Ayub Khan ERA (1958-1969)

Ayub Khan ERA (1958-1969)

Political Background; From Quaid’s Death to Ayub’s Martial Law

The Quaid-e-Azam died on September 11, 1948, Khawaja Nazim-ud-Din was elected Liaquat, Ali Khan’s assassination in a public meeting (Jalsa) at Rawalpindi on October 16, 1951, Khawaja on September 14, 1948. Molvi Tamiz-ud-Din was elected the speaker of the Constituent Assembly. Afte Nazim-ud-Din took over as prime minister. Ex-finance minister Malik Ghulam Muhammad was appointed governor general in his place.

Ayub Khan ERA (1958-1969)

Anti Qadiani Movement (Tehrik-e-Khatm-e-Nabuwwat) gained momentum and due to large scale violence and agitation martial law had to be imposed in Lahore for two months governor general Ghulam Muhammad alleged the prime minister Khawaja Nazim-ud-Din’s government of incompetence, as the government had failed to control the agitation. He dismissed the prime minister from his office.

Mohammad Ali Bogra, Pakistan’s ambassador in America was called back and appointed as prime minister. Bogra belonged to East Pakistan, during his period Pakistan’s foreign policy took a sharp pro- American turn and Pakistan became a committed American ally in the Cold War international politics. In September 1954 Pakistan joined SEATO and in February 1955 became a member of CENTO.

These were American sponsored military alliances and were instituted only to serve the American interest and to contain the advancement of the Soviet Union which America considered to be its biggest enemy. Pakistan did not gain anything out of the membership of these alliances.

On October 24, 1954, Governor General Ghulam Mohammad imposed emergency in the country and dissolved the Constituent Assembly. Bogra resigned on August 6, 1955 and Mohammad Ali took over as Prime Minister.

1956 Constitution was the greatest achievement of Ch. Mohammad Ali. On October 16, 1955 Ghulam Mohammad resigned as governor general on account of acute illness; Iskandar Mirza stepped in as governor general. On October 14, 1955 CH. Mohammad Ali amalgamated the four provinces of the West wing and created a single province naming it the West Pakistan.

On February 29, 1956 the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan passed the first constitution of the country. As the constitution did not provide governor general’s office, on March 5, 1956 Iskandar Mirza was elected the first president of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. The new constitution was promulgated East West on March 23, 1956.

In September 1956, Ch. Mohammad Ali was replaced by the East Pakistan politician Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy. In October 1957 he was replaced by I. I. Chundrigar. Chundrigar’s period as prime minister was very short lived (less than three months i.e. October 18, 1957 to December 16, 1957). He was made to quit and Firoz Khan Noon was appointed prime minister. Firoz Khan Noon remained in office till October 7, 1958.

On October 7, 1958 President Iskandar Mirza imposed Martial Law in the country. As Chief Martial Law Administrator General Mohammad Ayub Khan abrogated the constitution, dissolved all the civil government institutions and assumed full powers. Iskandar Mirza was deposed from the office of president and Ayub Khan himself assumed the office sending Iskandar Mirza in exile.

The BD System

In 1959 Mohammad Ayub Khan promulgated the Basic Democracies Order. This order established Basic Democracies System, shortly known as the BD System. In the beginning 80 thousand BD members were elected from both provinces (40 thousand from each provinces; East Pakistan and West Pakistan). In addition to the powers of local administration, the BD institutions were given conciliatory powers in minor cases of judicial nature. The BD members elected the president and the members of the National and the two provincial assemblies. In the case of difference of opinion arising between the president and the National Assembly the cases could be referred to the Electoral College (the body of BD members) for referendum.

A four tier local self government system was established under the BD system. Four tiers of the system in ascending order were: the Union Council, the Tehsil Council, the District Council and the Divisional Council.

The Muslim Family Law Ordinance (1959)

Ayub Khan wanted to reform the Pakistani society according to his own political and social philosophy. The Muslim Family Law Ordinance was an important step in this direction; through this initiative he wanted to improve the lot of Pakistani women. The religious circles opposed the ordinance and called it un-Islamic.

The ordinance, however, created a sense of security in the women. The Muslim Family Law Ordinance set up the system of the registration of Nikah and registration was made compulsory. Husband’s right of second marriage was limited and written permission from the first wife was made mandatory. Early shrt 3 marriage was prohibited. Divorce was made difficult and reconciliation was encouraged, women were given a right to seck divorce (Khula) through courts.

The 1962 Constitution

On February 1, 1960 the BD members through their vote, gave Ayub Khan the right of framing the constitution of Pakistan. Instead of forming a representative body for framing the constitution, Ayub Khan appointed a body of legal experts for this purpose. The Constitution Commission was headed by Justice Shihab-ud-Din. The president ignored many of the Commission’s recommendations and he himself made changes in the draft of the constitution which gave it an entirely new character.

The draft constitution was announced on March 1, 1962 and it was promulgated on June 8, 1962. Martial Law was lifted on the same day and constitutional government restored. According to Ayub Khan the constitution was a blend of “democracy and discipline”, he believed that an independent state, a stable government and an effective administration could only be established on the basis of these two fundamental principles.

Salient Features of the 1962 Constitution

  • Presidential system was adopted; president was the centre of all executive powers. The System of Basic Democracies was provided constitutional cover. BD members were made the electoral college for the election of the president and the assemblies. The number of BD members, 80,000 in the beginning, was enhanced to 1,20,000.
  • The president was the executive head of the state. Cabinet members and the two provincial governors were selected by the president and they were answerable only to him. Their tenure of office was fixed by the president and he could remove them any time he liked.
  • The president, the members of the National Assembly and members of the two provincial assemblies were elected under an indirect electoral system in which the BD members served as the electoral college (body of electors).
  • A unicameral legislature was established at the centre; it was called National Assembly.
  • In the case of disagreement between the president and the National Assembly the president could call a referendum and refer the matter to the electoral college (body of the BD members) for final decision.
  • A Supreme Judicial Council was provided. The council was to be constituted of the chief justice and the two most senior judges of the Supreme Court. The Supreme Judicial Council could enforce a code of ethics for the judicial officers and a judge could be removed only on the recommendation of the Council.
  • No tax could be levied without the prior approval of the National Assembly.
  • The original draft of the constitution did not carry a chapter on fundamental rights, no guarantees for the safeguard of human rights were provided. This omission invited strong popular protest as a result of which a comprehensive list of fundamental rights was added in the constitution.
  • President was given enormous powers, the ministers were only accountable to him, and he was in a position to control the law making process in the National Assembly through his ministers. He had the power to reject a law passed by the National Assembly. The process of removing the President from his office was very difficult.

Islamic Provisions (Constitution 1962)

  1. The state was named ‘the Republic of Pakistan’ in the original text of the constitution, but it was later amended as the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. This was done on strong public protest.
  2. In the ‘Principles of Law Making’ it was stated that no law will be repugnant to Islam.
  3. The ‘Principles of State Policy’ provided that the Muslims will be enabled, individually and collectively, to order their lives in accordance with Islam.
  4. Teaching of the Holy Qur’an and Islamiat shall be made compulsory for the Muslims of Pakistan.
  5. Proper organization of zakat, auqaf and masaajid (mosques) shall be ensured.
  6. Riba (usury) shall be eliminated.
  7. Relations with Muslim countries shall be preserved and strengthened.
  8. The President shall be a Muslim.
  9. An Advisory Council of Islamic Ideology comprising eminent men in theology, law, economics, etc. to help the legislature, to frame laws in accordance with the teachings of Islam, will be established.

The Presidential Elections (January 1965)

Presidential elections under BD system were held in January 1965. Quaid- e-Azam’s sister Miss Fatima Jinnah contested the election against Ayub Khan as the joint candidate of five political parties. According to election results Fatima Jinnah was defeated in the election, but the general public refused to accept the result as fair.

The opposition alleged the government of mass scale rigging in the election and started a movement for restoration of democracy. Ayub tried to suppress the movement with iron hand but failed and ultimately he was forced to resign. On March 25, 1969 Ayub Khan transferred power to the army Chief General Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan, who took over as president and Chief Martial Law Administrator.

Indo-Pak War 1965

Indo-Pak War is an important event of the Ayub era. In 1962 a border dispute had developed into a small scale war between China and India. Taking advantage of this war, India launched a propaganda campaign and impressed upon the western powers that her security was in danger. She was able to grab large quantities of arms and ammunitions from the USA and other western powers, and in this way India’s military might enhanced many times in comparison to Pakistan.

Ayub Khan ERA (1958-1969)

Hazrat Bal is a shrine in Sri Nagar, the capital of the Indian occupied Kashmir, which is highly revered by the Muslims due to a hair of the Prophet Mohammad (SAW) which has been preserved there. In December 1963 the hair of the Prophet (SAW) was stolen from Hazrat Bal. The incident spurred great unrest among the Muslims because they held the Indian government responsible for this event. The Muslims came on roads and started agitation against the Indian occupation army.

On the other hand the Indian army occupied a military post of Pakistan in Rann of Katch area in Sind. In July 1965, the Pakistan army pushed the Indian troops, trying to cross the international boundary at several points, back in their territory. Feeling the dangers of the situation both countries came to an agreement that they will resolve their mutual issues through negotiation.

But practically the situation in Rann of Katch and Kashmir did not improve. The Indian forces crossed the boundary line and occupied the passes of Kargil Sector. In August 1965, Indian forces also occupied two important military posts in Kashmir i.e. Tetwal and Haji Pir. Troops started advancing towards each other’s positions in Chamb and Akhnoor sectors.

Alarmed by the speedy advance of Pakistan troops in Kashmir the Indians started a full scale war and attacked the Punjab from three sides on September 6, 1965. Lahore was the prime target of the Indian Army. Fighting heroically, the Pakistan Army stopped Indian advance. On September 20, 1965 the UN Security Council appealed India and Pakistan to cease-fire. On September 23 the cease-fire became effective and the war stopped.

The high spirit, unity, bravery and determination exhibited by the people of Pakistan during this 17 day war added a new chapter in the history of nations. Pakistanis emerged as an honourable and dignified nation in the world. On all fronts Pakistani troops repelled the enemy troops. Bravery and valiance of martyrs like Raja Aziz Bhatti Shaheed made new history.

Economic Progress

Ayub Government had set economic progress as its prime target from the very beginning and was able to achieve this target to a great extent. Economic and industrial growth rate, recorded in Ayub era was much higher than the preceding decade of fifties. Pace of economic growth was accelerated due to five year economic planning. Most of the development project achieved their targets with success. Second five years plan (1960-65), launched by the Ayub government, worked in favourable conditions and achieved almost all of its targets.

Land Reforms

Shortly after taking over as president, Ayub Khan instituted a Land Reforms Commission in 1958. In a short period of four months the Commission submitted its report. Under these reforms; land holding was limited to 500 acres irrigated and 1000 acres non-irrigated (barani). This was an important step toward the elimination of the feudal system. The landless and the tenants were given a chance to buy, in easy installments, the land surrendered by the big land owners.

Preference was given to the tenants already cultivating the land. Small scattered pieces of land owned by one owner were consolidated to make a single unit. The farmers were facilitated, through easy loans, to install tube-wells. In order to improve the drainage system, mega projects like the Tarbela and the Mangla Dam were launched with the help of the World Bank and the friendly countries. For the eradication of water-logging and salinity tube-wells were installed in large numbers.

Special attention was paid to enhance the produce of grains and fruit. High yield verities were imported. Steps were taken for the development of livestock. The ADBP (Agriculture Development Bank of Pakistan) played very important role in the progress of agriculture sector during this period. Observers called Ayub era the Green Revolution era.

End of the Ayub Era

In the beginning the people had high hopes about the martial law government because this was a novel experience for the people of Pakistan. Ayub Khan was welcomed by the people, as an emancipator who had come to liberate them from the corrupt practices of the politicians. But these high hopes soon started turning into disappointment. The political parties were made ineffective, the differences between the east and the west wings of the country widened to an enormous degree.

The demand for equitable distribution of resources and parity between the two wings intensified. East Pakistan leader Sheikh Mujib-ur-Rehman formulated the demands of the east wing people into his famous Six Points. In the first instance the demands were suppressed with iron hand but gradually Mujib’s demands became the common cause of the East Pakistan people.

Mujib’s programme was based on more provincial autonomy for East Pakistan. Many leaders in the west wing labeled this as the programme of East Pakistan’s independence.

In November 1968 anti-Ayub agitation reached its climax, political crisis intensified and a condition of chaos and anarchy prevailed all over the country. In February 1969, Karachi became the center of violent anti-Ayub riots. Ayub imposed emergency and made an attempt to re-conciliate with the opposition, and to find a way out by calling a Round Table Conference of opposition parties at Rawalpindi.

 In this conference the president tried to normalize the situation, he agreed to accept a number of opposition demands; to lift emergency and to release political detainees. In the mean time, in East Pakistan, Molana Bhashani and Sheikh Mujib-ur-Rehman provoked the people to come on roads, resulting in a wave of violent agitation in the province.

Mujib demanded immediate dissolution of One Unit. In these conditions the Round Table Conference could not produce results. The country sunk into a new wave of agitation, strike and lawlessness. In this growing wave of violence many factories were set on fire. When the becomes uncontrollable Ayub Khan once again imposed martial law in the country, he handed over power to the Army Commander in Chief Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan. Yahya Khan abrogated the 1962 constitution.

like: Services of Liaquat Ali Khan for the Muslims of the Sub-continent

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