Tag Archives: General Yahya

A leaf from history: Zia rejects PNA’s conditions

By Shaikh Aziz

The news of Z.A. Bhutto’s conviction shocked the PPP workers and supporters who hadn’t thought that Gen Zia would stoop so low. Though some violent protests took place in parts of Lahore and Sindh, the general law and order situation was not seriously affected as the government had taken measures to prevent the breaking out of any violence. For some reason the upper leadership of the party remained out of the scene, leaving the PPP workers directionless.

The military courts became over-active in handing down punishments of jail time and lashing. It was clear that the government wanted to send a message to the top PPP leadership that they could also be arrested in order to keep the administration working smoothly.

Two days after the judgment, on March 20, 1978, retired Gen Tikka Khan was arrested under martial law regulation No 33 for his involvement in political activities. Benazir Bhutto who was under house-arrest at her Karachi residence moved the Sindh government to arrange her meeting with her father at Lahore jail. The meeting was arranged for March 25.

The military regime cracks down on protests in the wake of Bhutto’s conviction

The PPP lawyers worked round the clock to prepare an appeal to be filed in the Supreme Court. Some PPP leaders were of the opinion that there was no need to file an appeal against the verdict; instead they wanted to approach the military government through friendly circles to settle the matter amicably. However, saner elements in the party prevailed and finally an appeal was filed in the Supreme Court on March 25.

As the foreign minister in Ayub Khan’s government and later as the prime minister, Bhutto had developed friendships with a number of world leaders, especially in the Third World and the Arab countries. Now facing a death sentence he hoped they could prevail upon Gen Zia to spare his life. While messages from world leaders were coming in calling for a pardon for Bhutto, Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi’s envoy, Abdul Ali Ubaidi, called on Gen Zia and conveyed to him a message from his president. Zia told him that at this stage the matter was pending with the highest court and he did not want to interfere in it.

While meeting foreign leaders Gen Zia always made sure that the meeting took place without any aide. It was, therefore, impossible to make out what the contents of the talks were and what transpired, leaving the people guessing.

Relieved of a major task of handling Bhutto which was now being done by the courts, Gen Zia focused his attention on strengthening his position politically. However he camouflaged his attempts in such a manner that he could not be blamed for being too ambitious. In this regard he was equally helped by some political leaders. He also began studying the lives and working styles of eminent dictators, like Napoleon Bonaparte, Adolf Hitler, Marshal Tito and Mussolini, who stayed in power for many years without being challenged by the people. He apparently wanted to learn how these dictators managed to retain power for so long. He also used to engage some of his associates in debates on what style of governanvce would work in Pakistan.

While messages from world leaders were coming in calling for a pardon for Bhutto, Libyan leader Muammar Qadhafi’s envoy, Abdul Ali Ubaidi, called on Gen Zia and conveyed to him a message from his president. Zia told him that at this stage the matter was pending with the highest court and he did not want to interfere in it.

During this time it appeared that the Pakistan National Alliance (PNA) was heading towards a break-up; Asghar Khan and Maulana Noorani had already parted ways. After the overthrow of Bhutto’s government, the PNA had decided to keep away from any interim arrangement offered by the military government. They remembered the performance of the Advisory Council Gen Zia had formed on Jan 14 to run the affairs of the government. Though the task of the council was to help in handling state affairs, Gen Zia himself supervised everything which negated the purpose of the council.

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One more dictator, “Africa’s Pinochet” to face war crimes for atrocities against his people. Senegal police arrest Chad former leader Hissene Habre

Senegal police arrest Chad former leader Hissene Habre

Police in Senegal have arrested Chad’s former leader Hissene Habre, who is wanted for alleged atrocities during his eight-year rule.

Mr Habre’s lawyer El Hadji Diouf said he was taken from his home in Dakar by paramilitary police to an unknown location on Sunday.

The 70 year old has been under house arrest since 2005 in Senegal, where he fled after being deposed in 1990.

He denies killing and torturing tens of thousands of his opponents.

Last year the UN’s International Court of Justice (ICJ) ordered Senegal to put him on trial or extradite him to face justice overseas.

His arrest comes days after US President Barack Obama praised the efforts of Senegal’s current President Macky Sall to bring him to trial at the start of his Africa tour.

Historic precedent

Human rights group have been pushing Senegal to put Mr Habre on trial for decades.

Senegalese MPs passed a law in December allowing a special African Union tribunal to be created in the country to try the former leader, who has been dubbed “Africa’s Pinochet”.

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Bear Baiting

The Ex-Servicemen have always represented the best of traditions of the Armed Forces. They have a proud record of sacrifice in stout defence of the country’s national interest. This image has been tarnished by four military dictators and their henchmen comprising coteries of high military officers, a segment of the judiciary and many politicians. General Ayub Khan set the pattern, which was followed by his military successors. The legacy of dictatorial rule has impacted every facet of the society and destroyed the integrity of the institutions of the state. Widespread corruption, rigging of elections, unmerited promotions and a culture of elitism widened splits in the country. The seeds of the separation of East Pakistan were all sown in his period of rule.

General Yahya remained too drunk to apply his mind and faculties to the affairs of the country. He had a small group of incompetent, inexperienced and inept people around him, who were taking all the decisions. They had no foresight or vision and just kept blundering their way through. They took this country towards a war, the conspiracy for which was hatched and planned by India and Sheikh Mujib, years in advance. Given the situation and the circumstances that prevailed, the Armed Forces of Pakistan, or for that matter any other country, could not have fought and won that war. It was forced on Pakistan by India who chose the time as well as theatre of operations (East Pakistan) after a long drawn campaign of subversion. The inevitable result was an ignoble defeat and the separation of East Pakistan.

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