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Ayub Khan

President of Pakistan

Died when: 66 years 340 days (803 months)
Star Sign: Taurus


Ayub Khan

Muhammad Ayub Khan (Urdu: ???? ???? ???; 14 May 1907 – 19 April 1974), was the second President of Pakistan.He was an army general who seized the presidency from Iskander Mirza in a coup in 1958, the first successful coup d'état in the country's history.

Popular demonstrations and labour strikes supported by the protests in East Pakistan ultimately led to his forced resignation in 1969.During his presidency, differences between East and West Pakistan arose to an enormous degree, that ultimately led to the Independence of East Pakistan.

Trained at the British Royal Military College, Ayub Khan fought in World War II as a colonel in the British Indian Army before deciding to transfer to the Pakistan Army in the aftermath of the partition of India in 1947.

His assignments included command of the 14th Division in East-Bengal.He was elevated to become the first native Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistan Army in 1951 by Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan, succeeding General Douglas Gracey.

From 1953 to 1958, he served in the civilian government as Defence and Home Minister and supported President Iskander Mirza's decision to impose martial law against Prime Minister Feroze Khan's administration in 1958.

Two weeks later, he took over the presidency from Mirza after a breakdown in civil-military relations between him and Mirza.

Upon taking power, he appointed General Musa Khan as Commander-in-Chief in 1958 to replace him in that role.He aligned Pakistan with the United States, and allowed American access to air bases inside Pakistan, most notably the airbase outside of Peshawar, from which spy missions over the Soviet Union were launched.

Relations with neighboring China were strengthened but his alignment with the US worsened relations with the Soviet Union in 1962.He launched Operation Gibraltar against India in 1965, leading to all-out war.

However, with Soviet Union intervention in 1966, peace was negotiated and relations among the three nations improved.Domestically, Ayub subscribed to the laissez-faire policy of Western-aligned nations at the time.

He privatized state-owned industries, and liberalized the economy generally.Large inflows of foreign aid and investment led to the fastest-growing economy in South Asia.

His tenure was also distinguished by the completion of hydroelectric stations, dams, and reservoirs.Under Ayub, Pakistan's space program was established, and the country launched its first unmanned space-mission by 1962.

However, the failure of land reforms and a weak taxation system meant that most of this growth landed in the hands of the elite.

In 1965, Ayub Khan entered the presidential race as the Pakistan Muslim League (PML) candidate to counter the popular and famed non-partisan Fatima Jinnah and was controversially reelected for a second term.

He was faced with allegations of widespread intentional vote riggings, organizing political murders in Karachi, worsening the already-weak legitimacy of his regime after the peace with India, which many Pakistanis considered an embarrassing compromise.

In 1967, wide disapproval of price hikes of food prompted demonstrations across the country led by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.Ayub Khan dramatically fell from power in 1969 amid a popular uprising in East Pakistan led by Mujibur Rahman.

He was forced to resign to avoid further protests, and appointed Yahya Khan his successor to oversee elections.He fought a brief illness and died in 1974.

His legacy remains mixed; he is credited with ostensible economic prosperity and what supporters dub the "decade of development" by bringing an industrial and agricultural revolution to the country, but is criticized for beginning the first of the intelligence agencies' incursions into national politics, for concentrating wealth in a corrupt few hands, and segregated policies that later led to the breaking-up of the nation's unity that resulted in the creation of Bangladesh.

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