Tag Archives: General Zia-ul Haq

The national narrative

Salman Tarik Kureshi         Daily Times, June 12, 2010

What happened through the 1950s was the piecemeal articulation of a national narrative for the new state. Jinnah’s liberal, inclusive vision was converted into a faux Islamic exclusivism. Conformity was imposed on political pluralism and a unitary state, belying the Quaid’s crusades for provincial autonomy, was created

Pakistan, we learn, is rated among the five most unstable countries in the Global Peace Index. Scarcely surprising, given the ongoing civil war with half-savage bands of highly organised, well-financed and heavily armed insurgents, and the accompanying terrorist bombings and violent mayhem across the land. This is not to mention the internecine not-so-civil war between major state institutions, the bizarre conspiracy theories aired over the media, the bigotry trumpeted in pulpits across the land and the genocidal sectarian frenzies that are leading us ineluctably to national and civilisational suicide. The most unstable list includes Iraq, Sudan, Somalia and Afghanistan, in addition to our beloved homeland. Continue reading


Filed under Army, civil service, Colonialism, Constitution, Democracy, History, Judiciary, Media, Pakistan, state

A Conversation With Air Marshal (R) Asghar Khan

Asghar Khan speaks about democracy and clarifies his alleged ‘invitation’ to Gen Zia ul Haq to take over; and his (in)famous comment about hanging Bhutto at Hala Bridge. He talks about his petition to the Supreme Court in relation to the ISI bribing politicians (a.k.a. the Mehran Bank scandal). Here’s the 2nd of 3 parts of the interview.

and here are             Part 1                   &               Part 3

In case you are interested, this is Ardeshir Cowasjee writing in Dawn of 26 April 2009 about the Jinnah Award winner Asghar Khan’s address to the Jinnah Society.


Filed under Army, Democracy, Judiciary, Pakistan, state

Constitutional Anomalies

From August 1947 to 1970, no general elections at the federal level were held in Pakistan. When Yahya Khan grabbed power from Ayub Khan, he promulgated the first Legal Framework Order (LFO), abolished One Unit in West Pakistan, restored the provinces of Punjab, Sindh and the NWFP and gave Balochistan provincial status for the first time. Continue reading

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Filed under Pakistan

Zia’s revenge

By Irfan Husain (DAWN)

ON my all-too-brief visit back to Pakistan, I have been flipping local channels to catch up on events. I have found new ones to watch, although not necessarily for any length of time, given the generally low quality of the fare on offer.

The other evening, I caught a panel discussion featuring a gentleman who used to be in the foreign service, together with a couple of other talking heads. The discussion was about last November’s lethal terrorist attacks in Mumbai. When I switched on my TV, the gentleman was confidently asserting that the knowledge of downtown Mumbai the terrorists seemed to possess made it clear that they could not have been Pakistanis. From this shaky theory, he leaped to the conclusion that they must have been Indians who had been trained in their country, and then brought to Pakistan before being put on a boat that took them to Mumbai. Continue reading


Filed under Pakistan

How we helped create the Afghan crisis

By Stephen Kinzer

WITH THE United States facing a terrifying set of challenges in Pakistan and Afghanistan, this is an opportune moment to look back at how the United States itself helped create the crisis. It is an all-too-familiar tale of the behemoth lashing out in ways that seem emotionally satisfying and even successful at first, but that in the end decisively weaken its own security. Continue reading

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Filed under Afghanistan, Pakistan, USA

The Unconstitutional and UnIslamic Ehteram-e-Ramzan Ordinance

Our Blue Law: The Unconstitutional and UnIslamic Ehteram-e-Ramzan Ordinance

By Yasser Latif Hamdani

The United States of America had till a few decades ago a curious legal creature called the “Sunday Closing Law” also known as the “Blue law” on statute books of many of its constituent states.  On Sunday, that day being the “Christian Sabbath”, it was forbidden to carry out any business or for grocers to sell anything except necessities.  The law applied across the board and was thus an instance of a religious law.  Ultimately most states were forced to repeal this law for being ultra-vires to the US constitution which promises freedom of religion and freedom of conscience. Enshrined in the US constitution is the first amendment which forbids the state to either establish religion or forbid the practice of it. Thus freedom of religion was a fundamental constitutional right and the basis of the repeal of the Blue Law in most states.

 One of the promises expressly made by the founding fathers of Pakistan was religious freedom for all.   Jinnah promised in about two dozen speeches before and after partition that there would be no discrimination based on faith in Pakistan. His was a vision of a secular democratic state informed by Muslim cultural life the same way US is influenced by Christian values and secular India embodies the ethos of its Hindu majority on a civic level.   The constitution of 1973 however sought to establish Islam as the state religion within the framework of a federal democratic republic. Nonetheless this constitution gives Pakistanis “the right to the right to profess, practise and propagate his religion” (Article 20) and further ensures that “all citizens are equal before law and are entitled to equal protection of law” (Article 25)  and “in respect of access to places of public entertainment or resort not intended for religious purposes only, there shall be no discrimination against any citizen on the ground only of race, religion, caste, sex, residence or place of birth” (Article 26).  


Pakistan, despite being officially christened as the “Islamic Republic”, did not have any such blue or green law for the first 30 odd years of its existence.  Continue reading


Filed under culture, Islam, Law, public policy

Pakistan Turns into Toba Tek Singh

Isa Daudpota

Pakistan is like an airplane lost in a dark ominous cloud, running on autopilot. Its coordinates and destination were set by previous crew members, who have been made to disappear or have parachuted out.

Passengers with gurgling stomachs and sweaty brows having long realized the trouble and appear paralyzed. They have seen a stream of crew members pushed off the plane or bail out with parachute — shady hunks in khakis, but some rare trustworthy ones too.

The Captain, Asif Zardari, took over when his wife was shoved off the plane. The First Officer, Nawaz Sharif, is there propped up by his benefactor General Zia ul Haq. CIA operatives onboard, passengers learned, had forced Zia to jump off with a crate of mangoes tied to him.

Every so often the passengers are flashed the grinning faces of the two pilots to assure them that the plane is in safe hands. A sharp journalist on flight notes the lack of sparkle and empathy in their eyes and wonders if their bright smiles are a sham.

Air traffic control is in the hands of General Pervez Musharraf supported by American engineers. They built the autopilot and are the only people who now have flight plan that was entered in the plane. Suddenly, a violent thumping on the door disturbs the peace inside the locked control room. Outside, deposed Chief Justice Chaudhry Iftikhar and his attorney Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan having caught wind of the plot are trying to force their way in. Continue reading


Filed under Democracy, Pakistan, Politics, public policy