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For the name, see Ayub Khan.

Ayub Khan
ایوب خان

Ayub Khan (1907–74)

2nd President of Pakistan
In office
27 October 1958 – 25 March 1969
Preceded byIskander Mirza
Succeeded byYahya Khan
Minister of Defence
In office
28 October 1958 – 21 October 1966
DeputyDefence Secretaries

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
Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistan Army
In office
16 January 1951 – 26 October 1958
DeputyChief of General Staff
Preceded byGen. Douglas Gracey
Succeeded byGen. Musa Khan
President of Pakistan Muslim League
In office
Preceded byI.I. Chundrigar
Succeeded byNurul Amin
Personal details
BornMuhammad Ayub Khan
(1907-05-14)14 May 1907
Rehana, Haripur District in North-West Frontier Province, British India
(now in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan)
Died19 April 1974(1974-04-19) (aged 66)
Islamabad, Pakistan
Cause of deathCardiac arrest
Resting placeRehana, Haripur, KPK
CitizenshipBritish India
ChildrenGohar, and Nasim
CabinetMinistry of Talents
Civilian awardsNishan-i-Pakistan
Order of the Crown
Military service
Service/branch British Indian Army
 Pakistan Army
Years of service1928–58
RankField Marshal
(General of the Army)
Unit19/14thPunjab Regiment
CommandsAdjutant-General, Army GHQ
GOC-in-C, Eastern Command, Dacca
GOC14th Infantry Division, Dacca

War in Waziristan (1936–39)
World War II

Military awardsHilal-e-Jurat

Ayub Khan, HPk, NPk, HJ, MBE, (Urdu: محمد ایوب خان‬‎; 14 May 1907 – 19 April 1974) was a Pakistani military dictator who was the first and only Field Marshal of Pakistan and later second President. The first martial law ruler of the country, he forcibly assumed the presidency following the exile of President Iskander Mirza when the latter imposed martial law against the Feroz Khan Noon government in 1958. He ruled from 1958 until being forced to resign amid the 1969 uprising in East Pakistan.[1]

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

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

In 1965, Ayub Khan entered in a presidential race as PML candidate to counter the popular and famed non-partisanFatima Jinnah and controversially reelected for the 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 many Pakistanis considered an embarrassing compromise. In 1967, he was widely disapproved when the demonstrations across the country were led by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto over the price hikes of food consumer products and, dramatically fell amid the popular uprising in East led by Mujibur Rahman in 1969. Forced to 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 corrupt wealth in a few hands, and segregated policies that later led to the breaking-up of nation's unity that resulted in the creation of Bangladesh.[8][9]

Early years and personal life[edit]

Ayub Khan was born on 14 May 1907 in Rehana, a village in Haripur District in Hazara region[10][11] of then North-West Frontier Province (now Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa, Pakistan). He hailed from the Tareen. His parentes migrated from Pishin District near to Quetta to haripur.[12][13][14][15] tribe of ethnic Pashtuns settled in Hazara region.[16]

He was the first child of the second wife of Mir Dad, a Risaldar-Major (a regimental JCO which was then known as VCO) in the 9th Hodson's Horse which was a cavalry regiment of the British Indian Army.[citation needed] For his basic education, he was enrolled in a school in Sarai Saleh, which was about 4 miles from his village.[citation needed] 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.[citation needed]

He went on to study at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) and :146[17] while pursuing his college education, he was accepted into the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst by the recommendation of General Andrew Skeen; he did not complete his degree and departed for Great Britain.:147[17][18] Ayub Khan was fluent in Urdu, English and his regional Hindko dialect as well as Pashto.[19][20]

Military career[edit]

According to some accounts, Ayub Khan's performance at the Sandhurst Military Academy in the United Kingdom was good, earning him awards and scholarships.:124–125[21] 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 — it is now known as the 5th battalion of the Punjab Regiment of Pakistan Army.:125[21][22] Amongst those who passed out with him was the future chief of army staff of the Indian Army, General J. N. Chaudhri who served as chief when 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 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 first phase of Burma Front in 1942–43.:87–88[27] He was promoted to the permanent rank of Major on 2 February 1945.[28] 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 on second phase of Burma Front; however he was soon suspended without pay from that command temporarily for visible cowardice under fire.[29]

In 1946, he was posted back to the British India and was stationed in the North-West Frontier Province. In 1947, he was promoted to a one-star rank, Brigadier, and commanded a Brigade in mountainous South Waziristan.:87[27] When the United Kingdom announced the partition British India into India and Pakistan, he was one of the most senior serving officers in the British Indian Army who decided to opt for Pakistan in 1947.:125[21]:87[27] 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.[30]:94

In the early part of 1948, he was given the commanded of the 14th Infantry Division as its GOC, (still ranked Brigadier) stationed in Dacca, East-Pakistan.[30]:94 In 1949, he was appointed as army commander of Eastern Command[citation needed] and decorated with the Hilal-i-Jurat (HJ) by Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan for non-combatant service and called back to Army GHQ as an adjutant-general on November of same year.[citation needed]


Further information: Commander-in-Chief (Pakistan Army)

Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan approved the relief papers of Lieutenant GeneralSir Douglas Gracey on 16 January 1951 after his term was completed.[31] The Pakistan government already called for appointing native commanders-in-chief of army, air force, navy and dismissed deputation appointments from the British military.:82[32]:30[33] The Army GHQ sent the nomination papers to Prime Minister's Secretariat for the appointment of commander-in-chief.[31] There were four-senior officers in the race: Major-GeneralMuhammed 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.[34]

Initially, it was Iftikhar Khan (commissioned in 1929) who was selected to be appointed as 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.[31] All three remaining generals were bypassed including the recommended senior-most Major-General Akbar Khan and Major-General Ishfakul Majid (commissioned in 1924).[31]

The Defence SecretaryIskandar 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, service number: PA-010) to the post despite the fact that his name was not included in the nomination list.[31] Ayub's papers of promotion were controversially approved and he was appointed as the first native Commander in Chief of Pakistan Army with a promotion to four-star rank, a full general, on 17 January 1951 by Prime Minister Ali Khan.:34[30]

Ayub's becoming the army chief marked a change in the military tradition of preferring native Pakistanis; it ended the transitional role of British military officers.[35] Although the Pakistani government announced the appointment of navy's native commander in chief in 1951, it was Ayub Khan who helped Vice-AdmiralM.S. Choudhri to be appointed as first native navy's commander in chief, also in 1953.:82[32]:93–94[36] 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.[37] 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.[38] British military traditions were only kept in the air force due to a British commander and major staff consisting of Royal Air Force officers.[38]

In 1953, Ayub went on his first foreign visit Turkey as an army c-in-c, and was said to be impressed with Turkish military tradition; he met only with Turkish Defence minister during his visit.:26[39] Thereafter, he went to the United States and visited the US State Department and Pentagon to lobby for forging military relations.:26[39] He termed this visit as "medical visit" but made a strong plea for military aid which was not considered due to India's opposition.:27[39]

Three months before the end of his tenure as commander-in-chief of the army, Ayub Khan deposed his mentor, Iskandar Mirza, Pakistan's president, in a military coup – after Mirza had declared martial law and made Ayub Khan the chief martial law administrator.[40]

Cabinet and Defence Minister[edit]

Further information: One Unit and Interservice rivalry

In 1954, Prime Minister Muhammad Ali Bogra's relations with the military and Governor-GeneralGhulam Muhammad deteriorated on issues of the economy.:191[41] Pressure had been built up to reconstruct the Cabinet which eventually witnessed with Lieutenant-General Ayub Khan becoming the Defence Minister and Iskander Mirza as Home Minister in 1954.:192[41]:124[42]

On 24 February 1954, he signed the Central Treaty Organization (CENTO) and, together with Mirza, their role in the national politics began to grow.:192–193[41] In 1954, the work on controversial program, the One Unit, began which would integrate the four provinces into one united political entity, known as West-Pakistan, as a counterbalance to East-Pakistan.[43] Despite opposition from the ethnic parties and public in general, the program was launched by Prime Minister Bogra.[43] In 1955, Prime Minister Bogra was dismissed by Governor-GeneralMuhammad and he was succeeded by the new Prime Minister Muhammad Ali as the Defence Minister.[43]

As an after of general elections in 1954 in East, the Awami League formed the government in East while the West was governed by the PML, but the PML government collapse soon after in West in 1956.[43] 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 firstPresident of the country after the successful promulgation of Constitution in 1956.[43] In 1957, President Mirza renewed his extension to serve as an army chief of staff.[44][not in citation given]

Around this time, the MoD led by General Ayub Khan began to see the serious interservice rivalry between the Army GHQ staff and the Navy NHQ staff.:381–382[45]Commander in Chief of Navy Vice-Admiral M. S. Choudri and his NHQ staff had been fighting with the Finance ministry and the MoD over the issues of rearmament and contingency plans.:381–382[45] Meanwhile, he continued to serve with Prime Minister Chundrigar and Feroz Noon's government as Defence Minister, and his resentment towards civilian politicians grew.[43]

In 1958, he chaired the Joint Chiefs of Staff meeting where he became involved with heated discussion with Admiral M. S. Choudri.[46] 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."[47] The impasse was broke with Admiral Choudhri resigning from the Navy in protest as result of having differences with Navy's plans of expansion and modernization.:381[36][45]:94 In 1958, Vice-Admiral Afzal Rahman Khan, who was known to be confident of General Ayub Khan, was appointed as naval chief by President Mirza.:104[48]


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

This new alliance nearly threatened President Iskander Mirza because Suhrawardy and Feroz were now initially campaigning to become Prime Minister and President in the next general elections to be held.:49[49] The conservative Pakistan Muslim League, led under its President A.Q. Khan, was also gaining momentum in West Pakistan and threatened for the Dharna movement.:83[48] These events were against President Mirza hence he was willing to dissolve even Pakistan's One Unit for his advantage.[3]

On the midnight of 7 and 8 October 1958, President Mirza ordered a mass mobilization of Pakistan Armed Forces and abrogated the Constitution after sending a letter to Prime Minister Feroze and the Constituent Assembly about the coup d'état.:83[48] Most of the politicians became only aware of coup the next morning; only the U.S. AmbassadorJames Langley was kept aware of the political development in the country.:83[48] President Mirza appointed General Ayub as its chief martial law administrator (CMLA) to enforce the martial law in both exclave–West and East Pakistan.:157–158[50] However, President Mirza soon realized his mistake by making Ayub as the CMLA and repented his actions in news media about the delicate position he had gotten himself into.[51] He regretted his decision and said: "I did not mean to do it," while offering assurances that the martial law would be for the shortest possible duration.[51] 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.[51] Such actions were not implemented due to Ayub Khan's protest against this attempt and briefly complained about Mirza's "high hand" methods.:149–150[52] 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.:149–150[52] Informed of President Mirza's chicanery, Ayub dispatched the military unit to enter in presidential palace on the midnight of 26–27 October 1958 and placed him in a place to exile in to England.[53] Subsequently, Admiral A. R. Khan and four army and air force generals: Azam, Amir, Wajid, and Asghar Khan were instrumental in Ayub Khan's rise to power.:104[48]

Ouster of President Mirza was welcomed at public circles, Air MarshalAsghar Khan, the air force chief backed the actions for the martial law enforcement.:104[48][51] He relieved the army command and appointed General Muhammad Musa as the new army chief while he promoted himself to the five-star rank, Field Marshal– a rank that many of his critics said that he never deserved.:22[54][55]

In 1960, a referendum, that functioned as Electoral College, was held that asked the general public:"Do you have confidence in Muhammad Ayub Khan?".[55] The voter turnout was recorded at 95.6% and such confirmation was used as impetus to formalise the new system– a presidential system.[55] Ayub Khan was elected president for next five years and decided to pay his first state visit to United States with his wife and daughter Begum Naseem Aurangzeb in July 1961.[55] 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.[56]

Constitutional and legal reforms[edit]

Further information: Constitution of Pakistan of 1962

A Constitutional Commission was set-up under the Supreme Court to implement the work on the Constitution that was led by Chief JusticeMuhammad Shahabuddin and Supreme Court justices.[57] The Commission reported in 1961 with its recommendations but President Ayub remained unsatisfied; he eventually altered the constitution that was entirely different from the one recommended by the Shahabuddin Commission.[57] The Constitution reflected his personal views of politicians and the restriction of using religions in politics.[57] His presidency restored the writ of government through the his promulgated constitution and lifted the martial law enforced since 1958 that had banned the political freedom.[57]

The new Constitution respected Islam but did not declare Islam as state religion and was viewed as a liberal constitution.[57] 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.[57] He justified this as analogous to the American Electoral College and cited Thomas Jefferson as his inspiration.:75[58] 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.[57]

On 2 March 1961, he passed and signed the "Muslim Family Laws" bill through the ordinance under which unmitigated polygamy was abolished, consent of the current wife was made mandatory for a second marriage, brakes were also placed on the practice of instant divorce where men could divorce women by saying:"I divorce you" three times under Islamic tradition.:203–204;205[59]

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.[60]

Economy and infrastructure[edit]

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.[44] 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).[44] 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.[44] This opened up avenues for new job opportunities and thus the economic graph of the country started rising.[44] He oversaw the development and completion of mega projects such as hydroelectric dams, power stations, and barrages in all over the country.:81[61] During 1960–66, the annual GDP growth was recorded at 6.8%.:304[62]

Several energy conservation programs were completed such as World's one of the largest dam, the Mangla Dam and several small dams and water reservoirs in West Pakistan while completing one dam in East Pakistan: Kaptai Dam.:85[61] Plans toward harnessing energy from nuclear sources were authorized by President Ayub against the wishes of his own administration over the cost of nuclear power plants.:54[63] Initially, there were two nuclear power plants to be established in the country: one was in Karachi and the second one in Dhaka.:54[63] It was Dr. Abdus Salam who had personally approved the project in Karachi against the wishes of his own government, while the project in East was never materialized.[64]

Extensive education reforms were supposedly carried out and 'scientific development efforts' also supposedly made during his years.[44] These supposed policies could not be sustained after 1965, and the economy collapsed and led to the economic declines which he was unable to control.[65][66]

He also introduced a new curricula and textbooks for universities and schools after building many public-sector universities and schools were built during his era.:183[67] He also introduced agricultural reforms according to which no one could occupy land less than 12.5 acres (500 irrigated land and 1000 unirrigated.) An oil refinery was established in Karachi, and these reforms led to 15% GNP growth of the country that was three times greater than that of India.[44] 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.[44]

Defence spending[edit]

During his era, the Navy was able to induct submarines and slowly modified itself in terms of acquisitions of warships.

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

Essay on the Importance of National Unity and Strength

National unity is the first and foremost necessity of peaceful and prosperous country. No one can deny the fact that unity is safety. Disunity results in fall of the countries. There are many examples in the history of the world when due to lack of national unity there have been internal as well as external dangers to the security and survival of countries. In our history also, we lost East Pakistan due to lack of national unity.

The present situation of national unity is not very bright and encouraging. We are the worst victims of disunity. Our religion gave the message of unity and love to the whole human race but we have turned the tables. We have become totally disunited. We have developed different political groups, caste system and even religious sects. These trends have proved and are still proving to be very costly. We are inwardly as well as outwardly in danger. Our enemies are within and outside the country. Often the newspapers reflect this disunity. We have lost one part of the country. One of our neighbors is a constant danger for us but still we have not learnt any lesson from our past mistakes.

There is no doubt that Pakistan is passing through the most critical period of its history. The terrorism, sectarianism, corruption, political unrest and economic crisis are causing a threat to its solidarity. To make Pakistan powerful and prosperous national unity is a must. Only our national unity can promise our safety. Therefore, in order to live a happy and secure life. We should try to uproot all the differences. All the clashes and all the obstacles that are there. On the other hand, Pakistan is an Islamic republic and our religion Islam teaches us unity and co-operation. Islam is a religion of unity and fraternity. So, if we make Pakistan a true Islamic state that will unite us more strongly and more easily than any other way.

Here are suggestion to improve national unity.

  • Act upon Islamic rules and make Pakistan an ideal Islamic state.
  • Media i.e. T.V, radio and newspaper should play their vital positive role in promotion national unity.
  • Educational system especially syllabus on all levels should be based on national unity.
  • Students are leaders of future. There should be seminars in educational institutions for improving national unity.
  • Every citizen should play his part and realize his basic responsibility in serving the nation.


In the end we can say that we do not have ideal national unity. But if both the Government and the public make sincere efforts we can make Pakistan an ideal Islamic State, a powerful and prosperous country and above all a model to be followed and envied by others.

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Importance of National Unity and Strength

Importance of National Unity


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