Zia ruined us, make no mistake

Published: September 28, 2012

It was in Zia’s time that the seeds of the current sectarian warfare were sowed. PHOTO: FILE

‘Democracy’ is a Greek word made up of two parts; ‘Demos’ meaning ‘common people’ and ‘Kratos’ meaning ‘rule/strength’.

Democracy, by definition, is a system of governance in which the power rests in the common people and their elected representatives. One of the finest definitions of democracy was provided by Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States of America, when he said,

“Democracy is the government of the people, by the people, for the people”.

According to political scientists, democracy and the rule of law are primary prerequisites for a prospering country and its society. Almost all the countries considered to be ‘developed countries’ today work on the principles of democracy.

Pakistan, in the last 65 years has had its experiments with democracy as well as dictatorships. In fact, Pakistan has spent more time under dictators than under democratic governments! It has been suggested after the failures of the current democratic government that ‘democracy doesn’t work in Pakistan’ and that ‘we shouldn’t blame Zia for all our ills’.

I strongly disagree with this statement on two very different accounts.

The first one is the misdemeanours of General Ziaul Haq during his 11 years in power and the second is the statement that ‘democracy does not work’.

I shall present my case about both issues one by one.

First and foremost, let’s discuss the reign of General Ziaul Haq and the consequences of his policies during those years. When Zia took over the country on July 5, 1977, staging a coup d’état against the elected prime minister, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Pakistan was facing a great deal of unrest due to political tension between the incumbent government and the opposition parties.

Zia came to power with the promise of holding ‘free and fair’ elections within 90 days of takeover. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, a charismatic, populist and overtly opportunistic leader of the Pakistan’s Peoples Party (PPP) had been ruling the country for approximately six years at that time.

He instilled confidence and courage in the masses, following the shameful debacle witnessed in December 1971, which divided Pakistan into two countries. After so much time in power, his actions had turned a lot of friends into foes and his heavy-handed tactics against the dissenters and former friends alike are well-documented.

When Zia took over in 1977, he used religion as a tool to oppress people and to punish anyone who dared to speak against him. It was during his reign that hundreds of people including journalists were publicly lashed. It was on his instructions that the Hudood Laws were formulated.

According to Syed Afzal Haider, a senior Judge, Dr Maaruf Dawalibi, head of the Muslim World League was specially invited by Zia to prepare the draft of Hudood Ordinance. Zia declared that the Shariat court could challenge any law in Pakistan except any martial law regulations or orders.

In 1984, University Grants Commission instructed the textbook boards to prepare books which showed that ‘Pakistan was not formed on basis on race,language or geography but based on a common religious experience’. Students should be told about ‘Ideology of Pakistan’ and then it should be popularised via slogans. They should be guided about the true pathway for Pakistan and that is the formation of a ‘True Islamic State’.

It is worth mentioning here that the first time the words ‘Ideology of Pakistan’ are mentioned in the historical records are in 1962 and were uttered by a representative of the Jamaat-e-Islami. No mention of these words has been found to date in either the official Jinnah Papers or the All India Muslim League papers.

It was in Zia’s time that the seeds of the current sectarian warfare were sowed, starting in 1986 with the massacre in Kurram Agency and formation of the Sipah Sahaba in Jhang. Even though  Zia professed his love for Islam, he was involved in the massacre of innocent Palestinians during the Black September Tragedy of 1970, while he was serving in Jordan.

It was in Zia’s time that the oath of the Pakistan Army inductees was amended and it was added that they ought to defend not only the geographical but also the ‘ideological boundaries’ of Pakistan. Zia detested politicians and political parties. That is why the only elections that were ever held during his time, in 1985, were ‘party-less’ elections.

A lot of what is wrong with Pakistan today can be traced back to Zia and his era but it should not be forgotten that Pakistan was not exactly a haven before him. Since 1947, we have been mired in difficulties and problems of varying kinds. Zia only augmented the ideological and political mistakes earlier made by both elected politicians and generals.

Regarding the question of democracy in Pakistan, a superficial analysis reveals that the experiment of democracy has failed in Pakistan. It is partly because of the experience of the last five years and partly because of the lack of knowledge about the real history of Pakistan.

The first ‘proper’ national elections were held in 1970, a whopping 23 years after the formation of Pakistan!

Similarly, the longest period that democratic governments were allowed in power was 11 years (between 1988 and 1999). Democracy does not work like that. Major political parties in Pakistan do not hold regular party elections, thus they are not exactly beacons of hope regarding the democracy experiment.

Democracy works if there are regular internal and national level elections and people take into account that their votes matter. None of that has happened in Pakistan. Similarly, abiding by the rule of law is essential for a democratic Pakistan, as it prevents any extra-constitutional attempts at thwarting democracy. Unfortunately, this has not been the case and thus, we are reaping what we ourselves have sowed.

Lastly, it should be emphasised that democracy is not the solution to all our problems. Democracy is not the even a ‘perfect or ideal’ system, but we do not live in an ideal world. There are many other factors necessary for democracy to work. Patience is the most important one of them.

Read more by Abdul here or follow him on Twitter @abdulmajeedabid

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Abdul.Majeed

Abdul Majeed

A final year medical student with interests in history, political economy and literature. He blogs at abdulmajeedabid.blogspot.com/ and tweets as @abdulmajeedabid

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • kbr

    First of all Mr.Majeed, try to review the history of the people of this part of Indian subcontinent in a more neutral manner and stop following the latest fashion of criticizing the dictators…”The development of democracy is the one in which National Identity emerges first, then legitimate and authoritative state structures are institutionalized””-Eric Nordlinger. Now may I ask you how many nationalist cum separatist groups were functioning with in two years of the creation of Pakistan and why? you used the word debacle I would say that it was not the first time in the history that Bangalis formed their own constituency, they have done it probably the tenth time…Secondly why Z. A.Bhutto used Mujeeb for his political point scoring? Who pressurized West Pakistan to release Mueeb ur Rehman and to what end during late 60s?

    Lincoln was absolutely right but can you give me example of one politician who has the vision and understanding like Abraham Lincoln? What Lincoln meant by this phrase was that the driving force for development of democracy is the people, the masses and I ask you what are the driving forces for democracy in Pakistan? the poverty and greed for wealth of some 1000 idiots….in our country literacy standard is the lowest, people are not even civilized enough to understand the importance of a sewerage system and you think that these people can fit in the Lincoln’s vision of People?

    It is not about ZIa-ul-Haq or Musharraf, it is about the sensitivity of our internal issues, the knowledge of Democracy without the emergence of a common National Identity could only be used to design some conspiracies or separatist agendas as we have seen that whenever there is a democratic government suddenly we hear about the sindh nationalists, pushtoon nationalists, balouch nationalists and never the less Hazara nationalists…I am telling you that if it was entirely up to the democrats of this country, Karachi would be a separate country, our Northern Province would also become a separate country, the issue of Baluchistan is right in front of us and we all know our Sindhi separatists…

    Zia-Ul-Haq might have many ills but he never talked about breaking Pakistan in to pieces did he? It was Zia that today we have strong defense and our enemies can no longer think about striking our sovereignty…rather they have to choose the way of dialogue…he used the Afghan War as an opportunity just like any wise leader, in order to enhance the defense of Pakistan…did he took anything for himself, any foreign bank accounts or un named properties any?

    Yes people hate Zia because he made the Pakistan Army so strong that none can dare to interfere in the internal matters of Pakistan, He made sure that after Mujeeb there will not be another Mujeeb…Recommend

  • Faisal

    I disagree to this extent that it was NOT ZIA who started using religion as a tool. Bhutto used it first, banning Liquor, Jumma Holiday and steps like these were taken by Bhutto. Yes, Zia took this idea from him and continued using it till 11 years, but it was BHUTTO who start using it first.Recommend

  • http://allaboutmqm.org Shahrukh Azeem

    Yes, Zia ruined us. He was responsible for the Kalashnikov, Drugs and Afghan refugee in Pakistan. His mistakes have led us to socioeconomic disaster.Recommend

  • Moazzam Salim

    @kbr:
    Whenever there is debate on democracy in Pakistan a lot of people forcefully start to profess the benefits of dictatorships. Acknowledged that most of people are the ones who get ‘lucky’ during these periods of lawlessness but others have been brain washed to think that all solutions lie with a dictatorial form of government. Zia not talking about breaking Pakistan means nothing; his actions speak louder than his words. And what to say of the role of military in the East Pakistan? and now in Balochistan? May be you are too convinced about dictators and their so called good deeds but whenever a usurper comes to power the first thing that leaves the system is justice. And it is common knowledge that Zia was a favorite of Bhutto and one wonders what traits of Zia made him dear to a person like Bhutto. Recommend

  • Khald

    The author should research some more.
    Zia apparently killed “innocent Palestinians. These so-called innocents were over running Jordan and starting an insurgency that wanted to overthrow the government, Parallel to anything you can remember? Is our army killing ‘innocent Taliban?’ Don’t be confused by the Palestinian nationality of the Black September terrorists. I’m sure you don’t think the Pakistani Taliban is innocent just because of their national affiliation.Recommend

  • Khurram

    @Mr. Mujeeb you are right our enemy never ever think to attacked on GHQ, MEHRAN, KAMARA, CIACHIN, KARGAL, ABBOTTABAD..:)….. STRONG ARMY ZINDABAD….BLOODY CIVILIAN MURDABAD… Recommend

  • Fahad zia

    To tell you the truth.. Every pakistani ruler, be it a democratic or a dictator, has ruined pakistan in some way or another.. Zia USED religion.. but circumstances were in his favour.. and every Pakistani becomes a FIR’OUN when circumstances are in his FAVOUR, no exception to zia…Recommend

  • TheSensible

    Best definition of democracy was given by the man who gave the vision of Pakistan(Allama Iqbal).

    He Said

    Jamhooriat woh tarz-e-Hukoomat hey keh jismain
    Bandon ko gina karte hain Tola nahi karte

    Gurez Az Tarz-e-Jamhoor Ghulam Pukhta Kaari Sho
    Keh Az Maghaz Do Sad Ghar Aqal-e-Insani Nami Ayad.
    (it is a must to avoid democracy as even two thousand donkeys cant reach the wisdom of a single wise man!)

    Jallah badshahi ho ya jamhori tamasha ho
    Juda hon deen siyasat se, to reh jati hai changhaizeRecommend

  • Sonia

    As usual Mr. Abdul Majeed a poorly researched article! History is not to be played with! Kindly avoid such subjects if you do not have a critical approach towards them or you have a biased mind to begin with! People want to read unbiased blogs- and it would be better if you could give actual facts rather than omit them to prove your point! Recommend

  • kbr

    @ Salim…Dude no one is brainwashed in this country, I talk with the perspective of a Nationalist common citizen of Pakistan. I feel insecure on the streets everyday when I see the political flags and the militant political workers, I feel safe when I see military personnel on the street in comparison, this is true and if you do a referendum in the country you will see that majority of the people feel the same way. My point is that democracy is indeed for the greater good but there are many stages that a state or nation need to go through before stepping into complex process such a democratization. The will of the people in general is what would help us sustain a democratic system. If tomorrow the military takes over you will see yourself that more than half of the population would thank God. The point is that by creating political parties from Bhattas and by taking votes on gun point you can never call yourself a democrat or even if you do then be sure that you will always have contradictions. As this blog gives reference to Lincoln, may I ask if there is any American who would contradict his ideas and his achievements? But if you see the same process in Pakistan, you will see some criminal or feudal, who is very good at pretending to be a philanthropist. We first need to emerge as one Nation and only then we can talk about democracy.

    Our Army is doing what every army in the world does against some militant separatists, does indian media criticize the role of their army against Sikhs? do you even know how many Sikhs were brutally murdered in the aftermath of the Khalistan game? Treason is the biggest crime and there should not be any doubt about that. The indian media hides the stories about its Army’s brutality, the US media also covers up for its Army’s…but here we are criticizing our own Army, without even a single bit of realization that our Army is targetting all the foreign funded insurgents.

    That is the problem that we have yet to emerge as a Nation and understand that Pakistan is our home and quit being in a fool’s paradise where after every 200Km a new country begins…I support Pakistan Army and I know that they are doing there best to ensure the territorial integrity of our country. Recommend

  • http://Birmingham. elementary

    @Sonia:
    It would have been helpful if you could tell us what facts in writer’s Blog are incorrect or distroted.As to opinions ,writer is fully entitled to form his own opinion about these facts of the history and write about it.Recommend

  • gp65

    There are 2 things Zia is accused of:
    1) Bringing religion into public life
    2) Dragging Pakistan into an unnecessary war.

    So I would like to say both these things were started well before Zia and the worst he can be accused of is to accelerate them. Also in the 24 years since his deat, no-one has tried to revrse his legacy.

    Let’s review the first accusation” Bringing religion in public life. It started wtih direct action day in 1946, continued with objective resolution in 1954 and was further reinforced by the law stating that Ahmadis are not Muslim in 1974. All these seminal events happened before Zia came t power.

    As for dragging Pakistan into an unnecessary war – the foundation of entering an unnecessary war on behalf of USA was laid by the SEATO and CENTO pacts. Furtehr Pakistan also initiated a completely unnecessary war with India in 1965 where its people were lied to and told that India was the attacker.

    When the 18th amendment of the constitution was passed with consensus, the modifications to blasphemy la done by Zia, Hudood ordinance, anti Ahmadi laws could all have been reversed. By leaving them in there all the parties in pariament today have provided a seal of approval since this amendment was passed with consensus.

    Instead of blaming an individual, the country needs to introspect about root causes and address them.Recommend

  • Abreez

    In 1206 when we founded a state in Sub-Continent we made a mistake by relying on kings, queens, princes and princesses. Stories of killing of fathers, mothers, sons, daughters, nephews and uncles were common things in our kingdom. But with the arrival of British came a new trend, mass killing by cannons and British interference in our internal matters during war between Aurangzeb and Dara Shikoh when British gave their cannons to Aurangzeb and with his mighty fire power Aurangzeb succeed in Battle of Samugrah. But then Aurangzeb made another mistake by declaring Dara ‘Kafir’ he opened the door of religious fundamentalism, now it was easy for everyone to declare his opponent ‘Kafir’ and killed him and avoid justices.
    In Qur’an Almighty forbade Muslims by calling idols lair because in response Muslims receive the same answer. That was a political tussle and by converting that into a religious one Aurangzeb deprive Muslims of Sub-Continent from everything they had and in 1738 merely after 28 years of Aurangzeb’s death, Nadir Shah faced the weakest army of our history in ‘Kernal’. Nadir Shah killed our 20000 soldiers and sustained loss of 18 of his soldiers and then looted our kingdom, estimate of which is about 70,000,000,000.
    We learnt nothing from our history though we witnessed nearly 200 years of slavery, Zia was a true follower of Aurangzeb and he did the same mistake by hanging Bhutto and made him immortal now Almighty know how much ‘ransom’ Pakistani people have to pay for a true political process in Pakistan.Recommend

  • http://Turkey Zalmai

    @The Sensible

    “Best definition of democracy was given by the man who gave the vision of Pakistan(Allama Iqbal).

    He Said

    Jamhooriat woh tarz-e-Hukoomat hey keh jismain
    Bandon ko gina karte hain Tola nahi karte

    Gurez Az Tarz-e-Jamhoor Ghulam Pukhta Kaari Sho
    Keh Az Maghaz Do Sad Ghar Aqal-e-Insani Nami Ayad.
    (it is a must to avoid democracy as even two thousand donkeys cant reach the wisdom of a single wise man!)

    Jallah badshahi ho ya jamhori tamasha ho
    Juda hon deen siyasat se, to reh jati hai changhaize”

    I think you meant Khar not Ghar, the Farsi/Dari word for donkey. Iqbal was a great mind for his period perhaps his ideas are not so relevant today.

    In defense of Changez, I would like to say this much they (Mongols) knew how to rule and consolidate their power and maybe history has been unfair to them because the vanquished people, mostly Muslims saw him as a threat to their civilization and culture. Had he been a Muslim, Pakistanis would have been the first ones to name a missile after him. Recommend

  • http://solomon2.blogspot.com Solomon2

    “even two thousand donkeys cant reach the wisdom of a single wise man!”

    @TheSensible: Yes, which is why education is so important in a democracy, even more important than material needs and wants. The Pilgrims arrived in America with nothing except their skills, iron tools and muskets, and the agreement among themselves to engage in democratic governance under the eye go God – the Mayflower Compact. They worked not just to better themselves but to make and enforce just laws between themselves. The U.S. is their legacy.Recommend

  • Parvez

    I would partly agree with you. Our country really has not seen any democracy, all we have seen is a system engineered to keep a few thousand people in power and make them very rich, this could be called ‘sham democracy’. Then on the other hand we have seen military rule or as we call it dictatorship. In both cases the people were ignored.Recommend

  • http://xerics.blogspot.com Baba

    And I dearly hope this article is not ‘plagiarized’, or may to keep the things in perspective, WT should republish the article (after removing the plagiarized portions) in whose response this one was written?Recommend

  • Mustafa Moiz

    Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was the one who declared Ahmadis to be non-Muslims, the one who had the law passed that non-Muslims cannot be President or Prime Minister. In 1970, when we had our first, as you say, “proper” elections, it was Bhutto who, upon losing, threatened anyone going to the ceremony in Dhaka with breaking their legs if they dared come back. The seeds of sectarianism were planted during Bhutto’s time, just look at the flag of the PPP. During Zia’s time, he could not have stopped the rise of sectarianism or religious extremism whether or not he had wanted to. And remember, as soon as Shias had a problem with paying Zakat, Zia cancelled the requirement for them. It was Zia who stopped the operation in Balochistan, started during Bhutto’s time. With regards to Black September, the Palestinians were part of an insurgency undermining the country. They were terrorists. And about your quote by Abraham Lincoln, he also suspended the Constitution and was a dictator in the 1860s.Recommend

  • Iqbal

    @kbr
    “Yes people hate Zia because he made the Pakistan Army so strong that none can dare to interfere in the internal matters of Pakistan, He made sure that after Mujeeb there will not be another Mujeeb…”

    The Soviet Union had a huge army and thousands of atomic bombs but that did not stop it from collapsing. The Army will not stop the collapse of Pakistan. Recommend

  • Arijit Sharma

    @TheSensible: ” … it is a must to avoid democracy as even two thousand donkeys cant reach the wisdom of a single wise man! … ”

    This is sad – the philosopher of your nation had such a low opinion about his own people. Recommend

  • Zalim Singh

    confusing article.Recommend

  • Virkaul

    @kbr:
    You seem to belong to the armed forces, who thinks everything can be resolved with force. Like Asma Jehangir says, these generals can do only so much as they are capable of. More force you apply, faster the provinces will break.Recommend

  • Virkaul

    @TheSensible:
    What if that supposedly single wise man turns out to be a donkey (which usually happens)? Collective wisdom is always superior. Of course leadership with a vision is a must which Pakistan was always deprived of.Recommend

  • kbr

    before talking about democratization we first have to tread hard on all the rebellious within our country…after all the disturbers are eliminated the democratic system then can be fruitful, otherwise these politicians have kept the whole country hostage and are blackmailing the public..like Ghayas uddin Balban we also need a leader to firstly resolve internal issue and then think about administering internal and foreign issueRecommend

  • kbr

    dude thats not cool, all comments from indians pass through moderation but my comment was not publishedRecommend

  • gp65

    @kbr: “before talking about democratization we first have to tread hard on all the rebellious within our country…after all the disturbers are eliminated:
    It is your military that started an unnecessary war in 1965. It is your military under whose watch the country got partitioned in 1970. It is your military under whose watch the Kalashnikov and drug culture took root in Pakistan. It is your military that humiliated your country once again with its Kargill attack. And if today everyone regrets being lackeys to US, guess who put your country in the US lap with SEATO and CENTO? Yep the same military.Recommend

  • liberalss

    Don’t diss democracy if the only alternative you can offer is Sharia Law. Recommend

  • kbr

    @gp65: Signing SEATO and CENTO were the only options through which a weak country like Pakistan could stand up to its feet and compete against a 10 times bigger country like India…people like Nehru and Azaad had already predicted that this state can not stand on its feet without a sound economical boost which was impossible..our goal was to sustain the creation of our separate homeland and to ensure its long life…which politicians of the early Pakistan failed to do…the partnership with US was far more beneficial than SU and today if people like you are free to criticize their own army then it is just because of the right decisions at the right time taken by the Dictators…or dictators removed all forms of inferiority that Pakistan had at the time of its creation in comparison with India…who initiated the Kashmir War? 1965 or 1970 or present the fact of the matter is that Pakistan is a reality and it will always be because of people like Zia and MusharrafRecommend

  • Fed Up!

    Dear writer,

    Did General Zia steal your chickens?Recommend

  • Sindh Voice

    Bhutto was real leader and brave man to unbelieveable degree, world realized it.
    Shahbaz Sharif tries to adopt same features but failsRecommend

  • baba Ji

    Mard i momin … Mard i haq … Zia ul Haq Zia ul Haq !!!!!

    see his funeral procession … you will come to know about his popularity in our Qoum !!!!

    there will be support for ANY type of leader in Pakistan !!!! Recommend

  • Fed Up!

    @Sindh Voice:
    Bhutto was real leader and brave man to unbelieveable degree, world realized it.
    Shahbaz Sharif tries to adopt same features but fails

    Sir…..Bhutto didn’t divide the nation, he “TORE IT APART”.Recommend

  • http://India Feroz

    Zia did not destroy Pakistan, the ideology of Pakistan destroyed it. Did Zia pass the Objectives Resolution, did he make Ahmadi’s into kafirs ? He simply sold the country to the US and Saudi Arabia for money and ideology, using his citizens as cannon fodder. Did others following him by stepping into his shoes not exercise their free choice. If Zia was so bad why were those associated with him not prosecuted – the TRUTH is bitter but the reality is that the majority cheered and agreed with his every move like the Nazis did for Hitler.
    Citizens must stop blaming others whether within or outside and must take responsibility for their own actions and how it has contributed to their countries welfare. Recommend

  • mr. righty rightist

    “Zia came to power with the promise of holding ‘free and fair’ elections within 90 days of takeover.”

    Does this remind Pakistanis of another promise in the recent days?Recommend

  • http://peddarowdy.wordpress.com/ Anoop

    I refer to the Article from Aakar Patel when he talks about Zia.

    Zia gave Pakistan exactly what Pakistan wanted. If it was not what Pakistan wanted it would have been removed by now. Blasphemy law exists because people want it. There will be riots against the state if it tries to remove it. You know this!

    Can the people want something and at the same time could it be very bad for them? Of course!

    Jinnah too used Islam, so did all his predecessors. Bhutto, Zia, Sharif, BB.. You name them.

    Jinnah for instance called for Direct Action day during Ramzan. Take the violence part and the Islamic symbolism and hold it against the situation in Pakistan today, you will see History repeating itself.

    Its quite possible for majority to be wrong. Germans were wrong when they allowed Hitler to amass power. So, its not unprecedented in Human history.

    Hate begets hate. Recommend

  • Sharjeel

    I guess democracy is a rule by the elected masses but we in these 65 years couldn’t develop ourselves on productive grounds. Institutions were ruined by those who them self created those institutions. The rule of law is what it takes to become a civilized nation. In these whole 65 years we haven’t nurtured ourselves even on the grass root level. Bhutto, Zia and their predecessors and even those who commanded the reins afterwards never tried to make RULE OF LAW the foremost thing. How can one make a crystal clear statement as to who used what tactics to ruin this country? I guess we should not be biased in the first place in making such statements when history has already prove this fact that we were feeded altogether the so called REALITIES that our favored rulers flashed on media.Recommend

  • DAUD MUNAWAR

    Zia made army strong and ‘beghairat”. This led to very weak Pakistan. Religious warfare started in 1949 after objectivity resolution. JAMAT iSLAMI was always in the fore front till GENERAL AZAM took care of them. Bhutto was intelligent but proved to be “siana kaaun”. He is the biggest culprit to break the PAKISTAN. Everybody is dressless in this ‘Hamam”
    ” SHREEK-E-JURUM NA HOTE TO MUKHBARI KARTE” Recommend

  • Awan

    Your birth was a mistake, make no mistake!Recommend

  • http://www.facebook.com/TheViewThroughJagansLookingGlasses?ref=hl Jag Nathan

    @kbr:

    “Yes people hate Zia because he made the Pakistan Army so strong that none can dare to interfere in the internal matters of Pakistan”

    KBR, perhaps you are walking around with blinders on. Zia’s policies and that of those who succeeded him have made Pakistan the stomping ground for just about anyone you can name. The Americans with their CIA, Blackwater, and their Drones are having a field day. They even mounted an operation to pick up Bin Laden, 500 yards away from your top military school. The Indians, the Afghans, the Saudis, Chinese, Iranians, you name it they are all there and are having a direct impact on your lives. As a result of all these folks stomping on your soil, life in your cities is pretty much now unlivable. Your economy has pretty much tanked and your people have no future at this rate. Wake up buddy. Recommend

  • Rahim

    100% Agreed!!! All the crap going on in our beloved country right now, some how linked to Zia’s era. I remember we were forced to study Amli Riyazi, Hayatiyat and Kemiya becuase Zia nationalized private schools and changed the medium of Education to Urdu.
    Afghan Refugees were taken to Pakistan and they played vital role, resulting in poor economy, free inflow of illegal arms and drugs. Remember his famous term “Afghan Bratharan”…. Although Afghans or the Afghanistan never did any good to Pakistan.
    In my opinion Zia’s era was the darkest period in the history of Pakistan.Recommend

  • Raj Kafir

    Zia started TALEEM-I-BALGA on PTV, I learned Urdu because of Zia. Recommend

  • Ali88

    We ruined Pakistan. Stop blaming others.Recommend

  • Sonia

    hey ALL INDIANS OUT HERE why dont you learn!!!!!!!!!!

    If all Pakistanis used was religion for separating and forming laws and what not- you for ONCE can do the same in YOUR country and gain AN ADVANTAGE- after all Muslims are a bad lot as per the world ratings- you can ACTUALLY prove to the world and the US that you guys are worthy allies and an awesome lot! Y DON’T YOU ACTUALLY USE YOUR RELIGION TO GAIN AN ADVANTAGE OVER YOUR PEOPLE???? YOUR NATION? Maybe you need to do a bit more research and thinking on this one!

    It worked for us- we do have an advantage as Muslims controlling our own population- we got a separate country Alhamdulillah- tore India into two Alhamdulillah- and now are a sovereign state with an Army- we do have Freedom of speech and action in our own country and any rots are controlled by our own parties- only our own people can survive/die in our cities! and all most of the time people just dream of getting back this land.

    I read a book by an Indian writer a few days back. It said something like “India is a strong country with weak people, while Pakistan is a weak country with strong people.” :)Recommend

  • Paki Existentialist

    @Anoop
    100 percent agreed. Great analysis. My Pakistani folks are so obsessed with religion that they are deluded and have a tilted angle of vision. They always look for scape-goats and self denial.what’s more conspiracy theories like Jews planning to destroy them.and now they blame Zia.He only gave them a taste of their own medicine and they are screaming.Zia befooled them.Alright.But it was not possible for Zia to do so if he were a dictator of Turkey.Because people out there are not that obsessed with religious zeal and majority are secularists. Zia was bad then why they have not abolished draconian laws that he gave them. Because they are very much consistent with real Shariah. So the monster lies with in them i.e the religion which is so violent and idealogy of this country that demands stubborn and fanatical adherence to the religion. But ironically we do cry and scream aloud because ‘after all it hurts’.
    P.S. But my Indian neighbours it is wrong only to label my country as religious fundamentalism land. I just studied Gujrat riots and then followed up 2006 public comments published by a reputable online.A great majority of Hindus were commenting that ‘why no one is raising for 58 innocent Hindus killed by the Muslims (and why everyone is sympathising with Muslims because they deserved that retaliation somehow)? Pakistan is just scoring more on this extremism chart but your India is not absent or lagging behind. Because on such blogs I find you people always criticizing us but religious fanaticism is a curse for both of our countries in reality. It is a shared problem sir.Recommend

  • Eye

    @Sonia
    Its strong countries with “weak” people that survive the test of time. Not “strong” people with a weak country. There is a reason why the ever-bowing Chinese have always remained among the world greatest nations through their history while the hardy mongols remain a backwater despite the conquerors they have spawned thought their historyRecommend

  • Paki Existentialist

    @Moderators
    come on why not allow my comments.because I agreed with Indians on finding fault within our society. Otherwise I totally remained within the SOP’s of this blog.this is not how you claim ‘ET allows free speech’.Recommend

  • kbr

    @Jag Nathan: buddy if Pakistan was really as you have described then indian foreign minister would never consider visiting Pakistan…. Pakistan exerts an existential deterrence upon all the ill designs of india in South Asia which is why a so-called great nation like india cannot succeed in spreading its influence in the region (let alone the world), We are proud that we have a seperate identity and we are not referred as indis..secondly US is our strategic ally and apart from all the bad that our media advertises, US has also done a lot of good for our country such as providing us the strength that in the history now india will never be what it used to be, there will always be Pakistan and India and not just india, for which we should be thankful to or Army and US .Recommend

  • Sonia

    @Eye:

    Maybe you should try telling that to your honorable writers- politicians and experts! they might be needing that advice and insight more than me!Recommend

  • Sonia

    @elementary:
    Kindly read my comment. I never said anything about OPINIONS- of course the writer owns them. I said FACTS only!

    Half-facts to prove one’s opinions are harmful and undetectable in writing. The writer says

    ” Even though Zia professed his love for Islam, he was involved in the massacre of innocent Palestinians during the Black September Tragedy of 1970, while he was serving in Jordan.”

    Why not tell the whole story here and not just get sympathies for Palestinians.

    “In 1984, University Grants Commission instructed the textbook boards to prepare books which showed that ‘Pakistan was not formed on basis on race,language or geography but based on a common religious experience’.”

    Do Jinnah papers deny this fact also- the two Nation Theory- Zia just laid it out constitutionally- is that a fact to contend and not tell in your books?Recommend

  • Sonia

    @Eye:
    Why don’t you try telling that to Indian writers Mr.Eye! Maybe they can use your advice!Recommend

  • http://Bangalore Anoop

    @Paki Existentialist:

    Exactly. Religion is the opium of the masses. Some types of Opium are stronger and more addictive than others.

    Hindu nationalism was more a threat during the 1940s which arose as a response to Political Islam. Recommend

  • http://www.blogger.com/profile/11375793199898765321 pakistani1414918

    The worst is what everyone misses. Zia, like Bhutto tried to abolish birth control. Had birth control still been in place, today we’d have much less problems with fewer people. Today we’d probably e just over 1000 million instead of almost 190 million.

    Pakistan desperately needs population decline. Recommend

  • abhi

    “existential deterrence” what does it mean?Recommend

  • gp65

    @Sonia: “I read a book by an Indian writer a few days back. It said something like “India is a strong country with weak people, while Pakistan is a weak country with strong people”

    Let us assume this is true. So which is better in your opinion – a country that leverages its diversity and hence is greater than sum of its parts (weak people but strong country) or a country that is busy creating differences even within the 97% Muslims so that the country s weak despite having strong people. I know which one I prefer.Recommend

  • gp65

    @TheSensible: ” … it is a must to avoid democracy as even two thousand donkeys cant reach the wisdom of a single wise man!

    And so if democracy is to be avoided, how exactly must one go about selecting the ‘wise man’? Or is the theory that the guy who can seize power should be able to certify himself as wise?

    Moreover Iqbal was a great poet. What qualifies him as an able political scientist that he is always quoted in matters of governance?

    @abhi: I think when kbr used the term he was hoping no one would notice it was just mumbo jumbo.Recommend

  • kbr

    @gp65 @abi: basically I forgot that the people commenting here do not even understand the basics of international politics…anyway existential deterrence means simply that the very existence of Pakistan is a big hurdle in India’s attempt of becoming “bara bhai” in the region, no matter how much unstable Pakistan is but its very existence is enough to deter India at various levels..Recommend

  • Antanu G

    @kbr:
    Pakistan acting as a deterrence to India’s influence ard south Asia?? Good joke.. Well this type of inflated pride will take your country to the drain..Any idea about where your country stand viz-a-viz Bangladesh??

    Let alone south Asia, India’s influence reaches all over south east Asia..I’ve travelled widely to these countries and I know..Recommend

  • kbr

    @kbr: dude your journeys in south asia will always end at this very blog…don’t you guyz have anything better to do?? why do u care so much abt Pakistan…get over this Pak phobiaRecommend

  • http://www.tarpley.net Moise

    Love America, beg from America for food and money. Zia was installed by America but hey America make mistake, few dollars can wash their sins.Recommend

  • Sonia

    @gp65:
    Oh u need not do me a favour by ASSUMING it. I can reference it for you unless you have grudges against Indian Muslim writers as well.

    M.J. Akbar, Tinderbox. The Introduction by the author- check the last three paragraphs- the exact words are different but they render the same meaning. I guess they go something like “the India stronger than the Indian, the Pakistan weaker than the Pakistani……..”

    Can you see the flaw of your own statement? Weak people (being totally logical here) can be only subjugated or walked over by their own governments- the shining example is the level of corruption in India. If you guys were actually leveraging potential you would not have this going on.

    Phooey- why do you have to drag in religion when you donot understand what and how it is? The differentiations among Muslims have been formed over time and to everyone their religion- I don’t think Muslims poke their noses in Hinduism and its branches- the people of different sects do intermarry, work together, attend each others occasions, wish each other on their auspicious days- so its really not as harrowing as you put it!!! Don’t know what you have been reading!

    Lastly, READ Iqbal’s poetry- maybe you will not need to ask questions!Recommend

  • Raja Islam

    @Moazzam Salim:
    It was Zia who supported the Islamists and at the same time the separationists. Jeeay Sindh leadership was supported by Zia and he helped create, train, arm and fund the MQM.Recommend

  • Raja Islam

    @kbr:
    While I agree with your contention that political parties are being built on the basis of bhatta collected through extortion, the army is no different. They are the ones who created and supported these bhatta taking groups in the first place.Recommend

  • Arjun

    @gp65: Good reply but I doubt Sonia will get it through her metal shield covering her brain full of religious thoughts!!!!!!!!!!Recommend

  • http://ExpressTribune shaukat ali chughtai

    You may agree or disagree but the solution lies in educating masses and bringing abrupt changes in our syllabus and mass trainging of teachers. To develop a new Pakistan, a new Social Order has to be developed to make country a real secular country. Believe secular does not mean atheism, it believes in respecting others belief systems and other religions. that is in scriptures. Democracy is not going to ballot box and vote and much more than that. It is to respect human beings, and provide dignity to humans everywhere. Peoples strength is democracy and we must make our people strong. And the other important things which we all accept the Population Explosion…..look at the demography….16-32 years age more than sixty percent. We did not provide them any technical training, no vocational training. They will be looking for jobs, as drivers, chaukidars etc. Should we all agree to develop a IMRANI MOHEIDA
    and reestablish Pakistan to be compartible in the world.Recommend

  • Sonia

    @Arjun:

    Wow here come a progressive talker proving his metal and the diversity leveraging gp65 was talking about i guess- u sure are diverse- diverse way of abbreviated writing- could have done better with a better answer than patting someone’s back! Ewww!Recommend

  • Sonia

    @shaukat ali chughtai:
    Don’t call it “secular” if you do not mean it- call it simply tolerant. Tolerant country. Btw what is IMRANI MOHEIDA? Seriously. Elaborate more please.Recommend

  • Waft

    @baba Ji:
    Sure, but then look at our qoum and the other poor choices they have made. Recommend

  • Waft

    @Sonia:
    Well some of the Indians here have valid arguments. I’d rather learn from them since they seem to be doing a better job than us. You have almost no rational point in your argument. It’s all defensiveness and sounds slightly hysterical. Recommend