|Biographical detail : ||A Pakistani military and political leader who followed a strongly secularising policy.
Ayub Khan became Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistani army in 1951 and the President of Pakistan after a coup in 1958. “Ayub Khan had long ago come to the conclusion that parliamentary government based on Westminster model was unsuited for a highly personalised society like Pakistan where patron-client and clan-based ties determined the nature of politics. What Pakistanis needed was some form of ‘controlled democracy’, the emphasis being on control rather than democracy”.
Ayub Khan followed an aggressive secularism. He nationalised the religious endowments (awqaf), placed restrictions on madrasah education, and promoted a purely secular legal system. His aim was to make Islam a civil religion, amenable to state control, but this led inevitably to tension in the society and eventually to his downfall.
Ayub Khan during his Pakistan’s presidency, 1958-1969, improved relations with China – that later became a secured direction of Pakistan’s foreign policy and he also made good relation with the Soviet Union.
“Betting on the strong to expand its economic base in the shortest possible time, Ayub unfurled a spate of policies that assisted the transformation of landlords into capitalists and merchants into industrialists. By turning Pakistan into a veritable haven for the bigwigs of commercialised agriculture and business interest, the Ayub regime presided over an economic boom that contained all the explosive ingredients for a massive political bust”.
In 1979, after wide spread civil disorder and violent opposition, Ayub Khan relinquished power and martial law was re-imposed. Yahya Khan replaced him.