Khan was born in 1907 in the village of Rehana, to Mir Dad Khan. Ayub Khan enrolled in Aligarh University in 1922, but he never completed his studies as he was accepted into the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. He did well at Sandhurst and was given an officer's post in the British Army. During World War II he served as a captain and later as a major. Following the war, he joined the Pakistani Army as the senior-most Muslim officer in the fledgling army.
Ayub Khan was later made Commander in Chief of the Pakistani Army, becoming the first non-British general to hold that position in 1951. He would later go on to serve in the cabinet of Muhammad Ali Bogra, and when Iskander Mirza declared martial law in 1958, Khan was made the enforcer of Martial Law. This would be the first of many instances in the history of Pakistan where the military would get directly involved in politics.
Due to differences with Mirza, Khan eventually gained more and more power and became president of Pakistan. This was actually welcomed in Pakistan since the nation had experienced a very unstable political climate since it's indepdence. Khan moved to have a constitution created, and this was done in 1961. The Constitution called for elections, which took place in 1962 when martial law was lifted. Khan's main opponent was the sister of Pakistan's founding father: Fatima Jinnah. Despite Jinnah's immense popularity, Khan won the majority of the vote, whether or not this was done without corruption is up for debate.
Under Khan's presidency, the industrial sector of Pakistan grew very rapidly. This in turn improved the economy. Khan also passed educational and land reforms, which also benefited the growth of Pakistan. It was under Ayub Khan that the capital was moved from Karachi to Rawalpindi in anticipation of the construction of a new capital: Islamabad.
The turning point in Khan's rule was the Indo-Pakistani War of 1965. Despite the performance of the Pakistani Armed Forces, the settlement that was reached by Khan at Tashkent was seen as a loss for Pakistan. The settlement led Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to resign his post and take up opposition to Khan. The war also adversley affected the economy of Pakistan. Eventually, Khan began to increase censorship and his control over the nation. These actions only served to further agitate the Pakistani populace, which fell into disarray and required the presence of the army in the cities. Bhutto used this to his political advantage, while the Awami League also made great political gains in East Pakistan. As Khan's popularity plummeted, he decided to give up rule. In 1969 he turned over control of Pakistan to General Yahya Khan.
Ayub Khan would die in 1979