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Muhammad Ayub Khan Regime

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  • 1. MUHAMMAD AYUB KHAN REGIMEINRODUCTION:In 1999, Sherbaz Khan Mazari wrote his memoir - Pakistan: A Journey toDisillusionment. Starting from Mazaris early years in opposition to the Ayub Khangovernment, and moving through the Bhutto and Zia periods, the book makesinteresting revelations about the leading political players and the events of thoseturbulent times. His description of Pakistans journey to disillusionment is touchinglyaccurate. Superbly researched, written and annotated. The book is dedicated to thepeople of Pakistan - leaderless and betrayed. Mazaris best-selling autobiography –Journey to Disillusionment is an insiders first-hand expose of the complete failureand corruption of governance in Pakistan since independence and a painfully starkreminder that among the ills that plague the country, political venality stands tallest andstarkest. Mazari adds to the mountainous pile of incriminating evidence corroboratingthe old maxim, Politics is the last refuge of the scoundrel.EXPLANATION:Muhammad Ayub Khan was a five-star general and a politician, serving asthe second President of Pakistan as well as its first military dictator from 1958 until hisforced resignation on 1969.In January 1951, Ayub Khan succeeded General SirDouglas Gracey as commander in chief of the Pakistan Army, becoming the firstPakistani in that position. Ayub Khan probably was selected because of his reputationas an able administrator, his presumed lack of political ambition, and his lack ofpowerful group backing. Coming from a humble family of an obscure Pakhtun tribe,Ayub Khan also lacked affiliation with major internal power blocks and was, therefore,acceptable to all elements.Within a short time of his promotion, however, Ayub Khan had become a powerfulpolitical figure. As army commander in chief and for a time as minister of defense in1954, Ayub Khan was empowered to veto virtually any government policy that he feltwas inimical to the interests of the armed forces.By 1958 Ayub Khan and his fellow officers decided to turn out the "inefficient andrascally" politicians--a task easily accomplished without bloodshed. Iskander Mirza wasthe first President of Pakistan, serving from 1956 until being forced out from thepresidency in 1958. Iskander Mirza declared Martial Law on midnight of 7 and 8October 1958 abrogating the 1956 constitution. President Mirzas decision todeclare martial law in 1958 was supported by Ayub, whom Mirza declared chief martiallaw administrator. Two weeks later, Ayub deposed Mirza in a bloodless coup andassumed the presidency. He thereafter relinquished the post of army chief toGeneral Musa Khan the same year. Ayub subsequently assumed presidential powers in1960; he was elected to a five-year term. In 1964, Ayub confident in his apparentpopularity and seeing deep divisions within the political opposition, called forPresidential elections. After defeating Fatima Jinnah in the controversial presidential
  • 2. elections of 1965, Ayubs standing began to slide amid allegations of widespread voterigging.Ayub Khan used two main approaches to governing in his first few years. Heconcentrated on consolidating power and intimidating the opposition. He also aimed toestablish the groundwork for future stability through altering the economic, legal, andconstitutional institutions. He was the same Ayub Khan who was pointed as the head ofPunjab Boundary Force in August 1947, to look after the safe migration of Muslims fromIndia to Pakistan. But he didn‟t fulfill his duties and remain drunk and the historypainfully saw the massacres of Muslim men, women and children and rape of Muslimwomen on the cost of “Bottle of vine”.President Ayub ruled Pakistan for a little more than ten years. During his regimePakistan had undergone some achievements but there had been a lot of unsolvedstructural problems also which account for his era. In a brief context Ayub‟s era didn‟teliminate the basic problems of the society in Pakistan. The major aspects of Ayub‟s eracan be discussed as follows: Before Ayub‟s era country was smarting under the shadows of dark forces on the political horizon. In this scenario Ayub‟s regime didn‟t bring any hope of freedom but the order and discipline, characteristic of all Martial Law regimes. After abrogating the constitution of 1956, the press & Publication ordination 1960 was employed to clip the wings of criticism of the regime. The commission, appointed by Ayub to design the political frame work for the future, proposed a presidential form of government and Basic Democracy found no place in the future democratic process. And the recommendations were neglected by the regime. The constitution formed under the guidance of Ayub Khan removed the word „Islamic‟ and declared that Pakistan will be a republic under the name of „Republic of Pakistan”, which was lately rectified as „Islamic Republic of Pakistan‟ through first amendment. In a nut shell the president had acquired the completely free hand in the management of the affairs of the state in the light of his own experience. Ayub introduced a new political system, known as the Basic Democracies, in 1959. It created a four-tiered system. Each tier was assigned certain responsibilities in local administration of agricultural and community development, such as maintenance of elementary schools, public roads, and bridges. All the councils at the tehsil, zilla, and division levels were indirectly elected. The lowest tier, on the village level, consisted of union councils. Members of the union councils were the only members of any tier who were directly elected. Ayub‟s regime also increased developmental funds to East Pakistan more than threefold. This had a noticeable effect on the economy of the province, but the disparity between the two wings of Pakistan was not eliminated. His regime also initiated land reforms designed to reduce the political power of the landed aristocracy.
  • 3. Ayub also promulgated a progressive Islamic law, the Muslim Family Laws Ordinance of 1961, imposing restrictions on polygamy and divorce and reinforcing the inheritance rights of women and minors. In 1959, soon after taking office, Ayub ordered the planning and construction of a new national capital, to replace Karachi. The chosen location of the new capital in the province of Punjab was close to the military headquarters of Rawalpindi, which served as an interim capital. Islamabad officially became the new capital in 1967, although construction continued into the 1970s. The first election under the constitution of 1962 were on non part basis, however, the political parties were revived in the second election which were held in 1965. Ms. Fatima Jinnah was the presidential candidate of Combined Opposition parties (COP). Ayub khan won the election but the results were disputed and COP demanded that direct election should be substituted for indirect elections. Ayub was skillful in maintaining cordial relations with the United States, stimulating substantial economic and military aid to Pakistan. But unfortunately the war of 1965 brought a sense of defenselessness and deprivation among the people of East Pakistan. And after that The East Pakistan demanded for autonomy under the presentation of six points. In 1969 a mass movement spread by People‟s Party in West Pakistan and by Awami League in East Pakistan destabilized Ayub‟s regime and on March 25 1965 Ayub resigned from his office and handed over the charge to Commander in Chief of the Army General Yahya Khan, instead of the speaker of the national assembly, hence violated himself in „self assumed Constitution‟.Ayub Khans legacy is mixed. He was opposed to democracy believing like any otherdictator that parliamentary democracy was not suited for the people of his country. Likemany subsequent military dictators he was contemptuous of politicians and politicalparties. He sided with the Americans against the Soviets, and in return received aid,which resulted in enormous economic growth. He subsidized fertilizers and modernizedagriculture through irrigation development, spurred industrial growth with liberal taxbenefits. In the decade of his rule, gross national product rose by 45%. It is alleged thathis policies were tailored to reward the elite families and the feudal lords. During the fallof his dictatorship mass protests erupted due an increasingly greater divide between therich and the poor. He shunned prestige projects and stressed birth control in a countrythat has the seventh largest population in the world: 115 million. He dismissed criticismwith the comment that if there was no family planning, the time would surely come when"Pakistanis eat Pakistanis."Government corruption and nepotism, in addition to an environment of repression offree speech and political freedoms increased unrest. Criticisms of his sons and familyspersonal wealth increased especially his sons actions after his fathers election in theallegedly rigged 1965 Presidential elections against Fatima Jinnah is a subject ofcriticism by many writers.Ayub began to lose both power and popularity. Workers wage fell by 60% during the60s. Furthermore the on track policy of promoting entrepreneur elite and Industrialcartels to get economic growth generated increasing regional and social tensions. Ayub
  • 4. Khan is critiqued for the growth in income inequality 5 million people fell below thepoverty line. He is also blamed for not doing enough to tackle the significant economicdisparity between East and West Pakistan. Whilst he was aware of the acutegrievances of East Pakistan he did try to address the situation. On one occasion, whilevisiting East Pakistan, there was a failed attempt to assassinate him, though this wasnot reported in the press of the day. As Ayubs popularity plummeted, he decided in1969 to give up rule.CONCLUSION:A Journey to Disillusionment is not a book which is crying out for a judgment, for thesimple reason that it passes none itself. True that it unreservedly indicts Ayub, Bhuttoand Zia as megalomaniacs who neither had the time or inclination to spare a thought forthe country they aspired to lead. Mazari makes it pretty clear that the actions of virtuallyall Pakistans leaders have engendered a great deal of contempt for the ideals ofdemocracy. In Pakistan, politics is something entered into not because one has ideals,but simply to be in a position to dispense largesse. None of Pakistans leaders come outwell under Mazaris critical eye. Ayub Khan comes across like a bumbler, but ZulfikarBhutto comes across as malignant, General Zia-ul-Haq is portrayed as a rather lostindividual who became addicted to power, Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif are shownto have contempt for democracy but only because they dont know any better. Mazaridoesnt just blame the politicians - the army gets a major drubbing too, as well theyshould. They have stunted the possibility of elective and accountable democracy everbeing a reality in Pakistan. The judiciary is also criticized for bowing to whatevergovernment is in power. Sherbaz criticizes a system of which he was very much a part.Most of the corrupt politicians were his close friends. He could not do anything either tochange questionable traditions of his own tribe or to convert his good friends to hisenlightened ideas. In short, his life as a political leader was a failure. This explains whyPakistan cannot get out of its political problems: it has many leaders like Sherbaz whoare self proclaimed righteous people but somehow cannot deliver because the `systemis corrupt. They completely ignore the fact that it is they who make up the system. In myopinion Ayub was a man of great determination but the he was lacking the quality of„listening to others‟. He always did what he thought better in the light of his ownexperience. His regime can be characterized with some developments but he couldn‟tmaintain the national harmony among the distant provinces of Pakistan, i.e. EastPakistan and West Pakistan.