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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 1 Engineering Research Laboratories, Kahuta, renamed Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan Research Laboratories

Jan 16 Asiavision, a regional news exchange for electronic media, starts operating with Pakistan as a member

Jan 10 Benazir Bhutto leaves for Geneva to receive medical treatment, ending three years under house arrest

Jan 31 Student organisations banned in Islamabad

Mar 21 Zia announces 10-year extension of quota system to appease disgruntled population of interior Sindh

Jun Finance Minister Mahbubul Haq launches drive to attract 'black' money in controversial 'Whitener Bond' scheme

Jul 24 'Qisas and Diyat Ordinance' promulgated amid protests from human rights activists

Aug 13 Zia announces Nizam-e-Salat (system for regulating prayers)

Oct Foreign ministers of Pakistan, Iran, Turkey agree to launch ECO

Nov 4 Military speedy court passes death sentence on PPP activist Nasir Baloch for involvement in Kabul hijacking (Mar 1981)


Faiz Ahmad Faiz: poet, political activist
Yousuf Kamran: poet
Aslam Parvaiz: actor
Khurshid Anwer: music composer
Maulana Shafi Okarvi:
religious orator


Plot revealed

Jan 2 Dissident military personnel receiving smuggled ammunition from India in bid to oust Zia regime apprehended by Inter-Services intelligence in top secret 'Operation Galaxy.' Seth Abid acts as link for smuggled ammunition, believed to have double-crossed India by tipping off the government; exiled PPP leader Ghulam Mustafa Khar also implicated

Clampdown on student unions

February 9 The government has promulgated a martial law ordinance banning all student organisations throughout the country. Student leaders have been arrested, accused by the government of creating discipline problems in educational institutions and for being involved in political agitation.

MQM launched

March 18 Following the ban on student organisations, former office bearers of the All-Pakistan Mohajir Student Organisation have launched the Mohajir Quami Movement in Karachi. Founder Altaf Husain is declared the Quaid-e-Tehrik; Azeem Ahmad Tariq is chairman

The gulf boom

During the 1970s and 1980s, large-scale migration to the Middle East dramatically alters the character of development in Pakistan and contributes to fundamental changes in the country's economy and society. About two million Pakistanis -- representing at least ten per cent of the country's households and more than seventy per cent of its labour force -- work in the Middle East. Remittances from these workers approach 2.5 billion dollars, far overshadowing foreign aid receipts and almost equaling the amount earned by Pakistani exports. The most visible impact of these remittances is the rapid increase in consumer goods and housing improvements. Less visibly, employment and investment patterns are affected in a variety of ways. (Contributed by Talat Aslam)

Cold War

April As Indian forces move stealthily into the Northern Areas of Pakistan, the two armies have become embroiled in a gruelling conflict on the Siachen Glacier, the largest glacier outside the Arctic Circle, and the highest battleground in recorded history.

Bush visits Pakistan

May US Vice-President George Bush is probably the highest dignitary to follow the current US trend of visiting Pakistan. He was greeted by cheering Afghan tribals near the Khyber Pass and he told them that their indomitable spirit of freedom has earned the admiration of free men everywhere.


December 19 A referendum is held to determine the people's will. The question: do the people of Pakistan endorse the process initiated by General Zia to bring all laws in conformity with the injunctions of Islam, as laid down in the Holy Quran and Sunnah, and do they support the continuation of that process for the smooth and orderly transfer of power to the elected representatives of the people?

A positive vote will provide General Zia with a mandate to remain president for the next 5 years. The MRD appeals for a boycott of the proceedings, while the Jamaat-e-Islami supports the move.

Zia to rule till 1990

Official results of the referendum claim a 62.12 per cent turnout in the referendum, with 97.71 per cent "positive" votes cast. However, opponents claim that the turnout was barely 5 per cent. Nevertheless, General Zia's presidency has been secured -- at least until 1990.

New translation of Javidnama

A new English translation of Iqbal's greatest poetic work has beeen published by Iqbal Academy Pakistan, Lahore. It is from the late scholar A. Q. Niaz, revised by S. W. Zaman. The impressive preface by Gilani Kamran is arguably the best expose of Javidnama so far.

Read Gilani Kamran's Preface

The banned title

Did Jinnah want Pakistan?

Jinnah of Pakistan by Stanley Wolpert, an apology which proposes that 'Quaid-i-Azam' may not have intended Pakistan, has been banned here because it includes some hearsay accounts about the Quaid's dietary habits. In the international circles, the book is gaining more acclaim than The Sole Spokesman, a more serious study by the Pakistani-born Ayesha Jalal which offers the same theory about Jinnah's stance on Pakistan but which has been permitted to circulate here.

Monthly Herald gets an uplift and breaks with the past to establish itself as a news magazine.

Aga Khan Award for Architecture

The restoration of the Shah Rukn-e-Alam Mausoleum receives the prestigious Aga Khan Award for Architecture.

Picture imperfect?

Lahore painter Iqbal Hussain's show at the Al-Hamra Arts Council was cancelled only hours before the opening, apparently because it contained portraits of women from Lahore's infamous Heera Mandi, women without dupattas and a pregnant woman.

Sound of Sindh

Sindh nationalism finds a new avenue of expression as the Urs of Shah Abdul Latif becomes a rallying point. Old masters from Faqir Abdul Ghafoor to Hussain Bakhsh Khadim, Mohammad Yusuf and Allan Faqir share the stage with the impassioned younger generation led by Abida Parveen.

Los Angeles Olympics

August 11. Pakistan secures Olympic hockey gold, after 16 years, under Manzoor Junior

Gandasa revolution

The rise of the video, and growing censorship, among other factors, slowly kill off the Urdu film industry. Punjabi cinema comes to dominate the large screen, boosted by the growth of Punjab's smaller towns and large-scale rural-urban migraion. Violence, rather than sex, becomes the driving force of movies as middle class audiences drift away from increasingly dilapidated and rowdy cinemas. The icons of this new cinema are Sultan Rahi and his statuesque counterpart in countless films, Anjuman. At the same time, soft core pornography becomes the forte of Pushto films, courtesy Musarrat Shaheen, Chakori and powerful politicians whose cinemas are able to get around the censor's sharp scissors. (Contributed by Talat Aslam)

Hero worship

This was the year of Waheed Murad, the chocolate- cream hero who died last year of alcohol abuse, stomach cancer and a broken heart. The last 12 months have seen an unprecedented revival of his films on the big screen, some of which are showing to packed audiences, forcing the director of his unfinished Hero to complete the film for release early next year with a number of "cheat" shots.

Songs remembered
Mera laung gawacha (PTV; Mussarat Nazeer)
Zara chehra to dikhao (cassette, Young Tarang)

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