1958 Pakistani coup d'état

1958 Pakistani coup d'état

Ask a question about '1958 Pakistani coup d'état'
Start a new discussion about '1958 Pakistani coup d'état'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
The 1958 Pakistani coup d'état refers to the events between October 7, when the President of Pakistan
President of Pakistan
The President of Pakistan is the head of state, as well as figurehead, of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Recently passed an XVIII Amendment , Pakistan has a parliamentary democratic system of government. According to the Constitution, the President is chosen by the Electoral College to serve a...

 Iskander Mirza abrogated the Constitution of Pakistan
Constitution of Pakistan
The Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is the supreme law of Pakistan. Known as the Constitution of 1973, it was drafted by the government of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and, following additions by the opposition parties, was approved by the legislative assembly on April 10, 1973...

 and declared martial law, and October 27, when Mirza himself was deposed by Gen. Ayub Khan, the Commander-in-Chief
A commander-in-chief is the commander of a nation's military forces or significant element of those forces. In the latter case, the force element may be defined as those forces within a particular region or those forces which are associated by function. As a practical term it refers to the military...

 of the Pakistani Army. This was the first successful coup in the history of Pakistan, bringing to power its first military regime under Ayub Khan.


In 1956, the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan
Constituent Assembly of Pakistan
The Constituent Assembly of Pakistan was formed to write Pakistan's constitution, and serve as its first parliament. It first convened on 11 August 1947, before the end of British rule on August 15, 1947. Quaid-i-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was the first President of this Assembly until his death on...

 approved a constitution that ended Pakistan's status of an independent Dominion
A dominion, often Dominion, refers to one of a group of autonomous polities that were nominally under British sovereignty, constituting the British Empire and British Commonwealth, beginning in the latter part of the 19th century. They have included Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Newfoundland,...

 of the British Empire
British Empire
The British Empire comprised the dominions, colonies, protectorates, mandates and other territories ruled or administered by the United Kingdom. It originated with the overseas colonies and trading posts established by England in the late 16th and early 17th centuries. At its height, it was the...

, to create the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. Maj. Gen. Iskander Mirza, the last Governor General of Pakistan, simultaneously became the state's first president. However, the new constitution was followed by political turmoil in Pakistan, which saw a succession of four prime ministers - Chaudhry Muhammad Ali
Chaudhry Muhammad Ali
Chaudhry Muhammad Ali Chaudhry Muhammad Ali Chaudhry Muhammad Ali (Punjabi, ; (July 15, 1905 - December 2, 1980) was a Pakistani statesman who served as the fourth Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1955 to 1956.-Early life:...

, Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy
Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy
Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy was a Pakistani-Bengali politician and statesman who served as 5th Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1956 till 1957, and a close associate of Mohammad Ali Jinnah and Liaquat Ali Khan, first Prime minister of Pakistan...

, Ibrahim Ismail Chundrigar
Ibrahim Ismail Chundrigar
Ibrahim Ismail Chundrigar was the sixth Prime Minister of Pakistan for approximately 2 months from October 17, 1957 to December 16, 1957.-Early life:...

 and Sir Feroz Khan Noon
Feroz Khan Noon
Malik Sir Feroz Khan Noon, KCSI, KCIE, Kt was a politician from Pakistan.-Early life:Born on 18th of June 1893 at village Hamoka,tehsil Khushab, Punjab. He was educated at Aitchison College, Lahore....

 - in a period of two years. There was already a precedent in Governor General Malik Ghulam Muhammad dismissing prime ministers and ruling by decree, and many viewed Mirza as manipulating the constitution and instigating ousters of governments. The One Unit
One Unit
One-Unit was the title of a scheme launched by the federal government of Pakistan to merge the four provinces of West Pakistan into one homogenous unit, as a counterbalance against the numerical domination of the ethnic Bengalis of East Pakistan...

 scheme amalgamating the provinces of Pakistan into two wings - West Pakistan
West Pakistan
West Pakistan , common name West-Pakistan , in the period between its establishment on 22 November 1955 to disintegration on December 16, 1971. This period, during which, Pakistan was divided, ended when East-Pakistan was disintegrated and succeeded to become which is now what is known as Bangladesh...

 and East Pakistan
East Pakistan
East Pakistan was a provincial state of Pakistan established in 14 August 1947. The provincial state existed until its declaration of independence on 26 March 1971 as the independent nation of Bangladesh. Pakistan recognized the new nation on 16 December 1971. East Pakistan was created from Bengal...

 - was political controversial and proving difficult to administer. The quick succession of prime ministers fostered the view within the military and in the public that Pakistani politicians were too weak and corrupt to govern effectively, and that the parliamentary system
Parliamentary system
A parliamentary system is a system of government in which the ministers of the executive branch get their democratic legitimacy from the legislature and are accountable to that body, such that the executive and legislative branches are intertwined....

 was flawed.

Martial law

On October 7, President Mirza declared martial law in Pakistan. He abrogated the constitution of 1956, describing it as "unworkable" and full of "dangerous compromises." He dismissed the Sir Feroz Khan Noon ministry, dissolved the National Assembly of Pakistan
National Assembly of Pakistan
The National Assembly of Pakistan is the lower house of the bicameral Majlis-e-Shura, which also compromises the President of Pakistan and Senate . The National Assembly and the Senate both convene at Parliament House in Islamabad...

 and the provincial legislatures. Mirza also proceeded to outlaw all political parties. He appointed General Ayub Khan, the Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistani army as the Chief Martial Law Administrator
Chief Martial Law Administrator
The office of the Chief Martial Law Administrator was a senior government post created in countries such as Pakistan, Bangladesh and Indonesia that gave considerable executive authority and powers to the holder of the post to enforce martial law in the country. This office has been used mostly by...

 and nominated him to become the new Prime Minister of Pakistan
Prime Minister of Pakistan
The Prime Minister of Pakistan , is the Head of Government of Pakistan who is designated to exercise as the country's Chief Executive. By the Constitution of Pakistan, Pakistan has the parliamentary democratic system of government...

, charged with administering the country.

Deposing of Mirza

On October 27, Iskander Mirza resigned from the presidency, transferring it to Ayub Khan. Both men saw the other as a rival to their respective positions. Mirza believed his own position had become largely redundant after Ayub Khan assumed most executive powers as chief martial law administrator and prime minister, and acted to assert himself, while Ayub Khan thought Mirza was conspiring against him. It is widely held that Ayub Khan and generals loyal to him forced Mirza to resign. Mirza was later taken to Quetta
is the largest city and the provincial capital of the Balochistan Province of Pakistan. Known as the "Fruit Garden of Pakistan" due to the diversity of its plant and animal wildlife, Quetta is home to the Hazarganji Chiltan National Park, which contains some of the rarest species of wildlife in the...

, the capital of the province of Baluchistan, before being exiled on November 27 to London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, England
England is a country that is part of the United Kingdom. It shares land borders with Scotland to the north and Wales to the west; the Irish Sea is to the north west, the Celtic Sea to the south west, with the North Sea to the east and the English Channel to the south separating it from continental...

, where he resided until his death in 1969.


Ayub Khan combined the offices of president and prime minister, becoming both the head of state and government. He created a cabinet of technocrats, diplomats and military officers. These included Air Marshal Asghar Khan
Asghar Khan
Air Marshal Asghar Khan is a Pakistani 3-star rank general and politician who was the first native Air Force Commander-in-Chief of Pakistan Air Force. A politician and world war II veteran fighter pilot, at the age of 36, he served as the youngest and first Pakistani head of the Pakistan Air Force...

 and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was 9th Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1973 to 1977, and prior to that, 4th President of Pakistan from 1971 to 1973. Bhutto was the founder of the Pakistan Peoples Party — the largest and most influential political party in Pakistan— and served as its chairman until his...

, the future prime minister. In contrast with future Pakistani military rulers such as Gen. Zia-ul-Haq and Gen. Pervez Musharraf
Pervez Musharraf
Pervez Musharraf , is a retired four-star general who served as the 13th Chief of Army Staff and tenth President of Pakistan as well as tenth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. Musharraf headed and led an administrative military government from October 1999 till August 2007. He ruled...

, Ayub Khan did not seek to hold the posts of president and army chief simultaneously. He appointed Gen. Muhammad Musa as the new commander-in-chief. Ayub Khan also obtained judicial validation of his move when the Supreme Court of Pakistan
Supreme Court of Pakistan
The Supreme Court is the apex court in Pakistan's judicial hierarchy, the final arbiter of legal and constitutional disputes. The Supreme Court has a permanent seat in Islamabad. It has number of Branch Registries where cases are heard. It has a number of de jure powers which are outlined in the...

 validated and legalised his take-over under the "Doctrine of necessity
Doctrine of necessity
The term Doctrine of Necessity is a term used to describe the basis on which extra-legal actions by state actors, which are designed to restore order, are found to be constitutional...



The coup was received positively in Pakistan as a relief from unstable governments and weak political leadership. There was hope that a strong central leadership could stabilise the economy and promote modernisation and the restoration of a stable form of democracy. The Ayub Khan regime was also supported by foreign governments such as the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...