Zia Establishes Martial Law in Pakistan (Great Events from History II: Human Rights Series)
Article abstract: Martial law in Pakistan set the framework for serious abuses of the rights of citizens and political detainees, creating international outrage.
Summary of Event
On July 5, 1977, General Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq, chief of staff of the Pakistani army, deposed the civilian government of Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in a military coup and established martial law throughout Pakistan, declaring himself president and chief martial law administrator. Under martial law, fundamental human rights as specified in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other internationally recognized agreements were violated frequently. These abuses were widely publicized, especially by Amnesty International and by the Human Rights Society of Pakistan. The report of this latter Pakistani society on the condition and treatment of political detainees played a major role in strengthening indigenous groups which took a stand against the abuses of Zia’s regime. Opposition was particularly intense concerning Zia’s desire to establish a new political system “true to Islamic principles.” Zia’s efforts at Islamization were intended not only to reduce alien influence but also to liquidate the sophisticated, cosmopolitan elite that had dominated Pakistan since its beginning. A disproportionate number of political detainees whose rights were abrogated were members of this elite.
General Zia suspended the...
(The entire section is 1799 words.)
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