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Mohammed Ayub Khuhro was a politician from Sindh who served as the first Chief Minister of Sindh after the partition and Minister of Defense and Minister of the interior later. He breathed his first at Larkana into a Landlord and an influential family of Sindh, on the 14th of August 1901. He initiated his political life and stepped into politics by winning a seat from Larkana in the elections of the Bombay Legislative council in 1923.
The politics of Sindh has observed some influential families dominant on it. They have been ruling it until the economic hold of Sindh was completely shifted from the hands of the Hindu Businessmen, with their migration to India in 1947 and onwards, to the feudal lords and some influential families. These families are Bhutto, Khuhro, and Sayyed, etc. Mohammed Ayub Khuhro had a huge amount of mass support from Sindh. The influence of the Khuhro family in Larkana allowed and helped him to grab the Larkana seat in 1923. In the elections of 1923, Shahnawaz Bhutto, father of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was also able to grab the seat. The power of the influential families of Sindh allowed them to sustain and maintain their position and power in politics as can be observed in the history of later politics of Sindh and Pakistan.
The center of the politics of Mohammed Ayub Khuhro remained Sindh. He stuck to the center of the politics of Sindh. He fought for the interest of Sindh from 1930-1936 by struggling for the segregation of Sindh from the Bombay presidency. At that time his major aim was to recognize Sindh as an autonomous province like others.
After the partition, Mohammed Ayub Khuhro and Ghulam Murtaza Sayyed (GM Sayyed) were contesting for the post of Chief Minister of Sindh. However, Jinnah supported Ayub and he was able to grab the seat. Consequently, Ghulam Murtaza Sayyed, not being able to have the seat, took the slogan of Sindhi Nationalism. The politics of Sindh was, however, now disintegrated. The sanction belonging to left-wing politics appeared and started to get much prominence. Nevertheless, Ayub was, to some extent, able to crush it politically.
As a Chief Minister of Sindh, Ayub resisted the central government. He supported the idea that Karachi should be in control of the federating unit, Sindh. Karachi was the source of the biggest provincial revenue generation as capital, then. He was able to stop the center from taking over Karachi.
Mohammed Ayub Khuhro had emerged as a patriot representative of Sindh, according to his supporters. He was engaged in acquiring national interests. His biggest achievements include Lower Land Revenue Demands, establishing a university for Sindh, protecting it from the deprivation of center, and many more.
Mohammed Ayub Khuhro’s relation with General Ayub was not so good. They have been engaged in resisting each other on various occasions. In 1960, Khuhro arranged and organized political and social resistance against the dictatorial regime of General Ayub. The supporters of Khuhro consider him as worthy of understanding popular mandate. He opposed his rivals through legal means. However, he met a strong opposition by the authoritarian shift of power that the politics of Pakistan took soon after the independence. His rivals tried thrice to rush him out of politics by using allegations and charges. However, he was able to save him two times. The third case was brought by the dictatorial regime of General Ayub and eventually, they were successful to drag him down. He spent five years in prison. Later on, the federal court quashed the case against Khuhro and he was released.
Khuhro and Bhutto family turned against each other when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto emerged as a new leader of the nation in General Ayub’s regime. Eventually, Zulfikar was able to drive Khuhro out of politics. Letters, between Ayub and Zulfikar, that are supposed to be of 1970-1971, are evidence of this. However, Khuhro’s relation with the Bhutto family had been disturbed earlier in Zulfikar’s father’s, Shahnawaz, time. He had not met with such harsh opposition then as from Zulfikar.
Mohammed Ayub Khuhro had a daughter, named Hamida Khuhro. Hamida became a historian and wrote a book on the biography of his father. The title of the book is “Mohammed Ayub Khuhro: A life of courage in politics”. The book is not considered an authentic source by historians because Hamida is said to have used historical methods to justify the claims and correct the allegations against his father.
Mohammed Ayub Khuhro possesses a dark side of his political life. In the post-partition history of Pakistan, he was the first-ever chief minister and a politician removed from the seat over the allegation of corruption. Also, there have been many critiques over him. Not everybody observed Khuhro as a good politician. Even Hamida mentions in his book: “Mohammed Ayub Khuhro: A life of courage in politics”, that there had been some unfavorable appraisals from the pre-partition administrators of Sindh including Chief Ministers and Governors. Hugh Dow, who was governor of Sindh from 1941-1946, says about Khuhro that he used to be a “restless and unscrupulous person”. While Lancelot Graham, who was the first governor of Sindh from 1937-1941, argues about Khuhro as a “dishonest minister” and “the most corrupt person ever sworn as a minister”. It is also said that in his lifetime he met many people criticizing him for his corruption but he used to not to hear them.
Critique is something that makes everything perfectly visible to us. It also assists us to form synthesis to observe the information. Mohammed Ayub Khuhro had served in the All India Muslim League before partition and strived for the independence of Pakistan, for the collective goodwill. That makes him a patriot. However, his political career is alleged as corrupt and a puppet, like GM Sayyed, calls him in his book. Whatever one may say but the basics behind the emergence and sustaining in politics is influential family politics- feudal politics. Bhutto family was eventually successful in eliminating and being dominant in Sindhi politics. This was mere a dynastic shift. Most importantly, it was an example of the “survival of the fittest”.