Costs of General Ayub's Dicatatorship

[To understand the context of this post, please read At What Cost! Why Compute Economic Costs of Faulty Political Decisions]
We typically look at General Ayub and the economic performance during his time, ignoring the long term economic and political impact of the decisions that he took and the processes that he set in motion. This post analyzed the long term costs of his dictatorship.

  1. Gen Ayub’s strategy of Unrestrained Economic Development at the expense of Have-Nots led to disastrous implication for Pakistan because it was undertaken without the representation of the people or considering their sentiments. Inititialy glittering, the policy turned out to be disastrous in both the wings of Pakistan: 

(i) In West Pakistan, the sense of alienation produced by the concentration of wealth in the famous 22 families resulted in the meteoric rise of ZAB which created fertile conditions for the mass scale nationalization, and eventual roll back of all economic gains made during the 1960s [1].

(ii) In East Pakistan, the sense of alienation created conditions of extreme discontent and the perception that the development in West Pakistan was at the expense of East Pakistani resources, such as jute! Bengalis like Molvi Fazlul Haq, Sh Mujeeb, Suhravardi etc who had faught for the creation of Pakistan and were at the forefront Pakistan movement were forced to secede: E.g. HS Suhraverdy, PM during 1950s, was removed, hounded as traitor and was killed in mysterious circumstances. Shaikh Mujeeb ur Rehman who led Fatima Jinnah’s presidential campaign in 1965 from East Pakistan got a convincing jolt when Gen Ayub won through massive rigging. Sh Mujeeb and the Bengalis became convinced that there is little hope for Bengalis if vested interest would not allow even the sister of Quaid e Azam to win through massive rigging and the sister later being branded as a traitor and dying in mysterious circumstances. The final major jolt was the reaction that he faced for his 6 points when Gen Ayub equated it with treason and threw him in jail. This eventually made Mujeeb to lose faith in the future of unified Pakistan, and he became a self-fulfilled prophecy of Gen Ayub by leading secession of East Pakistan [4]. Gen Ayub’s political manipulations gave Bengalis a distinctive impression that they had been colonized and they can only hope to develop outside Pakistan. [3]

2: “Defence of East Pakistan lies in the West” was Gen Ayub’s inane military doctrine of the 1960s. Its first disastrous major jolt was during the miscalculation of Gen Ayub’s Operation Gibraltar culminating in 1965 war. East Pakistan was left totally defenceless and convinced Bengalis of their lack of protection from West. Later the doctrine proved to be a disaster with the uprising in East Pakistan with the support of India [2]. Leaving East flank vulnerable through this fallacious doctrine led to the humiliating surrender of 92,000+ Pakistani forces.

Consequences of moving the capital to Islamabad, discontent of mohajirs, riots in karachi with the involvement of Gen Ayub’s son, mass scale termination of 303 senior mohajir bureacrats. Karachi is a classic case study of how dictatorships foment violence when representatives are not allowed to rectify the grievances through political means. Gen Ayub ignited the power keg, Gen Zia provided the ammunition eventually exploding during Gen Musharraf rule.


[1] 22 Families and Nationalization: Who Owns Pakistan by Shahid ur Rehman
[2] Defense of East Pakistan Lies in the West; An Examination of the Strategic Concept of War by Maj (Retd) AGHA HUMAYUN AMIN from WASHINGTON DC makes an excellent dissection of strategy concerned for 1971. Defence Journal, Jan 2001
[3] Bengalis are Strategic Liability: Hamood ur Rehman Commission Report
[4] Autobiography of Shaikh Mujeeb ur Rehman: COVER STORY: From the founder of BangladeshDAWN BOOKS AND AUTHORS, NOV 18, 2012 and also reviewed in Memoirs by Hamid Mir The News- Saturday, November 24, 2012

Pakistan History 101: 


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