An analysis of agricultural policies of Ayoub Khan’s regime | 1958-1968

An analysis of agricultural policies in Pakistan of Ayoub Khan's regime 1958-1968


The growth rate in agriculture during Ayoub Khan’s regime was remarkable. This sector at the time of economic recession proved very fruitful in strengthening the economy of Pakistan for the time being. Polices which were formulated in this sector were solely responsible for development. Though the policies were given by one man Ayoub Khan and were not passed from the parliament despite this agriculture sector boomed up. The study suggests that for the first time this sector was strengthened. Before this no any polices and planning was available. This was a great achievement at least the start-up was taken to flourish this sector. And another finding was the foreign funding, ads and loans gave chance to agriculture to develop and sustain on own feet. And study address further the main reason for high production in agriculture was the use of technology and pesticides. Does it furthermore highlight what was growth rate in the economy before the green revolution rise? For the first time average 6 per cent growth was observed. This study is based primarily on the qualitative data analysis of discourse written on this scholarship. The study examines the actual role in economic development was role development in agriculture.

Keywords: Agriculture sector, Polices, Ayoub Khan’s regime, green revolution, economy.

Introduction of agricultural policies of Ayoub Khan’s regime

Pakistan is the agrarian-based country and there have been formulated policies regarding agricultural development.  Some countries are industrialized; agriculture and some are depended on resources. Pakistan is an agriculture country.  In this sector, there have been made various policies in order to boost up this sector to strengthen the economy of the country. Such as the era of Ayoub khan, this decade is known as the golden time in case of growing averagely 6 per cent. As this time there was “Green revolution”, which changed the fate of the country, brought prosperity by flourishing the agricultural sector.

In the Ayub Khan’s regime, he established dams, boosted up an irrigation system and gave incentives to farmers. And before this, the agriculture sector was neglected here now the first time it was recognized as game-changer for people as well as the state. In order to get more output, the technology was also introduced as ‘factorization’. It further made easier work for farmers. It saved time, money and proved efficient. It even increased land, based on cultivation. In this time the Agricultural development bank of Pakistan gave credit policy to farmers, such as tube wells project was started and farmers were given loans on easy instalment. And land reforms were introduced by Ayoub.

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However, this time growth ratio was the highest growth rate ever in the history of Pakistan. This era of Ayoub khan is considered an era of the agricultural revolution. While the era of Bhutto was unlucky, there was the least growth in this time owing to its policies of nationalization space created no sound policy could come up. In second military rule under the Zia Ul Haq it was same there was dictatorship no one focused on the agricultural sector; rather the country moved on running on foreign aids. After the death of Zia, there was political instability, there were not any agricultural policies during this phase. The third military rule under General Pervez Musharraf once again the development and growth rate increased staidly but not in agricultural. There was a slow-growing rate, after the Musharaf, the political stability little bit economic growth was observed.  

In current time the CPEC, through this there will be little bit impact on Pakistan’s GDP.  The problem with our economy is a lack of long-term policies. And unplanned unskilled polices have been a problem and major hindrances towards our economy. When we compare the growth rate averagely, that is only in the military rule. Pakistan has some sort of all experiences; she has experienced the economic performance under the military rule as well as civilian. When we analyze the performance of the economy, growth rate, the country’s growth has been observed under military rule.

Historical background of Ayoub Khan’s regime

Sub-continent region is from the very begging agricultural land. Due to its geographic and climatic location, these south Asian regions have an advantageous position in term of agricultural production. Especially India, Bangladesh and Pakistan these three countries have contributed a lot in production in modern time. In the Mughal rule, agriculture was centred to only King. He was the sole person having control over all sorts of lands. In this time there was no private property ownership. For the supervision King used to keep “Mansabdhars”, these are the people who used to look after lands of King. In modern time as ‘Kamdar’. And these people were either given a share from the production or salary was given to them by the King. 

The major crux is this on any individual had the right to own the land. The great shift came in the agricultural sector after the war of 1857. When Britain replaced Mughal Kings. They introduced reforms in the agricultural sector. In the very begging, they gave property rights. This policy not only succeeded but its effect was trickle down. They showed loyalty to British rulers. And in this period of time, there was an industrial revolution in England. They needed raw material for industries. This region was most suitable for the British for serving their interests. So, in the very beginning, they started an irrigation system in Punjab in order to cultivate lands and achieve production. They developed an irrigation system and canals were also established. This region in return in output gave a lot to World. In this was the agricultural sector was being developed. In return, farmers and landlords were given more lands as gifts. Their taxes were exempted. Due to this local landlords also dominated in Bureaucracy.

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When the British left two new countries emerged on world globe India and Pakistan. After independence, the situation changed. In the early days of Pakistan, there was not such a development in the agricultural sector. This was the survival stage. There were no policies regarding the agricultural sector. But When Ayoub khan came in Power the countries fate changed. He initially introduced all the policies in the agricultural sector. His policies will be analyzed in down in the policy evaluation section.

Purpose of the research

  • To know about the agricultural sector where loopholes are in this sector.
  • To analyze the problems facing this sector: policy problems, structural problems and decision-making issues.
  • And also to observe the factors: what were major indicators in the green revolution.

Research questions

  • Is this true that the reason for the development in Pakistan at the time of Ayoub Khan’s regime was due to the policies of Ayoub Khan?
  • Whether it was development or just growth rate in numbers? Or can we call growth rate to development?
  • Why mostly Policies were made in the agricultural sector during Ayoub Khan’s regime?
  • Who got benefits from these policies during Ayoub Khan’s regime?
  • Were these polices to pro-capitalists and against proletarians?

Theoretical framework

For my research project, I would use the interpretive paradigm. There are multiple realties on this subject. And many interpretations are socially constructed. The ontological position of this topic is that there are multiples realities on agricultural policies of Ayoub regime. And those realities exist outside the individual. And the reason for choosing the interpretive paradigm is because policymaking in the agricultural sector is defined in many ways, and it is different from society to society, country to country and region to region. Everyone has its own perspective.

And also I would use the discourse analysis paradigm for my project. My research project is a desk research-based. And I would use policy-making approaches for my project in order to evaluate the policies.

Research methodology

Research methodology for my project would be a qualitative approach because my topic falls in interpretive theory so for that purpose I will use qualitative methodology. As I mentioned above with the interpretive paradigm I would also use discourse analysis. So, this project falls in the desk studies. And I will be using primary sources of data and secondary sources for my subject.

Literature review

For data collection, there was a need to go through different sources for getting information about this topic. The initial step was of my literature review, the primary and secondary sources. They were in the form of different research reports of Non-governmental organizations s well as governmental. The major source was booked, such as Issues in Pakistan’s economy by Akbar Zaidi, one of masterpiece to understand the agricultural sector. I went through from the book thoroughly. And I also used the lectures material discussed in the economic course at my department and also the policy-making course. Apart from all I also did informal open-ended the discussion with friends, subject specialists and a few of my teachers.

The economic performance during General Ayoub khan’s regime (1958-1968)

During this time there was large economic growth averagely 6 per cent. In the history of Pakistan, it was the greatest growth rate ever experienced since its inception.  This era is also known as the golden time in case of development and growth and even it was time when the economy was being stable. Even she was to be developed state like, USA, China etc. the major development was in the agriculture sector.

There was a boom of agriculture at the Ayub Khan’s regime in Pakistan. And this was only possible through water. The new water channels were being constructed. When the lands were cultivated on a large scale, the output was in surplus. The trade increased; even it touched the sky growing trade. Surplus export and in return money were also in surplus. When we had a huge budget, the economists agreed to invest money in other sectors in order to generate more revenue.

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Especially in the manufacturing sector for boosting the local industries in order to gain more productivity and reduce the import, when there will be less import then GDP increases. This time new concept was introduced, import substitution industrialization; industries were to be established in order to spill over the source of income. And it will create opportunities for labor. And foremost development was the ‘Green Revolution’. The modern technologies were even introduced to producing more production. Such as pesticides for increasing the output. And tractorization these were the time-saving. Instead of ten people now it was one man who does work of ten people. Therefore, during this time, the policymaker was centralized to one people and whatever used to issue that was to be almost done. This era is known is the age of agricultural revolution. This was all due to policies formulated by the Ayoub khan.

Policies formulated in this regime

  • The green revolution
  • Tubweles water policy
  • Tractorization
  • Land reforms of 1959
  • Agricultural pricing policy

These above-mentioned policies were formulated in Ayoub’s period. In 1960 the revolutionary change occurred in the agricultural sector of Pakistan. Before going to discuss it is sheerly necessary to discuss first the bases of the green revolution. It was an important juncture in the history of Pakistan. When general Ayoub came in power he boosted up the agricultural sector. He first constructed the dams. Water is one of an important one for cultivation. Before this, in the era of 1949-1958, there was 1.43% growth rate. This sector was kept the side in the initial days of the country.

The government even made polices against agricultural and they only focused on industrial policies. But after 1950, they accepted that if Pakistan can survive then recognize the agricultural sector. It was recognized as the main pillar of the economy of the country. So when Ayoub came he focused on agricultural, developed and took it at the peak level of growth level. The due boom in agricultural this era is also called the green revolution, the era of development.

Tube wells water policy and Tactorization  

In this era, the main base of development was the water facilities to irrigated lands. Water was expanded to larger lands. The base of cultivable land increased in return the output achieved in surplus. Having excessive development the farmers started using chemical fertilizers, pesticides high yielding variety in order to get more production. The water was the main cause of its high production. The tube wells were giving especially to Punjab and Sindh. So irrigation was the main indicator in the development of agricultural and it based the green revolution. Tube wells were given to farmers in loans, subsidies.

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The agricultural development bank played an important role in giving the tube well to farmers. And globally in this time, there was a dire need of food. Pakistan took advantage of this. She exported a lot and got money in surplus.

Having earned a lot of money the government was expanding the lands to be cultivated. The use of technology was introduced by the tractor machine. It was a revolution in the agricultural world. Because it could save time, reduced number of labourers. if ten people were working inland and could complete in a week, the tractor replaced them it could work of ten men and In one day. It proved the speedy, efficient and easier for farmers. What happened due to this the landlords started cultivating more lands and different seeds were cultivated.  It was a too main part in laying the foundation of a green revolution in the country.

During Ayoub Khan’s regime, the tractors were imported at a cheap rate as compare to market value. The agricultural development bank gave tractors to farmers. This technology tactorization and mechanization increased in production. Both the tube wells and tactorization gave birth to a green revolution. It is said that in this period of time there was such a growth rate which had never gained.

Land reforms of Ayoub khan’s regime

After independence, there were several measures taken for land reforms. It is ownership of land. Who could be the owner of the land and under which criteria? In 1949, Muslim league had proposed agrarian committee to find out the problems related to the land, land ownership and distribution. When this committee submitted the report two provinces had monopoly the Punjab and Sindh. And they influenced in politics of Pakistan. They became a politician from the landlord. When Ayoub Khan Came in power he introduced the land reforms which is also called 1956 land reforms. He introduced ceilings on the landholding. Before these land reforms, there was a concentration of lands to a few peoples.


In Ayoub Khan’s regime, the government of Pakistan permitted sixty thousand people to have a ceiling on five hundred acres. Another point was mentioned in these reforms that if anyone wishes to sell lands the only farmer will purchase from him who could cultivate the lands. Before this, the urban settled rich landlords used to purchase just and keep land uncultivable. This created an alarming condition for agricultural production.  So it was rural can purchase the land who could cultivate the lands. And a major portion of lands was taken back the government was given to poor people. This time the big landowners transferred lands on their family members’ name. Due to this large uncultivable land became cultivable. These reforms are considered one of the building blocks of a green revolution. The production increased and got surplus output which played a great role in the stability of economy and balance of power.

Agricultural pricing policy: by Ayoub Khan’s regime

It is the job of government to set out prices of productions. Actually, the government gives incentives to the farmers in giving, water, seeds, loans and all other needs which are mandatory. It is the government who decides, what to produce and how much. In fact, pricing policy which ensures to the farmer a certain amount will be given. In order to get more production, the government gives them economic incentives, gives them seeds on loan. If they are giving the right prices of their productions, they will produce more output. The supportive prices were given to farmers by the government. The government sets the fixed prices will be given if in case they could not get from the private sector. So, it is the surety to farmers.

During the Ayoub Khan’s regime, the government of Pakistan gave sound enough incentives to the farmers. Due to the policies, the agricultural sector boomed up and was considered one of the fastest developing sector. The Green revolution compelled the government to give all type of assistance to farmers. And after this large people started investing in the agricultural sector. Ayoub gave subsidizes inputs to farmers, in seeds, water, tactorization and taxes were exempted of farmers. During the second phase of the green revolution, the input subsidies were given. As, fertilizers, seeds, plants tube wells, and agricultural machinery. The purpose of these incentives was to increase production.

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The government of Pakistan gave a minimum price support program to farmers. Under this every smaller or lager farmers were giving surety they will not be affected. Another subsidize was given in the form of the loan. The government gave loans on easy instalment to farmers. Therefore, Ayoub succeeded in giving good pricing policies owing to this the production increased.

Evaluation of agricultural policies of Ayoub Khan

The measures taken in the agricultural sector by military man was remarkable in the history of Pakistan. He, in a short period of time, uplifted such a sector which was never recognized before. He introduced all those policies.  Which could benefit the agricultural sector? He moved economy of Pakistan from industrial sector to agricultural one. In his era policies were made for agriculture. He neglected other sectors such, as small manufacturing industries and large manufacturing industries. In this time there was the highest growth rate ever observed in history. There is a healthy debate in this era. There are social scientists who claim that it was not the development rather just growth rate. Their major point was that development is one, when health is sound good, education, peace and law and order.

Having gone through from the agricultural policies of Ayoub Khan’s regime; Economic growth was observed under the military rule. The era of Ayoub khan was a golden time for economic as well as all for other economic related sectors was growing in large scale. This was because the main decision making was in the hand of one man. Whatever wanted that was to be almost done. Secondly, there were foreign aids and donations for the well being of Pakistan. And when we look at the civilian rule there is the least development.

This is because of the critical condition and our political culture. The politicians only focus on how to win an election and get a power that focuses on their aims of winning the next election. And they formulate short term policies instead of long term. When the government is changed these policies are also changed, this has been the great problems in the economy country. The major policymaking was done in the agricultural sector.

According to leftists and socialists, the regime of Ayoub Khan was worst in a sense that he for sake of power introduced the basic democrats who belonged to ruler area in order to sustain his rule. He is a return introduced agricultural policies. And it is said that only rich landlord took advantages from his policies. Though he gave the water tube wells policy but to whom? Just too influential person. And it was the short cut policy.

Due to excess extraction of groundwater, the water table goes down and resultantly the water scarcity takes birth. Despite this, there were many alternatives ways; he had to dig out small water channels towards the irrigated lands. And most of the rich landowners took advantages of tube wells. Akbar Zaidi says it was just growth rate in statistics, not development. He abrogated the constitution and imposed martial law, was developed in democratic institutions?

Merits of Ayub Khan’s regime

One of the most important aspects was this first-time the agricultural sector was recognized and policies were formulated in this sector for its aggrandizement. Before this, the major sector was neglected. When agricultural sector touched the sky in production the economy started growing. The export was increased even at its peak time it was surplus. On the basis of this, the industrial sector was recognized. Its effects were trickle down to other sectors. Pakistan adopted a policy of reduction in consuming goods import. They based industrial sector. It is the positive aspect as well he made polices no matter how they were effective, who got most of it. The poor were given some incentives in terms of exemption from taxes on production. They were given loans on easy instalment.

Demerits of Ayub Khan’s regime

in this phase, the mistake committed by Ayoub Khan was that he only focused on the agricultural and left others in a dustbin. Whole decision making was circulating around the agricultural sector. Though it was the finest step to take the high agricultural sector. And the reforms he gave were benefiting to the rich landlord. Even in water tubewell projects, the influenced people took advantages. 

He did so in order to rule the country without hindrances the basic democrats were these same landowners.  The reforms were given to sustain the rule. The most important issue is that when any decision making is done all the aspects are undermined as there is a technique in economics the cost-benefit analysis. He lacked this approached. He did not make policies on health, education, and many other sectors. Even the agricultural sector is not only related to lands. In these sectors, there are also as: fisheries and livestock. He missed making policies on these. It lasted till the end of Ayoub era. In the green revolution, the major driving force of development was the use of pesticides. They used pesticides for more output. It was the artificial way used in agricultural.  In greed of more production, the quality of soil lost. And even it effected on lives if human too. Pricing policies were made but no any incentives were given except the rich. Therefore, the elite, businessmen, rich landlord influence in policymaking. They want polices which is in favor of them.

Policy Maintenance

The agricultural policies of Ayoub Khan just were intake until his rule. Yes, there were few continuations of Ayoub’s Policy but most of his police were terminated when Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto came into power. He introduced the nationalization of institutions. And he focused on large scale manufacturing sector. He formulated policies in the industrial sector. As the steel mill project is one example. He introduced his own land reform in the agricultural sector. But Ayoub’ khan’s industrial policies were continued even Bhutto era. Just agricultural policies were terminated.

Data analyzes

The scholarships written on agricultural policies of Ayoub Khan suggests that first time growth was observed in the agriculture sector. There are different perspectives on this regime’ development. There is a leftist group who criticized Ayoub’s policies in the sense that he developed infrastructure but did not develop supra structure. And during my research on the subject, I observed a clear impact on the agriculture sector. Sheer growth was observed. Policies of Ayoub Khan proved fruitful in boosting up the agricultural sector.

It has been found in this paper that decision making was centred on only one person, Ayoub. His policies supported the rural economy, farmers got economic incentives, taxes were exempted and subsidies were given to them. The only policies, decision makings, actions were taken in the agricultural sector. All other sectors were neglected. I examined that due to surplus export the industrial sector was based.

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In this time the sounds police were made in industrial policies too. The consuming goods import was banned and Import substitution policies were made. This was all due to the agricultural sector. This was all happening in order to boost up the economy. But other sides of polices were neglected. He banned politics and all political activities. Therefore, the agricultural sector was first time recognized at the top level before this it was in the worst condition.


Actually, these are not recommendations but gaps left by the policymakers in making polices. Since its inception, there has been a lot of issue in policymaking. One of the reasons according to me is that political instability. For any sound enough polices mature political system is the primary force. Unfortunately, the country started with military-bureaucracy institutions. One thing is important to note that our policymakers have never gauged the global warming, climate change and its effect on agriculture.

Due to global warming, there is an issue of water scarcity. Water is basic unit agriculture. If there will not be water available what they will do? The policymakers never went for alternatives. They focused on this sector only. Yes, in the early days of the country there was ample available water due to newly established dams. But in the current time, there is a high risk of water scarcity. As there are major crops wheat, rice and sugarcane. Wheat is fine it does not require ample water. The rice and sugarcane are called water-thirsty seeds. Why not our policymakers go for alternatives. With the shortage of water, these are affected adversely. The policymakers should replace this one. As here in Pakistan suppose the one-kilogram of sugarcane is of 50 rupees at the mill.

When it will come to market it will double. And from the other side, there is a country Brazil largest producer of sugar. And exports. And Brazil gives us sugar at the rate of 20 rupees including all taxes. Why should we not shift the approach from producing our own? This is the real issue pertaining to policymakers. There is a positive side of import of sugar; the one water scarcity issue will be to some extent resolved. And the sugarcane will be replaced by other seed or vegetable. And we will get cheaper sugar than producing our own. The same issue is with rice. Therefore, policymakers should revisit the policies and modify them by keeping the current situation. And no long term policies have been formulated in this sector. This sector needs long term policies.


It is concluded that despite newly born nation-state, she improved the agriculture sector in a way that it competed with the rest of the world. The use of technology and pesticides increased in production. The export was high for the first time and in return goods related to industries were imported in order to develop the industrial sector too. The logic behind the success was that the foreign funding was given to establish the dams which could give water to cultivatable lands.

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The rise in agriculture was significant in the sense that it gave hopes to villagers and local landowners. They expanded cultivable lands in order to produce more output. The sole policy of Ayoub khan was to bring policies in agriculture and give facilities to farmers and in return, they will also support me in electing me.

Due to his agriculture policies, he with the collaboration of farmers and local landowners succeeded in making civilian himself. And if we say agricultural policies were used as play card for Ayoub khan; it will not be wrong. Apart from this, he neglected all other sectors. The scholarships written on this subject show that without foreign funding, and ads it was difficult to build agricultural sector. Therefore, it was only the growth rate, not a development. if it was developed it might have done on own money but a major source of income came from foreign. It is concluded that at his polices were short term but succeeded for a period of time.

Author: Arif is the graduate of Pakistan Studies from Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad).

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3 Thoughts to “An analysis of agricultural policies of Ayoub Khan’s regime | 1958-1968”

  1. Arif Ali

    Great analysis. Ayub’s land reforms included facilitating sale of land for poor growers. Though this dream still remains unfulfilled is another thing. What limit / size of land did he allocate for the rich to have / possess? He was the first to incur Pakistan into foreign debt, can it not be seen as the starting point for our country to dissipate economic resources and become parasite?

  2. erotik

    Hello there. I found your web site by way of Google even as looking for a similar subject, your website got here up. It looks good. I have bookmarked it in my google bookmarks to come back then.

  3. […] An analysis of agricultural policies of Ayoub Khan’s regime | 1958-1968 […]

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