Gen. Zia Regime

 

Zia Regime

 July 5, 1977, and imposed another martial-law regime. Bhutto was tried for authorizing the murder of a political opponent and found guilty; he was hanged on April 4, 1979. The PPP was reorganized under the leadership of his daughter, Benazir Bhutto.

Zia formally assumed the presidency in 1978 and embarked on an Islamization program. Through various ordinances between 1978 and 1985, he instituted the Islamization of Pakistan’s legal and economic systems and social order. In 1979 a federal Sharia (Islamic law) court was established to exercise Islamic judicial review. Other ordinances established interest-free banking and provided maximum penalties for adultery, defamation, theft, and consumption of alcohol.

On
March 24, 1981, Zia issued a Provisional Constitutional Order that served as a substitute for the suspended 1973 constitution. The order provided for the formation of a Federal Advisory Council (Majlis-e-Shoora) to take the place of the National Assembly. In early 1982 Zia appointed the 228 members of the new council. This effectively restricted the political parties, which already had been constrained by the banning of political activity, from organizing resistance to the Zia regime through the election process.

The Soviet intervention in
Afghanistan in December 1979 heightened Pakistan’s insecurity and changed the fortunes of General Zia’s military regime. Afghan refugees began to pour into Pakistan. After about a year, the United States responded to the crisis. In September 1981 Zia accepted a six-year economic and military aid package worth $3.2 billion from the United States. (The United States approved a second aid package worth $4.0 billion in 1986 but then suspended its disbursement in 1989 due to Pakistan’s nuclear-weapons program.) After a referendum in December 1984 endorsed Zia’s Islamization policies and the extension of his presidency until 1990, Zia permitted elections for parliament in February 1985. A civilian cabinet took office in April, and martial law ended in December. Zia was dissatisfied, however, and in May 1988 he dissolved the government and ordered new elections. Three months later he was killed in an airplane crash possibly caused by sabotage, and a caretaker regime took power until elections could be held.

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