KARACHI - Sindh Assembly on Tuesday passed a unanimous resolution to condemn General Ziaul Haq’s military coup imposed on 5th July 1977 and termed it a black day, resolving to strive for strengthening democracy and rule of law in the country.

The entire business of a private members day was killed as a treasury member Heer Soho presented a resolution to condemn the day. Deputy Speaker Rehana Leghari allowed the Pakistan Peoples Party lawmaker to move her resolution by suspending all other agenda items including private bills, private resolutions, a privilege motion and an adjournment motion.

“This House condemns the incidents that occurred on 5th July, 1977 which ultimately led to the termination of democratically elected people’s government of Shaheed Zulfikiar Ali Bhutto. This fateful day is a blot on the history of democracy in Pakistan as it marked the most brutal show of the suspension of constitution, the democratic process and political stability in the country,” the resolution read. It added Gen. Zia ul Haq’s subsequent capture of power plunged the country into the dark era of crackdowns against dissent, political victimization, erosion of political culture in the country

“The history bears ample testimony to the fact that this day entirely changed the direction of the state and society from a tolerant, plural and accommodative to an intolerant and polarized one. This day shall continue to be regarded as the black day in the history of democratic struggle in the country,” the resolution added.

The house also resolved to strive for strengthening of democracy and rule of law in the country, for the consolidation of democratic norms, political culture and civil liberties for the coming generations.

Speaking on the occasion, Senior PPP member Syed Qaim Ali Shah said that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was a public leader who opted to live amongst the people. Referring to criticism on Bhutto for ‘being’ first Civil Martial Law Administrator, Qaim said that at the time there was no constitution in the country and he had to take the post to give constitution to the country. “Bhutto Sahib (Zulfikar Ali Bhutto) did not want martial law even for a day,” he added. He was of the view that Bhutto had given unanimous constitution to the country by taking ‘on board’ the then small opposition. “The Peoples Party had majority at that time but Bhutto Sahib opted to take opposition on board while making the constitution,” he said. Hailing former President Asif Ali Zardari, Qaim said that Zardari had accomplished Bhutto’s constitution through the 18th amendment.

Education Minister Syed Sardar Shah in his speech said that 5th July 1977 was a dark day and black mark on the history of Pakistan. “Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto gave the constitution to the country,” he added.

PPP’s Heer Soho, Hina Dastagir, Sharjeel Inam Memon, Shamim Mumtaz and Sadia Javed, GDA’s Nusrat Sehar Abbasi and Arif Mustafa Jatoi, PTI’s Firdaus Shamim Naqvi and MQM-P’s Mangla Sharma also spoke on the resolution. Later, the house was adjourned to 15th July.

| Zia ul Haq’s subsequent capture of power plunged country into dark era of crackdowns against dissent, political victimisation, erosion of political culture in country