Ziaul Haq, Who Was He?
Before taking over as Army Chief General Zia Ul Haq had been famous for leading a Jordanian Army Division during operation black September against Palestinian fighters and being involved in killing of over 10,000 (official numbers) Palestinians living in camps in Jordan. It was interesting to note that Jordan’s military was a powerful force but they choose Zia ul Haq to spearhead the operation known as black September by Arabs. It is an open secret that King Hussian was a puppet of USA and He was more loyal to USA than Arabs, therefore most the Jordanians did not like him; instead there was abundant support and sympathy for Palestine Liberation Organization which was fighting against Israel. As a result, when PLO started attacking Israel from Jordanian Camps, they gained overwhelming support from Jordanians; King Hussain backed by USA decided to suppress PLO. Most of the Jordanian commanders denied fighting against the PLO and Palestinians, so King Hussain asked Pakistani government to help them and Major Zia ul Haq was sent to help them in operation. Zia led the Jordanian military in a series of operations known as black September, as a result thousands of Palestinians were killed and PLO was crushed. Later Zia ul Haq was awarded the highest Military rank of Jordan for his services in pushing Palestinians out of Jordan.
July 1977 Coup:
Bhutto’s autocratic rule enraged his rival politicians; in 1977 elections Bhutto’s government did record rigging as a result violent agitation started after elections. In July 1977 amid unrest and agitation on pretext of restoring law and order, Zia Ul Haq dismissed Bhutto and imposed martial law on July 5, 1977. He addresses the nation and promised to hold free and fair elections in 90 days. Nusrat Bhutto, wife of deposed Prime Minister filed a case in Supreme court challenging the legitimacy of July 77 coup, supreme court for the second time validated the doctrine of necessity and ruled that given the unstable political condition of country the coup was legal. Contrary to Ayyub Khan, who fooled the nations with a slogan of development, ending up breaking Pakistan into two. Ziaul Haq took hold of pulses of nation by raising slogan of Islamic revolution. The masses who had so much affection for Islam were behind a military dictator again.
Hanging Of Bhutto 1979:
Instead of holding elections ex Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was arrested on September 17, 1977 under martial law orders on charges of ordering the murder of Nawab Mohammad Ahmed Khan. The trial was started at Lahore High Court against the law depriving Bhutto of a chance of appeal. Most of witnesses were under imprisonment from most of the time after Zia’s coup so there impartiality was impossible; to prove that one of the alleged assassins (approvers) retracted from his initial testimony and declared before court that the testimony was extract from him under torture and threat. Bhutto was awarded death punishment by Lahore High Court on 18th March 1978. Bhutto filed an appeal in Supreme Court; Initially 5 out of 9 judges were in favor of Bhutto but Chief Justice Supreme Court justice Anwarul Haq (who presided as acting president under Zia once) delayed the trial till Jul as one of the pro Bhutto judges was to retire in July. Supreme Court of Pakistan withheld the decision of lower court with a clear divide of 4-3. Amid protests and appeals from world leaders, Zia overturned the clemency appeals from all over the world, and Bhutto was hanged on April 4, 1979. It is believed that Zia was not in favor of any trial against Bhutto in the beginning but when Bhutto visited Lahore after dismissal, the reception he received from people was terrifying for Zia, so he did not hold the election due to fears of of PPP wining the elections. Zia was such a coward that he did everything to win the case against the Bhutto. Brisk transfers were made, chief justice was changed, and judges having bias against Bhutto were included in bench hearing his case. Maulvi Mushtaq (a Bhutto hater) the chief justice of LHC once rejected the post of Supreme Court just to take revenge from Bhutto, people who know Maulvi Mushtaq would know very well about the punishment he received from God. The judges who were in favor of fair trial were made to retire, some were sent on long leaves and the Judges who had personal grudge with Bhutto or personal relations with Zia were appointed for the trial. The decision of hanging Bhutto marked the darkest period of our judicial history.
The Politics of Divide and Ethnicity:
Before raising the slogan of Islam, Zia introduced the politics of Divide and ethnicity to tackle the influence of Bhutto in Pakistani politics. In Punjab Zia introduced an industrialist Nawaz Sharif and in Sindh he helped Muhajirs setting their first political party. Nawaz Sharif raised the slogan of Jaag Punjabi Jaag, while Muhajirs had Jiye Muhajir as their political slogan. Moreover Zia also helped nationalists in Sindh to build their political stature. These all actions were a clear indication of the mindset of a coward army general, who was so fearful of the political influence of a man who had been hanged but not killed. This mindset can still be traced in our establishment and military leadership which never let evolve any political culture in country. Coming back to politics of divide our agencies and military under Zia openly supported this agenda by giving the politicians funds and lands. In Punjab Nawaz Sharif and in Sindh Altaf Hussain did it very successfully blocking way for PPP but giving rise to a divide on ethnic and lingual basis. The evils of ethnicity and divide we are facing is a legacy of Hazrat Ziaul Haq.