General Ayub Khan – Inception of Military Overlords in Pakistan
Field Marshall General Ayyub Khan was a four-star military general, who assumed power through a coup d’état in 1958 and served as the 2nd President of Pakistan. He remained in power for 11 years until his forced resignation in 1969. His tenure is known as the “Decade of Development” owing to the policies followed by the Ayyub Regime. The other highlight of this era is the “Indo-Pak war of 1965”.
General Ayyub Khan came into the limelight of politics when he was inducted into the federal cabinet of Prime Minister Muhammad Ali Bogra in 1954 as the Defense Minister. Sometime later in 1958, The then President Iskander Mirza declared Martial law in 1958 and Ayyub Khan was sworn in as the Chief Martial Law Administrator. It was a bloodless coup and the general population welcomed these turn of events. Thus Ayyub Khan started his reign as a dictator, welcomed by the people frustrated by the unstable political situation of Pakistan at the time.
The Progressive Leader
After the takeover of the country, he took measures to eliminate corruption and other social and economic evils. Ayyub’s era is also known as “The Era of Industrialization”. The private sector was encouraged resulting in the establishment of “Small/Medium Enterprises”. Educational reforms were also introduced to raise the standard of education the public to meet the future demands of the country. Land reforms were also introduced but they somewhat failed due to some problems with implementation. The capital of the country was decided to be shifted from Karachi to Islamabad. In 1962, the capital was formally shifted.
Not everything was roses
Besides the progress and development in the country, Ayyub’s era saw an increase in the divide between the income of the economic classes of the country. Another mistake, more precisely, a blunder was committed in the form of the negligence of the deteriorating political and economic conditions in East Pakistan, which eventually lead to the fall of Dhaka in 1971, though after Ayyub’s tenure.
The Fall of a Titan
Matters of the country, as a whole, were going fine till the war of 1965. Though Pakistan emerged victorious on the battlefield although it triggered an economic deterioration. Moreover, Ayyub Khan was seriously criticized for signing the Tashkent Declaration. Towards the end of 1968, public hatred was at its peak towards the Ayyub regime. Anti-Ayyub protests and demonstrations swept throughout the country which further deteriorated the situation leading to the breakdown of Law and Order situation in the country. All this resulted in the resignation of Ayyub Khan on March 25, 1969.
Author: Waqar Younis Peerzada