Muhammad Ayub Khan

Ayub Khan, Muhammad (məhămˈĭd äˈyŏb kän) [key], 1907–74, military leader and president (1958–69) of Pakistan. He was commissioned in the British Indian army in 1928 and saw active service as a battalion commander in World War II. After 1947, when the state of Pakistan was created, he assumed command of military forces in East Pakistan (now Bangladesh), and in 1951 he became commander in chief of the Pakistan army. He served (1954–56) as defense minister. In 1958, after a military coup, Ayub Khan became president; he was confirmed in office by a referendum (Feb., 1960). He launched a vigorous program of land reform and economic development and also inaugurated a system of what he called "basic democracies," tiers of local government councils that also served as electoral colleges. Martial law was lifted in 1962, and a new constitution that year gave the executive enormous powers. Ayub Khan was returned to office in 1965, defeating Fatimah Jinnah, sister of the founder of Pakistan. In the same year, he led the nation in a war with India, but the conflict was ended by the Tashkent Declaration of Jan., 1966. Despite economic growth, continuing economic and social inequalities, the disadvantaged position of East Pakistan, and limitation of civil liberties provoked increasing discontent with his regime. Early in 1969, Ayub Khan announced that he would not seek reelection in 1970, but unrest continued and in March he resigned power to a martial-law government headed by Gen. Muhammad Yahya Khan.

See his Speeches and Statements (8 vol., 1959–66) and Friends, Not Masters: A Political Autobiography (1967); study by L. Ziring (1971).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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