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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 2 Constituencies announced for coming elections

Jan 3 Reforms announced limiting land ownership to no more than 100 irrigated or 200 non-irrigated acres; compensation specified for all land resumed by government

Jan 8 Opposition grouping, Pakistan National Alliance (PNA) launched, including Pakistan Muslim League, Tehrik-e-Istaqlal, Jamaat-e-Islami, Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam, National Democratic Party, Pakistan Democratic Party, Khaksar Tehrik, Azad Kashmir Muslim Conference; ganging up of major opposition parties takes Bhutto by surprise

Jan 10 President Fazal Ilahi dissolves assemblies on Prime Minister's recommendation, in anticipation of forthcoming elections; first assembly in 30 years to complete term (not counting Ayub Khan's indirectly elected assembly of 1962)

Mar 7 NA elections held; PTV begins four-day transmission to broadcast results

Mar 10 PA elections elicit low turnout

Mar 12 Bhutto invites PNA leaders to hold talks

Mar 28 Bhutto assumes power for second term; only 168 PPP members attend NA session

Apr 9 Police open fire on demonstrators; official sources report 8 killed, PNA claims 37 dead

Apr 11 PNA calls on citizens to stop paying taxes to 'unconstitutional' government

Apr 13 Bhutto tells BBC he will call in army if necessary

Apr 21 Army called in to restore order; curfew in major cities

Apr 22 Five shot dead in Karachi for violating curfew

May 5 PNA issues 32 demands, including dismissal of Bhutto; refuses to hold further talks

May 13 PM announces decision to hold referendum on question of remaining in office

Jun 3 The PNA agrees to begin talks with the PPP, following intervention by emissaries of the UAE's Sheikh Zayed and Prince Khalid of Saudi Arabia.

Jun 5 Lahore High Court decrees martial law illegal; Bhutto to appeal in Supreme Court

Jun 7 Martial Law lifted

Jun 15 PNA, PPP agree on power-sharing formula; sub-committees formed to prepare detailed draft for approval by both sides; PNA movement suspended; political prisoners released

Jun 17-24 Bhutto tours Arab countries

Jul 4 Agreement between PPP, PNA reached; some minor points unresolved; Bhutto informs cabinet and General Zia of decision to break deadlock

Jul 13 Maulvi Mushtaq Ali, on good terms with Zia, appointed Chief Justice Lahore High Court

Aug 21 Division Bench of Lahore High Court hears evidence against Bhutto in Kasuri murder case

Sep 13 Justice Samdani of Lahore High Court grants bail to Bhutto

Sep Urdu Digest publishes Zia's interview: "Bhutto cheat, cold-blooded murderer," says Zia

Sep 17 Bhutto arrested again by martial law authorities, this time from Larkana residence, Al Murtaza

Sep US discontinues military and economic aid to Pakistan for pursuing nuclear reprocessing plant programme

Dec 5 Zia orders Hyderabad conspiracy case to be dropped; Wali Khan and other NAP leaders released


Rasheed Ahmed Siddiqui:
humorist, educationist

Imam Bakhsh:

Maqbool Jalees:


Elections announced

January 7. General Elections will be held for National Assembly on March 7, and for provincial assemblies on March 10.

You say you want a revolution...

January Director General Inter-Services Intelligence Jilani has sent a secret message to General Zia, with a copy to the PM, warning of a hand-written poster which has appeared in the Multan barracks calling for a "fauji inquilab," or army revolution.

God on their side?

The Pakistan National Alliance (PNA) has taken up "Nizam-e-Mustafa" as its election slogan. Their manifesto promises to enforce Islamic law, the Shariah, and to put an end to absentee landlordism, among other things. The movement is an eclectic combination of nine political and religious parties and is committed to a number of contradictory causes, such as Asghar Khan's secularism versus Maulana Maududi's hardline Islamism.

It cannot be stated how long this partnership will last, but one thing is becoming increasingly clear; even though religion has been a political commodity for some time, this is the first occasion in the country's history that Islam has become the launching pad for a mass political movement. The PNA seems to have successfully roused a considerable section of society in the name of bringing back the social justice of the early days of Islam. However, the ulterior motives of its leaders raise doubts.

Where's the opposition?

January 19 Today was the last day for filing nomination papers for the forthcoming elections. No candidates have filed papers against Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and several other PPP members from Sindh, including Jatoi, Mimtaz Bhutto and Hafeez Pirzada. The PNA insists that potential rivals in these constituencies have been forced to withdraw, claiming that some were detained by the police until the deadline for filing papers had passed, while the whereabouts of others are unknown. The PNA suspects these men may have been kidnapped by the dreaded Federal Security Force (FSF).

PPP landslide

March 8 The PPP has won 155 of the 200 seats in the National Assembly. The PNA alleges rigging and has called for fresh elections. It has also demanded the removal of both the chief election commissioner and Bhutto, urging people to boycott provincial assembly elections scheduled for March 10.

National Assembly Elections Results, 1977


Punjab Sindh NWFP Balochistan Total

Battling Bhutto

March 11 The countrywide strike today marks the beginning of what seems to be a violent mass movement aimed at nothing less than toppling the PPP regime. Throughout the country, public life grinds to a halt, while some cities see charged political rallies which end in skirmishes between the supporters of the PPP and the PNA.


March 25 PNA President Mufti Mahmood and General Secretary Ghafoor Ahmad arrested; over 10,000 PNA supporters and workers have been detained so far.

Bhutto meets Maududi

April 15 Bhutto meets Maulana Maududi to propose fresh elections for the provincial assemblies, and for the National Assembly if the PNA wins majority in provincial polls.

Open invitation

May In a letter addressed to the chiefs of staff and officers of the defense services, Asghar Khan has asked them to withdraw support for the Bhutto regime.

Operation Fairplay

July 4 Around midnight, Chief of Army Staff General Ziaul Haq and other army officers took Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and other major political leaders into custody. The operative, which was kept a well-guarded secret until the last moment, was given the codename "Operation Fairplay."

The hammer falls

July 5 In an address to the nation, General Ziaul Haq announces that the Consitution of 1973 has been suspended; the national and provincial assemblies stand dissolved. The Prime Minister, members of his cabinet and prominent leaders of the PNA have been arrested. Elections are to be held within 90 days.

Piety Politics

July 27 Zia reassures the nation about the October elections but urges people to vote only for "true Pakistani and devout Muslim"

Home again

July 29 Bhutto is released from "protective custody" by the martial law authorities. He is hailed by jubiliant crowd in his home town, Larkana.

Back to the masses

August Bhutto is on a tour through Punjab. The crowds gathering to hear him speak are reminiscent of the huge public rallies of the late '60s when Bhutto first emerged as a populist leader.

Safety first?

August 24 Zia once again reassures the nation about the October elections but says that certain irregularities committed by Bhutto will be made public before elections are held

Bhutto arrested

September 3 Former Prime Minister Bhutto was arrested from his 70 Clifton residence, Karachi, by commandos "for murder and other high crimes". Trial will begin in Punjab High Court on September 13.

Elections announced

September 13 Following Bhutto’s release on bail this morning, General Zia meets with the leaders of major political parties, except the PPP, and announces his decision to hold elections on October 17. Sensing trouble ahead, Bhutto nominates his wife, Nusrat, acting chairman of the party, in case he is re-arrested.

Arrested again

September 17 Bhutto, who was released on bail four days ago, was arrested again by martial law authorities, this time from his Larkana residence Al Murtaza in the early hours of the morning.

Into the limelight

With her husband incarcerated, Nusrat Bhutto, the elegant former first lady, becomes the unlikely symbol of political resistance to the martial law regime

Elections postponed

October 1. General Zia has postponed the October elections. PNA is likely to join the Martial Law Government.

Rough Justice

A council of senior army officials and bureaucrats is set up to rule the country. Special military courts are established.

Ehtesab Brigade

Members of the National and provincial assemblies have been asked to submit lists of property acquired since December 1970. Disqualification tribunals have been set up, comprising high court judges and military officers not lower than the rank of brigadier.

180 PPP politicians DISQUALIFIED for 7 years

100 Years of Iqbal

Pakistan celebrates the Iqbal Centenary this year. India celebrated the event four years ago according to Iqbal's widely accepted date of birth, February 23, 1873. However, a research committee set up in Pakistan decided in 1975 that Iqbal was born on November 9, 1877.

Gul calls Bhutto traitor

April 14. Retired Lt. Gen. Gul Hassan has resigned as the ambassador of Pakistan to Greece. In his resignation telegram he has accused the Prime Minister Bhutto of breaking up the country in 1971, and of having similar intentions again. Gul Hassan has called the form of government in Pakistan "of Bhutto, by Bhutto and for Bhutto."

Read Lt. Gen. (Retd) Gul Hassan's resignation telegram and the FIR lodged against him under Defence of Pakistan Rule 49.


April 17 In a desperate move to appease the mullahs and mullah incited crowds on the streets, Bhutto has announced an immediate ban on alcohol, gambling, nightclubs, bars and other un-Islamic activities. He has also promised to bring all laws in conformity with the Shariah.


Box office hit

Aina, released on March 18 this year, marks a distinct symbolic break between the liberal Bhutto years and the increasingly conservative Zia regime. Starring Nadeem, Shabnam, Rehan, Qavi. Music by Robin Ghosh, produced by A.R.Shamsi for Kashif Films Ltd; directed by Nazrul Islam. released on March 18 this year, marks a distinct symbolic break between the liberal Bhutto years and the increasingly conservative Zia regime. Starring Nadeem, Shabnam, Rehan, Qavi. Music by Robin Ghosh, produced by A.R.Shamsi for Kashif Films Ltd; directed by Nazrul Islam.

Blind dolphin comes into limelight

The Secrets of the Blind Dolphin is a groundbreaking work by Giorgio Pilleri, who visited the habitat of this rare creature in Pakistan three years ago. The study has raised international alarm over the diminishing numbers of bhulan, as the blind dolphin is called in the Indus region: Pilleri could count only 150 over a stretch of 170 km.

The Indus dolphin has been declared endangered, and the Government of Sindh has demarcated the Indus river between the Sukkur (Lloyd) and Guddu barrages as a dolphin reserve. An Indus Dolphin Project (IDP) has also been launched to study the little-known mammal and identify its conservation needs.

Ideological frontiers

September 6 While addressing the nation on the Defence Day, General Zia has said: "The armed forces are the only stable institution… to defend national frontiers… not only geographical frontiers… [but the country's] ideological frontiers also have to be fully protected."

The young poet Parveen Shakir's anthology Khushboo is well-received.

Songs remembered
Kabhi mein sochta hoon (Aina)
Mujhe dil say na bhulana (Aina)
Roothhay ho tum (Aina)
Mere mehboob ka aya (Shama-e-Mohabbat)
Ishq sacha hai to phir (Ishq Ishq)

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