Statement by Quaid-e-Awam during his Imprisonment
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Yes, Whoever fulfils his promise and guards (against evil). Then surely God loves those who sell the faith they owe to God and their own plighted words for a small price. These are they who shall have no portion in the hereafter and (God) will not speak to them nor will He look upon them on the Day of Resurrection, nor will He purify them, and they shall have a painful chastisement. And most surely (there is) a party of them who distort the Book with their tongues.

I have been branded as the “Modern Machiavelli”. But what about the “Modern Mcbeth” who, fearful of retribution, has embarked relentlessly on a bloody and sinful road of no return. My time in jail will pass. The verdict of history is irreversible.

Martial Law is a self-consuming system. It is injurious to the people. It erodes national unity and creates more problems than it pretends to solve. Why should the people face bullets if there is no cause to fire bullets at them? Masses struggle for a cause, and make sacrifices for it provided it is a worthy cause.

Martial Law does not have a mandate nor a charter. It is not the voice of the people. It is the noise of a gun. This systemless system, this lawless law does not stand on a rational structure.

Martial Law is a self-defeating exercise. It generates the conditions it seeks to confront. It germinates the virus it seeks to kill. This is the paradox of Martial Law. It is a Frenkenstein’s monster. It is not a care but a curse.

Martial Law opens the flood gates, this kind of ‘Law’ re-opens settled problems than it pretends to resolve. It fosters regionalism and society gets stagnated and its victims dehumanized. These are the foot prints of Martial Law. Where then is the necessity for its visitation, when its application leads to a wasteland?

An accountable corrosive machinery is generally an anti-people oriented machinery. Being an enemy of the people, it is ultimately its own enemy. It sows the seeds of its own destruction. This is the fundamental purpose of Martial Law. It destroy itself and the people with it.

Silence of the people does not mean their acquiescence. The mirage of ‘effectual law’ will not stand the strain of a people cheated of their rights. Did millions die to live in terror, did they die to be flogged and lashed?

If peaceful conditions are to prevail again in this tragic land, the scour age of Martial Law will have to be lifted without any further delay. The longer it lasts the deeper will we sink into the quagmire.

On fifth July, General Zia made a categorical statement to the nation that elections would be held in 90 days. He kept a on repeating this pledge with great gusto. Two days before he abruptly postponed the election, Agha Shahi told the United nations General Assembly in unequivocal terms that General Zia was determine to held elections. I used to hear a great deal about credibility. Where does credibility stand at this moment?

While giving reasons for the imposition of Martial Law he had clearly stated: “ I saw no prospects of a compromise between the Pakistan Peoples Party and the Pakistan National Alliance because of their mutual distrust and lack of faith. They Army had, therefore, to act as a result of which Mr. Bhutto has ceased to exist; Martial Law has been imposed throughout the country”.


His first explanation was that he imposed his arbitrary rules on Pakistan because he had come to conclusion that an agreement between P P P Government and PNA was not possible.

His second explanation was the so-called ‘rigging of elections’.

His third explanation was the so-called specter of ‘Civil War’ looming on the horizon of Pakistan.

His fourth explanation was that my Government wanted to create chaos and strife.

His fifth explanation was that the he had destroyed the Constitution to save the Constitution.

His sixth explanation was to take accountability.

His seventh that I was going to remove him from his position as the Army Chief.

Indeed in the written statement he has invited his eighth explanation. This latest of all excuses relates to salvaging the economy by giving the Big Business a renewed lease of lift to plunder the country.

The question of questions is whether these declared and repeated purposes of Martial Law are the real purposes of Martial Law. The word of leader in his fortune. In the last six months so many pledges have been shattered to pieces, that the Chief Martial Law Administrator now deems it necessary to tell a group of American Journalists that he is prepared to give them in writing that he does not want to be a politician. The people of Pakistan no longer believe his promises but I did not know that even foreigners had begun to disbelieve his word.

I summoned one of the Chiefs of Staff, to the Prime Minister’s House on the morning of the 27th April, 1977 for a discussion on the situation obtaining in the country. I touched upon the massive foreign interference in the internal affairs of the country and told the gentlemen that I was going to take the Nation into confidence on the foreign efforts to de-stabilize the situation in Pakistan. It was in this context, that the idea emerged that joint statement by the Chairman, of joint Chiefs of Staff and the three Chiefs of Staff , in support of the Government would have a salutary effect if it coincided with my disclosure in the National Assembly.

The Chief of Staff with whom this discussion took place returned to see me again after a couple of hours with the signed statement in his hand. I read the text for the first time when he delivered it to me. I vividly recall his telling me that he made the draft statement stronger on the words relating to the support to the legal Government. Now I can understand why he was so anxious to demonstrate this extra does of loyalty. Since he was thickly involved in the foreign plot, he wanted to conceal his involvement by a conspicuous demonstration of loyalty.

General Zia welcomed the opportunity to make a show of his support to derail any data that might have come within my knowledge about the secret arrangement between him and a former Ambassador made about ten days earlier in Rawalpindi between the two of them while I was in Lahore. The arrangement was celebrated in the form of grand reception he gave to former Ambassador in the garb of a farewell party. Although he is a ‘Momin’ wine flowed freely that evening.

Force, naked and brute, moody and mad cannot be made the sole criterion of our honour and our respect. For thirty years we have gone from crisis and each crisis is deeper than the previous one. At last in 1973, this Nation evolved a democratic Constitution. This constitution cemented the Federation. It gave birth to new institutions and safeguarded the pre-existing ones. We began to move.

When there is no sense of Participation in the affairs of the Government by the people, there is lawless law of Martial Law, when atrocities are committed and the aspirations of the people, which is the basis for them to live together as a Nation, are undermined, then there is bound to be resistance by the people to the will of an individual leading to parting of ways.

The Pakistan Peoples Party is the premier Party of Pakistan. It has many able and gifted men and women in its rank. Many of them are eminent in their professions. Should they be debarred from any appointment on merit for being members of the Pakistan Peoples Party? I appointed a Chief of Army Staff belonging to Jamat-Islami and the result is before all of us.

Actually, General Zia has not the slightest intention of holding free and fair elections. He does not want to transfer power to the peoples chosen leaders. He wants to perpetuate his illegal usurpation. He has for the time being postponed elections for about a year to consolidate his power base. He knows that in about a year’s time the epoch making event for which I have been striving to attain since 1964 is likely to take place.

General Zia is to eliminate me and my Party leadership and even the Party itself from the National scene, to have candidates of his own choice and finally not to have elections at all on the pretext of accountability invented by his in September, 1977 after he had seen the writing on the wall that the people of Pakistan were determined to return the PPP to Power.

He wants to bring about democratic institutions by his tailored methods of dictation and selection with supreme indifference to the will and opinion of the people. He does not expect to be taken seriously by the Nation when he pleads his bonafides in the matter of his vacillating stands on crucial matters.

It is no business of the Chief of Army Staff to select candidates for the electorate according to his standard methods of accountability in a subjective approach. It is for the Courts of the country under the Laws in force to look into such matters.

General Zia, by abruptly postponing the election, has put in jeopardy the national will and the national unity, Why did he imperial National interest and solidarity by taking such a disastrous decision? Why did he have to belittle Pakistan in the eyes of the world and belittle himself in the eyes of people of Pakistan?

He took this perilous step because he saw that, despite the incarceration of the PPP leadership and other measures taken against this premier party of the people, the elections were going to result in a massive victory for the PPP.

The fear of the landslide victory of the Pakistan Peoples Party has become such a morbid obsession with the junta that the Chief Martial Law Administrator virtually stated in Sibi on 23rd February 1978 that he would hold elections only when he was certain that my Party did not win the elections. This means no elections because my Party will win the elections whenever held.

The limited and immediate question (presently before the Supreme Court) is whether the Martial Law of General Zia can over-ride the Constitution of 1973 but the deeper and more fundamental question before this Hon’ble court is whether the Federation of Pakistan can survive without the Constitution of 1973.

If General Zia had known the elementary importance of the Constitution or had any regard for his oath to uphold it, he would not have called it a twelve page document which can be torn into pieces. I agree he is not an expert on Constitutional Law. He is not an expert on Political Science either. He knows nothing about economics. He is incapable of holding an intelligent Press Conference. Yet he, unanswerable to anyone, holds the life and destiny of seventy five million people of Pakistan in his hands.

The only way to restore legitimacy and save Pakistan is roundly reject his action of 5th July, 1977. Any attempt to justify that action will not take us back Dosso but to Doom.

General Zia’s violation of the Constitution, his broken promises on elections, his grave injustices to the undisputed leadership of the country, his blind hatred for certain individuals and his deep prejudices against progressive ideas, his over-simplification of complicated issues his diatribes to foreign journalists have caused greater frustration and anxiety among the people of this country.

The Quaid-e-Azam believed in elections, General Zia, after solemnly promise to hold impartial election within 90 days and after confirming that declaration in United Nations on 28th September 1977 postponed the elections indefinite on the 1st of October, 1977 without any rhyme or any reason.

The Quaid-e-Azam believed in Constitutional democracy. The Quaid-e-Azam had stated very clearly that it was the duty of the Armed Forces to obey and uphold the letter and the spirit of the Constitution. General Zia does not need to be reminded of these utterances of the Quaid-e-Azam because when he drove with me from the Air Force base to my residence in Karachi in the beginning of July, the General Zia himself mentioned to me that the Quaid-e-Azam had uttered those word whilst addressing the Armed Forces in Quetta or Risalpur.

The Quaid-e-Azam believed in democracy and in the leadership of the people representatives. The General Zia set aside democracy and jailed the leadership of the people. For the first time in the history of Pakistan the elected Prime Minister of the Country has been given the most brutal and unjust treatment. General Zia should know that the repercussions of his policies are going to be of a far reaching nature on the issue of the unity and integrity of Pakistan.

If the Quaid-e-Azam is the ideal, if the Nation of Pakistan is to be modelled on his thoughts, in that event we need to show a modicum of respect for those thoughts in the building of Pakistan. The position of General Zia is diametrically opposed to the thoughts of the Quaid-e-Azam on every essential issue dealing with the State, The Quaid-e-Azam was a staunch proponent of Constitutional Government and Rule of Law. In contrast, General Zia has savegly violate the Constitution of 1973 and imposed an arbitrary one man rule to administer Pakistan.

The Quaid-e-Azam believed firmly in the parliamentary system of Government and in provincial autonomy which was enshrined in the 1973 Constitution, but General Zia is showing great enthusiasm and zeal for presidential system. Let General Zia know that he is going against the wisdom of the Father of the Nation on such vital political issues, on trying to raise the issues settled and determined by the Constitution of 1973 and he will be solely responsible for the deluge.

The people are silent but their silence should not be misunderstood. They have not acquiesced to usurpation. To say that they have acquiesced is an insult to their dignity and self-respect. The people are watching the situation with mute anger. A look into the eyes of the working classes will tell the state of their mind. None of them are happy over the present state of affairs. There is a tear in every eye.

The people want this night of terror to be put to an end. This is their wish, this is their prayer and this will be their verdict.

I have the privilege of being the leader of a revolutionary Party. We have faced two military dictators before. One was Ayub Khan and the other was Yahya Khan. We are not afraid of facing General Zia. The more force is used to suppress the People, the more will the People rise. This is verdict of history.

Every Government’s days are numbered. Neither Cessor nor Napoleon ruled for a millennium. Hitler spoke of the thousand year Reich, but he crumbled in the ashes of the Reich within a decade. General Zia’s illegal aspiration is not going to last until eternity.

Each individual has his own destiny, We cannot be intimidated by the noise of gunfire.

Charles Napier was a foreign conqueror and yet he told the leaders of Sind after the battle of Minani in 1843, that he would give honour to those to whom honour was due notwithstanding the fact that they had fought a battle a day earlier. We know the honour in which the People hold us. We also know the ‘honour’ General Zia shown us since our incarceration on the 3rd of September, 1977.

In three months the Chairman has been arrested on three different occasions. The illegal arrest on 3rd September at Karachi was made in the most insulting and humiliating manner. At one stage General Zia stated that the courts were open and that he could not interfere in criminal and civil litigation in the ordinary Courts and that his regime would not take any action under Martial Law or otherwise but later he declared that the PPP Chairman and his associates would be tried by Military Courts when they were arrested under Martial Law Order 12, on 17th September. General Zia stated that the trial would initially take place in ordinary court but the military trials will be kept in reserve.

When General Zia postponed elections on 1st October, he was gracious enough to change his mind once more. This time he said that the trials will he held only in the ordinary courts. Originally, when the elections were to be held on 18th October, he was most anxious to get the Chairman PPP out of the way before 18th October and for that reason he ordered his trial and the trial of his associate by Military Courts.

Conditions give rise to violence. If the soil is not fit for the seeds of violence to grow, no amount of preaching will give rise to violence. If, on the other hand, the soil is fertile for violence, preaching is not needed. Martial Law is creating conditions for violence and it alone will be responsible if one fine day violence erupts in the country. By closing all avenues of normal and legal redress, Martial Law is fostering the advent of violence.

General Zia is desperately fighting a losing battle against his own Nation. The people of this Ideological state shall never permit a usurper to impose his will over the will of the people or permit him to nullify the ideals, aspirations and expectations to be achieved by them through their duty elected and chosen representatives.

Chiefs of Staff, good or bad, loyal or treacherous will come and go, but the institution of the Armed Forces is permanent. Hence, the CMLA should not try to make his person synonymous with the Armed Forces. He should not inject his wrongs and his crimes on the Armed Forces.

General Zia should neither drag in the other officers of the Armed Forces nor the institution of the Armed Forces. In this odyssey he is the lone warrior. In his speech on July 5th, 1977, he assumed full and sole responsibility for his illegal action. He said ‘the process of change-over has been accomplished smoothly and peacefully. All this action was executed on my orders’.

The duty of the Army is to protect the country and its integrity from external aggression or internal disintegration when called upon to do so by the Government.

Independent Judiciary can only function under the umbrella of the Constitution and not under the shadow of the gun of brown Duke of Wellington. An independent judiciary exists side by side with an execution chosen by the people and a legislature elected by them. But the people executive is in jail. The assemblies at Islamabad, Lahore, Peshawar, Quetta and Karachi, have become as silent as the grave yards. Can one flower flourish in a garden turned into a desert?

The country has been put into the dark ages by Martial Law. A Law if you want to call it so-based on the mood of an individual. On the strength of lashes and on the shoulders of brute force can never be a bridge. A bridge is built on understandings on the basis of co-operation of team and according to an agreed plan. It is a bond among people.

Wali Khan has been given all the liberty and blessings to abuse me while I am silenced in jail. It is a matter of record that he praised all previous usurpers who imposed Martial Laws. They discarded him then they discovered him. He did not discard them. His honeymoon with this Martial Law is the longest only because this Martial Law is playing to his tune. In each one of those tapes the Judges of the Supreme Court of Pakistan heard and all the other who attended the open Court proceedings heard Wali Khan shouting at the top of his voice that he would lift the chains of the border from TorKham and bring them to Marghala and from Chaman to Jacobabad? that he would then be enjoying the grapes and water-melons of Pakhtonistan and Afghanistan.

The top leadership of my Party is behind bars under Martial Law orders. Warnings have been administered to my wife for making lawful political speeches. My young daughter was served with orders to remain confined to a house in Sahiwal on the 22nd of September, 1977. None of us have been spread from the talons of his Martial Law.

General Zia has turned his personal bitterness towards me into a frightful bitterness towards the people of Pakistan by denying them the right to choose their leaders through democratic means. In his blind hatred and obsession towards me, he is turning his personal vendetta against me into a vendetta against Pakistan. In short he is suffering from ‘Bhutto Phobia’.

Unfortunately, General Zia does not have any conception of the power of reason. His thoughts and actions, his pronouncements and decisions are intrinsically inimical to rationalism. A man can fall from power, but when a man falls in the estimation of his people by deceiving them by making false promises to them, by treating them with contempt, there can be no greater fall.

General Zia has not been able to conceal his obscurantist and mediaeval views in the course of three short months. His opposition and anger towards me stems Partly if not chiefly from a conflict of views. He represents mediaeval thoughts. I represent progressive, contemporary thought.

Napoleon said that “Armies march on their stomachs”. How can the security of the State be upheld by starving masses?

In the field of politics there is a void. In Foreign Affairs, the glow and glitter are gone.

In my time we held the Islamic Summit Conference. Now we hold our breath in joy if the President of Somali makes an overnight stop in Pakistan. In my time I took the Indians for a walk. Now the Indians have taken you for a dance.

You have even messed up the projection of our sacred religion, so much so, that sectarian slaughter has been fun with frightful vengeance. When you talk about the security of Pakistan, please let us know whether you want to make Pakistan into a Granada or a Karballa?

I believe in the emancipation of women, you want to cover them in darkness. I abolished the Sardari system but you are revising it by holding a “Shahi Darbar” in Sibi. I believe in the East you believe in the Commonwealth.

I give Constitutional rule and the rule of Law to Pakistan. General Zia give Martial Law to Pakistan. I gave fundamental rights to the citizen of Pakistan. He gave lashes to the citizen of Pakistan. I ensure the independence of the judiciary. He set up Military Courts and Military Tribunals which awarded rigorous imprisonments and punitive fines before and individual has had time to blink.

I believe in nationalization. You believe in de-nationalization. I believe in technology. You believe in hypocracy, I believe in the Constitution. You believe that the Constitution is a piece of paper. I believe that the Mullah belongs to the Mosque and you want the Mullah to be the Master of Pakistan.

We are a poles apart and I am grateful to God Almighty for it. You do not even represent the stinking past, I represent the full glow of the future.

Of course, I am unarmed. I am not a General with tanks are artillery at my command but I am not a coward. God forbid, if the masses have to face bullets, I would be honoured to be the first one to be hit by them., I am totally identified with the people. I will face what they face. I am facing what they are facing.

I believe I the muscle of the People as a whole. Day by day that muscle is getting harder. One of these fine mornings, the first of seventy million people with a bulging muscle is going to hit with full force. A tank has still to be devised, an Armoured Crops has still to be formed which can bear the brunt of that punch.

The People of Pakistan WILL NEVER BELIEVE YOU. They can never trust you, The Collaborators will let you down. The People of Pakistan will never let me down. I have served all of them faithfully in every part of the Country.

The whole country is in the grip of tension. The people are tense and troubled. This critical situation has developed not because I am outside jail but because I am inside jail. A bayonet cannot be put behind every back. An unnatural state of affairs is aggravating in the situation.

Let the Chief Martial Law Administrator take of the funny-looking belt he puts across his chest and contest an election any-where in Pakistan not against me but against my daughter Benazir. I can guarantee that she will give him such crushing defeat that he would forfeit his security deposit.




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