General Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan or Yahya Khan was Pakistan’s third President. He served as President from 25th March 1969 up to 20th December 1971.
He was a professional soldier.
Yahya Khan was born on 4th February 1917, in Chakwal, Pakistan and died on 10th August 1980 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.
- Rise To Power
During the World War II he served in the Middle East and Italy. At age 34 he became youngest brigadier general and at 40 became the youngest General in Pakistan. In 1966 he became Commander In Chief of the Armed Forces in Pakistan. When street riots erupted in Pakistan he was in command of the military. To preserve Pakistan’s integrity, he was called by Ayub to take over direction of the government. In 1969 when Ayub Khan resigned his office, Yahya Khan became President.
During the Second World War, Yahya Khan played an active role. Not only did he lead the war against Eastern Pakistan, but also was instituted martial law. Millions of people were left dead due to his policies.
- End Of Regime
On 20th December 1971, Yahya Khan resigned when serious conflict erupted between the Sheikh Mujibur Rahman led Awami Party and Central Government. To suppress the Awami Party, Yahya Khan gave brutal orders resulting in influx of East Pakistani refugees in millions into India. This led to the invasion of East Pakistan by India and rout of its West Pakistani occupiers. East Pakistan became Bangladesh, an independent country and Yahya Khan had to resign due to this loss.
He was put under house arrest by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, foreign minister. Paralyzed by a stroke shortly afterward,s he couldn’t play any important political role further after his release.
- Short Term Impact
Yahya Khan played a vital role in training and improving efficiency of troops on becoming an officer in the army. Before being promoted as Head and General of Instruction, he directed a modernization project of the army in Pakistan. Besides introducing many reforms in the army, he strengthened and improved the army structure, had the military command reorganized, procured new weapons and created three infantry divisions.
8.Long Term Impact
Yahya Khan imposed martial law in Pakistan, dissolved provincial and national assemblies and repealed the constitution. In the National Assembly he increased numbers of East Pakistani representatives. Conditions for future elections in the parliament were enumerated after he promulgated a provisional constitution on 29th March 1970.
Yahya Khan is survived by one daughter Yasmeen Khan and one son Ali Yahya.
Foreign Minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto put Yahya Khan under house arrest from 1972 to 1979.
Around 3 million people were killed in the genocide in East Pakistan before the humiliating defeat of Pakistan by India.