of Martial Law 1958
On 7 October 1958, President Iskander Mirza declared
Martial Law in the entire country and appointed General Ayub Khan
as the Chief Martial Law Administrator. The following are the texts
of President Iskander Mirza's presidential order imposing the Martial
Law, and General Ayub's proclamation in response. Both were issued
on 7 October 1958.
Proclamation of Martial Law
General Ayub's Proclamation
Iskander Mirza's Presidential
Order of the Day
No. F. 81/Pres/58, 25th. October, 1958,
Gazette, 31st. October, 1958- The following PROCLAMATION
made by the President at 10.30 p.m. on the 7th Day
of October, 1958, is published for general information :
For the last two years, I have been watching, with
the deepest anxiety, the ruthless struggle for power, corruption,
the shameful exploitation of our simple, honest, patriotic and industrious
masses, the lack of decorum, and the prostitution of Islam for political
ends. There have been a few honorable exceptions. But being in a
minority they have not been able to assert their influence in the
affairs of the country.
These despicable activities have led to a dictatorship
of the lowest order. Adventurers and exploiters have flourished
to the detriment of the masses and are getting richer by their nefarious
Despite my repeated endeavors, no serious attempt
has been made to tackle the food crises. Food has been a problem
of life and death for us in a country which should be really surplus.
Agriculture and land administration have been made a handmaiden
of politics so that in our present system of government, no political
party will be able to take any positive action to increase production.
In East Pakistan, on the other hand, there is a well organized smuggling
of food, medicines and other necessities of life. The masses there
suffer due to the shortages so caused in, and the consequent high
prices of, these commodities. Import of food has been a constant
and serious drain on our foreign exchange earnings in the last few
years, with the result that the Government is constrained to curtail
the much needed internal development projects.
Some of our politicians have lately been talking of
bloody revolution. Another type of adventurer among them think it
fit to go to foreign countries and attempt direct alignment with
them which can only described as high treason.
The disgraceful scene enacted recently in the East
Pakistan Assembly is known to all. I am told that such episodes
were common occurrences in pre-partition Bengal. Whether they were
or not, it is certainly not a civilized mode of procedure. You do
not raise the prestige of your country by beating the Speaker, killing
the Deputy Speaker and desecrating the National Flag.
The mentality of the political parties has sunk so
low that I am unable any longer to believe that elections will improve
the present chaotic internal situation and enable us to form a strong
and stable Government capable of dealing with the innumerable and
complex problems facing us today. We cannot get men from the Moon.
The same group of people who have brought Pakistan on the verge
of ruination will rig the elections for their own ends. They will
come back more revengeful, because I am sure the elections will
be contested, mainly, on personal, regional and sectarian basis.
When they return, they will use the same methods which have made
a tragic farce of democracy and are the main cause of the present
widespread frustration in the country. However much the administration
may try, I am convinced, judging by shifting loyalties and the ceaseless
and unscrupulous scramble for office, that elections will be neither
free nor fair. They will not solve our difficulties. On the contrary,
they are likely to create greater unhappiness and disappointment
leading ultimately to a really bloody revolution. Recently, we had
elections for the Karachi Municipal Corporation. Twenty percent
of the electorate exercised their votes, and out of these, about
fifty per cent were bogus votes.
We hear threats and cries of civil disobedience in
order to retain private volunteer organizations and to break up
the One Unit. These disruptive tendencies are a good indication
of their patriotism and the length to which politicians and adventurers
are prepared to go to achieve their parochial aims.
Our foreign policy is subjected to unintelligent and
irresponsible criticism, not for patriotic motives, but from selfish
view points often by the very people who were responsible for it.
We desire to have friendly relations with all nations, but political
adventurers try their best to create bad blood and misunderstandings
between us and countries like the U.S.S.R., the U.A.R. and the Peoples
Republic of China. Against India, of course, they scream for war,
knowing full well that they will be nowhere near the firing line.
In no country in the world, do political parties treat foreign policy
in the manner it has been done in Pakistan. To dispel the confusion
so caused, I categorically reiterate that we shall continue to follow
a policy which our interests and geography demand and that we shall
honour all our international commitments which, as is well known,
we have undertaken to safeguard the security of Pakistan and, as
a peace loving nation, to play our part in averting the danger of
war from this troubled world.
For the last three years, I have been doing my utmost
to work the Constitution in a democratic way. I have laboured to
bring about coalition after coalition, hoping that it would stablize
the administration and that the affairs of the country would be
run in the interests of the masses. My detractors, in their dishonest
ways, have on every opportunity, called these attempts Palace intrigues.
It has become fashionable to put all the blame on the President.
A wit said the other day, "If it rains too much it is the fault
of the President and if it does not rain it is the fault of the
President." If only I alone were concerned, I would go on taking
these fulminations with the contempt they deserve. But the intention
of these traitors and unpatriotic elements is to destroy the prestige
of Pakistan and the Government by attacking the Head of the State.
They have succeeded to a great extent, and, if this state of affairs
is allowed to go on, they will achieve their ultimate purpose.
My appraisal of the internal situation had led me
to believe that a vast majority of the people no longer have any
confidence in the present system of Government and are getting more
and more disillusioned and disappointed and are becoming dangerously
resentful of the manner in which they have been exploited. Their
resentment and bitterness are justifiable. The leaders have not
been able to render them the service they deserve and have failed
to prove themselves worthy of the confidence the masses had reposed
The Constitution which was brought into being on 23rd
March, 1956, after so many tribulations, is unworkable. It is full
of dangerous compromises so that Pakistan will disintegrate internally
if the inherent malaise is not removed. To rectify them, the country
must first be taken to sanity by a peaceful revolution. Then, it
is my intention to collect a number of patriotic persons to examine
our problems in the political field and devise a Constitution more
suitable to the genius of the Muslim people. When it is ready, and
at the appropriate time, it will be submitted to the referendum
of the people.
It is said that the Constitution is sacred. But more
sacred than the Constitution or anything else is the country and
the welfare and happiness of its people. As Head of the State, my
foremost duty before my God and the people is the integrity of Pakistan.
It is seriously threatened by the ruthlessness of traitors and political
adventurers whose selfishness, thirst for power and unpatriotic
conduct cannot be restrained by a government set up under the present
system. Nor can I any longer remain a spectator of activities designed
to destroy the country. After deep and anxious thought, I have come
to the regrettable conclusion that I would be failing in my duty
if I did not take steps, which in my opinion, are inescapable in
present conditions, to save Pakistan from complete disruption. I
have, therefore, decided that :-
- The Constitution of the 23rd March,
1956 will be abrogated.
- The Central and Provincial Government will be dismissed
with immediate effect.
- The National Parliament and Provincial Assemblies
will be dissolved.
- All political parties will be abolished.
- Until alternative arrangements are made, Pakistan
will come under Martial Law. I hereby appoint General Mohammad
Ayub Khan, Commander-in-Chief, Pakistan Army, as the Chief Martial
Law Administrator and place all the Armed Forces of Pakistan under
To the valiant Armed Forces of Pakistan, I have to
say that having been closely associated with them since the very
inception of Pakistan, I have learned to admire their patriotism
and loyalty. I am putting a great strain on them. I fully realize
this, but I ask you, officers and men of the Armed Forces, on your
service depends the future existence of Pakistan as an independent
nation and a bastion in these parts of the Free World. Do your job
without fear or favour and may God help you.
To the people of Pakistan I talk as a brother and
a fellow compatriot. Present action has been taken with the utmost
regret but I have had to do it in the interests of the country and
the masses, finer men than whom it is difficult to imagine. To the
patriots and the law abiding, I promise you will be happier and
freer. The political adventurers, the smugglers, the black marketers,
the hoarders, will be unhappy and their activities will be severely
restricted. As for the traitors, they had better flee the country
if they can and while the going is good.
Government of Pakistan Notification No. 977/58
dated 7 October 1958, Gazette Extraordinary, 15 October 1958
- Whereas I adjudge it essential for national requirements
to exercise jurisdiction within the international boundaries of
PAKISTAN, I, the Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces of PAKISTAN,
do hereby give notice as follows.
- Martial Law Regulations and Orders will be published
in such manner as is conveniently possible. Any person contravening
the said Regulations and Orders shall be liable under Martial
Law to the penalties stated in the Regulations.
- The said Regulations may prescribe special penalties
for offenders under the ordinary law.
- The said Regulations may appoint special Courts
for the trial and punishment of contravention of the said Regulations
and Orders and of offenders under the ordinary law.
Mohammad Ayub Khan, HP, HJ,
Supreme Commander and Chief Martial Law Administrator in PAKISTAN
Source: Friends Not Masters by Mohammad Ayub
Khan. Published by Oxford University Press (Pakistan) 1967
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