Ayub Khan’s actions against politicians under EBDO or how to wipe out an entire political class

Facts about Elected Bodies Disqualification Order (EBDO) of 1959, compiled from “The Separation of East Pakistan” by Hasan Zaheer and “Bangladesh Past and Present” by Salahuddin Ahmed

When Ayub Khan took power in 1958 one of his main priorities was the destruction of the existing political order. In this connection, he abolished political parties on 7 October 1958. Politicians who were especially targetted and charged under security laws and martial law regulations were from the National Awami Party and the East Pakistan Awami League since both these parties were opposed to One Unit.

In August 1959, Ayub Khan passed the Elected Bodies Disqualification Order (EBDO). Under this, 75 leaders were disqualified for participating in political activities for 8 years (until December 1966). Under the EBDO, Ayub Khan primarily targetted East Pakistani politicians from the Awami League while leaving the Muslim League largely untouched.

Under Article 5 of EBDO:

a) public servants who had been removed from service on any charge other than inffeciency;
(b) persons who had ever been served with an order underr the Secuity of Pakistan Act or a similar law relating to an act prejudicial to the defence, external affairs, or the security of Pakistan;
(c) persons found guilty by the Federal Court or High Court or a tribunal under PRODA; and
(d) persons convicted of any offence, and sentenced to more than two years imprisonment stood debarred from being candidates or members of an elective body, until 31 December 1966

It was estimated that about 6,000 persons, half of them from East Pakistan, were disqualified under Article 5 of EBDO.

Article 7 or 8 of EBDO was used to go after senior party leadership who escaped disqualification via Article 5:

Under Article 7, any person served with a notice could opt to retire from politics until 31 Dec 1966, in which case further proceedings against him were dropped. In case this option was not exercised by the respondent, an inquiry would be instituted under Article 8 and if found guilty, he would be disqualified up to December 1966. (from Separation of East Pakistan)

A further 78 politicians were disqualified under article 7 and 8.

Prominent politicians disqualified under these three articles of EBDO were the top leaders of the East Pakistan Awami League including Sheikh Mujib ur Rehman and Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy. Maulana Bhashani was also arrested.

On 30 January 1962 Suhrawardy was arrested in Karachi under the Security of Pakistan Act which authorized his detention without trial for a year. It was an irony that a politician who was the Prime Minister of the country was accused of activities “fraught with such danger to the security and safety of Pakistan that one could fairly describe them as treasonable” which was [obviously] the biggest shock of his life” (from Bangladesh: Past and Present)

When a habeas corpus petition was filed in Lahore High Court challenging his illegal detention, Ayub Khan conveniently promulgated an Ordinance suspending the habeas corpus rights of those detained under the Security of Pakistan Act.

See also, A Corrupted Debate by I.A. Rehman in Dawn, Dec 10, 2009.



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