Muhammad Ayub Khan (Urdu: محمد ایوب خان; May 14, 1907 – 19 April 1974) was a five-star general officer and statesman, serving as the secondPresident of Pakistan and its first military dictator from 1958 until his forced resignation in 1969. A self-appointed field marshal, the only such five-star rank in Pakistan's military history, he was appointed the first chief martial law administrator by President Iskander Mirza in 1958, a post he retained until the promulgation of a new constitution in 1962.
After receiving training at Sandhurst, Ayub fought in World War II as a British Indian Army officer. He opted for the new state of Pakistan while stationed in East Pakistan in 1947 at the time of Partition. He was appointed the country's first native commander-in-chief in 1951 by then-Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan, in a controversial promotion over several senior officers. President Mirza's decision to declare martial law in 1958 was supported by Ayub, whom Mirza declared chief martial law administrator. Two weeks later, Ayub deposed Mirza in a bloodless coup and assumed the presidency. He relinquished the post of army chief to General Musa Khan the same year.
Ayub continued his predecessors' policy of a non-aligned alliance with the United States during the Cold War, joining CENTO, and allowing the U.S. and Britain access to facilities inside Pakistan, most notably the airbase outside of Peshawar, from which U-2 intelligence flights over the Soviet Unionwere launched. He also strengthened military ties with neighboring China, while relations deteriorated with the Soviet Union and India. There was the five-week war in 1965 with India, ending in a United Nations-mandated ceasefire. Domestically, Ayub embraced private-sector industrialization andfree-market principles, making the country one of Asia's fastest-growing economies. He built several infrastructure projects, including canals, dams and power stations, began Pakistan's space programme, and gave less priority to nuclear deterrence. Ayub's reign also saw increasing political tensions in East Pakistan.
After defeating Fatima Jinnah in the controversial presidential elections of 1965, Ayub's standing began to slide amid allegations of widespread vote rigging. The war with India the same year concluded with the Tashkent Agreement, which many Pakistanis considered an embarrassing compromise. Demonstrations across the country over rising prices, including those led by Ayub's minister-turned-rival Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, increased dramatically from 1967 onwards. In 1969, Ayub resigned and handed over power to General Yahya Khan, who declared martial law for the second time. Following ill health, Ayub died in 1974. His legacy remains mixed; he is credited with economic prosperity and what supporters dub "the decade of development", but is criticized for beginning the first of the army's incursions into civilian politics, and policies that later led to the Bangladesh crisis.