General Ayub Khan (1958-1969)

General Ayub Khan (1907-1974) was a Pakistani military officer and politician who served as the second President of Pakistan from 1958 to 1969. He came to power through a military coup d’├ętat in October 1958 and governed the country under martial law until 1962 when he introduced a new constitution and transitioned into a civilian presidency.

Ayub Khan was born on May 14, 1907, in Rehana village in Haripur District, British India (now in Pakistan). He had a distinguished military career and served in the British Indian Army before joining the Pakistan Army after the partition of India in 1947.

In 1951, Ayub Khan became the Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistan Army, and he played a crucial role in consolidating the military’s influence and power in the country. In 1958, he ousted the civilian government of President Iskander Mirza in a bloodless coup and assumed control as the Chief Martial Law Administrator.

During his presidency, Ayub Khan introduced various economic and social reforms as part of his vision for “Pakistan’s Decade of Development.” His policies focused on industrialization, land reforms, and modernization. Under his regime, Pakistan experienced significant economic growth and improvements in infrastructure. However, the benefits of these reforms were not equally distributed, and there was a growing divide between the wealthy and the poor.

Ayub Khan also pursued a policy of strengthening ties with the United States and formed a close alliance with the United States during the Cold War. Pakistan became a key ally of the United States in its efforts to counter communism in the region.

However, Ayub Khan’s regime faced growing discontent and opposition from various sectors of society, including students, intellectuals, and political opponents. In 1969, mass protests and demonstrations led to his resignation, and he handed power to General Agha Muhammad Yahya Khan.

After his resignation, Ayub Khan lived a relatively quiet life in retirement. He passed away on April 19, 1974, in Islamabad, Pakistan.

Ayub Khan’s legacy is complex and controversial. While he is credited with initiating economic development and modernization in Pakistan, his authoritarian rule and concentration of power in the military have been criticized for stifling democracy and civil liberties. His tenure set the stage for subsequent military interventions in Pakistani politics and had a lasting impact on the country’s political landscape.

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