From the creation of Pakistan till the separation of Bengal, not a single Punjabi was posted as Pakistan Army Chief. After completion of General Sir Douglas Gracey term on 16 January 1951, there were three senior general officers in the line of promotion for four-star assignment; first general officer being a Major-General Iftikhar Khan (Punjabi) while others were Major-Generals Akbar Khan Minhas (Punjabi) and N.A.M Raza (Punjabi). Initially, it was General Iftikhar Khan (Punjabi) who was promoted to four-star rank and appointed as first native chief of army staff, but he died in a plane crash en route to his senior officer training in the United Kingdom.
After the death of General Iftikhar Khan (Punjabi), the senior most officer of the Army was Major-General Ishfakul Majid (Bengali) and he was senior to Ayub Khan (Pathan) as well. Meanwhile, Defense Secretary Major-General Iskandar Mirza (Bihari but a resident of Bengal) played an instrumental role in Ayub's promotion and convinced Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan (Urdu Speaking UP-ite Muhajir) to appoint Ayub Khan (Pathan) to four-star rank.
Starting his career in the government, Major-General Iskandar Mirza was employed by Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan in the Ministry of Defense, being appointed as the first Defense Secretary (one of an apex bureaucratic post), overseeing the Indo-Pakistan war of 1947, and the Baluchistan conflict in 1948.
In 1950, Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan (Urdu Speaking UP-ite Muhajir) approved the recommendation of his appointment as honorary active duty Major-General in Pakistan Army, commanding the Military Police as its second General Officer Commanding.
In 1951, Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan appointed him as the director of the Department of Kashmir and Afghanistan Affairs (DKA).
His stint also saw the redeployment of Military Police in East-Pakistan in 1952 as a result of the Bengali Language Movement, during which the East Pakistan Army fatally shot four student activists. Within a short span of time, the Military Police had the control of the province.
Serious disorder and civil unrest again sparked in East Pakistan as a result of the Bengali Language Movement in 1954 therefore, prompting Prime Minister Khawaja Nazimuddin (Bihari but a resident of Bengal) to appoint him as the Governor of the province. Major-General Iskandar Mirza arrived in East-Pakistan on May 1954.
Major-General Iskandar Mirza also oversaw the success of the One Unit program in East Pakistan in 1954 and succeeded Malik Ghulam Muhammad (Punjabi) as the Governor-General in 1955.
After successfully promulgating the 1956 constitution, Major-General Iskandar Mirza became the first President of Pakistan. But his presidency saw great political instability, challenges in foreign policy, and the ousters of four prime ministers in two years. Major-General Iskandar Mirza finally imposed martial law in 1958 after suspending the constitution and dissolving democratic institutions, including the Pakistan Parliament. Major-General Iskandar Mirza has the distinction of being the first to bring in military influence in national politics after he appointed his army chief as chief martial law administrator of the country.
Paternal great-grandfather of Iskander Mirza was Mir Jafar (popularly known to Indian and Pakistanis as Ghaddar-e-Abrar).
Mir Jafar had played an integral role, bringing down Siraj ud-Daulah of Bengal, with the British Empire serving as the informant and a leading provider of intelligence to British officer Robert Clive.
After only twenty days of martial law, Major-General Iskandar Mirza was forced out of the presidency by his Chief Martial Law Administrator Field Marshal Ayub Khan. Major-General Iskandar Mirza was exiled to London, where he resided until his death. When he died in 1969 after a long illness, President Yahya Khan denied him a burial in Pakistan. Out of respect, the Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi gave him a state funeral in Tehran, Iran.
On 16 October 1951, Liaquat Ali Khan was shot twice in the chest during a public meeting of the Muslim City League at Company Bagh (Company Gardens), Rawalpindi.
The police immediately shot the assassin who was later identified as Saad Akbar Babrak. Khan. Saad Akbar Babrak was an Afghan national and a professional assassin from Hazara.
Yahya Khan was born on 4 February 1917 near Peshawar, in what is now Pakistan. His family descended from the elite soldier class of Nader Shah of Khorasan. Yahya Khan is described as an ethnic Pashtun.