Who knew that one day Zulfikar Ali Bhutto would be hanged by his own Army Chief,General Zia-ul-Haq, whom he appointed by superseding seven Lieutenant generals? Who knew that the hand-picked politician of the establishment, who pledged to carry out the mission of Gen Zia, would be kept in solitary confinement when he refused to toe the line of his masters? Since the last four decades, Pakistan politics is revolving around a circle and we have not been able to get rid of General Zia’s policies which changed the dimensions of polity merely for his lust for power.
Gen Zia usurped the power on 5 July 1977, in a coup naming it operation fair play. Who inculcated the condition of being ‘Sadiq & Ameen’, vowed to nation that he would hold elections within ninety days. These ninety days couldn’t become reality until 1985.He didn’t abrogate the constitution but suspended it and in his flamboyancy and blatancy, he stated: “What is constitution? It is a booklet with ten or twelve pages. I can tear them up and say that tomorrow we shall live under a different system. Today, the people will follow whatever l lead.”
Besides the hanging of Bhutto in 1979, two important regional developments ensued: Iran’s revolution & Afghanistan invasion by the Soviet Union. These events directly supported Gen Zia to linger in power a quid pro quo by remaining in the good-books of the United States to vanquish its rival, the Soviet Union. The Soviet Union invaded Afghanistan when its installed pro-communist Govt was wobbling. That invasion was marked by the U.S as a threat to its security in the Pacific Ocean and in the gulf region.
The populist narrative which is run by extractive institutions was also resorted on the name of Jihad against the infidels. Pakistan fought the war as a vanguard state, defeated the mighty superpower, and made America the sole superpower of the world. America celebrated its victory, left Afghanistan in shabby and dilapidated condition, and didn’t care about how to de-weaponize the Mujahideen. Pakistan’s military had to contrive the Taliban to rescind the outbreak of violence in Afghanistan & Taliban government was established in 1996.But, as a backlash Tahreek Taliban Pakistan(TTP) emerged & the state is still combating with the sadistic enemy which was created by them. TTP menace is the blowback of 1980s policies.
Sectarian violence was also at its peak during his regime between Shia & Sunni. Recently, in an interview to American Journalists Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman revealed that Wahhabism was promoted at the behest of the West to contain the Soviet Union. In 1985, Sunni based organization Siphah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) was established to contain the Shias; this divide intensified the Shia-Sunni conflict which is still in place, particularly in Baluchistan, where hundreds of Shias are persecuted and killed. Is this not a sequel of the 80s policies of the state?
The Islamic clauses of constitution, articles 62 & 63, related to ‘Sadiq and Ameen’ were added by Gen Zia to deter those who tried to show their guts to military. These necessitate that a person should be ‘sagacious, righteous and non-profligate, honest and ameen’ to become the member of the Parliament. Implementation of these articles is looming as a sword of Damocles around the political career of politicians. It also paved the way of transition from military coup to judicial coup.
Although he died on August 17, 1988 but he is still ruling the country through his policies which counties to haunt even those who had started their political career under his protégé. He mutilated and destroyed the fabrics of polity only for his ambitious desire to be the mighty power. Even after four decades later, people are paying the price of his policies by their blood.