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Special report: The Changing of the Guard 1958-1969

Pakistan’s first military dictator laid the foundations of a capitalist economy under military rule.
Updated Sep 06, 2017 12:08pm

A reformer on horseback

By S. Akbar Zaidi

President Mohammad Ayub Khan is seen smiling as he leaned out of his train on his way to a US Marine Base in Okinawa, Japan, in December, 1960. During his tenure, Ayub worked actively on building up the image of the country in the eyes of the world. In doing so, his own persona came pretty handy. — Photo: The Tahir Ayub Collection
President Mohammad Ayub Khan is seen smiling as he leaned out of his train on his way to a US Marine Base in Okinawa, Japan, in December, 1960. During his tenure, Ayub worked actively on building up the image of the country in the eyes of the world. In doing so, his own persona came pretty handy. — Photo: The Tahir Ayub Collection

IN the first Pakistan, the one that existed before it lost its eastern wing in 1971, President General (later self-elevated to field marshal) Muhammad Ayub Khan’s decade from 1958 to 1969 was foundational in numerous critical ways and set the direction for Pakistan for years to come. It gave rise to models of military dictatorship, to US dependence, regional imbalances and the over-centralisation of government.

Often known as the ‘Decade of Development’, as ‘Pakistan’s Golden Years’ of a ‘Socially Liberal Military Dictatorship’, Pakistan’s first military dictator laid the foundations of a capitalist economy under military rule. This resulted in numerous economic and social contradictions, which played themselves out, not just in the 1960s, but beyond, where Ayub Khan’s rule created the social and economic conditions leading to the separation of East Pakistan, and to the rise of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s awami inqilaab.

Unlike most generals who have led Pakistan’s armed forces since 1969, all who have claimed they have absolutely no political ambitions, Gen Ayub Khan very early in his career made it clear that he wanted to play a role in framing Pakistan’s destiny, and not just as its commander-in-chief (C-in-C). He had ambitious aspirations right from the early 1950s when, in 1951, Ayub became the country’s first Pakistani army chief under prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan with, what Shuja Nawaz in his monumental Crossed Swords calls, “all the qualities of a political soldier”.

Less than two months as C-in-C, Ayub was asked by the prime minister to help deal with an alleged conspiracy by a group of leftists along with a host of senior military officers, who wanted to overthrow the government in what is since called the Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case.

With the absence of any semblance of political leadership following the assassination of Liaquat in 1951, the Pakistan Army, along with a string of bureaucrats, began to emerge as the only organised and stable institution in the country. The army saw first blood when martial law was imposed in parts of the Punjab on March 8, 1953.

There were many changes of leadership in the first few years of Pakistan’s existence, when pro-US Mohammad Ali Bogra was made prime minister in 1953, and in 1954 the serving C-in-C of the Army became part of the cabinet as defence minister.

Ayub was Pakistan’s only serving head of the army who had the experience of being in a civilian cabinet prior to running the country. Over the subsequent four years or so, before he eventually took over power in a coup in October 1958, some decisions were made by the various governments of that time, which were to have an impact on events after 1958. Pakistan became part of the US-led alliances in the region to counter communism and the threat from the Soviet Union.

President Ayub Khan and Queen Elizabeth are seen on their way to Buckingham Palace, London, in an open stage coach in November, 1966, when the president was on a state visit to the United Kingdom. — Photo: The Tahir Ayub Collection
President Ayub Khan and Queen Elizabeth are seen on their way to Buckingham Palace, London, in an open stage coach in November, 1966, when the president was on a state visit to the United Kingdom. — Photo: The Tahir Ayub Collection

Becoming part of the South East Asian Treaty Organisation in 1954 and the Baghdad Pact in 1955, Pakistan chose a path of dependence which has continued until recently. Domestically, to deal with the perceived threat of East Pakistan’s majority, to counter ‘provincialism’, the One Unit in West Pakistan was created. An overly centralised system of governance with concentration of power, largely in the hands of the military and bureaucracy, with US interests in the region, set the stage for the years to come.

POLICIES

As governments continuously changed hands, both in East and in West Pakistan, it was clear that despite the constituent assembly framing a constitution in 1956 finally promising the possibility of elections, the military stepped in to take power in October 1958 declaring martial law. The Aligarh-educated, Sandhurst-trained Ayub was a representative of his age, of a tradition like so many other ‘men on horseback’, with justification found in academic literature endorsing the modernisation mission of authoritarian leaders, almost all from the military. This point is important and is often overlooked, but the 1950s and 1960s in what we now call the global south, were a time of modernisation, economic growth without regard to inclusiveness, and, with few exceptions, often under the guidance of ruthless military dictators.

There is a very long list of social and economic reforms undertaken by the Ayub regime, which are striking, resulting in extensive social engineering. All military governments since, ruling with an iron fist lasting a decade or a little less, have done the same.

President Ayub Khan taking aim with a rifle during a hunting trip on the outskirts of Moscow during his official visit to the erstwhile USSR from April 3 to 11, 1965. — Photo: The Adnan Aurangzeb Collection
President Ayub Khan taking aim with a rifle during a hunting trip on the outskirts of Moscow during his official visit to the erstwhile USSR from April 3 to 11, 1965. — Photo: The Adnan Aurangzeb Collection

Ayub’s achievements are numerous and some specific ones are worth citing. Since ‘democracy had to be taught’ in accordance with the ‘genius of the people’, what better way to start than at the grass roots, at the local panchayat level. Hence, the system of Basic Democracies — elected representatives in constituencies were given the task of local development.

The Muslim Family Laws Ordinance of 1961, still considered one of the most progressive sets of family laws compared to many Muslim countries even 56 years on, gave, at least on paper, some protection to women allowing them far greater rights, raising the marriageable age, requiring greater documentation to file for divorce, or for men to seek permission from their existing wife if they wanted a second marriage.

Pakistan’s family planning laws under Ayub were the most advanced for their times and such interventions drew a great deal of criticism from religious groups who considered them unIslamic. To show how different times were then compared to how they have changed since 1977, Ayub was even able to drop the name ‘Islamic’ from the Islamic Republic of Pakistan, albeit eventually having to give in to pressure from the ulema and religious political leaders, particularly Maulana Maudoodi.

Economic growth in Pakistan during much of the 1960s was stellar, and on Jan 18, 1965, the New York Times wrote that “Pakistan may be on its way towards an economic milestone that so far has been reached by only one other populous country, the United States”, a view which was endorsed by the Times from London a year later, stating that “the survival and development of Pakistan is one of the most remarkable examples of state and nation-building in the post-War period”.

Clearly, high growth rates, but exclusively in Punjab and in Karachi, and not in East Pakistan, gave rise to such praise. Distributive issues were unimportant in the economic policies advocated by the Harvard Advisory Group which ran Pakistan’s meticulous Planning Commission. In fact, this was a time when ideological pronouncements based on the ‘social utility of greed’ and ‘functional inequality’, were encouraged.

Following large-scale land reforms undertaken in 1959, the Green Revolution in agriculture in central Punjab changed the social and economic relations of production permanently. Growth rates, both for agriculture and for industry, were often in double digits. Ample US aid and assistance helped build dams, roads and other infrastructure. Pakistan was on the road to economic progress.

Politically, of course, this was, not surprisingly, a repressive regime. Political leaders were imprisoned, political parties were banned, dissent was not tolerated, newspapers were censored and taken over, and Ayub’s regime continued to be opposed by nationalists from West and East Pakistan, as well as by Maulana Maudoodi’s Jamaat-i-Islami. Yet, Ayub sought some form of public legitimacy as all military dictators have been forced to, lifting martial law in 1962 following the implementation of a presidential-form constitution.

Ayub now set his sights on being an elected soldier-president, a model which later generals were encouraged to emulate. In January 1965, Field Marshal President Ayub Khan was ‘elected’ president of Pakistan by an electoral college composed of Basic Democrats, who had been patronised under a system of grants and development funds since their own elections in 1959.

Many historians and observers believe, that had he allowed free and fair elections to take place, expanding the electoral franchise, his opponent Fatima Jinnah, who despite a rigged system gave him a hard fight, might just have won.

President Ayub Khan and Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri in animated conversation at a dinner during the Commonwealth Heads of State Conference in London in June, 1965. — Photo: The Tahir Ayub Collection
President Ayub Khan and Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri in animated conversation at a dinner during the Commonwealth Heads of State Conference in London in June, 1965. — Photo: The Tahir Ayub Collection

The year 1965 was also, of course, the year when Ayub Khan’s downward slide began. The war with India in September, on which much has been written in recent years by historians, has raised questions on strategy, intention and tactics, and whether Pakistan actually ‘won’ the war. The role of Pakistan’s foreign minister, a young, charismatic and ambitious Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, has also been scrutinised by historians, suggesting that Bhutto led Ayub into a military disaster, and was to gain political mileage after the Tashkent Declaration, parting ways with Ayub to become his main opponent.

CONSEQUENCES

There is little doubt that Ayub Khan’s Decade of Development, which his government was celebrating in 1968 at a time when opposition to his regime was mounting, changed Pakistan’s social and economic structures unambiguously. There is little doubt that there was economic growth, but given the ideological drivers of this growth, regional and income inequalities grew very sharply, giving rise to a political category of the super rich, called the ‘Twenty-two Families’, a metaphor for accumulation and corruption.

The growth model followed by Ayub gave rise to manufacturing and industrialisation, the growth of a working class, agricultural wealth created by the Green Revolution in the Punjab, and the emergence of what were later to become Pakistan’s middle classes. It was many of these disenfranchised social groups under Ayub that gave Bhutto the support to create his Peoples Party and bring about a social revolution, while in East Pakistan, these same contradictions gave impetus to Sheikh Mujib’s Awami League.

While the President was busy playing out his own agenda, there was much happening at home in the 1950s and 1960s in terms spreading progressive thought among the masses. Seen here is the iconic Faiz Ahmed Faiz (extreme right) and director A. J. Kardar (centre) on location for Jaago Howa Savera in Chittagong in 1959. Faiz penned the screenplay for the film which later got awarded a Gold Medal at the first Moscow International Film Festival. — Photo: The Faiz Ghar Archives.
While the President was busy playing out his own agenda, there was much happening at home in the 1950s and 1960s in terms spreading progressive thought among the masses. Seen here is the iconic Faiz Ahmed Faiz (extreme right) and director A. J. Kardar (centre) on location for Jaago Howa Savera in Chittagong in 1959. Faiz penned the screenplay for the film which later got awarded a Gold Medal at the first Moscow International Film Festival. — Photo: The Faiz Ghar Archives.

It was not only inequality amongst individuals which increased, but on account of the Green Revolution, and due to capitalism’s own locational logic, central Punjab and Karachi developed far more than other parts of the country, particularly East Pakistan, which had always felt deprived and exploited.

With the Punjabi-Mohajir bureaucracy and a Punjabi military dominating politics and economics in an overly centralised state, East Pakistan’s politicians and population felt completely marginalised. The policies of the Ayub era, both economic and political, led in 1966 to Mujib asking for more rights, including the right to universal franchise for all Pakistanis. A centralised military government, now located in its new capital Islamabad, failed to pay heed to calls for inclusion and participation. Signs of what was to come were clearly evident.

Ayub’s decade unleashed a process of social and economic change, created economic and social contradictions for socialist and nationalist politics to emerge, and also helped modernise many institutions and policies.

All this was done with complete support from the US until the 1965 war when American policy was rethought with regard to South Asia. Most importantly, Ayub’s decade of military dictatorship brought the military into politics, and created a pattern which was replicated, albeit with different ideological underpinnings, in very different eras and global and regional circumstances, in 1977 and 1999.


The writer is a political economist based in Karachi. He has a PhD in History from the University of Cambridge. He teaches at Columbia University in New York, and at the IBA in Karachi.


This story is part of a series of 16 special reports under the banner of ‘70 years of Pakistan and Dawn’. Read the complete first report and second report, or visit the archive for more.


HBL has been an indelible part of the nation’s fabric since independence, enabling the dreams of millions of Pakistanis. At HBL, we salute the dreamers and dedicate the nation’s 70th anniversary to you. Jahan Khwab, Wahan HBL.


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GEN. AYUB BECOMES PRESIDENT

DAWN October 29, 1958 (Editorial)

An end & a beginning

General Ayub Khan, Supreme Commander and Chief Martial Law Administrator, smiling after having addressed the nation on Radio Pakistan on October 8, 1958 – a day after he abrogated the Constitution and imposed Pakistan’s first Martial Law. He is flanked here by senior bureaucrat Aziz Ahmed (left) and Lt-Gen Majeed Malik (right) who was instrumental in making it all happen. Seen behind them are Lt-Gen Yahya Khan (extreme left) and Zulfiqar Ali Bukhari (second from left). —  Photo: Hasan Bozai
General Ayub Khan, Supreme Commander and Chief Martial Law Administrator, smiling after having addressed the nation on Radio Pakistan on October 8, 1958 – a day after he abrogated the Constitution and imposed Pakistan’s first Martial Law. He is flanked here by senior bureaucrat Aziz Ahmed (left) and Lt-Gen Majeed Malik (right) who was instrumental in making it all happen. Seen behind them are Lt-Gen Yahya Khan (extreme left) and Zulfiqar Ali Bukhari (second from left). — Photo: Hasan Bozai

THREE weeks after the Revolution of October 7, Major-General Iskander Mirza has bowed himself out and General Mohammad Ayub Khan has assumed the responsibilities of the highest office of State. This step, taken in the larger interest of the country, eliminates the likelihood of divided counsels at the highest level of authority. In his parting statement, the former President candidly admits this. “Any semblance of dual control”, he says, “was likely to hamper the performance of the immense task” which the revolutionary regime had undertaken. He refers also to the likelihood of the country’s cause being damaged if people at home and abroad got the impression that “General Ayub and I may not always act in unison”. If such a possibility existed, there was obviously no other alternative but that Major-General Iskander Mirza should “step aside and hand over all powers” to General Mohammad Ayub Khan. It was perhaps inherent in the situation that arose three weeks ago that the Revolution should sooner or later rationalise itself.

On assuming the Presidentship of Pakistan, General Mohammad Ayub Khan has emphasised that the latest change will not in any way affect the policies which he had given out to the nation in his broadcast of October 8 and in other statements subsequently made by him from time to time. He has also indicated that the recently named Cabinet will function as “the machinery for carrying out the administration of the country for the immediate future”. The people of Pakistan – who welcomed the Revolution and have since begun to reap the benefits that have swiftly followed in the wake of the new regime’s war against corruption, hoarding, profiteering, smuggling and other vices that had ruined the nation’s economy – will extend to the new Head of State an equally spontaneous welcome. During a short period of three weeks President Ayub Khan, as Supreme Commander and Chief Martial Law Administrator, has shown sincere solicitude for the welfare of the people, a thorough understanding of what is to be done to rehabilitate our national affairs, and a rare quality of public leadership. There is little doubt now that the initiative and the driving force which arrested the rot that was eating into the vitals of Pakistan due to the misbehaviour of politicians, was primarily his. The fact that the new regime, although exercising absolute and almost unlimited powers, has been so benign in its conduct towards the people in general – as distinct from wrongdoers – is also undoubtedly attributable to the humane outlook of the revolutionary regime. 

***


CEILINGS SET BY COMMISSION

DAWN January 26, 1959 (Editorial)

Land reforms

WITHIN four months of its coming to power the new regime has announced a scheme of land reforms as sweeping in its scope, far-reaching in its repercussions and important to our national existence as this nation’s original decision to have a separate homeland on this sub-continent. When on October 7, President Ayub Khan assumed power he made a solemn promise to his compatriots to do his best and to make this country safe for democracy. He has been living up to his words. He took generous but firm measures to restore sanity in national life and to make the people recognise the sanctity of obligations. He appointed a Land Reforms Commission to devise ways and means that would ensure the de facto freedom of choice and free exercise of will to the 80 per cent of our population, so that social justice be done to the tillers of the soil and real democracy be enabled to flourish in this country uncircumvented by the fear of the zamindar’s wrath or the influence of wealth.

Thus, it would be noted that the reforms announced do not unduly or drastically disturb the existing order. The ceiling of 500 acres of irrigated and 1,000 acres of unirrigated land is even by itself not only fair but quite generous. The same goes for jagirdars. It is in the fitness of things that jagirs have been abolished and no compensation is to be paid to the jagirdars.

***


GOVT TAKES CONTROL OF ‘PAKISTAN TIMES’ GROUP

DAWN April 19, 1959 (News Report)

Centre acts against subversive press

IN a dramatic move yesterday [April 18] the central government closed in on “certain undertakings actively engaged in printing and publishing material heavily subsidised by foreign agencies and claculated to subvert the public mind and divert it on lines antagonistic to national interests.” The Government amended the Security of Pakistan Ordinance of 1959, assuming powers to remove the owner, Director, Managing Agent or any other person from the control or management of any undertaking which prints or publishes any document containing any news, report, or information which is likely to endanger the defence or external affairs of security of Pakistan, or which is made, printed or published with the aid of funds received from foreign sources. In pursuance of these powers the Board of Directors of the Progressive Papers Ltd, of Lahore, which owns and publishes “The Pakistan Times”, “Imroze” and “Lail-o-Nahar” was dissolved.

***


EBDO PROMULGATED

DAWN August 8, 1959 (News Report)

Corrupt barred from public life for 7 years

AS a temporary supplement to the Public Offices Disqualification Order [PODO], the Central Government yesterday [August 7] promulgated the Elective Bodies (Disqualification) Order [EBDO], providing for simpler and quicker action and a widened scope of the term “misconduct.” Though all activities described as “misconduct” in the PODO, with the addition of subversive activities, actions contributing to political instability etc., or abetment of any such activity, come within the purview of the latest Order, an official announcement said: “It is only intended to deal (under the EBDO) with such persons whose pernicious activities under the cover of politics, religion or business brought about instability and very nearly jeopardised the security of Pakistan.”

The Order comes into force immediately, and its “present” life is up to Dec 31, 1960. It applies to all persons other than Government servants, to deal with whom a separate screening procedure has already been prescribed.

The Interior Minister, Lt-Gen K.M. Shaikh, told Dawn last evening in elaboration of the official announcement that so long as the new measure remained in force, action could be taken by the Government under either the PODO or the EBDO. The new order did not replace the PODO; it supplemented it. He said that the procedure that tribunals will follow will be “a summary one”.

***


MILITARY RULER GETS HIMSELF ELEVATED

DAWN October 27, 1959 (News Report)

President Ayub made Field Marshal

GENERAL Mohammad Ayub Khan was conferred the rank of Field Marshal by the presidential cabinet. The communique said that the conferment of this rank will serve to demonstrate to the world in a humble way the high esteem in which he is held by his people and how grateful the nation is to itS savioUr. The rank of Field Marshal is the highest rank of armies built on the patron of the British Army. The press communique added that by a peaceful revolution last year the President had not only defended the territorial integrity of Pakistan but had also saved the very existence of the nation.

***


FIVE-TIER SYSTEM IN PLACE

DAWN October 27, 1959 (News Report)

Basic Democracies Order promulgated

THE five-tier Basic Democracies Order providing for the constitution of Union, Thana and Tehsil, District, Divisional and Provincial Development Advisory Councils was promulgated by the President Mohammad Ayub Khan yesterday [October 26]. The base on which the edifice of Basic Democracies will be built are to be the Union Councils for rural areas, Town Committees for towns, and Union Committees for unions in urban areas. [A total of] 80,000 Basic Democrats will be elected through adult franchise. Not less than two-thirds of the members of the Union and Councils will be directly elected on the basis of adult franchise, and not more than one-third will be nominated with due regard to the representation of minorities, women, organizations concerned with agricultural, industrial and community development, and other interests, but with the proviso that no official shall be a member of these Councils. The representatives and appointed members of the Councils at the other four levels will be selected from amongst the members and Chairman of the first-tier Councils.

***


MORE PRESS CURBS

DAWN April 27, 1960 (News Report)

Press & Publication Ordinance issued

THE President of Pakistan yesterday [April 26] promulgated the Press and Publication Ordinance, 1960, which will extend to the whole of Pakistan and will come into force at once. The Ordinance, covering 30 pages, deals with printing presses, newspapers and periodicals, books and other publications. Rules concerning the grant of declarations and allied matters have been defined.

The Government has been empowered to ask for security deposits from printing presses publishing newspapers or books, for issuing objectionable material as defined by the Ordinance.

Security deposits ranging from Rs500 to Rs10,000 may be asked from printing presses only with the prior approval of a Sessions Judge in whose jurisdiction the affected printing press may lie. Appeals against such action will lie with a Special Bench of the High Court.

The Government has also been empowered to forfeit security deposits and, in certain cases, to prohibit the printing presses from publishing books or newspapers. Under the new rules, a publisher, before obtaining a declaration, will have to show that he has the financial resources required for regularly publishing a newspaper.

***


PAKISTAN WINS FIRST OLYMPIC GOLD

DAWN September 11, 1960 (Editorial)

Hockey triumph

HATS off to Skipper Abdul Hamid and his team-mates for their historic triumph in the Olympic hockey final.

By lowering the colours of the redoubtable Indians and ending India’s 32-year reign of supremacy in Olympic hockey, they have gloriously fulfilled the hopes raised by their Melbourne and Tokyo performances. A proud nation salutes them and rejoices in their stirring victory, which has put Pakistan right on the topmost rung of the international hockey ladder.

Attacking throughout, our boys played like champions and their opponents were lucky to escape defeat by a bigger margin. The credit for this great achievement must go first and foremost to the players themselves who, drawing inspiration from the message sent by the President, Field Marshal Mohammad Ayub Khan, put their heart and soul into the game and played wholly and solely for the honour of their country. But praise is also due in equal measure to our hockey bosses in general and the Selection Committee in particular for sending out the best possible team and to those who looked after and guided the team during its successful quest for the coveted Olympic gold medal.

The Rome victory climaxes a truly remarkable process of recovery which began after the Helsinki fiasco of 1952. The impressive performances [since then] showed that we had the resources in skill and talent necessary for making a successful bid for top Olympic honours and all that was needed was a determined and well-planned effort to exploit the talent to the fullest national advantage. Thanks to the keen interest taken by the President, Field Marshal Mohammad Ayub Khan, in the progress and development of this national game, such an effort was readily forthcoming. And how fruitful it has proved to be!

Our boys have played like heroes and when they return they will be given a heroes’ welcome. We are also confident that their heroic performance will prompt our sports organisers to give still greater attention and encouragement to the game that has brought such high honour to the country, so that we can successfully defend at Tokyo what we have won at Rome.

***


END OF 12-YEAR-OLD DISPUTE

DAWN September 20, 1960 (News Report)

Indus Waters Treaty signed

President Ayub Khan and Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru standing next to each other as they drove through Karachi in September, 1960. Premier Nehru was in Karachi to sign the Indus Waters Treaty. — Photo: The Adnan Aurangzeb Collection
President Ayub Khan and Indian Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru standing next to each other as they drove through Karachi in September, 1960. Premier Nehru was in Karachi to sign the Indus Waters Treaty. — Photo: The Adnan Aurangzeb Collection

THE Indus Waters Treaty was signed at a simple ceremony on the lawns of the President’s House last evening [September 19]and “historic” is the only expression which can adequately describe the occasion.

Under a huge “shamiana”, Prime Minister Nehru, President Ayub, and the World Bank Vice-Resident, Mr. W.A.B Iliff, affixed their signatures to three copies of the Treaty, bound in black, amidst continuous whirring clicking and flashing of movie and still cameras. At seven minutes to seven, all the five hundred and odd invitees to the ceremony turned their eyes in pin-drop silence to the shining teak table at which the President sat flanked by Mr. Nehru on the right and Mr Iliff on the left. One minute later, the Military Secretary to the President, Brigadier Nawazish Ali, presented the first of the three copies with a green “sign” tag to Mr. Nehru. He signed the document and then passed it on to Field Marshal Mohammad Ayub Khan, who, after affixing his signatures, passed it on to Mr. Iliff. The process was repeated two times.

Representatives of Pakistan, the World Bank, the USA, the UK, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and Germany then signed three agreements guaranteeing financial support for implementation of the treaty.

President Ayub Khan addressing a ceremony held to mark the inauguration of the Mangla Dam project along the banks of the Jhelum River in 1967. The Dam was an important component of the Indus Waters Treaty. — Photo: The Tahir Ayub Collection
President Ayub Khan addressing a ceremony held to mark the inauguration of the Mangla Dam project along the banks of the Jhelum River in 1967. The Dam was an important component of the Indus Waters Treaty. — Photo: The Tahir Ayub Collection

***


FAMILY LAWS ORDINANCE PROMULGATED

DAWN March 5, 1961 (Editorial)

A great step forward

THE promulgation of Muslim Family Laws Ordinance has been rightly welcomed as a far reaching measure of social reform which was long overdue. Among the achievements of the Revolutionary regime this measure will rank very high. The main object of the Ordinance is “to secure to our Muslim female citizens the enjoyment of their rights under Quranic Laws”. The Quran accords a high, respected and even privileged place to the female sex in human society. The Prophet of Islam had proclaimed in clear terms the equalitarian aspect of the institution of marriage.

In an Islamic society, therefore, women should have enjoyed a far greater degree of independence and individual freedom in the marital framework than they did in any contemporary or previous culture. In the early days of Islam they did enjoy their rights, but with the passage of years and under the influence of different social and political environments the basic principle of “mutual mobility” and equal rights in what is fundamentally a contractual obligation of freely assenting partners became conditioned to masculine supremacy. Thus, the husband came to be vested with powers and privileges for which there was no sanction in the fundamental laws of Islam as clearly enunciated in the Quran.

Polygamy which in itself is harmless and at times a necessary provision, has been widely abused by many who have turned it into an excuse for legalised promiscuity. The Ordinance provides checks against polygamy. While the Ordinance does not prevent taking more than one wife, it ensures that conditions laid down by the holy Quran are fulfilled. One of provisions of the Ordinance in this respect is that a person intending to contract a marriage during the subsistence of a previous marriage shall take permission of the Arbitration Council. While allowing the right of divorce, the Ordinance lays down a procedure for regulating the exercise of that right. The Ordinance also provides for the registration of marriage and for this purpose the Union councils will appoint Nikah Registrars, who may also solemnise marriages.

The Holy Prophet had said that, of all permissibles, the most repugnant to God was a divorce. The Muslim Shariat which confers the right of divorce also imposes well defined obligations and stipulates safeguards against sudden outbursts of fury or calculated injustice. The Ordinance will have the effect of regulating the exercise of the right of divorce because it lays down a definite procedure and specifies a time span for the full maturity of the individual divorce pronouncement. 

***


FEDERAL CONSTITUTION ENACTED

DAWN March 2, 1962 (Editorial)

Let us work it

President Ayub Khan and US First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy smiling as they disembarked from a helicopter in Washington DC, after a trip to the Kennedy country estate in Middleburg, Virginia, on September 27, 1962. — Photo: The Adnan Aurangzeb Collection
President Ayub Khan and US First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy smiling as they disembarked from a helicopter in Washington DC, after a trip to the Kennedy country estate in Middleburg, Virginia, on September 27, 1962. — Photo: The Adnan Aurangzeb Collection

PRESIDENT AYUB has fulfilled his promise and promulgated a new Constitution for Pakistan. This is indeed a solemn occasion because the country is on the eve of a return to the democratic system. It should not take more than three months for the new Central and Provincial Legislatures to come into being in accordance with the processes laid down, and on the first day that the Central Legislature meets Martial Law will come to an end. Pakistan will then resume her interrupted march to her destiny — the destiny of a self-reliant, self-respecting and reasonably prosperous and educated nation brought to maturity through the exercise of what the President has described in the Preamble to the Constitution as “the principles of democracy, freedom, equality, tolerance and social justice as enumerated by Islam”.

President Ayub has repeatedly stressed ever since he came to power that the nation needed, above all, political and administrative stability if the maximum possible social and economic progress were to be achieved in the minimum possible time. The new Constitution ensures such stability, and that in itself is a great thing. It is also based on sound principles of policy and of lawmaking. Equality of citizens, freedom of expression, freedom of association and other fundamental rights are guaranteed, and only if a National Assembly of 156 members goes berserk and turns utterly irresponsible can these principles be departed from in the sphere of legislation except when it is really necessary to do so in the interest of the nation and the State. A point on which doubt may be somewhat widespread is the nature and the basis of the franchise which will elect the members of the Central and Provincial Legislatures. As a beginning — and for the first phase in any case — no sensible person can have any objection to the Basic Democrats being the electors.

As for the future, the President has said that he is going soon to appoint a Franchise Commission which will examine the question in all its aspects and advise in what way the franchise can be enlarged and the base on which the edifice of the new institutions rests can be broadened.

The nation has good reason to be grateful to President Ayub for the gift of the Constitution. All those who have assisted him in this task and worked hard for many months to enable him to hasten the day of democracy’s return are also entitled to the people’s thanks. The President himself has mentioned in his broadcast two of them — the Chairman of the Constitution Commission, the former Chief Justice of Pakistan, Mr. Mohammad Shahabuddin, and a Minister of his Cabinet, Mr. Manzur Qadir.  

***


CHINA-PAKISTAN BORDER AGREEMENT

DAWN March 4, 1963 (Editorial)

A victory for peace

THE details of our border treaty with China signify the triumph of reason and the spirit of mutual accommodation. The legitimate rights and interests of both countries have been adequately safeguarded. Pakistan has indeed got a better bargain, and even the American State Department had to admit it. [A total of] 750 sq. miles of territory now under the actual control of China will come to Pakistan, while Pakistan does not have to hand over anything in return. This bears eloquent testimony to the reasonableness of the Chinese Government. On this happy occasion felicitations are due to President Ayub, Mr. Z.A. Bhutto, Ambassador Raza and others who worked so hard to bring about this historic event. As Mr. Bhutto said in Peking, the signing of the agreement “is a successful demonstration of the efficacy of peaceful procedures for the settlement of international questions through sincere negotiations”. All peace-loving people will share Mr. Bhutto’s conviction that “the boundary thus defined will be a boundary of peace and friendship”.

It is a significant fact that no other country except India has adversely reacted to the agreement. Why is India the only nigger in the woodpile of peace? By settling her border issues with Burma, Nepal, Outer Mangolia and Pakistan, China has shown a remarkable spirit of goodwill and accommodation. If India had agreed to peaceful negotiations with China she would have found China equally friendly. But India is dreaming Big Power dreams. Mr. Nehru, imagining himself to be a Hindu Napoleon, ordered his armies to “clear the Chinese” from territory that was by no means provenly Indian. He fell prostrate at the feet of the Western Powers whom he used to call imperialists once. Even now he refuses to meet the Chinese on the false plea that Peking has not accepted the Colombo proposals. His real motive in keeping up the tension is to squeeze out of the West as much arms and economic aid as he can.

***


LANDSLIDE VICTORY FOR AYUB

Dawn January 4, 1965 (Editorial)

Discovery of Pakistan

ON the 14th [of] August, 1947, Pakistan was born; on the 2nd [of]January, 1965, Pakistanis discovered themselves. Both days saw the fulfillment of processes set in motion respectively by the compulsions of a nation’s creation and its unfolding through the uncertainties of infancy. The Quaid-i-Azam was and will always remain the incomparable leader, and equally incomparable in the annals of human evolution will remain his achievement of Pakistan without an armed struggle. In another sense what Pakistan achieved two days ago was a unique landmark in history too. The manner in which 80,000 elected representatives of the people of this country cast their votes in the first ever elections for the Presidency has proved to the world that as a nation Pakistanis have fully come of age. Neither passion nor emotion has swayed the judgment of the overwhelming majority of the electors, and this entitles Pakistan to claim its rightful place as an adult member of the brotherhood of democratic nations.

This is a discovery which should make every patriot lift his head in thanksgiving towards Heaven. It was gratifying to find that such was the immediate reaction of the hero of this hour, the victor of this great struggle, the winning candidate, Field Marshal Mohammad Ayub. Feeling “humble” in the moment of his triumph, he praised God for having saved Pakistan. That is precisely what God in His infinite mercy has done.

The President’s victory broadcast was wholly typical of him as a man and as a leader. Nothing could have been nobler than the generous references which he made to those who had so bitterly opposed him. The victorious candidate’s references to his rival, Miss Fatima Jinnah, were graceful and gracious. “Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah,” he said, “fought the election according to her own lights. I have no personal grudge against her and I wish her well”. Calling for broader unity, President Ayub – who has been returned to power with such spectacular and convincing majority in the fairest and the freest elections to be held in Pakistan or anywhere else in the world – told his opponents: “Together, let us build; together, let us accomplish: so that Pakistan should endure and prosper”.

The Pakistan Muslim League should now prepare for the next and final stage of the current electoral process – the elections to the National Assembly and the Provincial Assemblies, so that on March 23 the country is all set to march onward to its tryst with Destiny.

***


CURFEW REIMPOSED IN KARACHI AREAS

DAWN January 6, 1965 (News Report)

Eight persons died in the Civil Hospital since the outbreak of disturbances in the outlying areas of Karachi on Monday [January 4], according to hospital sources. They were admitted in surgical wards during the last two days. A number of dead bodies were brought to the Civil Hospital on Monday. The Police Surgeon conducted post-mortem examination of these bodies.

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PAKISTAN AWARDED NORTHERN PART

DAWN July 2, 1965 (Editorial)

The Rann accord

THE agreement on cease-fire in the Rann of Kutch and on arrangement for settling the dispute concerning the territory is a significant landmark in Indo-Pakistan relations. It is welcome for more than one reason. First and foremost, it brings to an end a tense situation which could have easily escalated into a full-scale war between the two countries bringing in its train endless suffering and misery for their respective peoples. As a result of the agreement, the de facto cease-fire has now achieved a de jure status. Besides, under the terms of the agreement, the two countries are committed to withdraw their respective troops from the area within seven days of the coming into effect of the cease-fire. The agreement itself is remarkable in the sense that it leaves no loopholes for its non-compliance. It is a self-operating agreement providing for automatic adjustments leading to the next step should one fail to bring about the desired result.

The agreement is also significant in another respect. It is that India has accepted the nature of the dispute concerning the Rann of Kutch. It has always been Pakistan’s contention that it is a territorial dispute involving a territory of some 3,500 square miles, and not merely a dispute relating to the demarcation of an uncharted border. The present agreement is based on the clear stipulation that the territory in question is in dispute and that the scope of arbitration will include its disposal.

More significant than the cease-fire agreement and the accord on a procedure for a settlement of the dispute is the agreement at the two countries to disengage their forces which are poised against each other all along the border. This confrontation had brought the two countries on the verge of a war. President Ayub very aptly described the critical situation when he said that “never before have India and Pakistan been closer to war than during recent weeks when the armies of both countries have stood in menacing confrontation along the entire Indo-Pakistan border”.

As is only well-known, the situation arose when India began concentrating the bulk of her Armed Forces on Pakistan’s borders following the Indian Prime Minister’s threat to meet Pakistan on a battleground of his own choice. When the situation assumed very grave proportions, Pakistan had perforce to mobilise it own forces also in order to safeguard the territorial integrity of the country. The resulting situation became a real powder-keg ready to explode at any moment. But even in the face of such an explosive situation, the President and, at his command, the Armed Forces showed great restraint in spite of grave provocation. Their valour and their readiness to defend the country have earned for them well-deserved commendation from the President. The nation once again joins with him in expressing their gratitude to the valiant defenders of the country. 

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STRIKE HARD AT THE ENEMY: AYUB’S STIRRING CALL

DAWN September 7, 1965 (News Reports)

We are at war with India

PAKISTAN troops have thrown back Indian aggressors and have recaptured the enclave south of river Ravi in the Jassar area which was occupied by the Indian army in their first treacherous push early this morning [September 6] In addition, the Indian enclaves north of the river have also been liquidated. Pakistan Army was now in full control of the situation in Jassar. Eight hundred Indian armymen were killed or wounded today during fierce fighting on the West Pakistan borders. The battle locations are littered with Indian dead bodies, knocked out tanks, vehicles and weapons. In the Jassar fighting, 200 bodies of the Indian soldiers were physically counted and listed after the enemy had been beaten back. In other sectors of the 50-mile long Lahore front Indian attacks were repulsed with heavy casualties on the enemy. A number of Indians were taken prisoners. The situation around Wagah and Bedian has been stabilised. At Wagah the Indian advance has been fully halted and the enemy is being contained and cornered, a spokesman said.

In the Bedian area too Indians have been contained. The Pakistan Army is in full and effective control of the situation as fighting goes on to throw the aggressors back from the Pakistan territory. An official spokesman said that the enemy was only a couple of miles within Pakistan territory where they had been halted.

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CEASEFIRE IN THE INTEREST OF PEACE, SAYS AYUB

DAWN September 23, 1965

President Ayub, in a special broadcast to the nation, announced that while accepting a cease-fire (effective 3am, Thursday [September 23]) in the interest of world peace, Pakistan would keep its forces in their present battle positions. “World Powers have given us firm assurances of their awareness of the gravity of the Kashmir dispute and of the urgency to resolve it.”

“If they fail in this,” he warned, “this continent will again be engulfed in a much wider conflict”. The United Nations, he added, was on trial.

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TASHKENT DECLARATION SIGNED

DAWN January 11, 1966 (Editorial)

Tashkent Declaration

Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri (left), President Ayub Khan (centre) and Foreign Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto interact with journalists in present-day Uzbekistan after signing the Tashkent Declaration on January 10, 1966, which was the peace agreement between India and Pakistan following the 1965 war. — Photo: Dawn/White Star Archives
Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri (left), President Ayub Khan (centre) and Foreign Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto interact with journalists in present-day Uzbekistan after signing the Tashkent Declaration on January 10, 1966, which was the peace agreement between India and Pakistan following the 1965 war. — Photo: Dawn/White Star Archives

THE seven-day Tashkent talks between President Ayub Khan and Premier Shastri have achieved as much as they could possibly be expected to do in the context of the existing state of Indo-Pakistan relations. Only a few months ago the two countries found themselves locked in a full-scale military combat. Yesterday the two leaders were able, in spite of the bitterness engendered by the war and of fundamental divergences in their approach to the problems of a lasting peace in the Asian sub-continent, to identify the points on which they agreed and to incorporate these in a joint declaration. The talks have ended on a positive note. This is not as much as to say that the prescriptions offered by the Joint Declaration are adequate to the requirements of a very difficult situation or that they are capable of establishing, by themselves, lasting peace in the region. As President Ayub told the Soviet Press in an interview, the Tashkent Declaration had not gone as far as it should have done to resolve the Kashmir dispute, which was the basic problem that created stresses and strains between India and Pakistan. He rightly made it clear to the Soviet Press that genuine and lasting friendship between India and Pakistan could come only after a just solution of the Kashmir dispute and that his hope was that the Declaration would contribute to that end. This is indeed the crux of the matter. Nevertheless, the President has rightly called this a good beginning and the Declaration does enable the two countries to make a start on the road leading to the normalisation of bilateral relations, but if the goal of genuine friendship is to be achieved it is necessary, as soon as the purposes of the declaration have been fulfilled, to concentrate on gettinq the explosive Kashmir issue out of the way.

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FATIMA JINNAH DIES OF HEART ATTACK

DAWN July 10, 1967 (Editorial)

Madar-i-Millat

Miss Fatima Jinnah during her campaign in late 1964 leading to the presidential elections in Chittagong, East Pakistan, as a candidate for the Combined Opposition Party whose main opponent was President Ayub Khan. She was supported, among others, by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (left) and his Awami League. —​ Photo: Dawn/White Star Archives
Miss Fatima Jinnah during her campaign in late 1964 leading to the presidential elections in Chittagong, East Pakistan, as a candidate for the Combined Opposition Party whose main opponent was President Ayub Khan. She was supported, among others, by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman (left) and his Awami League. —​ Photo: Dawn/White Star Archives

THE sudden passing of Madar-i-Millat Miss Fatima Jinnah stunned the whole nation yesterday [July 9]; and the deep and countrywide mourning is a measure of the reverence and affection in which the great and noble lady was held by the people. The President has paid a touching tribute, highlighting her place of honour in the freedom movement; and leaders of thought and public opinion have given expression to their deep sorrow and bewilderment. Throughout the years that the Architect of Pakistan was engaged in the great struggle for the emancipation of the Indian Muslims, which inevitably had its periods of depression alternating with those of triumphs and achievements, his dedicated sister was in his own words a tower of strength to him. After Pakistan was established it fell to her to assume the role of the First Lady, and in that capacity share both the official and the personal life of her peerless brother, give him loving care and sustain him through the strains of statecraft.

The end of her life marks the severance of one of the last surviving links with the time and temper of the Quaid; and long will she be remembered for her own significant contribution in keeping the vision clear and bright and in stirring people to the accomplishment of tasks which the Quaid had left unfinished but not without pointing the way and providing the guidelines. May the dear departed soul rest in peace and may her magnificent example serve as a beacon of light for this and coming generations. – Ameen.

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AGARTALA CONSPIRACY CASE

DAWN January 7, 1968 (News Report)

28 to be tried

THE Home Ministry announced that 28 persons, including two CSP officers, have been arrested in connection with an anti-national plan unearthed in East Pakistan last month. They were allegedly concerting to bring about the secession of East Pakistan and some of them were in touch with Mr Ojha, First Secretary of the Indian Deputy High Commission in Dacca.

A Home Ministry Press Note said their alleged object was to secure a sizable quantity of arms and ammunition and funds to promote their plan. Some of them visited Agartala (in India) where they discussed their plans with L-Col Misra, Major Menon and some others. Evidence has also been obtained that these persons were allegedly in receipt of substantial sums of money which were being routed through some of the arrested persons.

During investigation most of the persons under detention have confessed to the respective parts played by them. A large number of documents, including a list of arms which were to be secured as a result of the discussion in Agartala, have also been seized, the Press Note said.

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WIDESPREAD ANTI-AYUB INCIDENTS

DAWN Novmber 14, 1968 (News Reports)

Bhutto, Wali Khan, 11 others held under DPR

THIRTEEN persons were detained today [November 13] in different parts of West Pakistan under the Defence of Pakistan Rules, it was officially stated here [Lahore]. They were Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Mr. Abdul Wali Khan, Mr. Mumtaz Ali Bhutto, MNA, Mr Ghulam Mustafa Khar, MNA, Arbab Sikandar Khan, Mir Rasul Bakhsh Talpur, Dr. Mubashir Hasan. Mr. Ajmal Khattak, Malik Aslam Hayat, Arbab Mohammad Hayat of Sherpao, Mr. Shaukat Lodhi, Mr. Amanullah Khan and Mr Ahmed Raza Khan. According to a Government spokesman, the Government was satisfied that they had been acting in a manner prejudicial to security, public safety and interest of Pakistan, the maintenance of public order and the maintenance of peaceful conditions in West Pakistan.

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FIVE INJURED IN DACCA FIRING ON VIOLENT MOB

DAWN January 22, 1969

Life in this provincial metropolis was paralysed today [January 21] by a hartal observed in protest against Monday’s [January 20] police firing, in which one student was killed. Shops and markets remained closed and all vehicular traffic was off the streets. The students abstained from their classes. In the morning militant students and their supporters clashed with the police and EPR (East Pakistan Rifles) personnel on duty who opened fire twice, once in front of the Eden Girls College Hostel and later near the Government New Market. Five persons including students received bullet injuries. An official spokesman later said a violent crowd armed with lathis, iron rods and other dangerous weapons assembled near Azimpur crossing in violation of Section 144 CrPC and attacked the EPR and police on duty there.

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DAY-LONG CLASHES WITH POLICE IN KARACHI

DAWN January 26, 1969

Curfew was imposed in certain areas of Karachi for 24 hours yesterday [January 25] following day-long public demonstrations, clashes with Police squads, tear-gas shelling, air-firing and a series of bonfires that caused extensive damage to both public and private property. Karachi Police last night announced that at least 225 rioters and members of unruly crowds had been rounded up from different parts of the city. In all, more than 30 persons were injured during the day-long clashes.

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ARMY ASSISTS IN LAHORE; 24-HOUR CURFEW IMPOSED

DAWN January 28, 1969

The Army was called out in Lahore after a violent crowd set on fire the Government party newspaper “Kohistan”. There was no loss of life in the blaze, but a 24-hour curfew has been imposed.

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AYUB HANDS OVER POWER TO YAHYA

DAWN March 26, 1969 (News Reports)

Country put under Martial Law

FIELD Marshal Mohammad Ayub Khan today [March 25] stepped down as President of Pakistan and handed over power to Army Chief General Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan who placed the country under Martial Law with immediate effect. The 52-year-old General, in a proclamation issued as Chief Martial Law Administrator, announced the abrogation of the Constitution and dissolution of the National Assembly and the two Provincial Assemblies. Members of the President’s Council of Ministers and the two newly-appointed Provincial Governors ceased to hold their offices under the proclamation.

The proclamation said the country would be governed under two zones. West and East Pakistan will be known as Martial Law Zones A and B and would be headed by Lt-Gen Atiqur Rehman and Maj-Gen Muzaffaruddin respectively. The Chief Martial Law Administrator or officers authorised by him would be issuing various Martial Law Regulations from time to time. In a Regulation promulgated immediately after taking over as Chief Martial Law Administrator, Gen Yahya appointed Lt-Gen Abdul Hamid Khan, Deputy C-in-C of Army, Vice-Admiral S.M. Ahsan, the Naval chief, and Air Marshal M. Nur Khan, the PAF C-in-C as Deputy Chief Martial Law Administrators. Another Regulation provided the constitution of Special and Summary Military Courts to try and punish persons for the contravention of Martial Law Regulations or for offences under the ordinary law. The first Martial Law Order promulgated by the Chief Martial Law Administrator directed the deposit of all firearms and ammunition, licensed or unlicensed in possession of any person except members of Armed Forces, civil armed forces and Police to the nearest Police station against a proper receipt within 24 hours. The Martial Law Order No. 2 said: “All proceedings of Special Military Courts, after confirmation by the administrator, will be sent to Judge Advocate-General, General Headquarters, Rawalpindi, for final review. A letter by Field Marshal Ayub Khan, sent to Gen. Yahya Khan on March 24 explaining the present situation in the country and asking him to take over power, was officially released to the Press tonight.

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AYUB’S FAREWELL ADDRESS TO THE NATION

DAWN March 26, 1969

President Mohammad Ayub Khan today [March 25] announced he was stepping down and handing over power to the Army Chief Gen A. M. Yahya Khan. The President said that the situation was now out of the control and there could be no resource except the Armed Forces. In an unscheduled broadcast, he said the whole nation was demanding of the Army chief to perform his constitutional duties. He said he had hoped that situation would normalise but it went from bad to worse.


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Dawn Delhi II: Engaging With Aligarh

By Roger D. Long


Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah with the students of Aligarh Muslim University on March 12, 1941. Mr Jinnah mobilised the students to campaign for the Muslim League in elections that were due shortly. The University served a major role during the Pakistan Movement and Dawn was an effective tool to keep it galvanised. — Photo: Dawn/White Star Archives
Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah with the students of Aligarh Muslim University on March 12, 1941. Mr Jinnah mobilised the students to campaign for the Muslim League in elections that were due shortly. The University served a major role during the Pakistan Movement and Dawn was an effective tool to keep it galvanised. — Photo: Dawn/White Star Archives

The newspaper (Dawn) covered events at Aligarh to such an extent that it practically became a university broadsheet, reporting on its meetings, the activities of its staff, its sports events, as well as a special column on ‘Aligarh News’. Capturing Aligarh for the League required a special campaign and this was discussed in June, 1942, when Nawab Ismail Khan, Chaudhury Khaliquzzaman and Liaquat Ali Khan met in Delhi and urged the necessity to get pro-League members elected to the Aligarh University Court, the Executive Council and other important University organisations.

Accordingly, they set up a committee consisting of Dr Ziauddin, Zahir Hussain, who worked in Finance in the Government of India, Khaliquzzaman and Liaquat, as Liaquat explained to [Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali] Jinnah in a letter dated July 3, 1942. Over the following years the League strengthened its control of the University with Ziauddin being the most important figure at Aligarh.

Toward the end of the War, especially after the invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, as it became obvious that both Japan and Germany were on the verge of defeat, all of political India knew that general elections would be held on the cessation of hostilities. As a result, Aligarh became more important as the University had not only been established as the intellectual backbone of the Pakistan Movement by the Muslim League but Aligarh students (as were the students of Punjab University) were pegged as the foot-soldiers of the party and were expected to play an important role in the forthcoming campaign.

On October 1, 1944, Dawn reported on the September 27 meeting of the Executive Council of the University of which the General Secretary of the League, Liaquat Ali Khan, was a member, Ziauddin Ahmed, a League supporter, was the pro-Vice Chancellor, and Nawab Ismail Khan, a prominent Leaguer from the United Provinces (UP), was also a member.

THE LEAGUE’S PROPAGANDA CAMPAIGN

The same page contained a report of the activities of the UP Muslim League meeting held at Aligarh the following day as well as an article headlined, ‘Mr. Jinnah’s Interest in Aligarh Medical College’, which reported on a meeting between Dr Ziauddin and Jinnah in Bombay, when Jinnah enquired about a number of activities at Aligarh, including the progress of the medical college.

In this way, Dawn purported to be a spokesman for the University, to claim that it had a proprietary and protective relationship with the University, and to co-opt it for the Pakistan Movement. Five days later, on October 6, Dawn ran a story on the way the Muslim League began election work in the UP for municipal elections and were arranging for meetings in various divisions of the province in order to entertain applications from candidates for League tickets.

In connection with the municipal elections a ‘batch of Muslim University Union Speakers Members’ would tour the province on a ‘League propaganda campaign’ and they would be joined by members of the staff of the University. The Muslim University Muslim League also released to Dawn on October 10 the list of League speakers due to speak at the University. This included the prominent Leaguers Maulana Zafar Ali Khan, a member of the Central Legislative Assembly, Isa Khan of Balochistan and Abdur Rab Nishtar of the North-West Frontier Province.

As the intelligentsia of the AIML, Aligarh also provided the League with a cadre of skilled propagandists. A Committee of Writers of the AIML was established to spread the ideas of the League, to defend the idea of the demand for Pakistan and to establish the Islamic credentials of the League. Dawn fully publicised the activities of the Committee and promoted the publications the Committee issued.

On October 16, 1944, under the Committee of Muslim Writers’ ‘Plan of Literature Drawn Up’ headline, Dawn reported that the Committee had met at Aligarh five days earlier and approved the circular letter to Muslim writers previously drawn up and sent by the Convener, Jamiludin Ahmad, and they were gratified by the positive response.

A further list of contributors was devised by the Committee and they would be invited to contribute articles that would be vetted for publication. English articles would be scrutinized by Kazi Sududdin and Jamiludin Ahmad and Urdu ones by Syed Hasan Riaz and Moulvi Zia Ahmad.

THE PERFECT VENUE

The Committee further came out with ‘a complete plan of literature’ to be brought out by the Committee under a number of headings. They were: ‘Fundamentals of Islam’, ‘Expansion of Islam’, ‘Muslim Personages’, ‘Survey of Muslim Contributions to India’, ‘Why and wherefore of Pakistan?’, ‘Survey of Eastern and Western Pakistan’, ‘Muslims and Hindustan’, ‘Muslims and Problems of Post-War Reconstruction’ and ‘Current Affairs’. The first emphasis would be placed on modern problems under the heading of ‘Islamic Polity’, ‘Islamic Economy’ and ‘Islamic Society’. It further resolved that all the branches of the League would be co-opted to recruit writers for the Committee and to push its publications. In addition, Dawn was used to fully report on the Committee and it continually carried advertisements of its publications.

Aligarh was the perfect venue for League spokesmen to wage a war of words against the Congress and the Government and it used the University extensively for the purpose. Liaquat Ali Khan made a trip to Aligarh on a Saturday evening, October 28, 1944, in order to give an extensive response to what he described as the Gandhi-Rajagopalachari plan for constitutional development.

Liaquat’s trip to Aligarh and his speech was given front-page billing by Dawn on November 1, 1944. The speech was reported and analysed and represented the League’s formal response to the failure of the talks. Dawn made sure the League’s interpretation of the event was taken around the country and to counter any aspersion that it was the League which was preventing India from achieving independence.

Rajagopalachari posed a great threat to the demand for Pakistan in his constant demands that the Congress reach an agreement with the League for ending the political deadlock. On July 17, 1944, Jinnah accepted Gandhi’s invitation for one-on-one negotiations to discuss the political situation. Gandhi travelled to Jinnah’s home in Bombay and from September 9 until September 29, the two engaged in negotiations.

Gandhi’s aim was to reach an agreement on the basis of the Rajagopalachari formula which the two had discussed the previous year in March. This was a ploy whereby a plebiscite of all voters would be held in the north-west and the north-east of India where Muslims were in the majority to decide whether India should be divided. Gandhi was well aware that the Punjab Unionist Party was opposed to partition and the voters in the north-east would come under the full pressure of officialdom to vote no.

THE GANDHI TRAP

The discussions caught the imagination of the British and political India and occupied a huge number of column inches in the nation’s newspapers. It seemed as though a breakthrough was imminent and all India could breathe a sigh of relief. The breakdown of negotiations as Jinnah held firm to the demand for Pakistan meant that the League needed to defend the League position to demonstrate that it was not an obstruction on the path of independence and merely a tool of British imperialism. Hence, Liaquat’s trip to Aligarh and his speech was given front-page billing by Dawn on November 1, 1944. With the headline of ‘How Jinnah Escaped C.R.-Gandhi Trap’ and ‘Formula Aimed to Thwart Self-Determination Right’, Liaquat , Dawn reported, gave a long speech in which he characterised the whole plan of C.R. and Gandhi as a ‘fraud’.

Mr. Pothan Joseph Editor Dawn Delhi 1942 - 1945
Mr. Pothan Joseph Editor Dawn Delhi 1942 - 1945

The speech was reported and analysed and represented the League’s formal response to the failure of the talks. Dawn made sure the League’s interpretation of the event was taken around the country and to counter any aspersion that it was the League which was preventing India from achieving independence.

This was followed up on November 11, 1944, when the League held a public meeting in Delhi at Urdu Park with Hussain Imam, Leader of the Muslim League party in the Council of State, in the chair (Dawn November 13, 1944). Under the title of ‘Delhi Muslims Affirm Faith In Mr. Jinnah’, Dawn reported that the meeting passed a unanimous resolution supporting the stand taken by Jinnah in his talks with Gandhi in Bombay.

Maulana Zafar Ali Khan, one of the founders of the AIML in 1906, led off the remarks lending his religious authority as a stalwart of the Khilafat Movement in the Punjab and the founder and president of the Majlis-e-Ittehad-e-Millat in 1935 by stating his firm belief that the problem of Indian freedom would not be solved unless there was a settlement between the Hindus and the Muslims and that Congress would never achieve independence without the support of the Muslim League.

THE DEFENDER OF ISLAM

He was followed up by Nawab Siddiq Ali Khan, a League member of the Central Legislative Assembly from the Central Provinces, who recounted the activities of the League in the Assembly showing how the League had defended the rights of Muslims to offer prayers in government bungalows in New Delhi and claimed that it was only due to the League that Haj traffic was open in 1944.

Dawn, therefore, played an important part in spreading stories that the League was the defender of Islam and the Muslim way of life in India and the article achieved two aims with one story, that of confirming Jinnah as the great leader of the League and the Muslims of South Asia, and the League as the protector of Islam in India.

An advertisement for Dawn Delhi in the Morning News, a Calcutta-based English-language newspaper. Dawn Delhi was founded by Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah in 1941. In September, 1947, the offices of the newspaper were burnt down by the Jan Sang and it ceased publication shortly afterwards. — Photo: The Nighat Mir Collection
An advertisement for Dawn Delhi in the Morning News, a Calcutta-based English-language newspaper. Dawn Delhi was founded by Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah in 1941. In September, 1947, the offices of the newspaper were burnt down by the Jan Sang and it ceased publication shortly afterwards. — Photo: The Nighat Mir Collection

Dawn was also used to publicise the activities of League committees. The League created a Planning Committee in 1944 that would plan for the economic activities of Pakistan once it had been established. Its meeting of November 5, 1944, was reported in Dawn two days later and on the following day the newspaper reported on Jinnah’s address to the Committee on November 6, saying that while the League was a political organisation and had done “fairly well” in organising Muslims politically, in economic matters Muslims had, in Bombay, a city he knew well, over the previous 40 years, fallen behind the Hindu and British businessmen. It was incumbent for the League, therefore, to encourage the establishment of Muslim chambers of commerce around the country and they had done so under the Federation of Chambers of Commerce.

The resolutions and proceedings, he assured the Committee, would go to the press, meaning Dawn, and be fully reported. The Planning Committee met from time to time but did little constructive work apart from networking but it did help to give the impression that the League was planning the future economy of Pakistan. It was one more way for Dawn to fill its columns of League activities and to demonstrate the strength and validity of the demand for Pakistan.

On November 19, 1944, Dawn in a half-page story in all five columns reported on the note on the basic policies of the Committee as it had been drawn up the previous week at a meeting held at the Anglo-Arabic College, a frequent host of League events as the President of the Anglo-Arabic Society was the League General Secretary Liaquat Ali Khan. The Committee report covered a number of topics such as the alleviation of poverty, the development of rural industries, mechanisation and the question of state control. Concrete plans for development would be discussed once the sub-committees assigned to these areas reported. Jinnah had promised that Dawn would fully cover the Planning Committee’s activities and it had.


This is the second of a four-part series on Dawn Delhi. Read the first part here.

Excerpted from ‘Dawn & the Creation of Pakistan’, Media History 2009, SOAS, London.

The writer is Professor of History, Eastern Michigan University, USA


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Ayub Khan announces a new constitution for Pakistan

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Jago Hua Savera (1959) – a path breaking Pakistani film

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Ayub Khan announces that the Indian Army has attacked a civilian train leaving Lahore

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The Tashkent Declaration

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Ayub Khan voices his concern at the mounting disorder in East and West Pakistan

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Ayub Khan relinquishes his position as president

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Fatima Jinnah campaigns for the 1965 elections

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Brigadier AR Siddiqi recounts his days at Dawn Delhi


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