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The Chronicle of Pakistan
Compiled by Khurram Ali Shafique
with special thanks to Aqeel Abbas Jafferi
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Jan 27 Tribunal headed by Ch Justice S. A. Rehman concludes hearing state evidence against accused in Agartala Conspircay Case (see Feb 22)

Feb 17 Bhutto and other politicians released

Feb 22 Charges in Agartala Conspircay case withdrawn; Mujib and others accused released

Jul Air Marshal Nur Khan’s new education policy announced, aimed at pacifying student unrest

Jul 28 Justice Abdus Sattar, Judge SC Pakistan to be the new Chief Election Commissioner

Aug Air Marshal Nur Khan appointed Governor of West Pakistan; insiders say he has been removed from his post of Deputy Chief Martial Law Administrator because his reforms on education and labour displeased military regime.

Sep 22 Yahya Khan, representing Pakistan at First Islamic Summit Conference, Rabat, stages walk-out against Indian Muslims being represented by a non-Muslim ambassador

Oct 24 Veteran Haneef Muhammad and his brothers Mushtaq and Sadiq play together in the same test, for the first time in cricket history

Nov 1 Haneef Muhammad announces retirement from cricket, apparently dismayed at not being selected for the forthcoming New Zealand tour

Nov 28 Yahya announces One-Unit to be dissolved soon; elections to be held in October 1970


Iskander Mirza
former President
(Nov 13)

Sajjad Sarwar Niazi
music composer, broadcaster

Nawab Iftikhar Mamdot

Syed Hasan Askari


The politics of hunger

February 14. Bhutto has announced a hunger strike unto death along with Ghulam Mustafa Khar and other leaders, protesting against Ayub Khan’s draconian laws.

Into the sunset

February 21. Ayub promises not to contest in the next presidential elections scheduled for 1970

Talking heads

March 10-12. Ayub meets political leaders at Round Table Conference. The agreements include Ayub’s removal from next presidential elections, restoration of federal parliamentary system, regional autonomy, adult franchise and also that the parity between East and West will not to be disturbed. Bhutto and Bhashani stay out, demanding immediate resignation from Ayub.

"I cannot preside over the destruction of my country" -- Ayub Khan
March 25. Ayub Khan addressed the nation today for the last time, to announce his abdication.

Ayub resigns

March 24. Ayub writes to Gen Yahya stating his decision to step down and abrogate the Constitution, according to which power should be handed down to the Speaker of the National Assembly. Rumour has it that Yahya forced him to transfer power.

Read text of General Ayub's Abdication Letter

Martial Law declared

March 26. Martial Law is once again imposed as General Yahya Khan assumes the mantle of supreme command of the armed forces as well as the rest of the country. The constitution is suspended, political activities (but not political parties) are banned, the National and provincial assemblies have been dissolved, along with the central and provincial cabinets. In his address to the nation, Yahya claims that he has no political ambitions.

Read excerpts from Yahya's 1st broadcast

Labour's day

Air Marshal Nur Khan’s new labour policy has met with a generally favourable response. It grants the workers the right to collective bargaining, as well as the right to strike in the case that bilateral negotiation and mediation fail. The number of essential and public utility services where workers are not permitted to strike is reduced and the procedure for the recognition of trade unions has been simplified. Some measures have also been announced to protect the rights of trade unions. The minimum wages have been specified and the government promises to set up a welfare fund with a 100 million-rupee contribution from its own coffers.

Roti, kapda aur makan

As Bhutto launches the election campaign of his People's Party, the famous trade union slogan calling for food, clothing and shelter seems to have become his election manifesto. It is represented in his speeches, chanted by PPP workers and believed by the thousands who are seen flocking to PPP meetings.

For adults only

January 3. Neela Parbat, the first adults only Pakistani film released; produced and directed by Ahmad Basheer for Film Utopia; music by Piya Rang Qadir; starring Muhammad Ali, Husna, Shahnawaz (Senior), Komal, Talish and Kamal Irani.

Wildlife Inquiry Committee

Wildlife Enquiry Committee formed by the government to recommend the legal and administrative measures for protecting the wildlife is a landmark in the conservation history of the country.

Media coverage

August. Yahya Khan regime is turning out to be more lax in its supervision of the media than its predecsessor but, of course, exceptions have to be made. One such occasion was the President's press conference at Karachi Airport after his return from the Islamic Summit in Rabat.

In the Press Conference, the President was visibly tipsy and after praising himself for preventing the Indian Foreign Minister from attending the conference by threatening boycott, he lost track and started hurling obscenities against India and its Sikh Foreign Minister. Information Minister General Sher Ali had to order the television crew to stop recording while he told the journalists not to print the objectionable utterings.

Nights of the General

Although the media remains silent on the issue, the grapevine is buzzing with stories about Yayha Khan's private life. With his penchant for the bottle and attractive women, the general's private life is increasingly becoming entangled with his public persona. A number of starlets, as well as the mysterious 'General' Rani, are the subject of gossip.

Chain reaction

October 21. Writer, producer, director Riaz Shahid offers the distribution rights of Zarqa (released October 17) in the Middle East to the Palestinian guerrilla organisation, Al Fatah, whose activities are also depicted in the film. The movie also features a sequence where the heroine (played by Neelo) is forced to dance against her will, apparently based on the real life incident which took place on Feb 12, 1965. The song that goes with this dance is Habib Jalib’s famous poem ‘Neelo’, inspired by that incident: Raqs zanjeer pehen ker bhi kiya jata hai...

Iskander Mirza buried in Tehran

November 15. Former President of Pakistan, Iskander Mirza, who died in London on the 13th, was buried in Tehran with state funeral. He did not wish to be buried in Pakistan since he was not allowed to come back while he was alive.

An application submitted by his daughter to the new regime for permitting Mirza's return to the country this August was turned down politely, while Mirza himself was informed by the regime that he would not be welcome in Pakistan.

National Mosque

November 20. The Capital Development Authority approves a design for the National Mosque, to be constructed in Islamabad. In all, 39 entries were received from 13 countries. The scheme by Turkish architect Vedat Dalokay has been selected. He has been awarded a cash prize of 90,000 rupees.

Civil servants dismissed

December 7. Former information secretary Altaf Gauhar, who had been virtual managing editor of all newspapers during the Ayub regime, is among the 303 civil servants dismissed on corruption charges. The list includes poet Mustafa Zaidi.

Songs remembered

Lay aai phir kahan per

Meri zindagi hai naghma

Bohat yaad ayengay

Aisay bhi hain meherban
(Jaisay Jantay Nahin)

Jab koi piyar say
(Zindagi Kitni Haseen Hai)

Kuchh loag rootth ker bhi

Ghungroo toot gaye

Raqs zanjeer pehen ker bhi

Jab bhi chahain ik nai

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