The Coup of 1958: Part VI

You can read: ‘The Pakistan  Coup detat of  1958: Part 1 on by clicking the link:

You can read: ‘The Pakistan  Coup detat of  1958: Part 11 on by clicking the link:

You can read: ‘The Pakistan  Coup detat of  1958: Part III on by clicking the link:

You can read: ‘The Pakistan  Coup detat of  1958: Part IV on by clicking the link:

You can read: ‘The Pakistan  Coup detat of  1958: Part V on by clicking the link:


Naveed Tajammul


Naveed PicVarious versions have been narrated by different persons about the Sequence of events which led to the second Coup d’état of night 27/28 Oct 1958-According to Q. U. Shahab the Secretary to both the President’s i.e Iskandar Mirza and Ayub Khan, and Q. U. Shahab being a true bureaucrat is very selective whenever he wants to be,as can be seen in his 840 page ‘Shahab-Nama’, He says that, The President of Pakistan – Iskandar Mirza approached the Karachi Air force Base Commander-Air Commodore Maqbool Rabb to Arrest certain Army Generals-Q. U. Shahab as is seen is being his elusive self-Where he wants to go in details like in case of sari’s or jewelry or intimate personal traits of Begum Naheed Mirza he is all flowing & graphic, as well about the daily night moon parties at the President House and other like trivialities-as who drank most and who threw up-But on the subjects of the National Importance he is vague.

The version which Gohar Ayub Khan son of Ayub Khan gives in his book ‘Glimpses into the corridors of power’-2007, is a little more detailed-’the gist of his narration is that while his father was on his tour of East Pakistan-Iskandar Mirza, Contacted Air Commodore Maqbool Rabb and Brig Qayyum Sher asking them to arrest Gen. Ayub Khan when he returned from Dacca-The President’s telephones were being monitored by the intelligence agencies, and both officers confirmed that the President had contacted each individually-and that when Gen Ayub returned at Karachi Airport he found Lieutenant General Musa Khan, Major General Abdul Hamid and Major General Sher Bahadur waiting for him at the steps of his residence-And an urgent meeting was held attended by Brig. Malik Muhammad Hayat who was the DMI who briefed General Ayub about the Telephone calls and future plans of Iskandar Mirza-and further adds that those who pressed for the immediate ouster of Iskandar Mirza were Major General Yahya Khan CGS and Major General Abdul Hamid.

Gohar Ayub Khan further states that, ‘on the evening of 27 Oct 1958,there was a garden party at the President’s House all senior officers assigned with Martial Law duties were there to attend the party-That earlier in the day the letter of resignation for President to Sign had been typed by Major Majid Malik [who later in his career, became Lieutenant General and a Federal Minister], it had been also decided that Lieutenant General Azam and Lieutenant General W.A Burki [who was a medical doctor by profession, and not a infantry officer ] and Lieutenant General K. M. Shiekh would arrive at the President House at midnight and tell the President to resign-meanwhile a company of 9 Punjab would disarm the police guards at the President House.

The telephone lines of the President House & its Staff had been cut off ,At around midnight -after the garden  party was over- the three General’s went up to the first floor of the President House where the drawing room was, and asked the Staff to call in the President-The President came to the Drawing Room and enquired the reason of the meeting-General Azam produced the letter of resignation-which Iskandar Mirza read, and signed it-He was told that he would be leaving shortly for Quetta for a few days and later for London. That it was Brig. Bahadur Sher who escorted Iskandar Mirza and Begum Nahid Mirza to Quetta-

Altaf Gauhar who became the information Secretary to President Ayub khan and was also called the Goebbels of Ayub Era-Writes of the same incident in his book-’Ayub Khan -Pakistan’s First Military Ruler’-1993-The Crux of his version states that, Ayub khan returned from Dacca on 23 Oct 1958-he was informed that President Iskandar had telephoned Air Commodore Rabb of Pakistan Air force incharge of Mauripur Airport, and gave him instructions to arrest Generals-Yahya, Sher Bahadaur and Hamid and that when informed Ayub got in touch with Iskandar and warned him not to play with fire-Iskandar denied passing such orders, and assured Ayub that he had been grossly misinformed. On 24th Oct. Ayub Khan went to offer condolences to Mumtaz Husssan Secretary Finance whose young daughter had died-There he told the MS to the President Colonel Nawazish that he was willing to work with anybody but in his own way-Next day Ayub Was given a invitation to attend a Duck Shoot. Ayub khan declined the invitation on a plea that he had sprained his ankle-the Duck shoot was cancelled-

On the evening of 27th Oct there was a TV interview with Foreign Correspondents on the lawns of President House. [the Garden party as referred by Gohar Ayub above] Ayub Khan arrived at 4.30 pm and walked around with Colonel Nawazish the MS to the President. Later Iskandar and Ayub Khan both answered the questions put forth by news correspondent’s for the next 45 minutes-At the end of the interview Iskandar remarked to Ayub that he was a good actor-Colonel Nawazish left the President’s house at 9.30 pm and went home-He was woken by the ADC at 10.30 pm and told to come to the office. That Nawazish took a Taxi and reached the President House, and found Army Officer stationed at the Gate. Brig. Bahadaur Sher was occupying his old Office and had taken over as the MS-He informed Nawazish that Iskandar Mirza had resigned and would be leaving for Quetta shortly-

Nawazish walked up to President’s room and found Iskandar in a red dressing gown, walking up and down and smoking-Begum Nahid Mirza was packing her things and walked up to Nawazish and asked him ‘Is this what we deserve?” they jammed their stuff in six boxes and left the keys for rest of their belongings with Nawazish-that Brig Bahadaur Sher was in total charge of the President House and was seen moving up and down with a pistol in his hands. Iskandar Mirza changed in a bush shirt and before departure left some money for a servant whose wedding had been arranged earlier and also gave Nawzish a Gold pen-which was a gift for Q. U. Sahahab his secretary.[The purpose of this gift was, it was said, that Q. U. Shahab  being a writer and mentor of all state paid journalist should draw a true pen picture of the sequence of events which had led to the exit of Iskandar Mirza and the true role of Ayub Khan. Sadly this Q.U. Shahab never did]

According to MB Khalid-who had continued since 1952 as a PA to the Governor General Ghulam Mohammad  & onward-and had seen the rise and fall of many a stalwarts-in his 16 years of service-It was after Ayub Khan had stage managed the event of 19 Oct 1958  at the President House, as has been discussed in the previous part of this article-in which the Advocate General of Pakistan Army had categorically  stated, Before the Chief Justice of Pakistan, that as Martial Law had been imposed since night 07/08 Oct-and the Constitution abrogated, Assemblies Dismissed and Cabinet dissolved-The President no longer had any writ left-all power now vested with the Chief Martial Law Administrator- That when this news reached the ears of Begum Nahid Mirza she was livid-and She had advised Iskandar Mirza to himself become the Chief Martial Law Administrator and make Ayub Khan the deputy Chief Martial Law Administrator-As this mistake could not be rectified at this stage-according to MB Khalid ,Daily shrill shouting  matches between Iskandar and Nahid on this issue became a routine-and could be heard loud and clear-the residency of the President house had right underneath it the offices of the Principle staff, and the rest of late night discussions were told through the regular night staff servants in the President House.

MB Khalid narrates in his autobiography that when on the morning of 28th Oct 1958 as he had started his morning walk he saw Inspector Maula Bux of Police who was in charge of the security of the President House standing at a side of the lawn-on him seeing MB Khalid, he waved towards him in a beckoning way-Khalid says, he walked up to him & Maula Bux whispered that, ‘They took them away’-Khalid being clueless, inquired ‘took away whom ? Maula Bux whispered back urgently ‘They took away Iskandar Mirza’ and Khalid still puzzled further asked ‘Where?’ Maula Bux- replied-I don’t know where’-and with that Maula Bux who could not restrain himself further, spluttered out the details-’Last night at 10 pm I was called on the phone to report to my office-when I reached my office a Army Major was sitting on my office chair- The whole police guard detailed at the President House was lined up and was being dis-armed. And the troops were disembarking from two army trucks and taking over the Police posts-I was ordered to hand over my Revolver-which I did to the Army Major-soon after all my subordinate police officers were rounded up and made to sit in one room-the rest of the police guard likewise was herded in other rooms-Late in the night a convoy of vehicles left the President House-Iskandar Mirza and Begum Nahid Mirza must have been taken away in that convoy- I have just been released from my confinement so here I am.

MB Khalid says he reached his office as per schedule [The Principle staff had accommodation within the old Governor General House]-He states it was very quiet in the offices-and here he heard the story which was circulating from the lips of night waiters/cooks/bearers/sentry guards-that around 11 pm Gen. Burki, Azam and K. M. Shiekh came in uniform-Iskandar Mirza and Begum Nahid had by then gone to their suite-That, Iskandar did whatever they asked him to do-but Begum Nahid started yelling and shouting there was a sharp sound of slap and afterwards it was all quite. That around One o’clock all left.

MB Khalid mentions in his book of a interview given by Gen KM Sheikh who was the minister of interior in the new cabinet of 08 Oct 1958- in the mid-1980′s in a leading Urdu Newspaper. The narration or sequence as given by KM Sheikh is-”That I and Gen Ayub had gone on a tour of East Pakistan on return back at the Mauripur Airport-we were received by Brig Malik Mohammad Hayat who was the Director of Military Intelligence-who approached me and  informed me that he had to discuss a very urgent matter with Gen Ayub Khan-and it would be better if we sit in the staff car and discuss the issue-Brig Hayat now gave the details-that soon after Gen Ayub had left for Dacca . Iskandar Mirza had told Air Commodore Maqabool Rabb who was the Commander of Air force base and its troops to encircle all Army installations and put under arrest all senior Army officers in Karachi-That after his meeting with the President Maqbool Rabb forthwith called Brig Hayat and told him of the instructions given to him by the President, that it was after this disclosure that plans were made to dispose of Iskandar Mirza. That it was KM Sheikh who had asked Iskandar Mirza to sign his abdication-that Iskandar Mirza read the paper-smiled and signed the paper.

Reverting back to the British Papers-mentioned in other parts of this article Brigadier Kingzett with the British High Commission Karachi had this to say-in his DO dt-16th December 1958-The crux of his report states ;

‘I think Americans are confused about the coup planners…to my mind,the planning had been carried to advanced stage a long time back-The possibility of action being necessary existed and was discussed a long time back. Later it became a probability[07/08 Oct],later again [27/28 Oct] the plan was finalized-

The coup had been planned at GHQ by Maj. Gen Yahya Khan, Abdul Hamid and Brig. Peerzada-plus Maj-Gen Sher Bahadaur and Brig. Attiqur Rehman-…I would add that Yahya, Abdul Hamid and Peerzada having made the final plans came to Karachi as ‘Special Coup HQ’, and went back to GHQ after the Coup had been accomplished. In conclusion-Ayub is not especially clever but he has a loyal supporter in Musa Khan who has the Command of the Army-and that includes the brighter generals and the brains at GHQ’.

There is an Enclosure’ to a DO dt-18th December 1958-in which Sir Alexander Symons the British H.C at Karachi gives his  first conversation with the CGS Maj. Gen Yahya Khan when he was introduced to him by a Colonel Rashid Khan who had retired from Pakistan Army a year back and was now a manufacturer of Turpentine and Resin derivatives-Currently Rashid was a intimate friend of Yahya khan-Symons, states that I got a distinct impression that Rashid was eager to build his friend[Yahya] as the ‘real power’ behind Ayub…He [Rashid] further told Symons that things which had led to eviction of Iskandar, after Ayub Khan had returned from Dacca were because Iskandar had rung up Musa who was the Chief of Staff at GHQ and told him to come to Karachi at once-when Musa arrived Iskandar told him to forthwith have Ayub Khan Arrested ‘For plotting against him’-that it was Musa who had informed Ayub khan  about the orders given to him by the President-

Later at the meeting Yahya khan was accompanied by two Lieutenant Colonels in their early forties a Major. Musfi of engineers aged between 37 to 40 and his southern Irish wife, who appeared to be Yahya’s mistress or girlfriend and whose intimacies with the General during the evening embarrassed everyone apparently except the General and the husband.

Yahya is 42, tweedy,very English in manner and dress, good English and a pleasant, rather reserved manner. He has wit,humour,brains and ,I think, strong ambition. Our meeting lasted from about eight in the evening to one thirty the next per Yahya the rationale of the whole Coup was to restore the authority and moral confidence of the civil service. The Coup had given the power of ‘Choice’ back to the people, by sweeping away the politicians who had turned their back on the people.’ Yahya further built the justification  of the Coup, ‘We have one or two things to do-Land reforms, cleaning up corruption in the civil administration, education and the constitutional reforms our Foreign minister [Manzur Qadir] is now working on-then we will back out and return to the barracks, which is the proper place for an army”. Later in the evening when we were on our fifth or sixth glass of whisky, I said, ‘It was easy to take over power, but hard to give it up’ on this Yahya Khan exploded in anger which was a followed by a long diatribe, “how narrow you are, common people the masses of illiterate peasants who do not speak English and whom you will never meet, it is these people who are behind us’. The politicians trampled upon them and betrayed them for the last 10 years-…we are expressing 100 % democracy-not just your electioneering formalities and dirty little bits of balloting papers. Democracy for our people means a roof over their head and three square meals a day-and by God, we’ are going to see that people get these things before we back out for the sake of democracy”.

 [To be continued….]

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  • indusperson  On June 7, 2014 at 2:56 am

    Thank you yasmeen-for the post.

  • Ajmal  On June 7, 2014 at 12:02 pm


    The story of Coups in Pakistan is developing into a Hindi Channel Soap Operas by diverting it into minute details of Lawn Parties, Saries, Petticoats, shouting noises followed by the sound of slaps. You have along way to go to cover upto 12 Oct 1999 and beyond. I fear at this pace by the time you reach 1999 coup ,you might have the new one which may take us to 2020. Please try to wind up 1958 episode to move on to 1969,1971, 1977…………………..

    • indusperson  On June 7, 2014 at 1:00 pm

      lol-Patience is a virtue-unless you understand the undercurrents you can never reach the conclusion-perhaps you did not understand my pun upon the work of Q.U.Shahab who gives these details and fails to do the justice to the Gold Fountain Pen given to Him as the parting gift by Major-General Iskandar Mirza,while he was being herded away to Quetta-the Pen was given to him to give a true pen picture of the vital facts-And so was must the detail of dismissal and arrest order given to the Chief of Staff Gen Musa khan against Gen Ayub khan-a misconception exists that Ayub acted in a Nationalistic mode to bring order-however such was never the case it was sheer Greed for absolute power.

  • Shaukat Qadir  On June 7, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    Thanks, Naveed. Very well chronicled.

  • Afzal rizvi  On June 7, 2014 at 12:20 pm

    I believe there’s is a typographical error as Yahya Khan wasn’t a Major General in 58. Col. or at best a Brig. He was promoted 4 years thence.

  • Naveed Tajammal  On June 7, 2014 at 12:21 pm

    iAfzal Rizvi all CGS were in the rank of a Major-General starting from-PA 25 Major-General Akbar of 1951 coup fame-PA-98- Maj-Gen.Yahya Khan remained our CGS from 1957-to 1962-…/Chief_of_General_Staff…

  • Afzal rizvi  On June 7, 2014 at 12:22 pm

    Yahya khan was Brig. When he was Chairman CDA and Capital Selection Commission.May be I am having Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan. We must have had many name sakes he was later on to become General and President of The Pakistan.
    He was never a Maj. Gen. In 1958. He was a Brigadier in Erstwhile East Pakistan.

  • Naveed Tajammal  On June 7, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    Shahjee Afzal RizviAll I can comment is that you are grossly mistaken-Yahya Khan held later dual charge of chairman CDA[till November 1961] and that of the CGS-after he had become CGS a new appointment of VCGS was made-which was filled by Brig.Attiqueur Rahman-Do read the memoirs of General Attiqueur Rahman-

  • Naveed Tajammal  On June 7, 2014 at 12:23 pm

    Shahjee to further clarify Gen Sher ali was CGS from 1955 to 1957 and his DCGS was Brig.Agha M. Yahya klhan prior to that he had been commander 101 Brigade-regards

  • Sayyid Sohail Arshad  On June 7, 2014 at 12:24 pm

    Respected Naveed Tajammal sb , Who fakes history to please WHO , distorting historical facts in order to curry favor with their masters ???

    • Naveed Tajammal  On June 7, 2014 at 12:25 pm

      Sayyid Sohail Arshad-Sahib-distortion of facts does not last long-nor the suppression or denial of actual facts-in context to my current article I have tried to bring forth facts-with references that the first phase of our Industrial Growth was over by 1958-Ayub khan knowing fully well that Robber Barons were emerging to become monopolistic-Failed to take any remedial measures- so the new order of 22 families-However Ayub khan’s propaganda team built a image of a golden 10 year rule-and took the whole credit of the industrial growth unto themselves-and so these Toadies were well rewarded in distorting the past-and painting it a anew-This being just one facet of a blatant distortion of historical facts- lol

  • Inam Khan  On June 8, 2014 at 11:22 am

    The basic question remains unanswered,”Was it necessary”.Or was it simply a case of misconception:that Khakis could handle state affairs better than “Bloody civilians”.

  • Naveed Tajammal  On June 8, 2014 at 11:23 am

    No there was no need for this coup d’etat -as stated in part ii of my article, the major industries had already been established-elections were due in early 1959-and i have given reasons why Ayub did what he did,with concurrence of his mentors the Americans-as they wanted to set up spying stations in Pakistan-You cannot blame the Army[khaki] as an institution to have been dragged into the dirty politics and led by a greedy lot-

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