Published on 03 Jun 2011 | over 5 years ago
This is a rare video of Pakistan's Field Marshall Muhammad Ayub Khan's visit to the US in 1961 and the VVIP "handling" given to him during his visit. Born on May 14, 1907 in Haripur, Ayub succeeded General Gracey as the second Commander-in-Chief of the Pakistan Army on January 17, 1951, and served as President of Pakistan from 1958-1969 following a bloodless coup. Ayub Khan approved U-2 spy plane flights, taking off from Pakistan, over the then Soviet Union in continuation of the policy of his predecessor, Suhrawardy, who had, in 1957, ceded to Eisenhower's request for establishing secret intelligence gathering facilities in Pakistan.
As a consequence, two top secret bases were established at Peshawar and Badaber during the "pre-satellite" intelligence gathering era when visual reconnaissance of nuclear assets was of critical importance to both world powers. These highly rewarding U-2 flights were able to unearth several hidden USSR nuclear launch facilities.
In the most famous (infamous?) international incident of Ayub's Presidency, a Lockheed U-2 spy plane piloted by Francis Gary Powers that took off from Badber on May 1, 1960 was shot down (or disintegrated while evading a missile) inside the Soviet Union. A huge international crisis ensued and Gary Powers was captured alive. This incident prompted a marked deterioration in relations between both superpowers. Gary Powers was later exchanged for Rudolf Abel (a Russian intelligence officer) on February 10, 1962.
During Ayub's Presidency, Pakistan achieved double digit economic growth rates for almost one decade, and many of his large national development projects are still providing great benefit to the country. Ayub therefore remains the only Pakistani leader (after Mr. Jinnah) who provided a period of enduring remembrance and fond memories of his rule to Pakistanis!