Khan (1917-1980), General Agha Muhammad Yahya
He entered the British Army in 1938 and served in Egypt, Libya, and Italy during World War II. At Independence, he joined the Pakistan Army and was appointed Commander-in-Chief in 1966 and was promoted to the rank of General. In March 1969, Yahya Khan assumed presidential authority, which had been passed on to him by Field Marshall Ayub Khan. He presided over the conduct of the first general elections in 1970, in which [Sheikh Mujibur Rahman->204]’s Awami League swept East Pakistan, securing an absolute majority in the new National Assembly, while [Zulfikar Ali Bhutto->195]’s Pakistan People’s Party performed strongly in West Pakistan. The consequence of Yahya Khan’s attempt to play off the ambitions of one against the other was the breaking out of violent separatist agitation in the eastern wing. He ordered brutal military reprisals to quell the agitation. The resulting civil war between the army and the East Pakistan separatists led, in due course, to armed intervention by India, the military defeat of the Pakistan Army and the successful secession of the eastern wing from Pakistan as Bangladesh.