Tuesday, January 08, 2008


See Part I here

Benazir's father, Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, leader of the Pakistan's People's Party (PPP) was deposed in a military coup d'Etat on July 5, 1977, which spearheaded Pakistan into a process of virtually uninterrupted military rule. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was subsequently executed, in a judicial assassination, on the orders of the US sponsored military junta.

Under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a secular postcolonial government had developed. Economic nationalism was promoted. The Pakistan People's Party (PPP) government, which had the support of a large majority of the electorate, was committed to a broad program of economic, social an institutional reforms.

From his early days as foreign minister in the 1960s, Bhutto had called for an independent and non-aligned foreign policy, free of US encroachment as well as the closing down of US military bases. In the course of the 1970s, a nationalization program of key industries under the PPP government was carried out, which undermined the interests of multinational capital.

In the Aftermath of the 1977 Military Coup

Following the 1977 military coup, the structures of democratic government were dismantled. The Constitution was abolished and martial law was established under the rule of General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq who became President in 1978.

The postcolonial political process had been reversed. At the outset of the Zia-ul-Haq regime, the populist PPP nationalization and agrarian reforms of the Bhutto era were reversed and undone.

In turn, the new military rulers sought, with Washington's support, to undermine the secular structures of the Pakistani State.

Islamism became embedded in the functioning of the State under military rule. The tenets of "Islamic fundamentalism" sponsored by US intelligence were adopted by the military dictatorship of General Zia, with a view to undermining the structures of civilian government and the Rule of Law.

In 1980, the Parliament was replaced by a bogus consultative assembly, the Majlis-e-Shoora composed of scholars and professionals, all of whom were appointed by President Zia. A reign of terror marked by arbitrary arrests and imprisonment was installed in the name of Islam.

State violence under military rule supported the concurrent implementation of "free market" reforms under the helm of the IMF and the World Bank. IMF sponsored macro-economic reforms contributed to destroying the fabric of Pakistan's economy. The external debt spiraled. Poverty became rampant. The commercial banking system was largely taken over by Western financial institutions.

Since 1977, a military dictatorship has largely prevailed. The short-lived democratically elected governments of Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif did not, in a meaningful way, break the continuity of authoritarian military rule. Both Sharif and Bhutto served US interests and accepted the economic diktats of the IMF

The 1977 military coup in Pakistan, leading to the demise of the PPP government of Ali Bhutto, was a precondition for the launching of the CIA's covert war in Afghanistan.

In April 1978, the People's Democratic Party of Afghanistan (PDPA), seized power in Afghanistan in a popular insurrection directed against the dictatorship of President Mohammed Daud Khan. The PDPA government instigated a land reform program, expanded education and health programs and actively supported women's rights. Afghanistan's relationship with the Soviet Union was also strengthened.

"According to the official version of history, CIA aid to the Mujahideen began during 1980, that is to say, after the Soviet army invaded Afghanistan, 24 Dec 1979. But the reality, secretly guarded until now, is completely otherwise Indeed, it was July 3, 1979 that President Carter signed the first directive for secret aid to the opponents of the pro-Soviet regime in Kabul. And that very day, I wrote a note to the president in which I explained to him that in my opinion this aid was going to induce a Soviet military intervention." (Former National Security adviser Zbigniew Brzezinski, Interview with Nouvel Observateur, 15-21 January 1998)

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