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After the long march.

* Several journalists, public leaders and leaders of opposition were tortured and humiliated during the long march.

* The long march has destabilised the economy and the investment has been reduced to a trickle.

* Pakistan is due to be declared a terrorist state by USA along with Libya, Iraq, Iran, North Korea and Syria.

* Controversy of Islamic Bomb is again surfacing while Hindu Bombs, Jew Bombs and Christian Bombs are rolling around.

The chaotic weeks that passed under the spell of long march exposed both the government and the opposition. Political leaders, journalists and party workers faced worst type of torture. Mariana Barbar a senior journalist was made a football by the police while Azim Siddiqui faced worst kind of attack and humiliation. Salman Taseer was tortured during his political detention. In fact he was punished for releasing. A massive documentary evidence clearly involving Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and his brother Shahbaz Sharif in the cooperative scandal as well as prime minister's acting role in the operation Midnight Jackal exposing corruption and fraud in relation to land discretionary funds, and pocketing of huge amount of commission from the motorway project.

The Lahore High Court Bar Association passed a resolution condemning the government for its high handedness while dealing with the PDA long march. The Bar took particularly serious notice of the statement by Chief Minister Ghulam Hyder Wyne threatening to break the limbs of the leaders and the workers participating in the protest march.

A day before the Bar Association's centenary celebration the High Court Bar Association passed a resolution calling for the ouster of the IJI government, and its replacement by an interim regime, so that clean elections could be held. The unprecedented initiative by the country's biggest Bar was not wholly a political avowal; it was mainly the jurists reaction to ministerial pronouncements that arms and legs would be broken (and they were), the unjustified, unexplained detention of thousands of men and women, and torture by the police of senior lawyers and other political leaders.

A day earlier the lawyers had given a rebuff to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif by inviting Benazir Bhutto as chief guest at the inaugural function of the centenary and by asking Nawaz Sharif not to attend it as there was sharp reaction against him among the lawyers community. The resolution is an indicator of the growing unpopularity of the government on account of its disregard for human rights and its strong-arm tactics against the Opposition. The resolution must be taken seriously as it reflects the mood of the senior-most body in the country associated with the interpretation of the law of the land. It is also important to note that as many as 40 lawyers associated with the PML are reported to have voted for the resolution.

There were protests from abroad against the treatment of the state in regard to protest march. The US administration has conveyed its displeasure to Islamabad over the treatment meted out to Benazir Bhutto and other PDA leaders. The European Community, individual governments like Italian and Libyan have all joined in protest to Islamabad.

It was alleged by the Prime Minister that opposition programme to bring people on streets was a manifestation of negative politics and that the democratic system disallowed such a display of street power. It was said that Long March amounted to treason against the state and threat to democratic institutions. The state owned television and radio was extensively used for propaganda against the opposition whose leaders were dubbed an anti-national and agents of some unnamed power.

There is no Article in the constitution which could be said to have violated by mere call for such a procedure to be adopted by a political party or a group of parties. Even a non-political party or group of citizens is constitutionally entitled to assemble and voice their common demands in the exercise of their fundamental rights as citizens of the state.

On the contrary the closure of the G.T. Road, obstruction of the Attock Crossing or the cutting out of all routes leading to the capital be considered reasonable restrictions. The running of knee deep water over the Liaquat Bagh in Pindi and the barbed wiring of all roads leading into Islamabad. Even the normal traffic on the highway including hospital ambulances which were seen parked for hours were prevented from pursuing their journey. It is the administration rather than the opposition which could be accused of having violated the Constitution.

According to a political observer the forcible eviction of the leader of the opposition from the capital, her removal to Karachi and banning of her entry in Islamabad and Peshawar which has since been withdrawn were clearly high handed acts of the administration violatory of another Article of the Constitution allowing every citizen the right to remain in and enter and move freely throughout Pakistan again subject to reasonable restriction.

After all what are the demands of the opposition for which the necessity of long march had arisen. In the words of Ms. Benazir Bhutto "We are asking for a national government which can hold fair and free elections under an independent election Commission, elections which respect the peoples' verdict and do not seek to by-pass national leaders to exact yet another farce to make a mockery of the nation and dreams, hopes of our people".

"A national government that can achieve the necessary electoral reforms, a national government charged with the task of curtailing expenditure, reducing inflation, ending one-sided accountability, and reclaiming the loot and plunder of the national wealth, national government legally created to replace an illegally installed regime with a rigged mandate .... What we have today is a regime raised by the 'midnight jackal'. It is illegally installed and unacceptable to the masses. When an amendment to hang people can be rammed down the throat injust 30 minutes, certainly an amendment can be made to heal the nation's wounds".

President's Second Term

The president's five-year term ends on December 15, 1993. Under Article 41(4) of the constitution, election to the office of president has to be held not earlier than 60 days and not later than 30 days before the end of the incumbent president's term. This means that the earliest date on which the election for the next president can be held is October 16 next year and the latest date is November 14.

The constitution also provides that if the election cannot be held within the aforementioned period because the national assembly stands dissolved, it shall be held within 30 days of the general election to the assembly. This provision is one of the biggest weapons in the hands of an incumbent president to get the assembly members to back his re-election bid. Even the implied threat of dissolution would be enough to get many members to think twice about opposing an incumbent president's re-election bid. A understanding appears to have been reached between the President and IJI government that he would get its support in such an eventuality.

In President Ishaq Khan's case, any such bid bid would be further strengthened by the fact that the senate is packed with members who are considered his men and by the fact that the IJI majority in the national assembly includes many members who would be only too willing to switch allegiances if ever it came to a contest between an establishment-backed Ishaq candidacy and a rival candidate put up by the Prime Minister.

When the elections are held under the Second Schedule the number of votes available to the candidates will be 217 from the National Assembly, 87 from the Senate and 180 from the four provincial assemblies. Since the Balochistan Assembly has only 45 members, the rest of the provinces will be allowed only 45 votes as the number is determined by the assembly which has the least members.

President Ghulam Ishaq Khan is lobbying for the second term and according to reports IJI government has assured him of the second term. The President on his own has started a survey of securing a second term. Age, according to him is no bar. The why the age is bar for others. It is like perpetuating one's rule for in definite like the former dictator General Ziaul Haq. Apart from age, the office of the President symbolists the unity of the state. His role has to be a non-partism one. On ore than one occasion his role remained partism. His role in the Sindh politics is not at all above criticism nor his references against the leader of the opposition have any relevance. It will be in the interest of the whole the nation that be should announce that he is not running for the second term.

Apart from President Ghulam Ishaq Khan himself, those said to be in the running include National Assembly speaker Sohar Ayub Khan and Senate Chairman Wasim Sajjad. Former Army Chief of Staff Aslam Beg's name has also been mentioned. Defence Minister Ghouse Ali Shah's name also crops as a possible candidate. Mr. Nawaz Sharif nurses presidential ambitions of his own. But it is unlikely that such plan would find much support in the Islamabad establishment.

Islamic Bomb Controversy

Pakistan has now become a target of criticism over, the nuclear development. A documentary shown in two parts, on NBC claims to highlight some significant aspects relating to Pakistan's nuclear programme. NBC claims that Pakistan "has seven atomic bombs". Interviews with Washington's legislators, CIA officials and former State Department officials have been cited by NBC to prove its allegations. These include that Islamabad made the bomb while US was giving it aid and that Zia was the 'architect' of the bomb.

Within the context of Pakistani politics the most significant part of the NBC programme relates to the 'revelations' made by Pakistan's former Prime Minister and current Opposition Leader Benazir Bhutto. Three are important. One that Pakistan does have nuclear capability. Benazir says, "although I cannot vouch for this but I feel someone may have turned on the nuclear switch in the Spring of 1990..."

According to Fred Francis's exclusive report for NBC. Pakistan has not one bomb but a nuclear arsenal that is stored around Islamabad. Pakistan was ready to use these bombs in 1990 when India was suspected of preparing for an invasion of Pakistan under the disguise of military exercises near Pakistani borders. Benazir, then Prime Minister, was informed by the Americans of such developments, who in turn scolded the army brass for not informing her. She was ousted due to her disagreements with the military. According to the reporter, this was the first nuclear coup'.

Political observers suggest that the best policy for Pakistan would be to have a dual approach for meeting the security needs. At one level there is need to develop a strong regional alliance with other states having a commonality of interests like Iran and China, Pakistan can never match India quantitatively or quantitatively in the field of conventional arms.
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Title Annotation:civil disobedience campaign by the civil rights movement in Pakistan
Author:Haidari, Iqbal
Publication:Economic Review
Date:Nov 1, 1992
Words:1833
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