Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is observing Black Day today on July 5, the day when the then Army Chief General Zia-ul-Haq ousted a democratically elected government of Pakistan and imposed Martial Law.
Operation Fair Play was the code name for the military coup d’état conducted on 5 July 1977 by the then Pakistan Chief of Army Staff General Zia-ul-Haq, overthrowing the government of Prime Minister Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the first democratically elected Prime Minister of Pakistan.
In announcing the coup, Zia promised “free and fair elections” within 90 days. He arrested Bhutto and his ministers, as well as other leaders of the PPP. He dissolved the National Assembly of Pakistan and all provincial assemblies, suspended the Constitution, and imposed martial law. A four-member Military Council, made up of Chief of Army Staff General Zia-ul-Haq as Chief Martial Law Administrator. The Supreme Court and the Chief Justice of Pakistan Anwar-ul-Haq legitimatised the military response after issuing the Doctrine of necessity orders.
The PPP offices across the country are observing the black day to condemn the ouster of democracy and imposition of dictatorship in the country, and black flags hoisting at all the party offices at district, divisional and provincial headquarters.
Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has called for observance of July 5 as a black-day across the country.
In a statement issued by the party office, the chairman said: “The first democratically elected Prime Minister Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and his government was ousted by a tin-pot dictator 40 years ago on this day. July 5, 1977 shall remain a black-day in Pakistan’s history because the hopes and aspirations of our nation were crushed by a dictator who remains the root of every evil, which continues to haunt the people,” the PPP chairman said in his message on the day.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari said that extremism, terrorism, Kalashnikov and drug culture were all the things gifted by the Zia dictatorship. “He unleashed a reign of terror against democratic, liberal and truly patriotic people of Pakistan. From lock-ups to torture cells and lashes to gallows every form of atrocity and violence was let loose against the innocent and unarmed Pakistanis after the ouster of a democratic government,” he said.
He said that despite facing the worst kind of victimization and dictatorial state terrorism, the people of Pakistan especially the ‘jiyalas’ had remained steadfast and battled bravely for democracy unabatedly.
Bilawal Bhutto saluted all the PPP leaders, workers, ‘jiyalas’ and common people who suffered brutalities under Zia for the cause of democracy and the mission of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
On the black day former president of Pakistan and President PPPP Asif Ali Zardari has called for fighting mindset of religious extremism and privatized jehad.
“July 5 is a day of shame and horror in the history of the country as it was on this day 40 years ago when the nation was hijacked by bonaparts. It was on this day that the military dictator began decimating state institutions, privatizing jehad and enacting black laws against women and non-Muslims in the name of religion. It was on this day that the nation began its collective descent into anarchy and mayhem- a descent that still continues in the name of religion”.
This has been stated by President Pakistan People’s Party Parliamentarians former President Asif Ali Zardari in a message on the 40th anniversary of the takeover of the country by dictatorship on July 5, 1977.
Unfortunately the disastrous policy of privatized jehad and exploitation of religion for political ends continues to haunt the nation. The need to clearly understand the disastrous consequences of these policies has never been as great as it is today, he said.
Let us on this day vow to reverse these policies, fight the mindset of religious extremism and end the privatization of jehad and sectarianism that the dictator’s polices spawned, he said.
On this day we reiterate our resolve that Pakistan will have to be a democratic, pluralistic and a moderate country in which there is no place for religious extremism, militancy and sectarianism, he said.
On this day let us also resolve that dictators and usurpers of people’s rights and freedoms must be punished, he said and added “they will be”.
Asif Ali Zardari also paid homage to the martyrs of democracy. “On this day my thoughts also go to those martyrs of democracy who suffered and sacrificed during that black period of our national history”.
Our thoughts also go to those who have laid down their lives and suffered otherwise in fighting the extremist mindset and militant ideology, he said.