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Country put under Martial Law

IELD Marshal Mohammad Ayub Khan today [March 25] stepped down as President of Pakistan and handed over power to Army Chief General Agha Mohammad Yahya Khan who placed the country under Martial Law with immediate effect.

The 52-year-old General, in a proclamation issued as Chief Martial Law Administrator, announced the abrogation of the Constitution and dissolution of the National Assembly and the two Provincial Assemblies. Members of the President`s Council of Ministers and the two newly-appointed Provincial Governors ceased to hold their offices under the proclamation.

The proclamation said the country would be governed under two zones. West and East Pakistan will be known as Martial Law Zones A and B and would be headed by Lt-Gen Atiqur Rehman and Maj-Gen Muzaffaruddin respectively. The Chief Martial Law Administrator or officers authorised by him would be issuing various Martial Law Regulations from time to time. In a Regulation promulgated immediately after taking over as Chief Martial Law Administrator, Gen Yahya appointed Lt-Gen Abdul Hamid Khan, Deputy C-in-C of Army,Vice-Admiral S.M. Ahsan, the Naval chief, and Air Marshal M. Nur Khan, the PAF C-in-C as Deputy Chief Martial Law Administrators. Another Regulation provided the constitution of Special and Summary Military Courts to try and punish persons for the contravention of Martial Law Regulations or for offences under the ordinary law. The first Martial Law Order promulgated by the Chief Martial Law Administrator directed the deposit of all firearms and ammunition, licensed or unlicensed in possession of any person except members of Armed Forces, civil armed forces and Police to the nearest Police station against a proper receipt within 24 hours. The Martial Law Order No. 2 said: `All proceedings of Special Military Courts, after confirmation by the administrator, will be sent to Judge Advocate-General, General Headquarters, Rawalpindi, for final review. A letter by Field Marshal Ayub Khan, sent to Gen. Yahya Khan on March 24 explaining the present situation in the country and asking him to take over power, was officially released to the Press tonight.

DAWN March 26. 1969 AYUB`S FAREWELL ADDRESS TO THE NATION: President Mohammad Ayub Khan today [March 25] announced he was stepping down and handing over power to the Army Chief Gen A. M. Yahya Khan. The President said that the situation was now out of the control and there could be no resource except the Armed Forces. In an unscheduled broadcast, he said the whole nation was demanding of the Army chief to perform his constitutional duties. He said he had hoped that situation would normalise but it went from bad to worse.•