Ayub’s military takeover was intended to establish political and economic order in the country and he went about the tasks with a military man’s ethos of authority, discipline and hierarchy. The military became central to his administration. The bureaucracy felt obliged to co-operate, reversing the pecking order in which the two had functioned till then. The system Ayub created, the basic democracies, under his 1962 Constitution, was designed to establish a strong Presidency with “controlled democracy” in which political dialogue, process and participation were of secondary importance.
Ayub Khan had been disillusioned by the political theatre enacting every now and then in the Constituent Assembly in the early 1950s and had come to believe that principles of Western style democracy were unsuitable to bring about social and economic development. His system too in the long run, failed to receive popular acceptability since it proved inadequate to deal with the political and economic aspirations of the different categories of general masses, such as the political parties, students, professionals, poor and unemployed. But in the meanwhile, the military had been able to establish a dominating voice in all the core policy and decision making mechanisms, especially in the strategic field.
The military had been the true strength of Ayub Khan, and he took care to ensure that it developed a stake in governance and became partial to the system being developed, turning a blind eye towards dissatisfaction in the civil society”¦
The military had been the true strength of Ayub Khan, and he took care to ensure that it developed a stake in governance and became partial to the system being developed, turning a blind eye towards dissatisfaction in the civil society as it started emerging from the inadequacies of the 1962 Constitution. The Constitution of 1962 provided that for the first 20 years after its commencement, the defence portfolio would always be held by a senior military officer who had been a lieutenant general or equivalent.
A system of permanent secondment of defence personnel to the Civil Service of Pakistan began in 1960. Though this practice was discontinued in 1963, another process of placing senior retiring officers from the three services in public corporations or autonomous bodies or in ambassadorial assignments was initiated. The system of granting agricultural land for service rendered was continued with greater vigour. The military was given a role in socio economic sectors through utilisation of their services and resources in five-year plan projects.
A Temporary Eclipse in 1969 in a Spate of Agitations
Ayub had to go because while he kept his supporters in uniform in good humour, he was unable to provide to the larger masses of the people distributive justice and free political participation and expression. His exit and succession amounted to another coup by the military. Under the 1962 Constitution, on the President’s resignation, the Speaker of the National Assembly took over temporarily as Acting President, with election of the new President being completed in 90 days.
The six-point formula was aimed at restoring the balance and removing the oppression by the West. The military wanted some modifications in this formula before transfer of power to Mujibur Rehman, who, as the new Prime Minister, would have also had a decisive voice in the framing of the new constitution. The military felt that if Mujibur did not agree to some accommodation, military power could be used against him.
Despite these factors, Bhutto was unable to minimise the role of the Armed Forces in the system.
Use of troops to tame the Bengalis converted their opposition into a full-fledged civil war, resulting in the emergence in 1971 of East Pakistan as an independent nation, Bangladesh. The debacle aroused resentment in the rank and file of the military, forcing Yahya Khan and the ruling clique of generals to quit. Power was transferred to Zulfiqar Ali Bhuuo whose Pakistan Peoples’ Party had swept the polls in West Pakistan in the elections to the National Assembly.