Miss Fatima Jinnah, popularly acclaimed as the Madar-i-Millat, or “Mother of the Nation” for her role in the Freedom Movement, contested the 1965 elections at the age of 71. Except for her brief tour to East Pakistan in 1954, she had not participated in politics since Independence. After the imposition of Martial Law by Ayub Khan, she once wished the regime well. But after the Martial Law was lifted, she sympathized with the opposition as she was strongly in favor of democratic ideals. Being the Quaid’s sister, she was held in high esteem, and came to symbolize the democratic aspirations of the people. The electoral landscape changed when Miss Fatima Jinnah decided to contest the elections for the President’s office in 1965. She was challenging the incumbent President Ayub Khan in the indirect election, which Ayub Khan had himself instituted.
Presidential candidates for the elections of 1965 were announced before commencement of the Basic Democracy elections, which was to constitute the Electoral College for the Presidential and Assembly elections. There were two major parties contesting the election. The Convention Muslim League and the Combined Opposition Parties. The Combined Opposition Parties consisted of five major opposition parties. It had a nine-point program, which included restoration of direct elections, adult franchise and democratization of the 1962 Constitution. The opposition parties of Combined Opposition Parties were not united and did not possess any unity of thought and action. They were unable to select presidential candidates from amongst themselves; therefore they selected Miss Fatima Jinnah as their candidate.
Elections were held on January 2, 1965. There were four candidates; Ayub Khan, Miss Fatima Jinnah and two obscure persons with no party affiliation.