were to be established in the country: one in Karachi and the other in Dhaka.[85] Dr. Abdus Salam. supported by the President, personally approved the project in Karachi while the project in East Pakistan never materialized.[86]

Extensive education reforms were supposedly carried out and 'scientific development efforts' also supposedly made during his years. These policies could not be sustained after 1965, when the economy collapsed and led to economic declines which he was unable to control.[87][88]

Ayub introduced new curricula and textbooks for universities and schools. Many public-sector universities and schools were built during his era.[89] He also introduced agricultural reforms preventing anyone from occupying more than 500 acres of irrigated and 1000 acres of unirrigated land. An oil refinery was established in Karachi. These reforms led to 15% GNP growth of the country that was three times greater than that of India. 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.[90]

Defence spendingEdit

During the Ayub era, the navy was able to introduce submarines and slowly modified itself by acquiring warships.[32] However, Ayub drastically reduced funding of the military in the 1950s and de-prioritized nuclear weapons in the 1960s.[84][91] The military relied on donations from the United States for major weapons procurements.[92] Major funding was made available for military acquisitions and procurement towards conventional weaponry for conventional defence. In the 1960s, the Pakistani military acquired American‑produced conventional weapons such as Jeep CJs, M48 Patton and M24 Chaffee tanks, M16 rifles, F-86 fighter airplanes, and the submarine PNS Ghazi; all through the US Foreign Military Sales program.[92] In 1961, President Ayub started the nation's full‑fledged space program in cooperation with the air force, and created the Suparco civilian space agency that launched sounding rockets throughout the 1960s.[93]

Ayub directed Pakistan's nuclear technology efforts towards electrical power generation, disregarding recommendations to use it for military purposes. He reportedly spent ₨. 721 million on civilian nuclear power plants and related education of engineers and scientists.[94]

Ayub Khan filled more and more civil administrative positions with army officers, increasing the military's influence over the bureaucracy. He expanded the size of the army by more than half from the early 1960s to 1969, and maintained a high level of military spending as a percentage of GDP during that period, peaking in the immediate aftermath of the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965.[95]

Foreign policyEdit

U.S. alliance and 1960 U-2 incidentEdit

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

The main feature of Ayub Khan's foreign policy was prioritized relations with the United States and Europe. Foreign relations with the Soviet Union were downplayed. He enjoyed support from President Dwight Eisenhower in the 1950s and, working with Prime Minister Ali Khan, forged a military alliance with the United States against regional communism. 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.[96]

President Ayub receiving President Johnson in Karachi, c. 1967.

The Central Intelligence Agency leased Peshawar Air Station in the 1950s and spying into the Soviet Union from the air station grew immensely, with Ayub's full knowledge, during his presidency. When these activities were exposed in 1960 after a U-2 flying out of the air station was shot down and its pilot captured by the USSR,[97] President Ayub was in the United Kingdom on a state visit. When the local CIA station chief briefed President Ayub on the incident, Ayub shrugged his shoulders and said that he had expected this would happen at some point.[98]

The resulting Soviet ire severely compromised the national security of Pakistan. Ayub Khan had to publicly offer his apologies to the Soviet Union after USSR Secretary General Nikita Khrushchev made a threat to bomb Peshawar.[99] President Ayub directed his Foreign Office to reduce tensions with the Soviet Union by facilitating state visits by Soviet Premier Kosygin and Soviet Foreign Minister Gromyko and agreeing to downplay relations with the United States.[99]

In 1963, Ayub signed the historic Sino-Pakistan Frontier Agreement with China despite US opposition. This alliance of a non-communist country with a communist one was a significant event in the history of the Cold War.[100]

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.[101] Relations with the Soviet Union were eventually normalized when the Soviets facilitated a peace treaty with India in 1965, and reached a trade treaty the following year.[102] In 1966–67, he wrestled with the United States's attempt to dictate Pakistan's foreign policy, while he strengthened relations with the Soviet Union and China.[103] Despite initiatives to normalize relations with the Soviet Union, Ayub Khan remained inclined towards the United States and the western world, receiving President Johnson in Karachi in 1967.[104]

In 1961–62, Ayub paid a state visit to the United Kingdom. He attracted much attention from the British public when his involvement in the Christine Keeler affair was revealed.[105][106]

India: 1959 joint defence and 1965 warEdit

In 1959, Ayub Khan's interest in building defence forces had 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[107] Upon hearing this proposal, India's Prime Minister Nehru reportedly countered, "Defence Minister Ayub: Joint Defence on what?"[103]: 84–86  India remained uninterested in such proposals and Prime Minister Nehru decided to push his country's role in the Non-Aligned Movement.[108] In 1960, President Ayub, together with Prime Minister Nehru, signed the Indus Waters Treaty brokered by the World Bank.[109] In 1962, after India was defeated by China, Ayub Khan disguised a few thousand soldiers as guerillas and sent them to Indian Kashmir to incite the people to rebel.[110] In 1964, the Pakistan Army engaged with Indian Army in several skirmishes, and clandestine operations began.

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 Foreign Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to resign his post and take up opposition to Ayub Khan.[87] According to Morrice James, "For them (Pakistanis) Ayub had betrayed the nation and had inexcusably lost face before the Indians."[111]

According to Sartaj Aziz, it was Bhutto that had gone on a populist anti-Indian and anti-American binge during a cabinet meeting with President Ayub. 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. 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 policy and our economic requirements are not fully consistent, in fact they are rapidly falling out of line". 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. 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". This theory proved wrong when India launched a full-scale war against West-Pakistan in 1965.[112]

His army C-in-C General Musa Khan did not order the Pakistan Army without the confirmation by President Ayub Khan despite Foreign Minister Bhutto's urging [113] However, after the Indian Army advanced towards the Rann of Kutch, General Musa Khan ordered the army to respond against the opposing force.[114] He faced serious altercations and public criticism with air chief AM Asghar Khan for hiding the details of the war. The Air AHQ began fighting the president over the contingency plans, and this inter-services rivalry ended with Asghar Khan's resignation.[115] 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.[116]

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."[115]

Ayub Khan's main sponsor, the United States, did not welcome the move and the Johnson administration placed an economic embargo that caused Pakistan to lose $500 million in aid and grants that had been received through consortium.[112] 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 presidencyEdit

Presidential election of 1965Edit

In 1964, President Ayub Khan was confident in his apparent popularity and saw the deep divisions within the political opposition which ultimately led him to announce presidential elections in 1965. He earned the nomination of the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) and was shocked when Fatima Jinnah was nominated by the Combined Opposition Parties.[117][better source needed]

Fatima Jinnah had gained a lot of support from Karachi, Lahore, and various parts of West and East Pakistan opposed to President Ayub Khan. Jinnah targeted the Indus Waters Treaty, Pakistan's over-reliance on the United States, and its troubled relations with the Soviet Union. During the elections, President Ayub earned notoriety when his son, Gohar Ayub Khan, was named in the news media for authorizing political murders in Karachi, particularly of Jinnah supporters.[118]

Angry protesters demonstrated in the streets of Sindh, chanting slogans against President Ayub.[118] Fatima Jinnah won the popular vote in a landslide but Ayub Khan won the election through the Electoral College vote.[119] During this time, Ayub Khan used the Pakistani intelligence community for his own advantage. Military Intelligence actively monitored politicians and political gatherings and the Intelligence Bureau taped politicians' telephone conversations.[117] This was the first departure of the intelligence community from national defence and security to direct interference with national politics, an interference which continued in succeeding years.[120]

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. The Electoral College consisted of only 80,000 Basic Democrats. They were easily manipulated by President Ayub Khan, who won the bitterly-contested elections with 64% of the Electoral College vote.[121] According to journalists of the time, the election did not conform to international standards; many viewed the election results with great suspicion.[117]

1969 nationwide riots and resignationEdit

The controversial victory over Fatima Jinnah in the 1965 presidential election and the outcome of the war with India in the same year brought devastating results for Ayub Khan's image and his presidency. Upon returning from Tashkent, Foreign Minister Bhutto went to the television media and criticized President Ayub for selling the nation's honor and sacrifice, which prompted President Ayub to depose Bhutto.[122] In Karachi, public resentment towards Ayub had been rising since the 1965 elections and his policies were widely disapproved.[123]

In 1967, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto formed the socialist Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and embarked on a nationwide tour where he attacked the Ayub administration's economic, religious, and social policies.[124] Detention of Bhutto further inflamed the opposition and demonstrations were sparked all over the country with the East Pakistani Awami League charging the Ayub administration with segregating policies towards the East.[125] Labour unions called for labour strikes against Ayub Khan's labour legislation and dissatisfaction was widespread in the country's middle class by the end of 1968.[126] When Ayub Khan was confronted with the Six Point movement led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and with the criticism by Bhutto's PPP, he responded by imprisoning both leaders but that made matters worst for Ayub's administration.[126] Left-wing parties, allied with the conservative mass, began advocating for the Islamic parliamentary democracy system against his presidential rule.[127]

In 1968, he survived an assassination attempt while visiting Dacca and was visibly shaken afterwards, according to close aides; though this was not reported in the press of the day.[128]

In 1969, Ayub Khan opened negotiations with the opposition parties in what was termed as a "Round Table Conference" where he held talks with every opposition party except for the Awami League and the Pakistan Peoples Party.[129] However, these discussions yielded no results and strong anti-Ayub demonstrations calling for his resignation were sparked all over the country.[126] 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 in a wheelchair.[130] The police were unable to maintain law and order in the country, especially in East Pakistan where riots and a serious uprising were quelled. At one point, Home and Defence Minister Vice-Admiral Rahman told journalists that the "country was under the Mob rule and that Police were not strong enough to tackle the situation".[131]

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. Disapproval of Ayub Khan was widely expressed by chanted slogans and insults referring to him.[132] On the streets of major cities of West Pakistan, massive wall chalkings that employed derogatory and pejorative terms for Ayub made headlines in the print and broadcast media.[133] Ayub Khan himself was shocked upon hearing that young protesters and college students in West had been referring him to as "Dog". According to a Dawn editorial in 2014, it was the first time in the country's history when derogatory language was used against its politicians.[127]

Elements in the military began supporting the opposition political parties; it was this that finally brought about the demise of Ayub Khan's era. On 25 March 1969, President Ayub Khan, after consulting Advocate Raja Muhammad Qalib Ali Khan (the last person to meet the president before resignation) resigned from office and invited commander-in-chief of the army General Yahya Khan to take over the control of the country.[134][135]

Death and legacyEdit

Ayub Khan did not comment on East Pakistan's Secessionist War in 1971. He died of a heart attack on 19 April 1974 at his villa near Islamabad.[136][137][138]

Ayub Khan's presidency allied Pakistan with the American-led military alliance against the Soviet Union which helped Pakistan develop its strong economic background and its long-term political and strategic relations with the United States.[3] Major economic aid and trade from the United States and European Communities ultimately led Pakistan's industrial sector to develop rapidly but the consequences of cartelization included increased inequality in the distribution of wealth. After 1965, he became extremely concerned about the arrogance and bossiness of the US over the direction of Pakistan'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.[139][140]

Ayub Khan began his diary in September 1966, and ended his record in October 1972 because of his failing health. The diary covers events such as his resignation from office, assumption of power by Yahya Khan, the separation of East and West Pakistan and the replacement of Yahya by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. After his death in 1972, the diary was not released to the public for thirty years due to opinions which would have been detrimental to the reputation of powerful individuals at the time. Ayub Khan wanted his diary to be edited by Altaf Gauhar but after Ayub Khan's death the six-year-long diary was entrusted to Oxford University Press (OUP) to edit and publish. At OUP, Diaries of Field Marshal Mohammad Ayub Khan, 1966-1972 was edited and annotated by Craig Baxter.[141]

The federal capital was relocated under the Ayub administration from the port city of Karachi to the new and carefully planned city of Islamabad in the mountains. Facilitated by the World Bank, the Ayub administration became a party to 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.[142]

He subsidized fertilizers and modernized agriculture through irrigation development, spurred industrial growth with liberal tax benefits.[3] In the decade of his rule, the GNP rose by 45% and manufactured goods began to overtake such traditional exports as jute and cotton.[140] However, the economists in the Planning Commission alleged that his policies were tailored to reward the elite families and major landowners in the country. 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.[140]

Criticism, personal wealth, and familyEdit

After 1965, the corruption in government, nepotism, and suppression of free speech, thought, and press increased unrest and turmoils in the country against the Ayub administration.[79] The 1965 presidential election, where Ayub Khan was opposed by Fatima Jinnah, was allegedly rigged. In 2003, the nephew of the Quaid-i-Azam, Akbar Pirbhai, re-ignited the controversy by suggesting that Fatima Jinnah's death in 1967 was an assassination by the Ayub Khan establishment.[143] Gohar Ayub Khan became the subject of criticism by many writers when he was accused of leading a victory parade after the 1965 election right into the heartland of opposition territory in Karachi in a blatantly provocative move. The civil administration's failure to stop the rally led to fierce clashes between opposing groups with many locals being killed.[144]

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 Lieutenant General 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.[145] Public criticism of Gohar's personal wealth and that of the President increased. All these criticisms harmed President Ayub Khan's image.

Ayub Khan is criticised for the growth in income inequality; 5 million people fell below the poverty line.[146] 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.[147]

Sadaf Farooq from the School of Politics and International Relations at the University of Reading argued that workers' wages fell by 60% in the 1960s and that the policy of promoting the entrepreneur elite and industrial cartels to generate economic growth increased regional and social tensions throughout the nation, as well as the emergence of business and industrial cartels[148]

After his death, his descendents became active in national politics in the 1990s until the present; however, these family members have been controversial. His son Gohar is an active member of the conservative PML(N) and was the Foreign Minister in the Sharif ministry in the 1990s but was removed due to his controversial and unauthorized statements about India.[149] His daughter Nasim did not enter politics and married Miangul Aurangzeb, the Wali of Swat.[149]

His son Shaukat was a successful businessman and had four children, three sons and one daughter. All three sons went into business and politics, with Akbar, Arshad and Yousaf Ayub Khan becoming successful members of the provincial and national assemblies.[4]

His grandson, Omar, served in the Aziz ministry as a Finance Minister in the 2000s but joined the PML(N) in 2010; he was declared ineligible for the 2013 general election after allegations of vote rigging were proved. In 2018, he joined PTI. Another grandson, Yousaf, who is a party worker of the PTI, was also declared ineligible for submitting fake documents to the Election Commission.


National honoursEdit

Foreign honoursEdit

Dates of rankEdit

Note: The rank insignias were still British Army's pip and crown till 1956 when the British Dominion of Pakistan ended.

Insignia Rank Component Date of rank
  Second Lieutenant British Indian Army 2 February 1928
  Lieutenant British Indian Army 2 May 1930[25][151]
  Captain British Indian Army 2 February 1937[26]
  Major British Indian Army 1940 (acting)
22 September 1941 (temporary)[152]
8 February 1943 (war-substantive)[153]
2 February 1945 (substantive)[154]
  Lieutenant-Colonel British Indian Army 22 September 1941 (acting)
8 February 1943 (temporary)
21 January 1946 (war-substantive)
  Colonel British Indian Army 21 January 1946 (acting)
  Major Pakistan Army 15 August 1947[c]
  Major-General Pakistan Army January 1948 (acting)
  Brigadier Pakistan Army 21 January 1946 (acting)
1 January 1949 (substantive)
  Brigadier Pakistan Army 23 March 1949[155]
  Major General Pakistan Army December 1949 (substantive)[c][156]
  Lieutenant-General Pakistan Army 17 January 1951 (substantive)
  General Pakistan Army 17 January 1951 (acting)
8 July 1957 (local)[3]
20 July 1957 (substantive)[4]

See alsoEdit



  1. ^ Ayub retired from active service in 1958, however he made himself field marshal in 1959 and the newspaper Dawn published news on 27 October 1959 about this, the news was as follow: Military Ruler Gets Himself Elevated

    Dawn October 27, 1959 (News Report)

    President Ayub made Field Marshal

    General Mohammad Ayub Khan was conferred the rank of Field Marshal by the presidential cabinet. The communique said that the conferment of this rank will serve to demonstrate to the world in a humble way the high esteem in which he is held by his people and how grateful the nation is to its saviour. The rank of Field Marshal is the highest rank of armies built on the patron of the British Army. The press communique added that by a peaceful revolution last year the President had not only defended the territorial integrity of Pakistan but had also saved the very existence of the nation.[2]

  2. ^ Ayub never had an active regular military appointment of the rank of field marshal, his last military appointment was the commander-in-chief of the Pakistan Army in the rank of full general.
  3. ^ a b Upon independence in 1947, Pakistan became a Dominion within the British Commonwealth of Nations. As a result, the rank insignia of the British Army, incorporating the Tudor Crown and four-pointed Bath Star ("pip"), was retained, as George VI remained commander-in-chief of the Pakistan Armed Forces. After 23 March 1956, when Pakistan made its constitution, the president of Pakistan became commander-in-chief, and the crescent star replaced the crown, with a newly modelled "pip".


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Further readingEdit

  • Khan, Muhammad Ayub (1966). Diaries of Field Marshal Mohammad Ayub Khan. Oxford University, Karachi. p. 599. ISBN 9780195474428.
  • Khan, Muhammad Ayub (1967). Friends Not Masters. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. p. 290. ISBN 0192111787.
  • Cloughly, Brian (2006). A History of the Pakistan Army. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press. pp. Chapter 2, "Ayub Khan, Adjutant General to President". ISBN 978-1-57607-712-2.
  • Shah, Aqil (2014). Military and Democracy: Military Politics in Pakistan. Harvard University Press. ISBN 978-1-134-40758-3.

External linksEdit

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Douglas Gracey
C-in-C of the Pakistan Army
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Muhammad Musa
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President of Pakistan
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Minister of the Interior
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