Lahore, Aug 19 : The one common thing among the four military dictators Pakistan has seen in its 61 years after Separation in 1947 is that all of them assumed power on the pretext of country's "weak economic situation" and that the politicians had taken the country to ransom.
The other stark similarity among these four - Ayub Khan, Yahya Khan, Ziaul Haq and Pervez Musharraf - is that they could not be impeached and voluntarily stepped down, reported the Daily Times.
Ayub Khan was the country's first military dictator who took charge on October 27, 1958 after deposing Prime Minister Iskander Mirza. It was the first instance of direct military involvement in the country's politics. Ayub ruled for around 11 years and introduced basic democracies, industrial reforms, and agricultural developments like setting up a network of canals. The hallmark of his tenure was the Indo-Pak war of 1965 and the presidential election in which he defeated Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah.
In his final years in power, Ayub started negotiations with his nemeses like Maulana Bhashani and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Musharraf also had to negotiate with Benazir Bhutto while Nawaz Sharif, who was in exile, was also allowed to return. The situation in the country went out of control by the end of the 1960s and Ayub had no option but to quit. He resigned on March 25, 1969.
The then Army Chief Yahya Khan came into power on March 25, 1969 after Ayub's resignation. Yahya immediately imposed martial law in the country and became the country's President.
His major achievement was the holding a fair election in 1970, in which the PPP emerged victorious in West Pakistan while the Awami League won from East Pakistan. However, before the transfer of power, a war between Pakistan and India broke out in December 1970 in which Pakistan was defeated. The eastern part of the country was separated. The people of Pakistan were angered over the defeat. Yahya handed over power to Bhutto and resigned on December 20, 1971.
Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Buhtto appointed Gen Zia-ul Haq as chief of army staff in 1976. Zia overthrew Bhutto on July 5, 1977 through a military coup and imposed the third martial law in the country's history. The major development in Zia's era was a decade-long Afghan war, in which more than one million Afghans were displaced.
Gen Musharraf came into power through a coup on October 12, 1999 after overthrowing the Nawaz Sharif government. Though Musharraf did not impose martial law, he became the chief executive of the country, a post that was created for the first time.