Military Wiki
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 the Interior

In office
23 March 1965 – 17 August 1965
Preceded by Khan Habibullah Khan
Succeeded by Chaudhry Ali Akbar Khan
Minister of Defence

In office
28 October 1958 – 21 October 1966
Preceded by Muhammad Ayub Khuhro
Succeeded by Afzal Rahman Khan

In office
24 October 1954 – 11 August 1955
Preceded by Muhammad Ali Bogra
Succeeded by Chaudhry Muhammad Ali
Chief of Army Staff

In office
16 January 1951 – 26 October 1958
Preceded by Douglas Gracey
Succeeded by Muhammad Musa
Personal details
Born (1907-05-14)14 May 1907
Rehana, Haripur District of North-West Frontier Province, British India
(now in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan)
Died 19 April 1974(1974-04-19) (aged 66)
Islamabad, Pakistan
Political party Pakistan Muslim League
Children Gohar Ayub
Alma mater Aligarh Muslim University
Royal Military Academy Sandhurst
Religion Islam
Military service
Allegiance  British India
Service/branch  British Indian Army
 Pakistan Army
Years of service 1928–1958
Rank US-O11 insignia.svg Field Marshal
Unit 14th Sherdils, Punjab Regiment
Commands Chief of Army Staff
Deputy Chief of Army Staff
GOC of East Pakistan Army
Waziristan Brigade, British Army
14th Army Division, Pakistan Army
Adjutant General, General Headquarters
Battles/wars World War II
Waziristan campaign (1936–1939)
Burma Campaign
Indo-Pakistani War of 1965
Awards Hilal-i-Jur'at

Muhammad Ayub Khan (Urdu language: محمد ایوب خان

May 14, 1907 – 19 April 1974) was a five-star general officer and statesman, serving as the second President of Pakistan and its first military dictator from 1958 until his forced resignation in 1969.[1] A self-appointed field marshal,[2] the only such five-star rank in Pakistan's military history, he was appointed the first chief martial law administrator by President Iskander Mirza in 1958, a post he retained until the promulgation of a new constitution in 1962.[3]

After receiving training at Sandhurst, Ayub fought in World War II as a British Indian Army officer. He opted for the new state of Pakistan while stationed in East Pakistan in 1947 at the time of Partition. He was appointed the country's first native commander-in-chief in 1951 by then-Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan,[4] in a controversial promotion over several senior officers. President Mirza's decision to declare martial law in 1958 was supported by Ayub, whom Mirza declared chief martial law administrator.[5] Two weeks later, Ayub deposed Mirza in a bloodless coup and assumed the presidency.[1][5][6] He relinquished the post of army chief to General Musa Khan the same year.[1] Ayub continued his predecessors' policy of a non-aligned alliance with the United States during the Cold War, joining CENTO, and allowing the U.S. and Britain access to facilities inside Pakistan, most notably the airbase outside of Peshawar, from which U-2 intelligence flights over the Soviet Union were launched. He also strengthened military ties with neighboring China, while relations deteriorated with the Soviet Union and India. There was the five-week war in 1965 with India, ending in a United Nations-mandated ceasefire. Domestically, Ayub embraced private-sector industrialization and free-market principles, making the country one of Asia's fastest-growing economies. He built several infrastructure projects, including canals, dams and power stations, began Pakistan's space programme, and gave less priority to nuclear deterrence.[citation needed] Ayub's reign also saw increasing political tensions in East Pakistan.

After defeating Fatima Jinnah in the controversial presidential elections of 1965, Ayub's standing began to slide amid allegations of widespread vote rigging. The war with India the same year concluded with the Tashkent Agreement, which many Pakistanis considered an embarrassing compromise. Demonstrations across the country over rising prices, including those led by Ayub's minister-turned-rival Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, increased dramatically from 1967 onwards. In 1969, Ayub resigned and handed over power to General Yahya Khan, who declared martial law for the second time. Following ill health, Ayub died in 1974. His legacy remains mixed; he is credited with economic prosperity and what supporters dub "the decade of development", but is criticized for beginning the first of the army's incursions into civilian politics, and policies that later led to the Bangladesh crisis.[2]

Early years and personal life

Khan was born on 14 May 1907 in the village of Rehana,[7] in the Haripur District[8] of the North-West Frontier Province of British India (now Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan). It is said that he belonged to the Tareen[9] tribe of Pashtuns[10] (Pathans[8]). He was the first child of the second wife of Mir Dad Khan, who was a Risaldar-Major (senior regimental non-commissioned officer) in Hodson's Horse, a cavalry regiment of the pre-independence Indian Army.

For his basic education, Khan was enrolled in a school in Sarai Saleh, which was about four miles from his village and he commuted to school on a mule's back. Later he was moved to a school in Haripur, where he lived with his grandmother. He enrolled at Aligarh Muslim University in 1922, but did not complete his studies there, as he was accepted into the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.[11] Khan became fluent in Urdu, English and Hindko language, which served as his mother tongue.[12]

Military career


Muhammad Ali Jinnah with GOC East Pakistan Ayub Khan in 1948.

Ayub Khan did well at Sandhurst and was given a commission as Second Lieutenant in the Indian Army on 2 February 1928 and then joined the 1st Battalion of the 14th Punjab Regiment Sherdils, later known as 5th Punjab Regiment. He was promoted to Lieutenant in 1932; a Captain in 1936 and Major in 1940. During the Second World War, he was promoted as a lieutenant-colonel in 1942 and was significantly drafted in British Army to participate on 1942 Burma front. He commanded the 1st Battalion, 14th Punjab Regiment as its commanding officer. In 1945, he was promoted to colonel and assumed the command of his regiment to direct operations on 1945 Burma campaign. He returned to British-controlled North-West Frontier Province and in 1947, he was promoted to one-star rank, a brigadier and commanded a combatant brigade in Waziristan. After the establishment of State of Pakistan, he joined the fledgling Pakistan Army as the 10th ranking senior officer (his Pakistan Army number was PA-010). He was immediately promoted to two-star rank, major-general in 1948. Khan was appointed as GOC of 14th Army Division, stationed in East-Pakistan. In 1949, he was appointed as commander-in-chief of East Pakistan Army, and held responsibility for the ground defence of the entire state. The same year, he was awarded Hilal-i-Jurat (HJ) by Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan for non-combatant service. In November 1949, he briefly returned to Pakistan and posted as adjutant-general at the Army combatant Headquarters (GHQ). In 1951, Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan approved the promotion of Ayub Khan to a three-star rank, a lieutenant-general and elevated as deputy chief of staff of Pakistan Army..


General Ayub Khan arriving to take command of the Pakistan Army in 1951

Prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan approved the relieve papers of General Sir Douglas Gracey on 16 January 1951 after his term was completed. There were three senior general officers in-line of promotion for four-star assignment; first general officer being Major-General Iftikhar Khan while others were Major-Generals Akbar Khan and N.A.M. Raza.[13] Initially, it was General Iftikhar Khan who was promoted to four-star rank and appointed as first native chief of army staff but latter died in an airplane crash en route to his senior officers training in the United Kingdom. The senior most Bengali officer of the Pakistan Army was Major-General Ishfakul Majid and he was senior to Ayub Khan as well.[citation needed] Meanwhile, Defence Secretary Iskandar Mirza played an instrumental role in Ayub's promotion, and convinced Prime Minister Ali Khan to appoint Ayub Khan to four-star rank. His papers of promotion were approved and Ayub Khan landed a four-star appointment on January 17, 1951. With Ayub becoming the chief of staff, it marked the indigenization of the military and ending the transitional role of British Army officers.[14] 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.[15] 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 martial law commander.[16]

Defence Minister

He would later go on to serve in the second cabinet (1954) of Muhammad Ali Bogra as Defence Minister, and when Iskander Mirza declared martial law on 7 October 1958, Ayub Khan was made its chief martial law administrator. Azam Khan (general), Nawab Amir Mohammad Khan and Sandhurst trained General Wajid Ali Khan Burki were instrumental in Ayub Khan's Rise to power. This would be the first of many instances in the history of Pakistan of the military becoming directly involved in politics.

President of Pakistan (1958–1969)

File:Ayub khan at school.jpg

President Ayub Khan and Nawab of Kalabagh with Principal Khan Anwar Sikander Khan.

After the collapse of the Cabinet of Ibrahim Ismail Chundrigar, Feroz Khan Noon formed the Cabinet with the support of Republican Party (Pakistan), Awami League and Krishak Sramik League. Iskander Mirza was bit distressed by this alliance because in next general elections, Suhrawardy and Noon were dreaming about becoming Prime Minister and President respectively. On the other side, in West Pakistan Muslim League had become very popular due to leadership of Khan Abdul Qayyum Khan. These events were against Iskandar Mirza hence he was willing to dissolve even Pakistan's one unit for his advantage . Hence he declared Martial Law on midnight of 7 and 8 October 1958 abrogating the 1956 constitution, Ministers were dismissed, Central and Provincial governments and assemblies were dissolved and he appointed C-in-C (Commander in Chief) General Ayub khan to lead the country with him. Similarly, as a result of his having control of the Pakistan Army, Ayub deposed Mirza on 27 October in a bloodless coup, sending Generals Wajid Burki, Azam, and Sheikh in the middle of the night to pack Mirza off to exile in England. This was actually welcomed in Pakistan, since the nation had experienced a very unstable political climate since independence.

In 1960, he held an indirect referendum of his term in power. Functioning as a kind of electoral college, close to 80,000 recently elected village councilmen were allowed to vote yes or no to the question: "Have you confidence in the President, Field Marshal Mohammed Ayub Khan?" Winning 95.6% of the vote, he used the confirmation as impetus to formalise his new system.

In July 1961, Ayub paid a visit to the United States, accompanied by his daughter Begum Naseem Aurangzeb. 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.[17]

Ayub Khan with Jacqueline Kennedy, wife of then U.S. President John F. Kennedy in 1962.

Move to Presidential republic

Ayub moved to have a constitution created, and this was completed in 1961. A fairly secular person by nature, Ayub Khan's constitution reflected his personal views of politicians and the use of religion in politics.

In 1962, he pushed through a new constitution that while it did give due respect to Islam, it did not declare Islam the state religion of the country. It also provided for election of the President by 80,000 (later raised to 120,000) Basic Democrats—men who could theoretically make their own choice but who were essentially under his control. He justified this as analogous to the Electoral College in the United States and cited Thomas Jefferson as his inspiration. The government "guided" the press though his take over of key opposition papers and, while Ayub permitted a National Assembly, it had only limited powers.

Legal reforms

Ayub Khan introduced the Muslim Family Laws through an Ordinance on 2 March 1961 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 would divorce women by saying "I divorce you" three times. The Arbitration Councils set up under the law in the urban and rural areas were 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 maintenance to the wife and children.[18]

Economic policy

His economical policies were based on the model of capitalism and followed the Free-market economics principles, industrialization that took place in his term is often regarded as "Great Decade" in the history of the country (both economical and political history).[19] 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.[19] This opened up avenues for new job opportunities and thus the economic graph of the country started rising.[19] He also introduced a new curricula and books for schools. Many schools and colleges were constructed during his time. 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 in Karachi was set up, and these reforms led to 15% GNP of the country that was three times greater than that of India. Despite the increase in the GNP the profit and revenue was gained by the 22 families that controlled 66% of the industries and land of the country and 80% of the banking and insurance of Pakistan. The education reforms were steadily improved, and scientific efforts were at the rising level during his years, leading the world-acclaim of Pakistan where his image was regarded more positive.[19] This policy could not followed for a long time after 1965, the economy was collapse and the economical declines which he was unable to control.[19] In 1964, the Planning Commission, Economic minister Muhammad Shoaib, and Foreign minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Ayub Khan chaired a meeting to discuss the economical assessment of the Operation Gibraltar against India.[20] According the Sartaj Aziz, Bhutto had gone on a populist Anti-Indian and Anti-American binge during the meeting. Bhutto succeeded the President on spellbinding the ruling general into thinking he was becoming a world statesman fawned upon by the enemies of the United States.[20] When authorizing the Gibraltar, Deputy Chairman 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".[20] Aziz vetoed the Gibraltar against India, fearing the economical turmoil that would jolted the country's economy, but was rebuffed by his senior bureaucrats.[20] In that meeting Bhutto convinced the President and the Economic minister that India would not attack Pakistan due to Kashmir as a disputed territory, and in Bhutto's mark: "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".[20] This theory proved wrong when India launched a full-scale war against West-Pakistan in 1965.[20] The war with India cost Pakistan an economical price, when Pakistan lost lost the half a billion dollars it had coming from the Consortium for Pakistan through the United States.[20] Ayub Khan could not suffer the aftermath and fall from the presidency after surrendering the presidential power of Army Commander General Yahya Khan in 1969.[20]

Presidential election of 1965

In 1964, Ayub confident in his apparent popularity and seeing deep divisions within the political opposition, called for Presidential elections.

He was however taken by surprise when despite a brief disagreement between the five main opposition parties ( a preference for a former close associate of Ayub Khan, General Azam Khan as candidate was dropped), the joint opposition agreed on supporting the respected and popular Fatima Jinnah, the sister of the founder of Pakistan Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

Despite Jinnah's considerable popularity and public disaffection with Ayub's government,[21] Ayub won with 64% of the vote in a bitterly contested election on 2 January 1965. The election did not conform to international standards and journalists. It is widely held, that the elections were rigged in favour of Ayub Khan using state patronage and intimidation to influence the indirectly elected electoral college. In the aftermath of the elections his son Gohar Ayub was involved in a major clash with opposition activists in their stronghold of Karachi.

Government overview

Field Marshal Ayub Khan in West Germany on 22 January 1961.

As President, Ayub Khan allied Pakistan with the global U.S. military alliance against the Soviet Union. Pakistan developed strong economic, political and strategic ties with the United States. This in turn led to major economic aid from the U.S. and European nations, and the industrial sector of Pakistan grew very rapidly, improving the economy, but the consequences of cartelization included increased inequality in the distribution of wealth. Khan also became concerned about arrogance and bossiness of the US, who strongly criticized Pakistan for building ties with China. Ayub Khan then wrote the book Friends not masters . It was under Ayub Khan that the capital was moved from Karachi to Rawalpindi, in anticipation of the construction of a new capital: Islamabad. In 1960, Khan's government signed 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.[22]

Despite the Indus Waters Treaty, Ayub maintained icy relations with India. He on the advise of his foreign minister established close political and military ties with socialist China, exploiting its differences with Soviet Russia and its 1962 war with India. To this day, China remains a strong economic, political and military ally of Pakistan.

Ayub Khan adopted an energetic approach toward economic development that soon bore fruit in a rising rate of economic growth. Land reform, consolidation of holdings, and stern measures against hoarding were combined with rural credit programs and work programs.

Military and Domestic affairs

Khan's domestic policies had heavy impact on Pakistan Armed Forces, and initially reduced the funding of military forces. His Chief of Army Staff had little interest in the military advancement and was seen lenient towards friendly India. His policies forced to halt the nuclear deterrence and the nuclear energy projects established under the Government of Prime Minister Suhrawardy. The Prime minister established the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) and launched the effective nuclear deterrence under the auspices of Dr. Nazir Ahmad, an experimental physicist. In 1958, when General Ayub Khan seized the office and imposed martial law in Pakistan, he had limited the research facilities of PAEC based on economic grounds. Overall, the nuclear deterrence remained a low priority to Khan and his government repeatedly vetoed the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission's proposal to lead the establishment of national laboratories and the growth of nuclear power plants. Because of Abdus Salam's influence on Ayub Khan, Salam had succeeded into convincing him to personally approve a nuclear power plant— against the wishes of his own military government. However, despite Abdus Salam's efforts, Ayub Khan rejected further proposals made by the Abdus Salam, and the PAEC to set up a nuclear reprocessing plant in 1968.[23]

In 1965, after the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, Pakistan's scientists working at International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) became aware of Indian nuclear programme as they had visited Indian nuclear facilities as part of IAEA inspection teams. Pakistani IAEA scientists quickly notified of Indian development to Foreign Office of Pakistan.[citation needed] On 11 December 1965, Munir Ahmad Khan personally met with Foreign minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto at the Dorchester Hotel in London where Munir Ahmad Khan had Bhutto to came to acknowledged about Indian nuclear programme.[citation needed] Bhutto then quickly managed a meeting with President the same night. At Dorchester Hotel, Ayub Khan had a brief meeting with Munir Ahmad Khan.[citation needed] The two had met in private and alone sensing the sensitivity of this discussion, the doors were remained lock.[citation needed] In this meeting, Munir Ahmad Khan clearly told Ayub Khan that Pakistan must acquire the necessary facilities that would give the country a nuclear deterrent capability, which were available free of safeguards and at an affordable cost.[citation needed] Munir Ahmad Khan also told President Ayub Khan that there were no restrictions on nuclear technology, that it was freely available, and that India and Israel were moving forward in deploying it.[citation needed]

When asked about the economics of such programme, Munir Ahmad Khan estimated the cost of nuclear technology at that time as not more than 150 million dollars.[citation needed] Ayub Khan listened to him very patiently, but at the end of the meeting remained unconvinced.[citation needed] Ayub Khan refused Munir Ahmad Khan's offer and said that Pakistan was too poor to spend that much money.[citation needed] Moreover, if we ever need the bomb, we will buy it off the shelf.[citation needed]

Space programme

In 1961 Abdus Salam succeeded in convincing Khan to lead the establishment of Pakistan's National Space Agency, the Space and Upper Atmosphere Research Commission (SUPARCO) on 16 September 1961. Ayub Khan appointed Abdus Salam as its director, and due to Salam's efforts the National Aeronautics and Space Administration began training Pakistani scientists and engineers in NASA headquarters. Abdus Salam had appointed a noted aeronautical engineer and military scientist, General W. J. M. Turowicz, as Pakistan's Rocket Programme head. General Turowicz's work led Pakistan to develop its own ballistic missile series in the future. General Turowicz had led a series of Rehbar Sounding Rockets fired from Pakistani soil. The military government of Ayub Khan had restricted the space activities in the country, and further denied the proposals of establishing space centers all over the country. Even the Flight Test Center was financed and built by the United States' NASA when Khan had declined to set up the funding programme for SUPARCO.

Foreign policy

Ayub Khan closely allied with the United States and her allies while he publicly criticized the Soviet Union. His first visit to United States took place as he was the Defence Minister as part of the delegation of Prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan, convincing the U.S along with prime minister to provide a military aide to the country.[24] The new defence minister Ayub Khan was obsessed with modernization of the armed forces in shortest possible time saw the relationship with United States the only way to achieve his organizational and personal objectives.[24] In April 1958, Ayub Khan stressed that armed forces are the strongest element, convincing the United States that left-wing sphere will gained the influence if the elections view that if elections were held in the prevailing circumstances, which will not only destabilize Pakistan but will affect U.S. strategic interest.[24] During his presidency, the Central Intelligence Agency's activities grew with a secret intelligence base, Peshawar Air Station, was leased to United States.[24] The government officials, ministers including the military officials of Pakistan Armed Forces were not allowed near the base, and could dare to enter the base. The station and its activities were exposed in 1960, when Soviet Air Defence Forces's S-75 Dvina missile shot down the U-2 Dragon Lady, capturing its pilot near the vicinity.[24] This incident seriously and severely compromised the security of Pakistan, brought the Soviet ire on Pakistan.[24] In all, Khan was knew of the operation, fully aware of what happen in Soviet Union. Khan was in London when U-2 incident took place, notified by the CIA chief station, Khan shrugged his shoulders and said that he had expected this would happen at some point.[24]

In 1959, then-Commerce and Energy minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto wished to visit the station, but was refrained from entering the spy operation's command room.[24] Khan appointed left-wing intellectual Zulfikar Ali Bhutto as the Foreign Minister, but soon forced him to resigned after criticizing the United States.[24]

Indo-Pakistani War of 1965

The turning point in his rule was the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965, and it ended in a settlement reached by Ayub at Tashkent, called the Tashkent Declaration. The settlement was perceived negatively by many Pakistanis and led Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to resign his post and take up opposition to Khan.[25] According to Morrice James, "For them [Pakistanis] Ayub had betrayed the nation and had inexcusably lost face before the Indians."[26] The war also increased opposition in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh) where the Awami League headed by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman sought more autonomy for the province.

Joint Defence Union with India

In 1959, his interest in building defence forces diminished when President Ayub Khan made an offer of joint defence with India during the Sino-Indo clashes in October 1959 in Ladakh, in a move seen as a result of American pressure and lack of understanding of Foreign affairs[27]

Final years in office

In 1969 Ayub Khan opened up negotiations with the opposition alliance - except for Maulana Bhashani and Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. However, under increasing pressure from Bhutto and Bhashani (who allegedly had support for their agitation from elements within the Army) and in violation of his own constitution (which required him to transfer power to the speaker of the Assembly), on 25 March 1969 Ayub handed over control of Pakistan to Commander-in-Chief General Yahya Khan.[4] Yahya Khan had acted as the President's most loyal lieutenant, and had received promotion over seven more-senior generals in 1966 to the army's top post.


In 1971 when war broke out, Ayub Khan was in West Pakistan. He presented himself for fighting in war but government turned him down on account of his age and ill-health. He did not comment on the events of the war. He died on 19 April 1974.


He was opposed to democracy believing like any other dictator that parliamentary democracy was not suited for the people of his country. Like many subsequent military dictators he was contemptuous of politicians and political parties.[4] However, during his early years in office, he sided with the Americans against the Soviets, and in return received aid, which resulted in enormous economic growth.

He subsidized fertilizers and modernized agriculture through irrigation development, spurred industrial growth with liberal tax benefits. In the decade of his rule, gross national product rose by 45% and manufactured goods began to overtake such traditional exports as jute and cotton. It is alleged that his policies were tailored to reward the elite families and the feudal lords. During the fall of his dictatorship, just when the government was celebrating the so-called "Decade of Development", mass protests erupted due an increasingly greater divide between the rich and the poor.

He shunned prestige projects and stressed birth control in a country that has the seventh largest population in the world: 115 million. He dismissed criticism with the comment that if there was no family planning, the time would surely come when "Pakistanis eat Pakistanis." In foreign affairs, he retained his ties to the West and to the United States in particular, allowing the United States to use the Badaber and Peshawar airbase for U-2 flights over the then Soviet Union.


Government corruption and nepotism, in addition to an environment of repression of free speech and political freedoms increased unrest. Criticisms of his sons and family's personal wealth increased, especially 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, reignited the controversy by suggesting that she was assassinated by the Ayub Khan establishment .[28][29][30] Gohar Ayub, it is said led a victory parade right into the heartland of opposition territory in Karachi in a blatantly provocative move and the civil administrations failure to stop the rally led to a fierce clashes between opposing groups with many locals being killed.[31] Gohar Ayub also faced criticisms during that time on questions of family corruption and cronyism through his business links with his father-in-law retired Lt. 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.[32]

Ayub began to lose both power and popularity. On one occasion while visiting East Pakistan there was a failed attempt to assassinate him, though this was not reported in the press of the day.[33]

Ayub was persuaded by underlings to award himself the Nishan-e-Pakistan, Pakistan's highest civil award, on the grounds that to award it to other heads of state he should have it himself and also promoted himself to the rank of field marshal. He was to be Pakistan's first field marshal (and the only 5 star general till date).

Aggravating an already bad situation, with increasing economic disparity in the country under his rule, hoarding and manipulation by major sugar manufacturers resulted in the controlled price of 1 kg sugar to be increased by 1 rupee and the whole population took to the streets.[34] As Ayub's popularity plummeted, he decided in 1969 to give up rule.

Ayub Khan is critiqued for the growth in income inequality 5 million people fell below the poverty line.[35] 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 Bengal continued to feel it was being slighted.[36] Sadaf Farooq from School of Politics and International Relations at University of Reading argued that workers wage fell by 60% during the 60s. Furthermore the on track policy of promoting entrepreneur elite and Industrial cartels to get economic growth generated increasing regional and social tensions. the emergence of business and industrial cartels[37]

Ayub Khan’s eldest son Gohar Ayub Khan was Pakistan's Foreign Minister in the Nawaz Sharif government and his grandson Omar Ayub Khan was briefly Pakistan’s Minister of State for Finance. His daughter Begum Nasim Aurangzeb was married to Miangul Aurangzeb, the Wali of Swat.[38]

See also

  • Line of Succession to President of Pakistan
  • List of Pakistani heads of state or government
  • Politics of Pakistan
  • Prime Minister of Pakistan


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  30. "Fatima Jinnah | Mother Of Nation (Mader-e Millat) @ Pakistan Herald". Retrieved 2012-12-09. 
  31. (Mazari 1999)
  32. (Pick April 1969)
  33. Hassan Abbas (2004). Pakistan's Drift Into Extremism: Allah, the Army, and America's War on Terror. M.E. Sharpe. ISBN 0-7656-1497-9. , pp53
  34. "Comrade Stalin and the sugar question by Ayaz Amir May 26, 2006". 26 May 2006. Retrieved 29 April 2010. [dead link]
  35. "Growth, poverty & politics". 2004-08-31. Retrieved 2012-12-09. 
  36. "Pakistan-THE AYUB KHAN ERA". Retrieved 2012-12-09. 
  37. "Mirza says PTI’s rally an indicator of change". 2011-11-04. Retrieved 2012-12-09. 
  38. "Photo Archive: Ayub Khan visits the US (1961)". The Friday Times. 16 September 2011. Retrieved 19 September 2011. 

Further reading

  • Diaries of Field Marshal Mohammad Ayub Khan, 1966–1972 Mohammad Ayub Khan, Oxford University Press
  • Khan, Muhammad Ayub, "Friends Not Masters", Oxford University Press, 1967
  • Cloughley, Brian, "A History of the Pakistan Army" Oxford University Press, third edition 2006, Chapter 2, "Ayub Khan, Adjutant General to President."

External links

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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