Basic democracies and governance model of Ayub khan

Explore Ayub Khan’s Governance Model: From Martial Law to Basic Democracies in Pakistan

 The governance model of Ayub khan

Basic democracies and the governance model of Ayub khan are much debated in Pakistan. His authoritarianism paved the way for the development of Pakistan. Field Marshal President Ayub Khan’s authoritarian and presidential model of inverse ‘development‘ has fascinated the people of Pakistan. This is even though a popular mass movement brought down Field Marshal President Ayub Khan fifty years after his death. Why do people seem so fascinated by this?

To forestall the possibility of a Bengali or Bengali-led coalition winning the upcoming general elections, the then-president Iskander Mirza abrogated the constitution of 1956, imposed martial law, and appointed General Ayub Khan as chief martial law administrator. However, a few days later, Mirza was overthrown in a double-barreled coup, and Khan was appointed president of Pakistan.

From martial law to what is now known as “managed democracy,” Ayub Khan established a praetorian trajectory that his successors would more or less follow (Christophe Jaffrelot). He began his authoritarian political project by outlawing all political parties, indicting over 750 politicians on corruption charges, including Suharwardy, banning leading politicians from public life under the RBDO, firing 1662 civil servants, limiting judicial powers, stifling the free press, rescinding provincial autonomy, and instituting the system of Basic Democracies. Suharwardy was one of the politicians indicted on corruption charges. He also indicted Suharwardy

Basic Democracies

This hybrid BD system consisted of an electoral college of 80,000 members, who were to elect national and provincial assemblies and the president; 4000 elected officials from each wing, with half nominated by the government, were to run local governments under the tutelage of deputy commissioners. A popular vote elected the president among the 80,000 electoral college members. On February 15, 1960, Ayub won the election without facing any opposition, and he ended the state of martial law in 1962, two years later. His presidential constitution gave him complete authority over appointments and removals of governors, ministers, and assembly members, as well as the ability to veto any legislation approved by the legislatures. In order to establish a social base for political legitimacy, he assembled the top members of the Convention Muslim League by following the model of the Republican Party, which the prior governor generals bureaucratically produced.

It is interesting to note that Generals Zia and Musharraf completely replicated what General Ayub Khan had developed. This model failed as soon as the last military dictator stepped down due to the pressure brought on by public protests and the fight for democracy. Moreover, this praetorian model of an authoritarian presidency, which failed miserably and corrupted the political ethos, is again being peddled on social media by those who seem to have a great distaste for democratic values. Moreover, this model of an authoritarian presidency was a failure and corrupted the political ethos.

Ayub Khan’s Development modal

The discussion of the ‘development’ model proposed by Ayub Khan and how the Harvard school of economics interpreted it under the direction of Gustav F. Papanek is of greater significance. The theory was to be executed from “above (governmental patronage) and outside (foreign aid/debt),” and it was based on the notions of “social utility of greed” and “functional inequality.” This model was supposed to flourish based on a concentration of wealth in two cores of development – Karachi and central Punjab – at the expense of the marginalisation of the periphery, which included East Pakistan, southern Punjab, interior Sindh, Balochistan, and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The accumulation of wealth in a few hands and the creation of social stratification were supposed to be compensated by the “trickle-down effect.”

Therefore, the monopolies of a few wealthy families emerged, not as a result of laissez-faire but rather as a result of state patronage: 76 percent of the industry was controlled by 43 families; seven families controlled 91.6 percent of all bank deposits and 84.4 percent of income from banks; 43 families ran the insurance business, and they controlled all public-sector enterprises such as PICIC. The entire approach to industrial development was predicated on the idea of import substitution, which was encouraged through various policies such as high import tariffs, tax exemptions, a bonus voucher scheme for free foreign exchange, an overvalued exchange rate, and import licences, subsidies, and so on.

Green Revolution by Ayub Khan

The other component of this paradigm was a pro-rich farmer “green revolution” plan. This strategy was founded on high-yield variety seeds, excessive use of fertiliser, higher supply of water, and mechanisation of agriculture, all of which were implemented while uprooting the mass of the peasantry. According to the Farm Mechanization Survey (1968), it led to large landowners holding 52.3 percent of the cultivated area, and landowners with more than 100 acres ran 80 percent of mechanised farms. This was in contrast to the small farmers and peasants, who endured great hardship due to the rich-farmer strategy. Ayub Khan developed a comprador class of bourgeoisie and huge capitalist farmers. These people relied on state sponsorship and could not become agents of an industrial revolution.

Foreign Direct investment

This dependent development model became overly reliant on foreign aid and debt when Pakistan became the “most aligned ally” of the United States and Western military blocks. This resulted in a debt trap that continues to haunt our economy today.The debt increased from a total of 373 million dollars in 1950–1955 to a total of 2701 million dollars in 1965–1970. The percentage of GDP devoted to the payment of debt rose from 4.2 percent in the fiscal year 1960–1962 to 34.5 percent in 1971–1972, putting Pakistan in an unavoidable position of having to borrow money to pay its debts.

Similarly, the strategic alliance between the United States and Pakistan was solidified by the provision of military aid and debt, which skyrocketed to $1.5 billion in 1965 and reached 9.6 percent of GDP in 1965-1966. During 1958-1969, the budgets allocated for the military fluctuated from 46.13 percent to 63.47 percent of the total.The idea that Pakistan would no longer depend on debt by the end of the 20-year Perspective Plan (1965-85) proved incorrect. The country became chronically dependent on both domestic and foreign debt.

The decade of economic growth

The notion that the so-called “decade of growth” at Ayub has been produced is highly deceptive and should be avoided. This dependent model reached its peak performance during the second five-year plan (1960-1965) and began its decline during the third five-year plan (1975-1980). (1965-70).

He was opposed in the presidential election by Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah. To cover up the embarrassment of massive rigging, he initiated Operation Gibraltar, which eventually led to a full-scale war in 1965. His military adventurism further exacerbated the predicament of a client state which lacked adequate national security.

State patronage under basic democracies

Because it was dependent on external help and debt and was driven from above with the state’s patronage, Ayub’s model could not be maintained in the long term. The outcome was a wider gap between the wealthy and the impoverished and the formation of an insurmountable divide between the eastern and western halves of the nation.

social stratification and regional inequality

Extreme social stratification and regional inequality gave rise to widespread unrest across the country, which ultimately resulted in the dictator being forced to give in to the people’s demands for the restoration of four provinces, the end of the One Unit system, the introduction of a federal parliamentary system, and the termination of One Unit. In response to the demands of the people, he did not step down from power and organise elections; instead, he disregarded his constitution and instituted a state of martial law, only to be succeeded by General Yahya Khan.

Deep social and geographical inequalities

Deep social and geographical inequalities were formed due to the crises caused by Ayub Khan’s authoritarian model of reliant and unsustainable development. These inequalities ultimately created the conditions necessary for the country’s breakup. His successor, General Yahya Khan, who refused to step down and accept the people’s vote, embarked on yet another military adventure, this time directed at the people of East Pakistan. The ‘decade of progress’ has thus come to a violent end, with the dismemberment of Pakistan as a result of this.

Sadly, the powers that be have not learned the appropriate lessons from the repeated failures of a neo-Bonapartist model of unsustainable development operating under the enormous burden of a national security state. Moreover, once again, the tried and tested ideas of a centralised authoritarian state that have been rejected are being promoted by a few insanity-driven corners.

Why is it that PTI activists are so enamoured with a presidential model in the context of a fragile federation led by a majority province? This is something that no one can comprehend. Moreover, why is Imran Khan so impressed with an unsustainable growth model that was fundamentally founded on great inequality and was doomed to fail in the end, despite running his political campaign against the Pakistan of the rich (and for an egalitarian state of Madina)?

This article is taken from the 

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