Ayub Khan-Military Career-Martial law-Basic Democracy-Mujeeb’s Rebellion

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Ayub Khan

President Muhammad Ayub Khan (1958-1969)

Ayub Khan was born on May 14, 1907, in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and died on April 19, 1974, in Islamabad, Pakistan. He served as Pakistan’s president from 1958 to 1969, a crucial phase in the nation’s modern growth. Ayub Khan rose quickly through the ranks of the political establishment. In the Ayub Khan era Pakistan got a lot of military and economic support from the United States. 

Early Background

As a child, Ayub Khan lived in Rehana, then in Pakistan’s North-West Frontier Province. He was the first child of Mir Dad’s second wife, 

After study at Aligarh Muslim University (AMU), General Andrew recommended him for admission to the Royal Military College at Sandhurst; he did not complete his degree at AMU and departed for the United Kingdom. Ayub Khan was fluent in Urdu, English, and in Hindko.

Military Career

Basic democracy system

Ayub khan martial law

Ayub Khan was commissioned as an officer in the British Indian army after studying at Aligarh Muslim University in Uttar Pradesh, India, and then British Royal Military College at Sandhurst (1928). Ayub Khan’s military career was not very distinguished.

When the Second World War broke out, he served in Burmese army and commanded an Indian battalion. From major general (1948) to commander-in-chief (1949), he rose quickly in the Pakistani army after the 1947 partition of British India. On top of that, Ayub briefly served as Minister of Defense in 1954.

Ayub khan martial law

Ayub Khan

Iskander Mirza and Ayub Khan

Ayub khan imposed the Martial law of 1958 in Pakistan with Iskander Mirza and on 27-October-1958 he took over the whole Country.  

President Iskander Mirza suspended the constitution and named Ayub as chief martial law administrator of Pakistan in 1958, following several years of political turbulence in that country. After the Martial law Ayub declared himself president and started to govern the whole Pakistan.The Ayub khan martial law ended in 1969. Under Ayub’s leadership the administration was restructured and the economy was revived through agrarian reforms and industrial stimulus. In his era  domestic investment, foreign investment increased rapidly. 

Basic Democracy System by Ayub Khan

This system of “basic democracies” was introduced by Ayub in 1960. To maintain communication between the administration and the people, a network of local self-governing bodies was created. Under Basic democracy system to manage local issues, primary governing units were established, whose members were elected by constituencies of 800–1,000 individuals. 

Ayub was confirmed as president by a countrywide referendum among all those elected members. A united opposition led by Fatima Jinnah (sister of Pakistan’s founder Mohammed Ali Jinnah) challenged him in 1965election but he was reelected as president in the 1965 election

Ayub khan reforms and Policies

Ayub Khan made different policies and reforms in his presidency. Here are some policies and reforms  of Ayub khan mentioned below:

  • Monetary/Economic Policy (1958-1959)

In his era different Monetary and Economic Policies were introduced in the country.  These policies really helped in the country’s growth. The central government was responsible for economic policy formulation, implementation, and administration. Taxation, Investment, money supply, and the redistribution of wealth was closely monitored by the government. 

During the years 1959-60, the economy began to liberalize and a large amount of foreign capital began to come into the country. The Export Bonus Scheme was introduced as a gradual liberalization of import policy. Government encouraged the private sector to build industries. Government began granting generous concessions, which led to an expansion in the country’s money supply.

  • Five Year Plan 

In the Five year Plan Government gave special attention to Agriculture, heavy industrial development, and science.  As a result of this plan, Pakistan’s income rose by 20%, and agriculture’s growth rate increased from 1.43 to 5.1 percent.

For the liberalization of the economy and introduction of export-import policy many other initiatives were also introduced. 

  • The first plan was from the year of (1955-60). It included the monetary extension of Rs. 1.96 billion.
  • The second-year plan was from the years of (1960-65). It included the monetary extension of Rs. 2.80 billion. 

Private and public sector bank credit grew to Rs. 1.62 billion in the first plan period, and reached Rs. 4.77 billion in the second plan period.

  • Agriculture Sector Policy

Ayub khan reforms

     Green Revolution by Ayub khan reforms

Ayub Khan’s regime was notable for reversing the agricultural sector. A series of improvements in Pakistan’s agriculture sector has made it more competitive. To boost irrigation water supply and the amount of cultivated area, rural infrastructure was improved. 

Agriculture developed at a rate of 3.7 percent between 1959 and 1964, and then by 6.3 percent between 1965 and the 1970s. The agricultural recovery was aided by the following two factors:

  • Rice and wheat varieties with higher yields were introduced. It is known as the Green Revolution.
  • The mechanization and spread of technology in agricultural products like, improved seeds, tubewell irrigation, and the use of improved technology machinery.
  • Industrial Sector Policy

Ayub’s administration prioritized (give importance) the rapid economic growth and the development of Pakistan’s industrial capabilities. He removed administrative constraints and ensured price stability to create a macroeconomic environment suitable for private investment.

The new industrial policy was proclaimed by the government in February 1959. To help small and medium-sized businesses, a lot of focus was placed on utilizing the raw materials available in the country.

To promote industrialization, the following measures were taken:

  • Creation of a private investment information and guidance agency
  • Business Parks for Industrial Trading
  • Encouragement of private enterprises through price controls 
  • Introduction of Investment Promotion Bureau
  • Financial and Development Corporations
  • Ayub Khan Foreign Policy

Ayub khan martial law

 Ayub Khan on Foreign tour

During Ayub Khan’s time, Pakistan’s security and growth, as well as its philosophy, were the primary goals. When it came to the United States, Ayub Khan made it clear that he preferred friendship over subjugation, and that he was willing to make tough concessions to get more for Pakistan.

Early issues of the Ayub Khan Era

The deliberate restriction of salaries was a detrimental aspect of Ayub’s industry and trade policies. Despite progress in industry diversification and export performance, Ayub Khan’s plans had several flaws.

  • Pakistan’s industry was considered unusable by high levels of effective protection, as proven by several international studies.
  • Tariffs and quotas in Pakistan were not precisely arranged, unlike in other countries.
  • Due to an increase in imports of machinery and other industrial raw materials, industrialization resulted in a deteriorating balance of payment account.

Some others are:

  • Rejection of strict laws of Dictatorship
  • Unbalance diplomatic policies
  • Lack of weapons and technology
  • Social Disparities
  • Crisis of sugar
  • Failure of import policies
  • Hatred of east Pakistan

Failures of Ayub Khan Era

  • Economic policy was affected by the Indian invasion in 1965. 
  • 1966-67 had a slowdown in economic growth to 3.1 percent, the slowest pace in the decade ending 1969-70.
  • There was a considerable increase in import payments due to the rise in fertilizer and edible oil costs
  • Basic Democracy (BD) is a system that restricts voting rights for adults.
  • The provinces of West Pakistan were not satisfied with one unit.

Mujeeb’s Rebellious Behavior:

Despite his military powers, General Ayub Khan made several faults in this whole matter. During the 1965 Indo-Pak War, East Pakistanis complained that West Pakistan had abandoned them to the merciless Indian army. This shattered their trust in the armed forces and government. Sheikh Mujeeb met multiple times with Indian top officials and intelligence agents in London during that time, but Ayub Khan did not take any action against him.


 General Yahya Khan, commander in chief of the army, succeeded him after he resigned on March 26, 1969. On 19- April 1974 he died by Heart Attack 

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