Causes of Failure of Muhammad Ayub Khan Regime

Wed, 03/13/2013 - 22:24 -- Umar Farooq

What are the major Causes of Failure of President Muhammad Ayub Khan Regime


In the midst 1950s Pakistan was like Hobbes State of Nature. The political situation was deteriorating day by day. So on October 7th 1958, President Maj. Gen. Sikander Mirza imposed Martial Law and appointed Gen. Muhammad Ayub Khan as the CMLA. The Revolution of 1958 was welcomed by the people of Pakistan and they heaved a sigh of relief as the Martial Law regime at once restored law and order situation in the country. However, after some time Gen Ayub Khan deposed Sikander Mirza and assumed the office as the second President of Pakistan. In 1962 he gave a new constitution to the country and ailed the country for about 11 years. During this prolonged era, he adopted such policies and committed such blunders, which led the people to rise his regime in the shape of strong country-wide anti-government agitation and demonstrations. At last on 25th March 1969 he announced his resignation and handed over power to Gen. Yahya Khan the then C-in-C of the army and explained the reasons of his resignation in his broadcast to the nation.

Failure of Mohammad Ayub Khan

Following are the major causes of the failure of Ayub's regime

Ayub’s Constitutional Dictatorship

In 1958 Ayub's Martial Law had been held by a popular acclaim as it put promise to put an end to the misuse of power, corruption and political stability but when he ascended to thrown, he started thinking of life-long rule and when he gave 'his one rule' legal cover under the 1962 Constitution, the political parties and democratic minded people were not ready to tolerate his dictatorship for a long time and bitterly opposed the system.

Presidential System

President Ayub introduced Presidential system under 1962 Constitution because he considered strong executive to be sole panacea of all the political ills prevalent in the country at that time, but the fact was that he wanted to concentrate everything in his own hands. There was no real division of powers between the legislature and the executive. As a result the legislature became less important and executive more authoritarian.

Federal form of Government

Under 1962 Constitution Pakistan was a federation. It is the essence of a federation that all federating units must autonomous in their internal affairs and decisions but it was not the case with Ayub's federation. It was federal only in theory while in practice the units were under the supreme control of the centre. They depended upon the centre regarding all their matters and decisions. The centre dictated them in terms.

Ayub's System of indirect Election

Under the 1962 Constitution indirect system of election was adopted. The primary voters were to elect Basic Democrats who were to serve as an electoral college for the election of the President, members of National and Provincial Assemblies. Their strength was 80,000 equally distributed between both the wings. Later on their strength was raised to 120,000. His indirect system of election was criticized on the ground that the government and other political parties could easily force the limited number of Basic Democrats to vote for their candidates and the common had been deprived of their right of proper participation in the affairs of the state or we can say that there was very restricted franchise.

The 1965 War and the Tashkent Declaration

The 965 War proved to be a great setback in Ayub's career. He had adopted a war strategy according to which the East-Pakistan was left defenseless. However, the strategy remained useless during the war. The Tashkent Agreement after the 1965 war was not welcomed by the people because it provided withdrawal retreat of the troops to their respective pre-war positions. That why Z.A. Bhutto declared that what Pakistan had gained in the battlefield was lost on the diplomatic table.The core issue of the war was Kashmir dispute but it was not mentioned in the Tashkent Declaration. Hence no advancement was made for the solution of this problem in the post-Tashkent Agreement period, which created disappointment not only among masses but also in the army.

Economic instability and Disparity

After coming into power Muhammad Ayub Khan resolved to make Pakistan economically developed. But he failed to stabilize Pakistan's economy on sound footings. Wealth began to concentrate in few hands particularly to 22 families. In 1968 Dr. Mehboob-ul-Haq a chief economist, disclosed that these 22 families controlled 67% of the entire industrial capital, 80% of banking and 97% of insurance capital. This socio-economic injustice widened the gap between the rich and the poor. The number of educated jobless people was increasing day-by-day, prices of essential commodities raised to such an extent that in 1968 there occurred serious shortage of sugar and drinking, water in Karachi. Ayub's economic activities did not bring any change and revolution in socio-economic position of common man. Hence the people frustrated slowly and gradually of his regime.

Insistence on One Unit

In October 1955 One Unit was established to create parity between the two wings. Small provinces and regional political parties had been condemning. One Unit from the very beginning of its creation when Ayub came to power, he insisted on One Unit, which produced instance reaction among the small provinces and regional political parties of Bengal. For this purpose they started agitation against Ayub’s regime to force him to dissolve One Unit.

Ayub's Elective Body Disqualification Ordinance

President Muhammad Ayub Khan had introduced EBDO. Many politicians of both the wings of Pakistan were EBDOed for misuse of power. In addition many politicians including Ayub Khuro were arrested on specific grounds and charges. Ayub Khan' aim of this ordinance was in fact to remove his political opponents from political scene. This ordinance was severely criticized by the politicians who termed it as everybody disqualification ordinance.

Ayub's Family Law Ordinance

Ayub's regime had promulgated Family Law Ordinance under which polygamy was banned, age limit was fixed for both the sexes from 14 to 16 years, husbands were restricted to divorce and sale of daughters was banned etc. Such laws invited the wrath of orthodox religious leaders and people. Besides, his family planning programme was declared un-Islamic by the staunch Ulama. All the above policies were also bitterly criticized by religious scholars. Even some enthusiastic mullahs passed a verdict and declared him 'Kafir'.Their response also came in the shape of agitation and demonstrations.

Press and Publication Ordinance

Ayub khan had issued Press and Publication Ordinance in order to revise the existing laws pertaining to the proprietorship editorship of newspapers etc. But this ordinance severely affected the freedom of the press as it was used to propagate the idea of the Government and to defame the Opposition parties. People and the political parties were deadly opposed to this ordinance, which brought the press under tight grip.

Ayub's University Ordinance

Under the University Ordinance of Ayub’s regime, Bachelor degree course was extended from 2 to 3 years and a method of monthly exam was introduced. The results of monthly tests were to be considered while determining the annual final results etc. These measures were rejected by the students and universities staff. Students of East-Pakistan formed a Students Action Committee to stress him to carry out their 11 Points programme. The movement gained further momentum when on 20th January 1969 a student leader was killed by police firing in Decca.