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Asif Haroon Raja |

Muhammad Ali Jinnah achieved the miracle of the 20th century by creating Pakistan on August 14, 1947, against gravest odds but breathed his last on September 11, 1948, and orphaned people of Pakistan. Survival of Pakistan became doubtful since Hindu leaders in league with the British had not given up and hatched conspiracies to undo Pakistan.

Hindu and British economic wizards had predicted that Pakistan will collapse under the weight of economic problems within six months. Pakistan which had to start from a scratch was loaded with a plethora of compound problems by India. In October 1947, a war was imposed upon Pakistan after Indian military landed its forces at Srinagar and annexed two-thirds Kashmir.

Had he lived a bit longer, Kashmir could have become part of Pakistan, Khalistan turned into a reality and Afghanistan aligned with Pakistan could have become stable

After the early demise of Quaid e Azam, Liaquat Ali Khan ably handled the state affairs and managed to pass Objectives Resolution which became the basis for the future constitution. He was murdered in October 1951 when he was addressing a public meeting at Liaquat Bagh Rawalpindi. It has now been revealed after the declassification of US archives that his murder was planned by CIA. His departure created leadership crisis and from then onward this vacuum of leadership couldn’t be filled. All those who ruled the roost during the formative years had feet of clay. Six PMs changed hands in next 7 years.

Read more: Pakistan’s foreign policy and current challenges-part 1

During this doleful democratic era, Pakistan veered towards the US to seek security from overweening India and hostile Afghanistan and never got out of its influence. Another thing which happened was the political-bureaucracy divide. The military entered the political brawl in complicity with the bureaucracy. Once Gen Ayub Khan was taken on board by making him the defense minister in addition to his post of C-in-C, the bureaucracy-military oligarchy aligned with the judiciary called all the shots.

The crash was engineered by CIA since he had become too dangerous for the US on account of his strong influence over Afghanistan, his weapon-grade nuclear program and his decision to introduce Sharia

The seat of Governor General/President was made more powerful than the PM. Palace intrigues obstructed the growth of democracy. It took nine years to frame a constitution, which was abrogated by President Iskandar Mirza after declaring martial law on October 8, 1958, and sacking Feroz Khan Noon’s government.

External threats and alignment with the US, when seen in context with weak political leadership and civil institutions, helped the military to attain salience in national politics. The military under Gen Ayub Khan seized power on October 28, 1958, to put the derailed nation back on the rails and make it affluent.

Read more: The US failed Afghan policy – Part I

He kept the bureaucracy on board but sidelined corrupt and inept politicians through EBDO which brought strains in civil-military relations. Ayub Khan made good use of the US lavish military and economic assistance to strengthen Pakistan’s economy and military and in his first 5-year development plan he upturned the economy and transformed Pakistan into a role model, envied by the developing world.

He also took full advantage of the Pakistan’s strategic alignment with the USA and completed the manufacture of the nuclear bomb in the basement secretly

His ten-year golden rule undoubtedly made Pakistan strong and prosperous. In his second 5-year development plan (1965-1970), when the economy was at the take-off stage and set to make Pakistan an Asian Tiger, ZA Bhutto, and Sheikh Mujibur Rahman inspired agitation created political chaos. Agitations continued even after the surfacing of Agartala conspiracy. When the combined opposition demanded Ayub’s resignation in spite of the fact that he had agreed to all their demands, he resigned in March 1969 and handed over the baton to Gen Yahya Khan.

In his farewell speech, he said that he could not preside over the disintegration of Pakistan. To say that he sowed the seeds of disintegration of Pakistan is a travesty of truth. The release of Mujib at the behest of politicians and making him a hero sowed the seeds of fragmentation.

Read more: Pakistan’s foreign policy and current challenges-part 2

The Supreme Court under chief justice Anwar ul Haq confirmed the sentence although it was a split decision. During PPP 4th rule, it was declared as a judicial murder and Gen Zia was blamed for it

Gen Yahya Khan during his 2 ½ years calamitous rule committed several political blunders in his bid to appease the Bengalis, and one of them was the abrogation of 1962 Constitution and not reverting to 1956 Constitution. The country was run by Legal Framework Order. The absence of a constitution, dissolution of One-Unit, one-man-one-vote and joint electorates facilitated the agenda of secessionists led by Mujib and backed by India. Pakistan had to pay a very heavy price of Bhutto-Mujib intrigue and lost half of the country in December 1971.

FM Ayub Khan’s successful economic policy which was adopted by South Korea, Japan and Malaysia was sidelined by ZA Bhutto after he took over power on December 20, 1971, and wore the hats of CMLA and President. Impressed by Karl Marx-Leninist ideology and China’s socialism, he opted for Islamic socialism. His nationalization policy aimed at providing bread, clothes, and shelter to the poor ruined the budding industry, education, and banking system and impoverished the economy.

The absence of a constitution, dissolution of One-Unit, one-man-one-vote and joint electorates facilitated the agenda of secessionists led by Mujib and backed by India

He authored the 1973 Constitution but soon after its unanimous passage, he carried out several amendments to become all powerful. The insurgency in Baluchistan triggered in 1974 as a result of the sacking of Baluchistan and KP Ministries. His autocracy and rigging in March 1977 elections led to Dhandli (rigging) chanting PNA movement (a conglomeration of nine parties), demanding Nizam-e-Mustafa. Despite the imposition of martial law in Karachi, Hyderabad, and Lahore, the tempo didn’t die down and resulted into a complete political logjam. It is wrong to assume that an agreement was agreed to.

Read more: Peaceful Afghanistan is in Pakistan’s best interest: General Zubair

Under the circumstances and egged on by the politicians, Gen Zia Ul Haq seized power on July 5, 1975, and placed ZA Bhutto under house arrest at Murree. A FIR registered in 1974 in which Bhutto was implicated by Kasuris for the murder of their father was unfrozen and reactivated. Miffed by Bhutto’s arrogance, Lahore High Court led by Judge Maulvi Mushtaq awarded death sentence to Bhutto. The Supreme Court under chief justice Anwar ul Haq confirmed the sentence although it was a split decision. During PPP 4th rule, it was declared as a judicial murder and Gen Zia was blamed for it.

Agitations continued even after the surfacing of Agartala conspiracy. When the combined opposition demanded Ayub’s resignation in spite of the fact that he had agreed to all their demands

During his 11 years rule, Gen Zia faced the USSR challenge and handled the Afghan war most skillfully which ended in a classical victory for the Mujahideen. He also took full advantage of the Pakistan’s strategic alignment with the USA and completed the manufacture of the nuclear bomb in the basement secretly.  He uplifted the GDP to over 7% as well as the image of the country. He died in C-130 plane crash on August 17, 1988, along with several generals, US ambassador and defense attaché.

The crash was engineered by CIA since he had become too dangerous for the US on account of his strong influence over Afghanistan, his weapon-grade nuclear program and his decision to introduce Sharia. Had he lived a bit longer, Kashmir could have become part of Pakistan, Khalistan turned into a reality and Afghanistan aligned with Pakistan could have become stable.

This article is the first part of a series of articles on the political history of Pakistan.

The writer is a retired Brig Gen, a war veteran, defense and security analyst, author of five books, Vice Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, Director Measac Research Centre. Takes part in TV talk shows, delivers talks and take part in seminars. The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Global Village Space’s editorial policy.

Asif Haroon Raja is a retired Brig Gen, a war veteran, defense and security analyst, the author of five books, Vice Chairman Thinkers Forum Pakistan, and Director Measac Research Centre. He takes part in TV talk shows, delivers talks, and takes part in seminars.

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