Opposition and Treasury unite to condemn Zia’s military coup

KARACHI: Calling July 5, 1977 a dark day in the country’s history, the Sindh Assembly on Tuesday passed a unanimous resolution condemning General Ziaul Haq’s military coup amid lack of interest from lawmakers in both sides of the aisle.

The deserted house echoed harsh condemnation from the military dictator and lavish tributes to former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto as all MPs’ day activity on the agenda was suspended by the vice -President Rehana Leghari before she authorized the Heer Soho of the Pakistan People’s Party. present a resolution condemning the July 5, 1977 coup.

The resolution was also supported by the opposition Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf, Muttahida Qaumi Movement-Pakistan and Grand Democratic Alliance.

Members belonging to Tehreek Labbaik Pakistan and Muttahida Majlis-i-Amal did not show up in the house.

Lawmakers pay rich tribute to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto

Only 20 members of the treasurer and 13 members of the opposition, most belonging to the MQM-P, were present in the chamber which began to proceed with a delay of one hour and 20 minutes.

The power supply to the whole was interrupted at the start of the work, but it was immediately restored thanks to the emergency generators. This follows water leaking from the roof of the house and criticism from opposition members, who said water was seeping from the roof of the building which was erected with millions of rupees.

As opposition MPs continued to protest the water drippings in the house, the Deputy Speaker assured them that she would ask the Assembly Secretary to address the issue.

The treasury member’s resolution read: “This Assembly condemns the incidents which occurred on July 5, 1977 which ultimately led to the dissolution of the democratically elected popular government of Shaheed Zulfikiar Ali Bhutto. This fateful day is a stain on the history of democracy in Pakistan as it marked the most brutal spectacle of the suspension of the constitution, democratic process and political stability in the country.

He added that General Zia ul Haq’s subsequent seizure of power plunged the country into the dark era of repression against dissent, political victimization, erosion of political culture in the country.

The resolution added that history bears ample witness to the fact that that day had entirely changed the direction of the state and society, moving from a tolerant, plural and accommodating direction to an intolerant and polarized direction. “Today will continue to be considered the black day in the history of the democratic struggle in the country,” he added.

The house has also decided to fight for the strengthening of democracy and the rule of law in the country, for the consolidation of democratic standards, political culture and civil liberties for generations to come.

Speaking on the occasion, Syed Qaim Ali Shah, senior PPP member and former chief minister, said that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was a public leader who chose to live among the people. “He was a public figure who would be remembered for centuries,” he added.

Referring to criticisms of Bhutto for being the first civil martial law administrator, Mr Shah said that at the time there was no constitution in the country and he had to take charge to fill the constitutional vacuum in the country. “Bhutto Sahib did not want martial law even for a day,” he added.

He also praised former President Asif Ali Zardari for “accomplishing Bhutto’s constitution” through the 18th Amendment. “He was the voice of the peasants, workers, students and oppressed classes.”

GDA’s Nusrat Saher Abbasi paid rich tributes to Bhutto and said he was not the leader of the PPP, but of the whole country.

GDA’s Arif Mustafa Jatoi said the PPP founder was a man of integrity. “Not a single corruption case was brought against him after his impeachment,” he said, adding that today almost all members of the provincial cabinet face corruption charges. “If you really have respect and love for Shaheed Bhutto, you should follow him,” he advised PPP members.

Education Minister Syed Sardar Shah said in his speech that every democratic party in the country should observe a dark day on July 5.

PPP’s Heer Soho, Hina Dastagir, Information Minister Sharjeel Inam Memon, Shamim Mumtaz and Sadia Javed, and Mangla Sharma of MQM-P and Firdous Shamim Naqvi of PTI also spoke about the resolution.

Later, the house was adjourned to July 15.

Posted in Dawn, July 6, 2022

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