Z. A. Bhutto assumed power on December 20, 1971. First he became President of Pakistan and also the first civilian Chief Marshal Law Administrator.
The first task was the Constitution making. In 1972 Interim Constitution was adopted and then the
Parliament of Pakistan unanimously adopted 1973 Constitution.
The major policy of Mr. Bhutto was Nationalisation. His government nationalised:
- Emerald mines in Swat
- Key industries like Iron & Steel, Basic metals, heavy engineering, heavy electrical, Motor Vehicles & Tractors, Heavy & Basic Chemicals, Petro- Chemicals, Cement, Gas, Oil Refinery etc.
- Life Insurance in 1972
- Banks in 1974
- Schools and Colleges in 1972. New University Ordinance was issued in 1973.
- Managing and sub-agencies were abolished.
A new Labour Policy was announced in which more rights and concessions were given to the working classes.
Under new Health Policy cheap medicine and facilities were promised to the masses.
Administrative Reforms were introduced to eradicate corruption in the country. Hundreds of civil servants were removed on the charge of corruption.
Problems of Reforms:
Reforms were good in outlook but as their results were not according to the expectations of the masses. Discontentment took the place of initial optimism.
1977 Elections and Agitation:
As a result of elections of 1977 PPP won the elections. But joint opposition blamed a mass rigging in the election results. They demanded fresh elections. Bhutto initially was stubborn but later showed inclination to compromise but history has taken a U-turn. As he refused to negotiate the elected majority party in 1971, now opposition refused to compromise and took the case to the streets. Urban shopkeepers, businessmen, students, women and even the intelligentsia joined hands against the government. The result was the third Martial Law and end of democracy.
Chief of Army Staff General Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq took over and imposed Martial Law. He suspended constitution. It was the longest military Rule in the history of Pakistan. To justify his rule Zia-ul-Haq presented his Agenda about:
- Effective Administration
- Return to Democracy
Zia-ul-Haq promised Elections first within 90 days, and then extended this period after the reforms. These reforms included:
Accountability of the ousted regime;
Restrictions imposed on political activities and press.
In his way of Islamisation of the system he introduced many steps for forging cooperation of some Islamic groups.
He also introduced Constitutional and legal changes to emphasis on Islamic values in the society. He established:
- Shariat benches established in 1979;
- Federal Shariat Court was established in 1981;
- Introduced Islamic Punishments; Amputation of hands, Stoning to death and lashing etc;
- Interest free banking initiated in 1981 on the principle of profit & loss sharing;
- Zakat deducted on saving accounts & investments;
- Ushar was imposed on agricultural produce in 1983;
- New education Policy with Islamic character of syllabus along with Pakistan Studies and Islamiat compulsory for all the classes up to graduation.
- Islamisation of Mass media;
- Prayers break was introduced in offices, and Mohaallah Salat Committees were formed to observe the compliance of Prayer Ordinance;
- Pakistan Bat-ul-Mall was established.
Return to democracy
In order to return to democracy Zia-ul-Haq took the following measure:
- Local Bodies elections, 1979.
- Referendum was held to elect Zia-ul-Haq as president for next five years on December 1984.
- Then he held elections on non-party basis on February 1985.
- New National Assembly (NA) was formed and a Civilian government was installed.
- Revival of the Constitution Order March 1985 with most controversial 8th Constitutional Amendment was introduced.
- Withdrawal of martial law, Dec 30, 1985.
3: 1985-1999 Civilian Rule
Democracy was restored but no civilian government could complete its tenure of five years and became the victim of 58-2B of 8th amendment by virtue of that President can dissolve NA and dismiss the elected government.
- Junejo March 1985-May 1988
- Benazir Bhutto November 1988-Aug 1990
- Nawaz Sharif October 1990-July 1993
- Benazir Bhutto October 1993-November 1996
- Nawaz Sharif February 1997-October 1999
Interim Prime Ministers appointed for holding fair elections were
- Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi: August-November 1990
- Bulkh Sher Mazari: April-May 1993
- Dr. Moeen Qureshi: July-October 1993
- Malik Meraj Khalid: November 1996-February 1997
Civilian government adopted policies for the welfare and betterment of the people but their effects were compromised due to several reasons:
- Problem of keeping coalitions intact;
- Weak political parties, which weakened the government;
- Greater confrontation;
- Complaints of corruption and misuse of state resources.
In 1999 again Military Rule was imposed against the civilian government’s attempt to concentrate power in the office of Prime Minister. Nawaz government introduced political and constitutional changes to have a complete control on all branches of the government.
Nawaz government’s attempt to remove the Army Chief, while he was out of the country and returning from his visit to Sri Lanka, proved counter productive. General Musharraf took over as the Chief Executive of the country and suspended the constitution. Martial law was not declared. No military courts were established. Political and press freedoms remained intact.
General Musharraf announced his Political Priorities:
- Rebuild national confidence and morale;
- Strengthening federation;
- Remove inter provincial disharmony;
- Restore national cohesion;
- Revival of the economy and restoration of investor’s confidence;
- Improving Law and order situation and dispensation of Justice;
- Depoliticise the state institutions and devolution of power;
- Swift and across the board accountability.
General Musharraf designed the following policies to achieve these goals:
- Accountability and return of looted wealth of the state;
- Revival of the economy through increasing Foreign exchange reserves and reducing International debt burden through rescheduling;
- Poverty Reduction and social uplift.
General Musharraf introduced New Local Bodies System, delegation of power to the District Government.
In the process of Return to Democracy he held:
- Referendum, April 2002.
- Introduced Legal Framework Order (LFO).
- Held General Elections of National And Provincial Assemblies on 10th Oct 2002.
- Revival of the Constitution.
- Civilian Governments formed in the provinces and the Centre.
- Civilian Rule Established
In the new set up Musharraf is President in uniform. Mir Zafer-Ullah-Khan Jamali was the head of a coalition government. In three provinces there are governments of Muslim League (Q) and in NWFP there is the government of MMA working successfully.
Let’s hope for the gradual consolidation of democratic rule.
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