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AYUB KHAN FIELD MARSHAL MUHAMMAD (1907-1974)

AYUB KHAN, FIELD MARSHAL MUHAMMAD (1907-1974) Field Marshal Muhammad Ayub Khan was born in Rehana, a village in the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) district of Hazara He went to Aligrah College to prepare for a career, in one of the several professions that were now attracting the Muslim middle classes Noting his family background, his physique and bearing, and the fact that he belonged to a class that the British had designated as “martial,” a number of his teachers urged Ayub Khan to join the military This he did, as a gentleman cadet in 1926; and after studying at at the Royal Military Academy, Sandhurst, in England, he received the King’s Commission in 1928 Ayub Khan rose quickly in the ranks of the British Indian Army and commanded a battalion in World War II When the British announced their decision to leave India, he had already attained the rank of brigadier general Being one of the most senior Muslim officers in the army at the time of the partition of British India, he was appointed to the Punjab Boundary Commission A year later, he was promoted to the rank of major general and was sent to Dacca (now Dhaka) as the general officer commanding (GOC) of the army garrison in East Bengal (later, East Pakistan, and still later, Bangladesh) In 1950, Prime Minister Liaqat Ali Khan invited Ayub Khan to become the first Pakistani to lead the army as its commander in chief He was appointed to a second five-year term as commander in chief in January 1955 By this time Ayub Khan had decided to remove the civilian government and place Pakistan under martial law



The near-collapse of civilian authority in 1956 was his reason for intervention, but he was not in any hurry to do so He waited for 20 months before making his first move He struck in October 1958, but moved cautiously On 7 October, Ayub Khan forced President Iskander Mirza to place Pakistan under martial law The president issued a proclamation to this effect and appointed Ayub Khan as the chief martial-law administrator Twenty days later, on 27 October, Ayub Khan sent President Mirza into exile and appointed himself the president A tremendous amount of goodwill accompanied Ayub Khan’s assumption of political power and motivated him to make significant structural changes in Pakistan’s society, economy, and political system The system of Basic Democracies, the Constitution of 1962, the Land Reforms of 1959, the Family Laws Ordinance of 1961, and the launching of the Second Five-Year Plan in 1960 were all significant departures from the way political and economic business had been conducted in Pakistan in the first post-independence decade Political tranquility, if only on the surface, and rapid economic growth were the outcome of these changes In September 1965, Pakistan went to war with India as a consequence of a number of ill-advised moves made by Pakistan in the summer of 1965-including the launching of Operation Gibraltar in Kashmirthe precise motives of which, despite a considerable amount of speculation, remain murky to this day The war drained Pakistan of financial resources precisely at the time it was implementing its Third Five-Year Plan (1965-1970)

It brought to a sudden end the highly coveted US military and economic aid, which had been critical for Pakistan’s economic expansion It exposed the military to the vulnerability of East Pakistan and contributed to the secessionist sentiment that surfaced in 1966, in the form of Mujibur Rahman’s Six Point Program for political and economic autonomy for the eastern wing of the country And, finally, the signing of the Tashkent Declaration on 10 January 1966 exploded the myth of Pakistan’s military invincibility India exacted a heavy price for its willingness to restore the status quo, but the price was too high for the people of Pakistan The Tashkent “let down” was exploited to the full by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who as foreign minister, was a member of the Pakistani delegation that Ayub Khan took to Tashkent, but Bhutto distanced himself immediately from the position taken by the president on returning to Islamabad For the second time in four years, the opposition surprised Ayub Khan by its ability to organize itself In the fall of 1964, the Combined Opposition Party (COP) had launched a credible challenge to him by nominating Fatima Jinnah as its candidate for the presidential elections of January 1965 In December 1968, the opposition parties came together again and organized the Democratic Action Committee (DAC) to mobilize and channel the growing resentment against the government The formation of the DAC quickened the pace of the movement against Ayub; the government invited the opposition to participate in a “round table” discussion, but before the negotiations had concluded, the army intervened, under the leadership of General Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan

On 25 March 1969, Muhammad Ayub Khan surrendered power to Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan, who became Pakistan’s second military president Allowed to languish in his house in Islamabad, Muhammad Ayub Khan saw with dismay the dismantling of his system by Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan

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