FIRST MILITARY PERIOD, 1958-1971: When General Muhammad Ayub Khan, the first Pakistani to command the army, began to plan the takeover of the government by the military, he was convinced that his move would have popular support There were many reasons for his confidence The political chaos of the previous 11 years, economic dislocations caused by the trade war with India, and the resentment of the host population over loss of power to the refugee community were some of the factors that had created a deep crisis of governance in the country Pakistan was ready for a dramatic change and it came in October 1958 in the form of military rule Ayub Khan and his associates moved with caution The first step was to persuade President Iskander Mirza to issue a proclamation putting the country under martial law This was done on 8 October and Ayub Khan was appointed chief martial-law administrator The second step was taken on 27 October when President Mirza was persuaded to resign and Ayub Khan took over as presidentIt took Ayub Khan four years to decide on the political structure he needed to govern He wished to accomplish two things: First, he wanted to bring the indigenous leaders, mostly landlords, back into the political fold He chose an ingenious device for accomplishing this objective

A system of local government-the Basic Democracies-was put in place that gave significant powers to local communities and also brought them closer to the instruments of the state In the constitution promulgated in 1962, 80,000 Basic Democrats, 40,000 from each wing of the country and directly elected by the people, became, in turn, the electoral college for choosing the president and the members of the National and Provincial Assemblies Second, the new constitution provided a strong executive at the center, thus bringing back the figure of great political authority with which West Pakistan’s indigenous population had become so familiar while the Mughuls, Sikhs, and British ruled these areas The Constitution of 1962 was thus able to “indigenize” the politics of West Pakistan that had been so disturbed by the arrival of millions of refugees from IndiaBy relocating the capital from Karachi to Islamabad, a new city built near Rawalpindi, the headquarters of the Pakistani army, Ayub Khan helped to further erode the political power and the control of the refugee community on public institutions The landed aristocracy, discredited earlier by its failure to enthusiastically support the Pakistan movement, walked into the political space the refugee community was forced to vacate This was, of course, deeply resented by the refugees, who many years later proclaimed themselves a separate nationality-separate from the Balochis, Pathans, Punjabis, and Sindhis-and organized themselves under the banner of a new political entity called the Muhajir Qaumi Mahaz On the other hand, the landlords were pleased to be back on the center stage of politics No man better personified this development than Nawab Amir Muhammad Khan Kalabagh, who as governor of West Pakistan wielded the kind of power and influence possessed by the governors of the days of the British raj Pakistan’s political culture returned to the values held in the first half of the 20th centuryAyub Khan’s social and political engineering brought stability and laid the ground for the remarkable economic progress made during the “decade of development

” Agriculture led this recovery; in the late 1960s Pakistan witnessed what came to be called the “green revolution”-a sharp increase in agricultural productivity fueled by the adoption of high-yielding wheat and rice varieties With smalland mediumsized farmers at the vanguard of this revolution, there was a palpable improvement in income distribution in the countryside The effect of the revolution was also felt in the small towns that provided services and markets for the rapidly modernizing agricultural sectorWhile the countryside was in the throes of the green revolution, large-scale industries continued to expand, moving into new product lines and into new areas of the country Under Ayub Khan, Punjab and the Northwest Frontier also began to industrialize Had the political sector been more accommodating, the economic progress achieved during the Ayub Khan period might have been sustained The virtual exclusion of large segments of the population-in particular the muhajir community of Karachi and the urban professionals-created considerable resentment against the regime, the extent of which surprised the ruling elite The active opposition Ayub Khan faced in the presidential elections of 1965 was the first manifestation of this growing sentiment It was contained briefly by the September 1965 war with India, but resurfaced with even greater force following the end of the war and the signing of the Tashkent agreement with India in 1966 Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Ayub Khan’s foreign minister, left the government, accusing the president of surrendering at Tashkent what he believed had been achieved on the battlefield In March 1969, Ayub Khan was forced out by the military, which now considered him a liability rather than an asset

General Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan, Pakistan’s second military president, oversaw the country’s breakup His handling of the political agitation that resulted in Ayub Khan’s removal from office unleashed political forces he neither anticipated nor was able to contain East Pakistan, unable to take advantage of the massive electoral victory in the general elections of 1970-the first to be held on the basis of adult franchise-rebelled against the domination of West Pakistan After a brief but bitter civil war, East Pakistan emerged as the independent country of Bangladesh in December 1971 Yahya Khan, presiding over a demoralized country, surrendered the presidency to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, whose Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) had won a majority in the 1970 elections at the expense of the Muslim League

What do you think?

0 points
Upvote Downvote

Total votes: 0

Upvotes: 0

Upvotes percentage: 0.000000%

Downvotes: 0

Downvotes percentage: 0.000000%