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On 29 May 1988, while Prime Minister Mohammad Khan Junejo, having just returned from an official tour of the Far Fast and China, was in the middle of a press conference at Islamabad airport the proceedings were rudely brought to a halt for the gathered journalists were peremptorily summoned to appear before General Zia. The General announced to the astonished newsmen that he had just dismissed his Prime Minister. A puzzled and unsuspecting Mr. Junejo was thus unceremoniously returned to the political obscurity whence he had come. Zia also dissolved the National Assembly, which was elected in February 1985 under rules dictated by himself, on a 'non-party basis' , to provide a semblance of representative government as a legitimating cover for military dictatorship. These were only the opening shots in the political high drama that began to unfold following Zia's mid-air assassination, and the installation of Benazir Bhutto as Prime Minister after the elections of November 1988, the situation in Pakistan is still problematic, fraught with uncertainty and pregnant with possibilities. Zia's action highlighted the dilemmas and contradictions that have bedeviled successive regimes in Pakistan. The thread that runs centrally through the history of Pakistan is a tension between the locus of power and legitimation of power. The argument of this chapter is that state power in Pakistan has been concentrated in the hands of a military bureaucratic oligarchy, a tightly knit coterie of mainly (but not exclusively) Punjabi officials who have remained in command of the state apparatus in Pakistan from its inception. That oligarchy has had, on the whole unsuccessfully, to devise ways to legitimate its rule. The rise of the ethnic movement and ethnic politics have been only one factor in the challenges to the military- bureaucratic oligarchy. There has been a broader concern for restoration of democracy in the country, a movement that has not excluded Punjabis, the dominant ethnic group. In the process neither the place of the military-bureaucratic oligarchy in the state nor the forms of state institutions have remained unchanged, nor has the balance between the two components of the 'oligarchy', the military and the bureaucracy, remained unaltered. But movements for the restoration of democracy in Pakistan have made no effective dents in the power of the oligarchy, despite occasional ritualistic elections, for two reasons: first, because of the formalistic and narrowly legitimate constitutionalism of Pakistan's political leadership, which has failed to address itself to the question of generating effective countervailing power, especially by way of organizing the working masses of the country, including the peasantry, with which to confront oligarchic domination. Second, because the main base of party politics in Pakistan has rested on landlord-dominated factions, uncommitted to the spirit of democracy and all too easily patronized and manipulated by those in control of the state apparatus; their basic class interests are fully guaranteed by the state, for the dominant bureaucrats and military officers have substantial landholding interest in their own right. Thus this class, as a class, is directly entrenched in the structure of state power. Apart from the lure of office , it has little to attract it to the democratic process. Conversely, changes in forms of state power and its institutions, including resort to the electoral process. have been forced on the dominant military-bureaucratic oligarchy by its consistent failure to construct a stable basis for the legitimation of state power.
Coercion alone has not been sufficient to maintain its hold on it but, nevertheless, its search for legitimacy has been elusive. There was an apparent exception to this, namely the rise to power of Mr. Bhutto and the PPP in 1972. Unlike previous political leaders who held office, Mr. Bhutto enjoyed both legitimacy and power. He was conscious of the role of the military-bureaucratic oligarchy. which he set about to rescind, breaking the power of the bureaucracy through his administrative reforms. However, the military was already prostrate in the aftermath of the debacle in Bangladesh, for it had lost all credibility and capacity to take over state power. The initiative had decisively passed into the hands of Mr. Bhutto. Sadly, he failed, because of his own illusions of grandeur and petty mentality given to humiliate and even destroy individuals who had fallen from his favor, regardless of their importance even for his own party and, more importantly, for the democratic political base which must be strong to bring the military -bureaucratic oligarchy under firm political control. Indeed, he created condition that gave the oligarchy, under Zia, an opportunity to return to power. Classes and social forces in Pakistani society: US presence in Pakistan The story of Pakistan's relationship with the United Stated has been an uneven and complex one. It would not be true to say, as it often is, that immediately after independence Pakistan became a satellite of the United States. On the contrary, during the first five years after Partition Pakistan was, by and large, ignored by both the United States and Britain. This has to be seen in the context of Pakistan's bitter confrontation at the time with India. The economic stake in India for US and British capital was far greater than that which the backward and smaller economy of Pakistan could possibly have offered. There was to be no question, therefore, of jeopardizing Indian goodwill through involvement in Pakistan. Understandably, in this context, Pakistan was suspicious of both the United States and Britain. The Soviet position was no different. As a consequence Pakistan was isolated on the world stage. During this early period Pakistan undertook measures that reflected not its dependency on foreign capital but the contrary. These measures, inimical to foreign capital, especially in the field of banking, were initiated mostly by the State Bank of Pakistan, led by Governor Zahid Hussain, who responded readily to proposals that might favor the indigenous bourgeoisie which had yet to be set on its feet. It was surprising to discover how much could in fact be accomplished in this area and undoubtedly this success had much do with Pakistan's international isolation at the time. The most important of these measures. to give only one example, confined foreign banks to port towns on the plea that their proper role was to deal with foreign trade; Dacca and Narayanganj, centers of the jute export trade, were defined its 'port towns' for this purpose. Existing inland branches of foreign banks, of which there were very few, were allowed to continue but no new one were permitted, That measure reserved banking as a protected held for the expansion of indigenous banks and was responsible for their rapid expansion thereafter.1 The country's banking system passed virtually exclusively into domestic hands. Certainly at this stage one can not say that Pakistan was a mere satellite of Western powers and US capital. This was soon to change.
Foreign investments in Pakistan were initially limited to British investments in trade and extractive industries. From January 1948 to September 1952 over 87 percent of foreign investment in Pakistan was British and less than 405 percent came from the United Sates.2 ( US Department of Commerce 1954). In the four years from 1957 to 1960 the share of Britain in foreign investments in Pakistan (including reinvestment of local earnings) was lower but still the major source, at 67 percent whereas the US share rose to 10 per cent. 3 Later foreign investments, especially US investments, expanded. in new fields such as fertilizer production, pharmaceuticals, oil and natural gas. A major economic stake of US capital in Pakistan has been in sales of military equipment. The United States has had a large stake in the militarization of Pakistan. Parallel with this, from the mid-1950s, Pakistan grew increasingly dependent on US aid and was consequently drawn into a dependency relationship with the United States and the principal representatives of internationalized capital in the world today, the World Bank and the IMF. With the intensification of Pakistan's economic dependence the United States has been able to intervene decisively in Pakistan's internal affairs, even to dictate the choice of ministers and allocation of major portfolios in the Government from time to time. It was in the period after 1952-3 that Pakistan passed under the tutelage of the United States. 'The earlier indifference of The United States and western powers towards Pakistan changed overnight after the nationalization of Iranian oil in March 1951 by the National Front government in Iran, led by Mohammad Mossadeq. Immediately the regional strategic priorities for the western powers changed decisively. Their economic interests in India were far less important than their control of Middle East oil.4 A direct consequence of this involvement was militarization of Pakistan society. Military expenditures increased phenomenally and the army establishment was inflated. As will be discussed below, the army was not yet ready to play an independent role in the political arena. But it had already begun to cast its shadow over the country " 5 The Pakistan army was also being bolstered up and prepared for a role that it was to fulfill in the Pakistan political system. A 'Summary Presentation of the (US) Mutual Security Program' published in 1957 stated that: 'From a political viewpoint, US military aid has strengthened Pakistan's armed services, the greatest single stabilizing force in the country and has encouraged Pakistan to participate in collective defense agreements'. 6 Even after the abandonment by the United States of relying on a military alliance with Pakistan (and other countries) for the defense of its interests in the Middle East, the inflated and reinforced Pakistan army retained its dominant position in the country and continued to pre-empt a major share of public expenditure. Pakistan , having lost its role in US regional 'defense' policy and therefore marginalized by the United States, accommodated itself to the new reality by proclaiming a' bilateral ' foreign policy - later redesignated 'non-alignment'. The US having suspended armed aid and, after the 1965 war with India, even sales of military supplies, Pakistan cultivated ties with China and France as its principal suppliers of military equipment, but it continued in its attempts to win back US favor. In 1969-70 it played an important role as a gobetween in U S opening towards China, which was one reason why the United States did not restrain the Pakistan military in its brutal action in Bangladesh; US military sales and aid were not resumed until Reagan dollars began to flow once again after the 1978 revolution in
Afghanistan and, more decisively, the Soviet intervention in that country in December 1979 when Pakistan soil was used as a base for American and Chinese intervention by proxy in Afghanistan. Pakistan, with its strategic location on the Persian Gulf, also acquired a new importance in US policy for the region. Pakistan has so far tried hard to maintain good relations with the Iranian regime and is a potential intermediary for the United States in its dealings with that country. There are several reasons why the United States might be expected to continue to take a close interest in Pakistan's internal affairs. First, the United States is deeply committed to fighting the drug traffic through Pakistan, its concern heightened by its lack of confidence in the ability or the will of Pakistan authorities to deal with it. It has established its own organization in the country to monitor this and track down offenders. There have been many occasions on which it has had to pressurize the Zia regime to apprehend offenders because senior officials, including military officers, involved in the traffic were unpunished. Second, there is also the US concern about Pakistan's developing nuclear capability, now perhaps a cause for greater worry after announcements in February 1989 by the army chief that Pakistan is producing surface-to-surface and surface-to air missiles. But third, and potentially most important of all, there is the US interest in the use that it can make of Pakistan for its strategy in the Persian Gulf. Landlords: Landlords are the most powerful indigenous class in Pakistan. Electoral politics being highly biased towards rural areas, landlords predominate in the political leadership. Members of the bureaucracy and the army also come from this class. Where staff officers of the army or senior bureaucrats do not already have large landholdings in their own right, they soon acquire them through a policy of allotment of newly irrigated lands to them at giveaway prices. By virtue of that class status of bureaucrats and military officers, the big landlord lobby is directly and deeply entrenched in the Pakistani state. One example of the effectiveness of landlord power in Pakistan is the persistent failure of World Bank- and IMF-backed proposals to tax agricultural incomes, despite the bankruptcy of the Pakistan treasury and its very narrow tax base and the pressure from these bodies to remedy this. On the contrary, landlords are not only free from income tax; they also enjoy large subsidies on their inputs and high guaranteed price support for wheat. Landlord power is also reflected in the failure to implement land reforms, despite the rhetoric of some governments. Ayub Khan's land reform of 1959 had little effect, for no more than 2.4 per cent of the cultivated area was due to be surrendered as a result in a country of massive concentration of landownership.7 According to one estimate in 1970, 5 per cent of rural households in Pakistan owned about 70 per cent of the land.8 Again, despite his rhetoric, the 'Land Reforms' of Mr. Bhutto (himself a substantial landowner), amounted to nothing. In the words of a leading authority on the land question in Pakistan: 'The 1972 land reforms did not make even a dent in the concentration of land in the Indus Basin.9 What Pakistan did achieve, on the strength of landlord power, was a land reform in reverse in 1953-54, which must be unique in Third World history. In fact, this land redistribution from the poor to the rich is little known, even in Pakistan, except in villages, among landlords and the
peasants themselves who know it only too well. It is recorded in obscure documents and SixMonthly Reports to be found in Government archives. With the mass movement in 1947 of millions of refugees in each direction across the border with India, as an emergency measure land of the outgoing refugees was distributed among incoming refugees on the basis of one acre per head for every family. Incoming landlords, however, were additionally given a cash stipend, but they complained of having left behind vast acreages of land in India for which they had not received an equal amount of land in Pakistan, whereas peasants who were landless in India had been given land. That was unjust. The government decided to redistribute the refugee land on the basis of claimed previous ownership in India, subject to a nominal maximum of 1,000 acres of unirrigated land and 500 acres of irrigated land. Small refugee peasants were turned off the land that they had been given and the land was redistributed in accordance with landlord justice.10 With the dispossession of small-holders there was a concomitant increase in the number of landless laborers in the country. Politically landlords are the most effectively organized class in the country, unlike the bourgeoisie or the subordinate classes; landlord-led factions dominate the rural vote.11 Ironically the Muslim League was weak in provinces in which Muslims were in a majority, areas that now comprise Pakistan. I have argued elsewhere that the Pakistan movement was the movement of the Muslim salariat in India, the educated mainly lower middle classes whose main avenue for livelihood and upward mobility was to secure salaried in jobs in the colonial and the postcolonial state apparatus. The main strength of the Muslim salariat in India was in provinces where they were in a minority. After the debacle of the 1937 elections Jinnah was painfully aware of the necessity of winning the support of the Muslim landlord leadership of Muslim majority provinces in order to legitimate the claim of the Muslim League to be the sole legitimate representative of Muslims of India. The landlords were preoccupied with provincial politics within the framework of overall British rule in India, which they did not care to challenge. It was not until 1945-46 when prospects of independence loomed over the horizon, that Muslim landlords of Punjab and Sindh, fearful of the Congress threat of land reforms in free India, lined up behind the Pakistan Muslim League to preserve their class existence. In the process it was not the Muslim League that took over the landlords but, rather, the landlords who took over the Muslim League.12 Ever since. landlords have dominated all effective political parties in the country, including the Pakistan People's Party, notwithstanding its populist rhetoric. The indigenous bourgeoisie: At the time of Partition the territories that came to comprise Pakistan had few industries; those engaged in commerce and trade were mostly Hindus who were driven from the country There were, however, some Muslim communities, mainly Gujarati-speaking traders, i.e. Memons, Bohras, Ismaili Khojas and Ithna Ashari Khojas, who had migrated from Gujarat, Kutch and Kathiawar from the middle of the nineteenth century to the prospering new colonial cities all over South Asia and beyond, in the wake of the rise of colonial trade as well as expanding business prospects in new colonial administrative and military centers. After Partition a large number of members of these communities migrated to Pakistan from India, East Africa and South East Asia. Alongside the Gujarati business communities there were a few Punjabis, notably Chiniotis who had also immigrated all over India and had prospered, especially in
handling exports of hides and skins, which Hindu merchants would not handle. Finally there were merchants of Punjabi origin from Delhi. who are organized in association of their own. The Gujaratis were the predominant element among these, until recent years, The mainly Gujarati-speaking business communities in Pakistan had no political representation as such. They were left at the mercy of the bureaucracy. They were represented collectively through Chambers of Commerce and the influential Pakistan Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry in which, until the 1980s, they held a dominating position. Given the political isolation and weakness of the trading communities in Pakistan, it is quite remarkable to see how the state authorities in the country set about the task of turning them into an industrial bourgeoisie. The Government embarked on a desperate drive for industrialization, because they believed that without industries Pakistan would not be economically viable. (We have no space to discuss the origins and basis of this belief.). This was a major factor in the drive for industrialization which the dominant bureaucracy embarked upon, and their committed support for industrialists, although this class had little or no weight in state power. A wide range of policies and programmes were taken in hand to promote industrialization. By the mid-1950s industrial investment grew rapidly and parallel with that growth was a rapid concentration of ownership, with the rise of the proverbial 'twenty-two families' who were estimated, by the mid 1960s, to own about 65 percent of industrial capital and about 80 per cent of financial assets in the country. The scene changed in the early 1970s. 'The industrial bourgeoisie was demoralized both by a high level of working class militancy, initially encouraged by Bhutto (but later repressed brutally), and Bhutto's nationalization measures, compounded by what they thought to be the sheer unpredictability of Mr. Bhutto. In the Zia period, again, they found that they could not cope with the arbitrary rule of the military. There was a sharp drop in new investment and many of them turned to trade or shifted their interests abroad. During the 1980s, a major shift took place in the composition of the business communities for during the Zia period a new group appeared on the scene and has begun to dominate it. These are 'Punjabi' families; not simply ethnic Punjabi, but rather relatives of senior Punjabi military officers and bureaucrats whose personal high-level connections in the state apparatus mean that they can negotiate minefields of bureaucratic obstacles with comparative ease. The older business communities feel very badly done by. Their disgruntled feelings were expressed in the 1978 Report of the Karachi Chamber of commerce where they complained that Zia's 'denationalization's' had benefited only three business families from the North. By the 1980s, control of the prestigious Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry, which is based at Karachi, passed into Punjabi hands, the crowning symbol of the new Punjabi ascendancy. Mandi merchants: A special mention is needed of the influential and well organized 'mundi' merchant who operate in 'mundis', or produce markets, in District and Sub-District towns, and who have a multiple -class positions. They are dealers in produce, are fairly substantial landowners and also in many cases own agro-industries such as cotton ginneries, wheat flour mills and/or rice mills. Before
Partition such trade was handled by Hindus. The vacuum left by Hindu traders was filled by Muslim landowners, owners of perhaps, between 300 to 800 acres, especially in the Punjab, who took over their trading function.13 Of course, this triple overlap is not universal, for we may have a combination of landownership and trading or that of landownership and agro-industry, but all of them tend to have close mutual links. The common affairs of mandi merchants are managed by a committee at each mandi. 'Horizontal linkages' between them, both locally and nationally, tend to be close; they also have 'vertical linkages' by virtue of their regular dealings with clients in the area, which gives them an exceptionally powerful network of close contacts. They have a significant role in political affairs and played a significant part in financing and organizing the supposedly 'spontaneous mass movement' against Mr. Bhutto, which prepared the ground for Zia's military takeover. To alienate Mr. Bhutto from his crucial landowning class base he was lured by certain senior bureaucrats (who were later richly rewarded by Zia) into nationalization of agro-industries, namely cotton ginneries, wheat flour miles and rice Mills14. Predictably mandi merchants and landlords reacted with anger. In the 1988 elections, still resentful of Mr. Bhutto's measures. they aligned with the opposition Islamic Democratic Alliance (IDA) against Benazir Bhutto in the Punjab. This factor, however, should not be overestimated, for some of the support of the IDA was mobilized by the Inter-Services Intelligence, the ISI (which was a state within a state, but has recently been reorganized with some of its political functions transferred to other agencies) as well as the IDA's landlord base. Mullahs and pirs: There is a pervasive myth that 'mullahs' or, more grandiosely, the ulema, i.e. learned religious scholars, on the one hand and on the other, pirs or 'sufi mashaikh', i.e. 'saints' who are believed to have powers of intercession with Allah or 'sajjada nashins' , heirs of great saints of the past and keepers of their shrines, have a powerful hold over an ignorant peasantry and thereby have great weight in electoral politics. Such myths are the stuff of stereotypes that urban intellectuals have of the peasantry of whom they have no direct knowledge. Sadly these ideas, relayed by such urban intellectuals, are given currency by Western scholars who take their opinions at face value, and there are too many scholarly tomes that give them a stamp of authority. In the course of extensive fieldwork in Punjab villages over a period of fifteen months reality was found to be quite different, a matter that I do not have the space to discuss fully here.15 Suffice to say that the village 'imam' occupies a very lowly status and has to subscribe to one landlord-dominated village faction or its rival. In rare cases, some of them manage to declare themselves to be men of Allah and stay neutral --- but in so doing disqualify themselves from political intervention. The position of small local pirs in villages is similar, although there are many pirs who are substantial landlords in their own right. In their case it is mainly their power as landlords rather than their 'spiritual powers' that underlies their capacity to act in the political arena. Some such pirs have been prominent in Pakistan politics, aligning with one or another political party. In urban areas the roles of mullahs and pirs work rather differently. The former tend to be organized in Madressahs, or religious schools, and tend to operate as networks (affiliated to particular Madressahs) through mosques in the city. These mullahs succeed at times in mobilizing their congregations and leading crowds in street demonstrations and riots, but by and
large their role has been manifested in sectarian riots. It might be pointed out that, uniquely in South Asia, Sunnis are divided into two mutually hostile traditions, a division that cuts across the classification of Sunni Muslims into the four major schools. The two South Asian tradition are the 'Deobandi' tradition, named after the great religious seminary at Deoband near Delhi, and the Barelvi tradition named after the town of Bareilly in Uttar Pradesh in India, the home of a major figure in that tradition. Most communal riots are between these two or between Deobandis and Shias, Barelvis being more tolerant towards Shias. Each of these Sunni groups have organized themselves as political parties. The Deobandis are organized as the Jamiat-e-Ulema-Islam, whose strength, such as it is, is localized in certain pockets of the Sarhad and Balochistan and, especially, in Karachi which has a very large Pushtoon population. Barelvis are organized as Jamiat -a-Ulema -Pakistan, whose influence is confined to pockets in Sindh and Punjab. The electoral performance of both is negligible. Finally, mention must be made of the highly organized and well financed fundamentalist Jamaat-i-Islami, which was given much encouragement by the Zia regime. The limitation of its electoral base can be judged from the fact that it was routed in three successive elections in 1985, the local bodies election of 1987 (both under Zia, who gave the Party much support) and again in 1988. While one would not discount entirely the influence of these various religious groups in the narrowly religious, cultural and ideological spheres, especially among some sections of the urban lower middle classes and traders, contrary to the conventional wisdom they have proved to be inconsequential as a political force. The salariat: There is a class, it could be argued, that has a special significance in colonial societies where the production base is primarily agricultural. They are those with formal educational credentials that entitle them to salaried jobs in the colonial state apparatus and who dominate the urban society there16. In India a new education policy was shaped to produce functionaries for the colonial state and the colonial legal system. We have labeled this new class the salariat which, itself, is divided into two strata, viz. the bureaucracy at the top which wields power and the ordinary scribes below them. In Marxist terminology, the salariat is an auxiliary class, whose class role in society can be fully understood only with reference to fundamental classes to which it relates. Nevertheless it looms large in colonized and post-colonial societies and dominates their urban life and political debate. It might be flattering to call them the 'intelligentsia', although members of the intelligentsia too, namely academics, writers, journalists, etc., identify with this class. The term 'middle class' is too wide and 'petit bourgeoisie' inappropriate, for in Marxist terminology the latter hits a specific meaning referring to small traders and petty commodity producers. In Pakistan this class is at the center of ethnic and regional politics. The salariat of underprivileged regions of Pakistan (led by students, prospective members of the salariat) articulate their grievances and demands vis-a-vis , Punjabis who predominate in the Civil Service and the military17. The predominantly Punjabi military and bureaucracy tend to be hostile to such ethnic movements, whereas the regional political leadership, excepting that of the Punjab, responds positively to such demands. However, the Pakistan People's Party, ambitious to secure power at national level and fearful of losing support in the Punjab, the largest province, has always declared itself as a 'national party' and distanced itself from regionalist movements. Nevertheless, given the prominent place of leaders of Sindhi origin in the party, in the 1988
elections Sindhi nationalists preferred to vote for the PPP, i.e. for a party that had real prospects of getting into power at the center. They hoped that in spite of the PPP distancing itself from Sindhi nationalism it would not ignore their legitimate demands, and voted for the PPP rather than for Sindhi nationalist candidates who they knew had no prospects of getting into power and fulfilling their promises. In the case of Balochistan, however, voting was along ethnic lines as also in the case of Urdu-speaking Muhajirs, who constitute the majority of the urban population of Sindh and who voted solidly for the Muhajir Quami Mahaz (MQM), which has emerged as the third largest party in the country. It was able to negotiate as a party with the PPP leadership in power for their collective demands, and later the MOM decided to conjoin with the opposition. Violent ethnic conflict between Muhajirs and Sindhis is one of the toughest problems that confronts the Benazir Bhutto government, and which it has been quite powerless to resolve.18 The Bureaucracy: There has been a myth, shared by many writers, that during its first eleven years Pakistan was ruled by a democratic leadership, namely Mr. Jinnah and his successors, under a system of representative government and that political power lay in the hands of politicians. It has been argued that it was only after the Ayub coup d'etat of 1958 that the politicians were swept aside. It was not until the mid 1960s' that the central role of the bureaucracy in the state of Pakistan came to be widely recognized. Even here there were differences in perception. Khalid bin Sayeed ( 1960). placing the role of the civil service at the center of his analysis, regarded them as instruments of 'central' domination over the regions, thus begging questions about the equation of power at the center. He wrote: "Today in the government of Pakistan the civil servants often play an even more powerful role than that of their imperial predecessors. Their ascent to power has been both steady and dramatic, Under the dominating personality of Quaide Azam and his successor Liaqat Ali Khan, the civil servants effectively controlled the entire administration in the provinces and the politicians there were kept in power subject to their willingness to obey Central Government directives".19 Taking a different view, I argued, as early as 1958, that the bureaucracy in Pakistan was in power at the center from the moment of inception of the new state, a view that I amplified a year later.20 Later this interpretation was to pass into general currency. The bureaucracy was not, as Sayeed, suggests, merely the instrument of the two political leaders with whom he identifies the central government. It was the military-bureaucratic oligarchy that controlled the central government. Initially the army was a junior partner in that; its power and influence increased through the 1950s. But the regime of General Zia was the first truly military regime in Pakistan. Bureaucrats in Pakistan have operated, with rare exceptions, in the manner in which they were brought up under the colonial regime. Officers of Indian origin were generally limited to lower ranking roles where they did not need to do much more than carry out policies that were laid down by the superior white officers. They were not much involved in considering fundamental issues of state policy and formulating strategies. This mentality has persisted, to a large degree, in the post-colonial situation and has been a stultifying influence on the making of state policy.
C. B. Marshall, a member of the US State Department Policy Planning Staff with long experience in Pakistan, had this to say about them: "Some civil servants have considerable proficiency in administrative routines. Most of them incline to regard these as the sum total of government. As men of routine rather than audacity and imagination, they tend to have small conception of growth and change and would be beyond their depth in providing the rationale of a revolution. (Marshall is referring here to Mirza and Ayub Khan's self-proclaimed 'revolution' of 1958) or staking out an imaginative course of national development." (Marshall 1959)21 The military In 1947 the Pakistan army was weak and disorganized. Initially the Commanders-in-Chief were British officers, General Messervy followed by General Gracey. In 1951 General Ayub Khan was appointed as the first Pakistani Commander-in-Chief, superseding several more senior generals. He was a personal friend and protégé of the wily and powerful General Iskander Mirza, Secretary of the Ministry of Defense, who was later to become the President of Pakistan. Although Mirza enjoyed a military title, having been trained at Sandhurst with Ayub Khan, he was a bureaucrat, having served as member of the elite Indian Political Service under colonial rule. Prime Minister Liaqat Ali Khan was the Defense Minister but he left Defense Ministry affairs to Mirza. Thus, Ayub Khan's Private Secretary wrote: "The Defense portfolio had always been held by the Prime Minister himself who, being the leader of the ruling political party, had mostly been busy in consolidating his Party position or in attending to the ever increasing parliamentary wranglings.... (He) never found time to attend to the real problems of the Defense Ministry. (Ahmad 1960) "22 Mirza's choice of Ayub Khan was astute and was not merely that of promoting his old friend. He had chosen a man on whom he could rely to be loyal and subservient to himself not only because Ayub Khan had a weak personality and was personally dependent on him, but also because having been promoted over the heads of a number of more senior and disgruntled generals, Ayub's position in the army itself was somewhat shaky, making him even more dependent on Mirza's backing. Thus, in the early years, the bureaucracy had secured its grip over the army. During-the 1950s; with US military aid and expansion of the military and its newly forged (direct) links with the Pentagon and the US establishment, the army was greatly strengthened and began to have much weight in the nation's affairs. Parallel with this Ayub Khan's ambitions grew, but as yet the military did not play an independent political role. It would be a mistake, however, to think that the Pakistan military is an undifferentiated entity. Rampant involvement in corruption, especially under the Zia regime when army officers could move over into lucrative civilian appointments, sapped its morale and discipline. True professional soldiers were appalled to see this sorry state of the armed forces and in recent months there seems to be a process under way to rectify this to some extent, to restore professionalism in the army. The most sinister element of the military establishment is the Inter-Services Intelligence Unit, ISI, which earned the reputation of being virtually a parallel government. It was initially
encouraged by Mr. Bhutto himself, but truly flourished under Zia, with an estimated staff of 10,000. It is reputed to be one of the most influential military and internal security machines in the Third World. It was headed by a CIA-trained general' who has been moved from the position since the PPP government came into office. The ISI was not limited to military counterintelligence, its proper function. It acquired a considerable presence in Pakistan politics and the tentacles of the political wing of the ISI reached far and wide. There have been moves recently to divest the ISI of some of its internal political functions, which have been transferred to other agencies, and to scale down its size. Workers and peasants: In considering the balance of forces in Pakistan society, we need to take account of the fact that, unlike India, workers and peasants in Pakistan are relatively unorganized and there are no effective parties of the Left to lead them. Trade unions are still in their infancy and are enmeshed in day to day operations with bureaucratic institutions and procedures, such as the Labor Department and Labor Tribunals, inherited from the colonial regime. Sadly, many trade union leaders are corrupted by the management. It was only in the 1970s that powerful militant trade unions began to emerge, but, for reasons too lengthy to consider here, this vitality was soon dissipated. Similarly there has been no effective peasant organization, either, although there are several small organizations that describe themselves as the Pakistan peasant movement. The judiciary and the doctrine of 'necessity': In the absence of mass Organization of workers and peasants there is no thrust from below to bolster the democratic process in Pakistan, to generate countervailing power vis-a-vis that of the repressive state apparatus. Political leaders are unable to mobilize mass resistance when institutions of representative government are subverted and overthrown by the militarybureaucratic oligarchy. The approach of the political leadership to the problem has been narrowly legalistic. Ironically, even here, the law itself has betrayed them. Each time democratically established constitutions have been overthrown usurpers of power have had no difficulty in having their authority ratified, ex post facto, by the Courts involving a dubious principle of necessity: this argues that the safety of the state is the supreme law and therefore when constitutional government is overthrown, the usurping authority must be recognized to allow the state to continue to function to avoid anarchy. That is of course not the case, for the proper option is to restore the lawful government that was overthrown. In espousing the doctrine of necessity the Pakistan judiciary has lent its authority to usurpers of power rather than defend the rule of law.23 There is a paradox in the way this legal principle has operated in practice, for it is unavailable to democratically elected governments which feel bound by the Constitution that they inherit from dictatorial regimes, in the name of the 'rule of law', while those who overthrow constitutionally established governments have had little difficulty in having their self arrogated rule ratified by the Courts. Constitutionally elected governments, by virtue of their narrow legalistic basis, have felt themselves bound by inherited 'constitutions', which after all were designed by dictators to perpetuate their powers. This is the case with the Government of Benazir Bhutto, which is hampered by an illegal 'Constitution', inherited from General Zia. which was imposed by decree
and later legitimized by his 'Assembly' elected in 1985, in the form of the Eighth Amendment to the 1973 Constitution. This 'amendment' is a major obstacle in the way of the PPP government that was elected in 1988 and one that it has little power to remove. Meanwhile President Ghulam lshaq Khan, Zia's nominee and heir, who has not been exposed to a popular verdict and likewise an unrepresentative 'Senate', blocks the way to effective democracy. Ascendancy of the bureaucracy: State power in Pakistan as suggested above, was from the outset firmly in the grip of the bureaucracy, the political leadership being made to play a secondary role, the military as yet being disorganized and weak. In examining this a brief comparison with India may be helpful. If we look for reasons for divergences between the trajectories of political developments in India and Pakistan, there are three factors which appear to be particularly significant. These differences are, first, the character of the leading political parties in each country, the style and nature of the struggle for independence that they pursued, the social bases in which they were respectively embedded and finally the weight and effectiveness of the respective political leadership. Second. the choice of Lord Mountbatten and that of Mr. Jinnah, respectively, as the first Governors General of the two countries can be seen in retrospect to have been factors of considerable significance, both in view of the obvious differences in their political positions as well as in the light of Mr. Jinnah's fatal illness at a critical time, which prevented him from playing an active part in Pakistan's affairs as he might otherwise have done. Third, and linked to the second factor, is the creation of the office of the Secretary General to the Government of Pakistan, created on the plea that it was necessary to enable the new state to deal with unprecedented problems and to assist Mr. Jinnah. These changes made it possible for the bureaucracy to usurp powers invested in Mr. Jinnah and to act in his name. As for the first point, both the Indian National Congress and the Pakistan Muslim League began as parties of the 'westernized' educated middle classes, the salariat, that was brought into existence by exigencies of colonial rule. The Congress party, however, went through a long process of evolution. drawing in the support and participation of other classes. The highly developed Indian national bourgeoisie, discriminated against by the colonial state, was amongst the first to throw its weight behind the Congress and the independence movement and ever since it has been entrenched in the Congress Party. Furthermore, through its long history of mass struggle, notably since the civil disobedience movement starting from the 1920s under the leadership of Gandhi, the Congress Party struck deep roots in Indian society, both urban and rural. In the process it established links with local level leadership that was active in local Selfgovernment and the rural gentry, deemed the rural 'vote banks'.24 The Congress leadership thus became deeply entrenched in all classes of Indian society. Its leadership was very broad, not being limited to one or two or even a few national figures, and was well established nation-wide. There were also other well organized political parties in India as well as a strong working class movement and a peasant movement with a proud history. These factors provided a strong basis for Indian democracy. In contrast to India, the Pakistan leadership achieved independence almost by default, as a byproduct of the Indian mass struggle for national independence. The Muslim League had always distanced it self from mass struggles. It was preoccupied with formally disputing the credentials
of the Indian National Congress to speak for Indian Muslims and persuading the British authorities that the League alone represented them and indeed that Mr. Jinnah was their 'Sole Spokesman'.25 Jinnah preferred dialogues with British Viceroys and Governors rather than mass struggles, The Muslim League debacle of the 1937 elections left it defeated in every Muslim majority province (even in Assam, where a nominally Muslim League government took office mainly with the help of European planters, the League had won only nine seats, as against thirtyfive won by the Congress party). Mr. Jinnah had no inclination to try to mobilize popular forces to strengthen the League position. Painfully aware of the need to legitimate his claim to be the sole spokesman for Muslim India, the person with whom the colonial authorities should negotiate as the exclusive representative of Indian Muslims, Mr. Jinnah was faced with the paradox of the League's failure in every Muslim majority province. All Jinnah needed was legitimation of his claim rather than actual power in the provinces. On that basis he decided to make deals with powerful landowners of the Muslim majority provinces who controlled the rural vote and the Provincial Assemblies and Governments. Given his limited objective, he was prepared to hand over the Muslim League in the respective Provinces to the provincial magnates, in return for their nominal acceptance of the Muslim League label for their governments. That was sufficient for Mr. Jinnah for it would, nominally at least, ratify his claim vis-a-vis the center to be the sole spokesman of Muslims in India. Members of the Constituent Assembly of Pakistan, drawn from that background, who had been elected indirectly by provincial Assemblies which themselves were elected before Partition on a limited franchise and whose party was now in complete disarray, were only too aware of their own vulnerable position and isolation from a popular electoral base. Afraid of facing the electorate they continued to postpone (until 1956) the framing of a new Constitution, which would have to be followed by elections. The existing provisional Constitution, the Government of India Act 1935, as adapted, facilitated bureaucratic control over the political leadership. The weak politicians were only too willing in the circumstances to submit to the dictation of bureaucrats with whom they were badly compromised due to their bribery and corruption. Above all, the success of the bureaucracy in Pakistan, paradoxically as it may sound, owed much to the lowering and authoritative personality of Mr. Jinnah, the Fattier of the Nation. Jinnah, an ailing man, had chosen nevertheless to be Pakistan's first Governor General. In India Lord Mountbatten, who was appointed Governor General, had no comparable authority in the political domain. His role as Governor General was to be formal and procedural, not to impose his authority but to facilitate the transfer of power to the Congress leadership. Any attempt on his part to encroach on the power of the Indian nationalist leadership would have made nonsense of the grant of independence. Thus, from the very beginning the authority of the Indian political leadership as a whole was firmly established and legitimated. Jinnah's position was different. His personal authority was supreme for political authority in Pakistan was not broad-based, as it was in India. The question therefore, given Jinnah's fatal illness at the time of Partition, is how his authority was deployed and by whom. Beside Jinnah there were no second rank political leaders of any stature who might have successfully challenged his authority. Over the years, Jinnah had marginalized potential rivals of any weight and standing. By his side the political leadership of Pakistan was diminutive and weak and
without a powerful party organization to back it up. Representative democracy in Pakistan stood on shaky foundations. Jinnah's personal authority was reinforced by Constitutional powers vested in the Governor General, under the Government of India Act 1935 and the Indian Independence Act 1947. Notably, section 9 of the Indian Independence Act invested the Governors General of the successor governments with virtually unlimited powers to amend the Constitutions by a simple decree, but this was intended to be purely a transitional provision to allow prompt resolution of unforeseen difficulties for the newly independent countries. These powers, under section 9 of the Act, were to last for only seven-and-a-half months, until 31 March 1948. Significantly in Pakistan they were extended by another year. These powers were regularly invoked by those who acted in the name of Jinnah, ignoring the Cabinet and the Constituent Assembly, encroaching, without challenge, on their legitimate functions and powers. In the light of the above it is not surprising that there is a prevailing myth about Jinnah, that he was personally in command of affairs of the State.26 Nothing could be further from the truth. The fact is that by the time of the Partition Jinnah was a very sick man, indeed a dying man. Given the state of his health it is quite clear that he was in no condition to attend to the hurly-burly of the crisis-ridden affairs of the Pakistan state in those difficult but exciting days, nor to pull together his crumbling party which was in the hands of men whom he had come to despise and publicly criticize.27 Nevertheless major decisions, including Constitutional amendments, were being promulgated in his name. When disaffected members of the Constituent Assembly complained about being by-passed on so many matters of great importance, the Prime Minister Liaqat Ali Khan told the Assembly: 'Under the present Constitution the man who has been vested with all power is the Governor General. He can do whatever he likes' (my italics)28. Most writers on Pakistan subscribe to this myth, which itself was fabricated by the officials who had usurped state power and were acting in his name. By the time Jinnah died on 11 September 1948 the bureaucracy had already consolidated its power. The fact that Jinnah was succeeded by two of the weakest men in Pakistan politics, namely Nazimuddin from Bengal and Liaqat Ali Khan, a Muhajir from the UP, neither of them members of the tightly knit Punjabi coterie of the men of power, allowed the bureaucracy virtually to carry on as before. As will be shown below, until the assassination of Liaqat Ali Khan in 1951 the bureaucracy was centralized independently of the political leadership, under Secretary General Chaudhry Muhammad Ali. After that a 'structural' change came about in the political system when that post was abolished, with the elevation of ex-bureaucrat Ghulam Mohammad to the high office of Governor General. As a consequence, while in one respect the power of the bureaucracy was consolidated through the higher office of the Governor General now held by one of them, in another respect it was less effective as it had now to be mediated through the Cabinet. Paradoxically, therefore, the political leadership now acquired a greater significance, for the power of the bureaucracy could not be exercised without manipulation of the political leadership and occasional confrontation with it. When Jinnah died Khwaja Nazimuddin, an East Pakistani, was installed its Governor General. He was a weak and ineffective man who lacked authority, who chose to regard the office of Governor General as purely formal and ceremonial and who left the affairs of state in the hands
of Liaqat Ali Khan, who continued as Prime Minister. Throughout his career Liaqat had worked as Jinnah's faithful assistant, and did not need to take any decisions on his own responsibility. It was now too late for him to change. He never exerted himself in the field of administration, giving the excuse that his eyesight was bad and that he could not spend much time reading files. Sharifuddin Pirzada is reported to have said that, at a private lunch at the house of the Nawab of Bhawalpur in April 1948, Jinnah called Liaqat a mediocre man. Evidently even earlier Jinnah had reportedly 'angrily and openly expressed dissatisfaction with his work' so that Liaqat wrote to Jinnah in January that year offering to resign.29 Liaqat was only capable of making fiery speeches about Kashmir and India, but, for all practical purposes, he opted out of the actual running of government. That suited the bureaucracy. . One might ask how exactly did the bureaucracy actually seize power, and through what means, given Jinnah's fatal illness and the mediocrity and incompetence of his successors? There was no overt coup. Rather, power passed into the hands of the bureaucracy almost imperceptibly, in the normal course of business. This had much to do with some institutional changes that were made, anticipating unforeseen difficulties for the new state, which enabled the bureaucracy to operate independently of the political leadership. If an overt coup had been needed for the bureaucracy to take over it might have been far more difficult, for a rule-governed bureaucracy does not operate as a military might. Rather, power was seized through an office that was created to assist Governor General Jinnah, and by virtue of that through exercise of powers vested in Jinnah. To grasp the logic of this we must look at the way in which bureaucracies are organized and function. On the face of it the term bureaucracy' connotes an integrated cohesive and hierarchically ordered collectivity of officials with a single head. Max Weber, for example, speaks of bureaucracy as a 'means of power in the hands of the man who controls it.30 This seems to suggest a monolithic view of the bureaucracy as an integrated machine. The fact is that typically modern state bureaucracies are not monolithic but segmental, i.e. they are segmented vertically into ministries, each headed by a Secretary working under the orders of a Minister. Unlike the army which is subject to a unified command, state bureaucracies are not typically single unified entities, The entire segmented apparatus is brought together and unified through a Cabinet where each segment is represented by its minister, where inter-ministerial issues are dealt with and ministerial policies are ratified. India inherited such a structure. In Pakistan it was different. The crucial change in Pakistan was the subordination of the entire bureaucracy, independently of ministers, under a single head, the Secretary General. This post was created at the instance of Mr. Jinnah, probably advised by the first incumbent of that post himself, on the premise that Pakistan would encounter insuperable problems in the setting up of the new State under the chaotic conditions that attended Partition. Therefore it was proposed that an official controlling the entire government machinery, working directly under Jinnah as Governor General, was needed for speedy decisions. Chaudhry Muhammad Ali was appointed as Secretary General. a member of the coterie of Punjabi officials, a very able officer with long experience in the Finance Department of the Government of India, a man of prodigious energy and hard right- wing views. By a Cabinet Resolution the Secretary General was given the right to direct access to all the Secretaries and all the files, a step that followed logically from the appointment of a Secretary
General. To reinforce his position Chaudhry Mohammad Ali set up a 'Planning Committee (as distinct from the Planning Commission which was to be set up later in the mid-1950s) of which Secretaries of all the ministries were members. Through the mechanism of the Planning Committee, presided over by the Secretary General, the entire state apparatus was able to function as a unified machine under a single head. Thereby it was no longer segmental in structure but was internally unified. Unlike the Indian example, in Pakistan it was brought together and unified in its operation independently of the cabinet. The Planning Committee was in effect a 'parallel cabinet' of bureaucrats, with a bureaucrat functioning in effect as 'prime minister'. Given this mechanism, the Cabinet was bypassed and its proceedings were reduced to a meaningless ritual. Important issues were decided in advance in the Planning Committee and the ministers and the Cabinet acted as mere rubber stamps, ratifying bureaucratic decisions with, at best, some minor amendments, Decisions on some large issues were not even referred to the Cabinet on the principle that ignorance is bliss. The colonial conception of the role of the civil servant in the state and his attitude to politicians was the ethos on which the Pakistani bureaucrats were raised. As in colonial times, in Pakistan they defied also their political masters. During the Constituent Assembly debates in 1956 a number of provincial ministers complained that officials refused to carry out their orders because they believed that they (the ministers) had no power to take action against recalcitrant officers who defied their order.31 Given the power of the military-bureaucratic oligarchy there was not much that the ministers could do. Their situation was similar to that of Indian ministers in colonial times under the system of Dyarchy in the1920s. The Pakistani bureaucrat was trained to be arrogant and to despise political leadership. During training he was told that he was the 'guardian' of the people', and politicians were viewed as grasping self-seeking individuals. This was the colonial outlook, still inculcated in their minds.32 Bypassing ministers was normal procedure. O'Malley's words find an echo in statements made by President Iskandzr Mirza and Ayub Khan at the time of their coup d'etat in 1958 and, indeed, that is the ideology and practice on which the Pakistani bureaucracy has been based. It was perfectly normal to disregard politicians, at whom they looked with contempt. Restructuring of the mode of bureaucratic domination: A structural change in the relationship of the bureaucracy and the political leadership came about in the wake of the political reshuffle that followed the assassination of Liaqat Ali Khan. Finance Minister Ghulam Mohammad, a former bureaucrat, made a successful bid for the highest office in the state and was appointed Governor General. It was an office in which far-reaching powers were invested under the Provisional Constitution, although in practice, under his predecessor Nazimuddin they were not invoked. To make himself the exclusive head of the bureaucracy Ghulam Mohammad promptly abolished the office of Secretary General and with it his private 'cabinet", the Planning Committee through whom the Secretary General had controlled the entire bureaucracy. With a bureaucrat now holding the highest office in the state, it was thought that the power of the bureaucracy would be further consolidated. However, the actual results were paradoxical.
Ghulam Mohammad was a strong man with a long career behind him as a senior official of the Finance Department of British India and later Finance Minister of Kashmir and Hyderabad states, respectively. As a Punjabi bureaucrat he was the most senior member of the militarybureaucratic oligarchy, the coterie of Punjabi officials both civil and military, who had dominated the state apparatus both at the center and in the provinces. He had secured support in Washington. There was every reason to expect that under him the power of the bureaucracy would unmitigated. It turned out rather differently. The difference in the institutional location of Ghulam Mohammad as Governor General and that of Chaudhry Muhammad Ali as Secretary General was crucial. The effect of the abolition of the office of the Secretary General and his 'Planning Committee' was that the bureaucracy was no longer internally unified under their leadership independently of the Cabinet. It had reverted to a segmental structure. -the Governor General did not routinely preside over meetings of Secretaries of all the ministries, previously brought together as the 'Planning Committee'. Ghulam Mohammad could not run the day to day affairs of the state by direct and routine dealings with Secretaries of the ministries. The relationship of the Governor General and bureaucrats in the various ministries had now to be mediated through ministers and the Cabinet which stood between the two. Although it was neither intended nor foreseen, this had the effect of restoring to the Cabinet its normal function of bringing together the segmented state apparatus into a unified and coordinated whole. Whereas the Secretary General could by-pass ministers and the Cabinet in the undramatic fashion of getting on with normal business, this was not an option that was open to Governor General Ghulam Mohammad. He had instead to confront the Cabinet and ministers, to browbeat and manipulate them and to subordinate them to his will. This was rather more dramatic than the old system. The style of military-bureaucratic domination in Pakistan had to change radically, posing difficult problems of political management to the oligarchy. But this, in the event, could be done successfully because of the weak political bases of Pakistani parliamentarians which made them amenable to manipulation. This style of political management was later to be developed into a fine art by Ghulam Mohammad's successor, lskandar Mirza, who became the first President of Pakistan. Between the two of them, they dispatched seven Prime Ministers in seven years. Soon after the rise of Ghulam Mohammad the United States was to become closely involved in the internal affairs of Pakistan in the wake of the crisis of power in the Middle East, following nationalization of Iranian oil and the formulation of a new US military strategy for the region in which Pakistan was to play an important role. By 1952 the United States wanted to draw Pakistan into a military alliance and commensurately build up Pakistan's military capacity. East Pakistani politicians were, however, opposed to a policy of militarization because of concern about availability of resources for the economic development of East Pakistan and also because of fear of the growing power of the military, as represented by Ayub Khan, in the affairs of the state. The Government of Khwaja Nazimuddin, an East Pakistani, was therefore not forthcoming about the US proposals. Operations to destabilize that Government were set in motion. A series of riots and crises were engineered, one of them being the instigation of large scale sectarian riots in the Punjab in March 1953, when Mullahs were mobilized against Ahmadis, a minority community.33
However, the ploy that was decisive in unseating the Nazimuddin Government was the creation of a famine scare by the United States, and a US-backed press campaign was mounted to magnify a small food shortage into a great spectre of impending famine. The Nazimuddin government turned to the United States for help but anxious weeks passed with no response.34 The climate of opinion was by now ready for the Governor General to go into action. In April 1953 he dismissed the Nazimuddin Ministry, on the grounds that it was incapable of maintaining law and order within the country and of mishandling the food crisis. With the departure of Prime Minister Nazimuddin, the United States gave Pakistan merely a promise of food aid. What they actually gave Pakistan was a new Prime Minister, Mohammad Ali Bogra, Pakistan's Ambassador in Washington. Ghulam Mohammad not only installed the new, USnominated, Prime Minister in office, but also chose his team of ministers and assigned their portfolios. It reflects sadly on the caliber of Pakistan's parliamentarians that in the event they did not utter a word of protest having only a week earlier voted overwhelmingly for the Nazimuddin Government's budget, Worse, as soon as Bogra was made Prime Minister they dutifully passed a vote of confidence in him. The US food aid was very slow in arriving, for there was no urgency. It took more than a year for even a small part of the promised wheat to arrive, by which time a bumper crop had been harvested in Pakistan. In spite of the non-arrival of the wheat aid there was no famine, nor even a serious food shortage. But the ploy had achieved its purpose and US nominees were in control of the Pakistan state.35 This was an especially tumultuous period in Pakistan's political life because of the rise of regional movements against the rule of the Punjabi dominated bureaucracy and army, and for fairer shares in jobs and government outlays for development for the under-privileged regions. An event whose effects were to reverberate through the years to come was the explosive emergence of the Bengali Language movement in February 1952 that was to lead eventually to the liberation of Bangladesh twenty years later. As a counter to regionalist demands the Central authorities propagandized the notion of the 'Pakistan Ideology' as well as 'Islamic Ideology', It was argued hat, citizens of the country being Muslims and Pakistanis, ethnic and regional loyalties and claims were ruled out of order. A challenge to the authority of the Governor General and the rule of the Punjabi dominated military-bureaucratic oligarchy came in March 1954, in the form of the dramatic result of the much postponed East Pakistan provincial elections. The results were beyond belief for both the opposition, the 'United Front' and the 'ruling' Muslim League Party which had underwritten oligarchic rule from the center. The League won only 10 seats out of 309, the United Front taking the rest; but the United Front government was barely installed in office when it was dismissed by the Governor General on grounds of incompetence. Troops were hastily dispatched to East Pakistan. General lskander Mirza, Defense Secretary, was appointed Governor to take charge. A wave of repression in East Pakistan followed. The failed bureaucratic coup: The sharp verdict of the people of East Pakistan, paradoxically, emboldened members of the Constituent Assembly, who now ventured to take a more independent stance vis-a-vis the dominating oligarchy. In October 1954, proposals were introduced in the Constituent Assembly to curtail powers of the Governor General, in particular to abolish his arbitrary powers under the
Government of India Act of 1935, which allowed him to dismiss any ministry even if it enjoyed the confidence of the Parliament. Before these amendments could take effect Ghulam Mohammad declared a State of Emergency on 4 October 1954, dissolved the Parliament and assumed full power. The legality of this bureaucratic coup was tested in the courts. The Governor General's illegal act was given a semblance of legitimacy by the judiciary under the dubious doctrine of 'necessity' to which reference was made above. The ineffectiveness of the political leadership when confronted by the defacto power of the bureaucracy and the army was manifest. This was Pakistan's first coup d'etat; but it was a bureaucratic coup, for neither the military nor martial law were involved. Having taken over dictatorial powers, Ghulam Mohammad appointed a new Cabinet. Prime Minister Bogra, the US nominee, continued as Prime Minister, although lacking legitimacy after the crushing defeat in the 1954 East Pakistan elections. Chaudhry Muhammad Ali was asked to carry on as Finance Minister. Continuing in an ascending order of importance General Ayub Khan, Commander-in-Chief of the Army, became Defense Minister although he retained his position as Commander-in-Chief of the Army, and finally Pakistan's 'eminence grise' , General Iskandar Mirza, the Defense Secretary became Minister of the Interior. They called themselves the 'Ministry of all Talents'. The Ministry essentially represented the power of the military-bureaucratic oligarchy. However, the regime needed legitimacy. The bureaucracy were raised on the notion that they were the 'guardians of the people' , and they and their ideologues, such as Ralph Braibanti, never missed an opportunity to reiterate that claim. This was the first time that the claim was put directly to the test; it failed, for the bureaucracy stood totally discredited because of its corruption, nepotism and harassment of the people. Its rule could not be sustained because of its lack of legitimacy. Previously, bureaucratic power under the Secretary General had been legitimated by the fiction that he was acting under the Constitutional authority of the Governor General, Mr. Jinnah, whose political authority and legitimacy in the country were unquestioned. Later this was in the name of the Prime Minister, Liaqat Ali Khan, who simply abrogated his own responsibilities. The Parliament was a mere facade, being impotent. Liaqual Ali Khan himself had reminded them of this, in no uncertain terms, as quoted above. Nevertheless the mere fact of existence of a Parliament as the seat of political authority was one of enormous importance for the ruling oligarchy, for it provided a structure of legitimation of state power, invoking the principle of representative government, however hollow in reality that was. When Ghulam Mohammad dismissed the Cabinet and the Parliament, he looked in vain for other means to legitimize his regime. Ghulam Mohammad then turned to General Ayub Khan and asked him to 'take over power' in the name of the army. Ayub Khan declined, as advised by his friend and mentor General lskandar Mirza, who had other plans. Mirza preempted any development in that direction by declaring publicly that the Pakistan army had no wish to become involved in politics <45>. What was the real significance of Ghulam Mohammed's invitation to Ayub Khan to 'take over power' in the name of the army? His government already enjoyed the full backing of the army, with the Commander-in-Chief, Ayub Khan, himself a member of the Cabinet. It is clear that what he was asking for was a symbolic seizure of power by the army, a step that would establish the army as a
source of political virtue and the true 'guardian' of the national interest, thus conferring legitimacy on the regime. The fact is that until the debacle in East Pakistan in 1971 with the liberation of Bangladesh, the Pakistan army had enjoyed a charisma, especially in the Punjab and more generally in West Pakistan. While politicians and bureaucrats, of whom the public had direct experience, were known to be corrupt, the army was as yet a distant and mysterious entity and therefore easily imagined as the final guarantor of the nation's safety and well being. The name of the army could, at that time, be exploited to legitimate a regime, as indeed was to be done later by Ayub Khan in 1958. Failing to obtain a positive response from Ayub Khan to rescue his bureaucratic coup, Ghulam Mohammad had little option but to restore Parliament, which was summoned in July 1955. In the long process by which this was brought about the Courts, hitherto subservient to the men of power, played a role. A new Constituent Assembly and Parliament was elected on an indirect basis by the Provincial Assemblies as before, bringing in some of the victors of the East Pakistan elections of 1954. The new Assembly began the business of framing a Constitution, a task which was completed by 1956. Iskandar Mirza, a powerful member of the military-bureaucratic oligarchy, was elected the first President of the Republic of Pakistan under the new Constitution. The kaleidoscopic politics of Pakistan that followed, with manipulation of the political leadership by lskandar Mirza, backed by the military-bureaucratic oligarchy and helped by political opportunism of politicians, will not be elaborated here. Instant realignments of political loyalties occurred and political parties rose and fell. However, the main underlying pressure that grew progressively in intensity throughout 1957 and 1958 was the demand for holding the much postponed general elections, under direct universal adult franchise, as provided under the 1956 Constitution. Political alignments had crystallized sufficiently to indicate that in East Pakistan the Awami League would sweep the polls. Similarly, it was fairly clear that in West Pakistan, the Muslim League led by Qayyum Khan would have a solid majority. The prospects therefore were of a government of a coalition of the two parties. Far from the United States being concerned about such a prospect, nothing could have suited it better. What the elections promised, with virtual certainty, was a democratically elected government in Pakistan strongly committed to the US alliance. One thing, however, was certain. President lskandar Mirza would have to go, for neither party would tolerate him. The strategy for Mirza and the oligarchy behind him was to pre-empt the elections by dismissing the Parliament and abolishing the Constitution. The 'military' Coup of October 1958: On 7 October 1958 it was President Iskandar Mirza who proclaimed martial law, abrogating the 1956 Constitution and dismissing the central and provincial ministries, the Parliament and provincial Assemblies. There are three misconceptions surrounding this event: (1) that it was a 'seizure of power'; (2) that it was a military coup; and (3) that its author was General Ayub Khan, the Commander-in-Chief.
It was only later propaganda that built up the image of Ayub Khan as the man who initiated, planned and carried out the coup. It was a brilliantly staged event and months of preparation had gone into it. There were sufficient indicators in the air to prompt my warning of the coming coup d'etat in an article published as early as June 1958.36 It is significant that although the article was reprinted in Pakistan by the 'Pakistan Times', 'Imroze' (Urdu) and 'Ittefaq' (Bengali), all of them omitted the 'alarmist' paragraph warning of the coming coup, The coup was brilliantly stagemanaged to appear as an immediate response to dramatic events in the East Pakistan Assembly the previous day. The coup d'etat of 7 October 1958 was no 'seizure' of power for its instigators; General Iskandar Mirza as President and General Ayub Khan as Commander-in-Chief already held the reins of power in the country. What the coup achieved was a dismantling of the apparatus of constitutional government which, given the prospects of general elections threatened to bring into the field a new political leadership that would be less pliable. That promised to put an end to a decade of political manipulation by the Governor General and following him, after 1956, the President. It was Mirza who was directly threatened by the prospects of the elections, not Ayub Khan. It was not a military coup, although martial law was declared: the difference is important. A military coup places military officers in command of the state apparatus. In this case there was nothing of the kind except for a few days when the military was demonstratively 'up front', to intimidate potential opposition. It was soon ordered to return to barracks and stop 'assisting civilian authorities'. From the beginning the civil bureaucracy was in control. Mirza remained President, Ayub Khan was designated Chief Martial- Law Administrator. A strong -and seasoned bureaucrat, Aziz Ahmad, was appointed Deputy Chief Martial Law Administrator (with authority over military courts) and Chief Secretary to the Government. Under Mirza, he was in full charge of the bureaucratic state apparatus. Furthermore, on the day after the coup, 8 October, an Advisory Council was created. It was presided over by the newly appointed Chief Secretary and included the Secretaries of the eight ministries of the Central government. Thus the mode of bureaucratic domination reverted to the structure that had existed before Ghulam Mohammad became Governor General. The segmental bureaucracy was once again brought together and internally unified under a bureaucrat head. The provincial governments were to function under civilian provincial governors. The government was unquestionably civilian in character although, in the absence of any Constitution, under the umbrella of martial law. The point about martial law is that it is arbitrary 'law', indeed a negation of the rule of law, that enables those in authority to act without constitutional or legal constraints, for they themselves decide what the martial law is to be. While military rule resides in the domain of power, martial law resides in the domain of law. Rule under martial law therefore is not the same as rule by the military. The notion that this was a 'military coup' has much to do with the problem of legitimation of state power. The instigator of the coup was lskandar Mirza, not Ayub Khan; it was Mirza who was threatened by what the elections promised, not Ayub Khan; it was Mirza who issued the proclamation announcing the coup. In his partnership with Ayub Khan, Mirza was the senior partner. Mirza shaped the civilian character of the post-coup establishment. However, power was
seized in the name of the army; this was essential to legitimize the regime which Mirza could not do in his own name- The presumptive virtue of the army as the custodian of the nation's integrity and its well being was its legitimizing principle, and thus a double act was presented to newsmen by the President and the Commander-in-Chief. It was put across that if Mirza had not acted Ayub Khan would have done. That show was essential if the notion of the cleansing role of the military was to be plausible. As pointed out, nothing would have suited the Americans better than to have a democratically elected leadership in power supporting the US military alliance. C. B. Marshall, a senior member of the State Department Policy Planning Staff, in an article which was published in 'Foreign Affairs' of January 1959, expressed the unhappiness of the United States with the coup. The article reflects State Department thinking on the basis of which subsequent US moves were calculated.37 Marshall deplored the coup and expressed concern about the conflicts and instability generated by Mirza's political manipulations: he quite clearly identified Mirza as the author of the coup. Referring to 'a feud over supremacy' between the 'executive' and Parliament under Ghulam Mohammad and Iskandar Mirza he wrote: 'Each was possessive of executive ascendancy, (and) regarded with repugnance the very idea of a Parliamentary experiment in Pakistan. . . '.38 Mirza had to go. The United States intervened once again, demonstrating its capacity to determine Pakistan's internal affairs. On 21 October, two weeks after the coup, the US Secretary of Defense McElroy came to Pakistan on a hectic four-day visit during which he met everyone concerned, dismissing Mirza and appointing Ayub Khan as President in his place. Pakistani newspapers of 24 October carried two announcements, side by side, on their front pages in banner headlines. One was to announce McElroy's departure for Teheran and the other that Mirza had been dismissed and Ayub Khan appointed President in his place. American concern was to stabilize the situation in Pakistan. Mirza had to go not because his regime was not going to be a democratic regime, as Marshall makes amply clear. He had to go because, as the US authorities understood it, he was incapable of establishing a stable regime in Pakistan; he was incapable of providing legitimation for the regime. In the short term Ayub Khan's image as 'the savior' of the country was built up, as the man who had rescued the country from chaos and disintegration. Even so this personal basis of legitimation of state power, in the name of the Commander-in-Chief of the Army, was thought to be too fragile a basis for long term stability of state power. Recognizing the need for an institutional basis of legitimation of state power, American experts worked with Pakistanis to hammer out a novel system of 'Basic Democracy'. It was an imaginative scheme expertly designed to give a semblance of democratic legitimacy as well as linkages for the bureaucracy to plug into local level power structures. Each village elected a Basic Democrat, a member of a Union Council covering a group of villages. Chairmen of Union Councils were ex-officio members of Sub-district Tehsil, or Thana Councils, which met on a set day each month, presided over by Tehsildar or the SDO (Sub-Divisional Officer) the official in charge of the Tehsil or Thana. All local officers of the various government departments were required to attend these meetings. Thereby, at this level the local level power-holders were brought into regular and routine direct contact with the bureaucracy, by-passing politicians and political parties. It was remarkably well designed for direct patronage and manipulation of the
local level power-holders. Vast amount of funds were poured into their pockets in the name of the 'Rural Works Programme'. Chairmen of Union Councils formed an electoral college for electing higher level bodies including District Councils, Provincial Assembles, the National Assembly and the President himself under the 1962 Constitution. Their number, 80,000 in East and West Pakistan altogether, was small enough for manipulation through patronage or intimidation, as needed. The country's political leadership and political parties were effectively by-passed, although Ayub Khan revived his own puppet 'Convention Muslim League' of which he became President. The Basic Democracy system was ideally suited for consolidation of bureaucratic power through direct local level linkages with power-holders in the countryside, as well as urban mafias and for legitimation of state power in the name of local level democracy. However, it emerged as the basis of extraordinary corruption and oppression by the locally powerful and privileged landowners and fell into total disrepute. Indeed, it came to be so hated that even if the system had had any capacity to legitimize regimes when it was initiated, it had soon clearly lost it. Basic democracy was overthrown, along with Ayub Khan, in the wake of a massive uprising against his regime that shook the country in the winter of 1968-69. A military philosophy of power and responsibility: The unexpected fall of Ayub Khan in March 1969, in the midst of his celebration of a 'Decade of Development', precipitated a political crisis. To cope with the immediate situation and to cool passions, round table talks were held with politicians. Predictably, and with some help from the ISI, the military intelligence agency, they disagreed among themselves and were unable to agree on a political settlement and the initiative passed once again into the hands of the army. General Yahya Khan stepped in where Ayub Khan had left off. It was a much chastened military leadership, although it was clear that Yahya Khan represented a continuation of Ayub Khan, who personally had to go because he had come to symbolize a hated regime. To begin with Yahya Khan set up a military regime of a kind that had not existed before, for military officers, as Martial Law Administrators, were attached to every civilian officer in the field at the Provincial, District and Sub-district headquarters and wards in towns. This led to chaotic rule, according to the whims and inclinations of local military officers. The military is not organized, as bureaucracies are, to regulate public affairs in an orderly way, being trained either to carry out orders from the top or for the local officers to use their own initiative. The army lacks the institutional capacities of bureaucracies to deal with complex matters of state policies. At this point a new philosophy of the role of the military in the structure of state power emerged. Yahya Khan received advice by way of a letter from General Sher Ali, a senior right wing General who was Pakistan's Ambassador in Indonesia at the time. Sher Ali put forward an elaborately reasoned philosophy of the most profitable role of the military in the state.39 It seems to have marked a turning point in policy. The nub of Sher Ali's advice was that Yahya should immediately withdraw military officers from the field and leave the business of administration to civilians, establish a cabinet of civilian ministers, even if only nominally, at the center to act as a buffer between the administration and the military rank and file, and finally and not least, to promise immediately that general elections would be held on a free and fair basis. There were
some suggestions that this long and sophisticated letter was the work of the CIA. Be that as it may. the argument impressed Yahya and his advisers greatly and all that Sher Ali recommended was done without delay. The central concept in General Sher Ali's thought was that of a tension between the force of coercion and of legitimacy in the exercise of state power. He pointed out that the reason the military was able to snatch the initiative from politicians after the fall of Ayub Khan was not because of its firepower. He wrote (in effect): 'If we had to shoot our way through Nawabpur road (the main road in Dacca), we would have had a conflagration on our hands that no amount of firepower in our control could have handled.' The strength of the army which enabled it to seize the initiative from incompetent politicians in March 1969, he argued, lay in its charisma. This was a precious political resource that once lost would not be easily retrieved. It existed because the mass of the people had not actually encountered the army directly. For them it was a mythical entity, a magical force, that would succor them in times of need when all else failed. In the minds of the people, unlike the bureaucracy and the politicians with whom they had everyday contact and whom they knew to be corrupt and oppressive, the army was the final guarantor of Pakistan society and its well being. This charisma, Sher Ali argued with much candor, was based on false premises and was therefore extremely fragile. It existed only because the common people had no actual contact with the army and did not realize that army personnel were fashioned by the Almighty from the same clay as other Pakistanis. Direct contact with the army would disillusion the people and destroy the charisma, a resource that had to be cherished and conserved, for it was invaluable in times of crisis. Sher Ali therefore urged Yahya Khan to 'civilianise' the government, as indicated above. The logic of Sher Ali's strategy was not that the army should give up power. On the contrary, it was meant to be a prescription for the perpetuation and safeguarding of the power of the army in the state and national affairs. His argument was grounded in a distinction between power and responsibility. Power was a resource to be prized and firmly retained. Responsibility was not only a burden, but by making the holder of responsibility the target of popular discontent it undermined power. Nothing was to be gained by military men holding high office in the state, which could be counter-productive. As long as the military held the reality of power, a decisive say in affairs of the state, unrestricted access to resources and privileges and a veto over matters that the military was concerned about, it was better for civilians to carry the responsibility of holding high office in the state. 'As long as we have the power, let them carry the responsibility' was his formula. This philosophy called for general elections to install politicians in office, and Yahya promptly announced these. A necessary condition for the Sher Ali formula to work in the interest of the oligarchy was, however, to have a badly divided parliament and warring political parties, so that the army could assume the role of referee. A great deal of effort was devoted to supporting weak parties to ensure that they make a good showing. Every effort was made to obtain a divided vote. The results of the 1970 elections therefore came as a rude shock to the 'establishment'. and not for the first time, for in 1954 the results of the East Pakistan provincial elections had astounded everyone. The Awami League won a massive victory not only in East Pakistan but an absolute majority in the National Parliament as a whole. In West Pakistan Mr. Bhutto's PPP had swept the board, but he ran the risk of being a permanent leader of the opposition, given the Awami-
League's absolute majority. This result was acceptable neither to him nor, which is more to the point, to the 'establishment', the military-bureaucratic oligarchy. There is not space in this chapter to discuss the byzantine intrigues, moves and counter-moves that led to the genocidal action of the Pakistan military in East Pakistan in 1971 and the liberation of Bangladesh. The point that is central to our present analysis is that the humiliating defeat of the Pakistan forces in Bangladesh and worse, the long incarceration of the captured soldiers in India, destroyed, decisively, the cherished charisma of the army and the credibility of its leadership. Residents of Rawalpindi reported that at the time the anger of the people was so deep that military officers would not dare to go about the city in uniform unless they were in a group. It was no longer possible for the military to govern, pretending to be the custodian of the national interest and the people's Welfare. The crisis of power was resolved only by the military inviting Mr. Bhutto, the majority leader in (West) Pakistan, to form the government in the new Pakistan. The rise and fall of Mr. Bhutto: The five-year reign of Mr. Bhutto (that seems to be the only suitable word) ran for much longer than any previous parliamentary regime. Only the regime of Ayub Khan, under whom Bhutto was Foreign Minister, and that of General Zia, who overthrew Bhutto, had lasted for twice that long and it is not relevant here to explore the complex and contradictory nature of Bhutto's regime. There were many positive achievements, especially in the fields of culture and education, as well as much that was negative. However, for our present purposes we must limit ourselves to our main themes of legitimacy and power. Ironically, although Bhutto was the leader of the majority party in (West) Pakistan, he was installed in office not by democratic process but by a defeated military. On 20 December 1971, by gift of a military junta that deposed General Yahya Khan, Bhutto was appointed President and Chief Martial Law Administrator, taking over two of the offices and titles of the deposed General. This was, in effect, a military coup, for the newly elected National Assembly had no part in it. Bhutto was backed by two most powerful pro-US military chiefs, Lieutenant General Gul Hassan, the Chief of the Army General Staff, and Air Marshall Rahim Khan, the air force chief. There was no question of the army allowing Bhutto to inherit Yahya Khan's third office, namely Commander-in-Chief of the Army. Simultaneously with Bhutto's installation as President and CMLA, Gul Hassan was appointed Commander-in-Chief of the Army. All this had the full backing of the United States. Mr. Bhutto was at the United Nations attending the debate on Bangladesh when the coup was arranged. During that time he had had 'consultations' with President Nixon and his Secretary of State, Rogers, in Washington and had been given 'clearance' before he was invited by the military junta to head the government in Pakistan. Mr. Bhutto had climbed to power on a contradictory class basis. The great national struggle during the winter of 1968-9 that brought down the Ayub regime had brought into the political arena a new element that had not existed before. These were dedicated and idealistic young men and women who, quite spontaneously, had been drawn into organizing mass demonstrations that brought down the proud regime of Ayub Khan. This was under conditions of extraordinary
repression. They became the new cadres steeled in political battles at the grass roots who built the PPP. Although these young people had proved their commitment to the realization of a democratic Pakistan they had had no political education or understanding of the class forces that were at work and the bases of mass power that needed to be organized and consolidated before they could hope to realize their dreams, especially to destroy the power of landlords who control the countryside, without which true democracy in Pakistan must remain a vain hope. For a variety of reasons that we need not discuss here, China had captured their imagination, but in a somewhat naive way. To attract these new cadres Mr. Bhutto changed his image. calling himself Chairman and putting on a Mao jacket and cap, with his powerful rhetoric he rallied the youngsters around himself. But beneath that temporary disguise he remained a 'feudal' lord, hence the other, contradictory, section of the base of his party. He understood the electoral game in landlord dominated Pakistan. and made pacts with the most reactionary elements in the country, big landowners and pirs, who turned out the captive rural votes for him. But Mr. Bhutto, considering only himself, had no deep-seated loyalties for either. After some initial gestures in the direction of his radical cadres, Mr. Bhutto soon turned on them and repressed them ruthlessly. He combined this, however, with some favors, both institutional and as concessions to the labor movement, and also personally through patronage. His nationalization measures are best understood in terms of his need to extend the scope for state patronage. The bureaucratized nationalized enterprises, handed over to incompetent and corrupt opportunist sycophants, soon fell into rack and ruin. By the nationalization he had antagonized the bourgeoisie. He had also begun to worry US business and the US Administration, both by these measures as well as by his strident radical rhetoric. He strived to win back their confidence but without much success, as he had gained the reputation of being unpredictable and untrustworthy in their eyes. Bhutto also began to lose support of his radical cadres, since to placate indigenous and foreign capital he had embarked on a campaign of brutal repression against the labor movement and individual leaders. Little remained of his initial rhetoric and professions of commitment to the cause of the oppressed and the poor. The selfless commitment of his radical cadres was also marginalized. Many were bought off by jobs in state employment or in public enterprises; others who remained truly dedicated to their cause became deeply disillusioned and cynical, pushed to the margins of their party or dismissed or, if they were significantly active, persecuted. The rout of the PPP radicals was symbolized by the exit of leading members of the radical intelligentsia in the core of his party, such as Dr. Mubashir Hassan, the Finance Minister, J. A. Rahim and Khurshid Hassan Mir from the Cabinet in October 1974. But the shift to the right had begun earlier when others, such as Mairaj Mohammad Khan, were removed; this shift was replicated at all levels of the party Organization. Preoccupied with the question of consolidating his personal power, Mr. Bhutto was conscious of the need to reduce the power of the military-bureaucratic oligarchy. His intervention in military affairs probably did not go much further than a shuffle of some top officers. Ironically he removed his benefactor, Gul Hassan, and promoted General Zia in his place, the man who was to supplant him. He also set up a paramilitary
Federal Security Force, an infamous Organization which gained much notoriety but did not in any way counter-balance the weight of the regular military. In relation to the issues that we have focused on in this chapter the most significant and far reaching measure of the Bhutto regime was his reform of the bureaucracy. Indeed, he broke the back of bureaucratic power and thereby, ironically, opened the way for naked military rule under Zia such as Pakistan had never experienced before, The key to Bhutto's bureaucratic reform was the abolition of the all-powerful CSP, the tightly knit core of the bureaucracy which had in effect ruled the country throughout its history, even after coups d'etat when the country was placed under martial law. With abolition of the CSP ended the system of reservation of all the most important jobs for CSP officers. In pushing through these reforms against the resistance of the powerful bureaucracy, Bhutto skillfully exploited the discontent of lesser cadres. Indeed, he broke up the system of corporate service cadres into occupational classification of officials within groups such as the District Management Group, The Secretariat Group, the Police Group, the Tribal Areas Group, and so on. An effective move to undermine bureaucratic supremacy was the introduction of 'Lateral Entry', by virtue of which experienced persons from outside government were appointed to senior government jobs. This suited both Mr. Bhutto's intention to break the power of the established bureaucracy as well as his desire to extend the scope of patronage to the professional classes. By this time Mr. Bhutto's position seemed unassailable. His legitimacy was beyond question, having won a solid majority in the elections, and now both elements of the military-bureaucratic oligarchy lay prostrate before him. Bhutto had both legitimacy and power. But he was his own worst enemy, too absorbed with a sense of his own power to have a wider vision. His arrogance and harsh persecution of real and imagined enemies, or 'slights', was his undoing. Most important of all, he failed to allow his radical cadres to restore his own crumbling mass base, because of their repression in order to reassure the domestic bourgeoisie and the anxious Americans. But he did not win back their confidence, either. He also failed to establish a reasonable dialogue with leaders of other progressive political parties to consolidate bases of democratic politics in the country and brutally repressed Baluch nationalists. He did not make any friends. Bhutto was finally brought down by the personal folly that had thrown away the political assets, won by him and his party after much struggle: all that had been achieved by valiant sacrifices made by the unsung heroes and heroines of the mass movement of the winter of 1968-9. He let them down as he did himself. The secret of his downfall lies there, in his inconstancy and capriciousness so that in the end no one would trust him. The occasion for his downfall came with his extraordinary, and silly, behavior at the time of the 1977 elections. For reasons of pure vanity he went to great lengths to rig the elections in some seats, although it was clear that his party would in any case win a landslide victory. Some prospective opposition candidates were kidnapped to prevent them from filing their candidacy papers in time, to satisfy his ridiculous and vain desire to be returned 'unopposed'; and similarly for some of his favorites. This was totally unnecessary. The victory of the PPP was never in doubt. The manipulation of the elections gave a legitimate grievance to opposition politicians. The military was not slow to exploit this opportunity. The PNA agitation that followed, encouraged and abetted as it was by the military, opened the way for the military take-over. In
his desperate last days Bhutto lost his touch and undertook a number of panic measures that only added fuel to the fire. One of these was the nationalization of agro-industries which alienated him from his own class base, landlords and 'mandi' merchants, but it must be said that the coup actually came at a moment when Bhutto was reported to have succeeded in arriving at an agreement with opposition leaders about holding fresh elections on a free and fair basis. The military had no time to lose, for if they had waited a moment longer they would have missed the opportunity to perpetrate their coup. It was a tragic, but in the circumstances perhaps inevitable, end to a chapter in Pakistan's history when for the first time conditions were just right to establish a long term supremacy of the democratic process, putting an end to domination of the military-bureaucratic oligarchy. Every previous government, whether parliamentary or military-bureaucratic, had only one of the two ingredients that are together essential to sustain a viable regime; they had either legitimacy without power or power without legitimacy. For the first time in Pakistan's history the regime of Mr. Bhutto enjoyed both political legitimacy as well as effective power, and that under democratic provenance. On that foundation Mr. Bhutto could have established Pakistan's long term democratic future on a firm basis. Sadly, his shoulders were not broad enough to carry the burden that history had placed upon them. Zia coup: the military rampant: The sheer opportunism and recklessness of most opposition politicians in calling for military intervention during the PNA movement against Mr. Bhutto played a large part in facilitating the eventual take-over by General Zia. In this campaign the ubiquitous ISI also played an active role, but it is the political leadership that must bear the burden of responsibility for facilitating the military coup. The military supported it for just long enough for the PNA movement, and its parrot cry calling for military intervention, to build up sufficiently to restore some its lost legitimacy as an impartial referee in the country's political disputes. When the time was ripe Zia stepped in. Even so he could do no more than promise 'free and fair elections' within three months, when power would be handed back to the elected leadership. The military was not yet able to claim a right to rule. It had lost its charisma. Once in power, Zia and the military had no intention of leaving. Lacking a political mandate to rule Zia decided to consolidate his power base beyond challenge by making the military itself his political constituency. Contrary to the Sher Ali philosophy of indirect military rule , he involved military officers directly in government at every level. He created a vested interest in perpetuation of his rule by giving military personnel at all levels access to opportunities for profit and corruption. The scale of bribery and extortion under the military exceeded anything that had been experienced before. Military officers or military related personnel began to displace civilian employees of government and public enterprises. All kinds of privileges were bestowed on military related families. This gave Zia an unshakable power base. On the other hand, this was undermining the professional capabilities of the army and there were signs that many professionally minded soldiers were not happy about this. For all his power, the problem of legitimacy remained Zia's major problem. He needed to destroy the powerful charisma of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Zia also needed an excuse to renege on his
promise of elections within three months, until the way forward was clear. If elections had been held as promised the PPP seemed certain to win, in which case Zia himself would be personally at risk, for, by his seizure of power, he had violated Section 6 of the 1973 Constitution, thus inviting the death penalty. Incidentally, this demonstrates the futility of relying on the Constitution and the law when it comes to the realities of struggles for power. Constitutional provisions did not stop Zia's coup. To give him more time and also to demolish the image of Mr. Bhutto, Zia invoked a new principle, that of accountability'. Mr. Bhutto was to be accountable for the performance of his government. Elections would be postponed until the process of accountability had been completed. Zia also seized an opportunity to put Bhutto on trial for alleged complicity in murder, in 1974, of the father of Ahmad Raza Qasuri, a PPP defector, and an attempt on the life of the son. At the trial officers of the Federal Security Force made statements before the Punjab High Court admitting their complicity in the crime, pleading that they had acted on Bhutto's orders. They had already been pardoned in advance for the confessions. After a long and contentious trial the Court pronounced Mr. Bhutto 'guilty' and sentenced him to death. On appeal the Supreme Court found Bhutto and four co-accused guilty by a majority of one. Three senior dissenting judges took the view that the prosecution's case was not proven. While the Supreme Court was yet deliberating on the case, Zia released four massive 'white papers' on the 'Performance of the Bhutto Regime' which contained a catalogue of allegations against him, his family and associates. These were obviously timed to influence the case. Similarly, a white paper of over 1, 000 pages dealt with 'The Conduct of the General Elections in March 1977'. The trial and publications of allegations of Bhutto's misdemeanors in government had a triple significance. First, they were designed to destroy Bhutto's image in the country, for his charisma was still powerful. Only by destroying it could the military, and General Zia in particular, hope to establish their own credentials to rule. Second, for the time being, this was an excuse for postponing the elections until a good reason to abandon them altogether could be worked out. Last, the objective was to eliminate Mr. Bhutto by the death penalty. The ghost of Mr. Bhutto returned to haunt the Pakistan political scene and strands of his memory were embroidered into myths and legends, which made Zia's search for legitimacy all the more difficult. However, Zia (or one of his advisers) had an inspiration. In a speech at Quetta he declared that he had experienced it'Ilham' , a state of grace, according to Muslim theology, when the divine spirit enters the heart of a blessed person and communicates a message. It is an exceptionally rare blessing bestowed on saintly, other-worldly persons of extraordinary purity and 'innocence' (maasum). Zia declared that the Almighty had communicated with him and charged him, with the task of creating an Islamic society and an Islamic economy in Pakistan, which previous regimes had failed to tackle. He pleaded that his promise to hold elections was the commitment only of a mortal man which could not stand in the way of Allah's command. He had to do what the Almighty had commanded him to do; thus the campaign of 'Islamization' began. Zia hoped that the project of 'Islamization' would center legitimacy on his regime. To reinforce his claim and to justify his exploitation of Islam for his political purposes, a campaign was launched through Pakistan's captive media that the idea of creating an Islamic state was indeed the 'raison d'etre' of Pakistan, its true destiny.40 His predecessors having failed to do anything
about it, it was left to him, General Zia-ul Haq, at last to put into effect the ideals for which Pakistan was created. Thus Zia sought legitimation of his power in Pakistan's version of the principle of 'divine right of kings'. He was Allah's trustee. The 'Islamization' project did not work, the basic difficulty being that General Zia was presiding over a peripheral capitalist economy which had its own logic and imperatives which limited what he could or could not do. As for applying Islamic injunctions to contemporary situations, there are two possibilities. One is the undramatic, and potentially contentious, option of searching for underlying principles of Islam and, inspired by such principles, deciding in contemporary terms what might be done about issues that are confronted in today's society. Such a course would involve the Government in controversies which have continued for centuries without producing the political impact that Zia was looking for, namely instant legitimation. The alternative was to pick up, arbitrarily, particular practices that could be identified, however tenuously, with early Islamic society of Hedjaz and Nejd and impose them, mechanically, in Pakistan in the name of Islam. This would be more direct and impact making but also highly problematic. Practices relevant to the camel nomadic tribal society of seventh-century Arabia, inspired, enlightened and progressive in the context of that society, cannot be transposed mechanically to a complex economy and society of the late twentieth century. Such problems are acknowledged in Islamic theology by the need for 'ijtihad' , recognized by many schools of Islamic thought except those of the 'traditionalist' ulemas. Neither course seemed to offer Zia the simple solutions that he sought. Zia had to limit himself therefore to symbolic measures, such as the introduction of ritual punishments or a change in the law of evidence that equated one man's evidence to that of two women, and so on. Most of the measures that he introduced were marginal to the workings of a modern economy, however contentious their claim to be 'Islamic' may be. The moment of truth arrived with the question of interest on capital- Here was an issue fundamental to the running of a capitalist economy. It could not be abolished without destroying Pakistan's peripheral capitalist economy. The issue was fudged. Partly this was done by lexical guile, for interest was now to be called profit; partly, an illusion was created of abolishing interest in bank lending by a complicated system of transactions within which an effective rate of interest was concealed. Such trickery only invited cynicism but did not go far enough to satisfy religious fundamentalists whose expectations had been raised. They began to complain that the government was not serious about lslamization. Although for the capitalist classes, domestic and foreign, measures taken so far were nothing to worry about, when the question of interest came up they became concerned about how far the process might actually go. Immediately pressures came, notably from the United States, to restrain Zia from going too far along this road, with the risk of letting matters get out of hand. The question of interest was therefore the turning point in the short history of lslamization in Pakistan. By 1984 it was decided that the attempt to exploit Islam for political legitimacy was not working and A s an alternative to 'Islam' (as interpreted by him) as a basis for legitimacy for his regime, Zia at first toyed with the idea of reverting to Ayub's system of 'Basic Democracy', which was so well suited for authoritarian manipulation, while at the same time offering a semblance of elective representation in the political system. He took a first step towards it by introducing local level 'councils' on which the system was based. However, given outraged reactions in the country he relinquished that idea, for Basic Democracy was thoroughly discredited already under Ayub Khan.
The only other option was to fall back on the principle of 'parliamentary' representative government by holding elections. To block the path of the PPP returning to power he instituted a system of 'partyless democracy'. Elections were held on a non-party basis in January 1985, with political parties banned and their activists in prison. An exception to this rule was the privilege given to the Jamaat-i-Islami, the Islamic fundamentalist party, which supported Zia throughout, to let its candidates identify themselves as 'Islam loving' candidates. Conditions for the Jamaat's electoral success could not have been more favorable. But the country had had enough of Islamic fundamentalism and the Jamaat was totally routed, a result so humiliating that the Jamaat chief, its Amir, tendered his resignation because of the debacle. So far the Zia regime had functioned under martial law, having swept aside the 1973 Constitution. In preparation for the new National Assembly that was elected but was not to meet until 20 March 1985, Zia promulgated on 2 March 1985 an Order which was ironically entitled' The Revival of the Constitution of 1973 Order'. It was Orwellian language for overturning the 1973 Constitution, concentrating all powers in the hands of the President (Zia) and subordinating the Prime Minister to his will. Later this Order, along with other provisions validating Zia's Proclamation of 5 July 1977, when he seized power, and all laws, orders and regulations issued under martial law, were embodied in the Eighth Amendment to the 1973 Constitution, which was enacted by the same Assembly. In effect the Eighth Amendment was a formal abrogation of the 1973 Constitution. The Assembly itself was not taken too seriously in the country for it was clear where power lay. The multi-party 'Movement for Restoration of Democracy' (MRD) therefore continued to function although with little effect, for its leadership was not prepared to launch mass action in support of its demands and its periodic statements could be ignored by the regime. This system initiated by Zia also collapsed, because of conflicts and contradictions within the regime. Policy towards Afghanistan after the Geneva Accord was one of the contentious issues. General Zia and his Inter-Services Intelligence unit, in particular, were for total support for Islamic Fundamentalist Mujahideen, the Hizb-e-Islami, especially its wing controlled by Gulbudin Hekmatyar. Zia and the ISI unsuccessfully took the stand that Pakistan should not sign the Geneva Accord. His Prime Minister, Mohammad Khan Junejo, was listening to other commands, for the United States and a section of the army that was closer to the US position wanted the accord signed. According to the Financial Times , in the event: 'Under irresistible pressure from the US, Pakistan signed'.41 This issue evidently marked a watershed. Outward manifestations of this growing conflict could be seen in the surprising degree of independence' that Prime Minister Junejo, a man of little substance, was showing vis-a-vis Zia. to everyone's surprise. Junejo had no background that would encourage him, alone, to take a stand against Zia, who as President enjoyed powers to dismiss him. But backed by some powerful military officers and especially the United States, it was another matter. When Zia dismissed Junejo he also abolished the Assembly that had elected Junejo as Prime Minister. In doing so he threw away the only basis of legitimation of power, however tenuous, that his authoritarian regime had left. His action demonstrated that both the Assembly and the Prime Minister were his creatures, easily dismissed when he so wished. This stripped the idea of such an Assembly of any capacity for creating an illusion of democracy. It was not an experiment that could profitably be repeated.
Surprisingly, instead of using the occasion to expose the hollowness of Zia's caricature of 'representative government' the political opposition, including Benazir Bhutto, acclaimed his action in dismissing Junenjo. Benazir Bhutto also declared, gratuitously, that Zia had 'acted constitutionally', a statement that by implication legitimized Zia's illegal 'Constitution' issued originally by his personal decree, which concentrated all powers into the hands of the President: a strange way to describe action taken under an illegal law of a military usurper who had turned the 1973 Constitution upside down. Having dismissed the Assembly Zia was in an impossible situation, for there was no clear alternative that he could turn to. All that he could do was to revive, but not too stridently, the rhetoric of 'Islamization'. When he dismissed Junejo Zia cut the ground from under his own feet. This impossible situation was resolved when Zia's plane blew up in mid-air, with some of his close army associates who were also killed. Nothing more is known about this affair apart from information that the plane was blown up by an explosive device. So far no explanation has emerged about responsibility for it. In March 1989 Zia's widow complained that when, after waiting for several months without any clarification, she asked the President, Ghulam lshaq Khan about it, he replied that he had been too busy to attend to the matter. She said that General Hamid Gul, chief of the ISI, also told her that they had no positive information about the matter.42 Zia's sudden departure created a wholly new situation. His constitutional successor as President, the seasoned old bureaucrat and close associate and confidante of the late General, Ghulam Ishaq Khan, and the new Army Chief, General Mirza Aslam Beg, promptly announced that there would be fresh elections and after only a slight hesitation they declared that the elections would be on 'a party basis'. They lost little time in forging ahead with the elections. This could be seen as a reversion to the Sher Ali formula of holding on to power but devolving responsibility on to a civilian government, which might confer legitimacy on those who actually wield power but simultaneously draw public discontent to itself. Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto: A return to elective parliamentary democracy after the General Elections of November 1988 resolved the crisis of legitimacy into which the Pakistani political system had been plunged by Zia's action in dismissing his Assembly; indeed that crisis had already been building up because the 'Partyless' Assembly had lacked credibility and the policy of so-called 'Islamization' had failed. The PPP, the leading party of the opposition, on the other hand, already wore the mantle of legitimacy before its victory in the elections. Its electoral success gave it a national mandate. Under Benazir Bhutto, however, the PPP had become a shadow of its old self. After a trip to the United States in 1984 when she was assured of influential support,43 she had began to purge the party of its leading radicals and was particularly intolerant of criticism of the United States. In awarding tickets for elections long-serving PPP activists were dropped in favor of recent converts, local 'feudal' lords and retired army officers who had jumped onto the PPP bandwagon.44 The 'Guardian' reported: 'The reformation of the PPP in a new pragmatic form was a disillusioning and divisive business. The old populist rhetoric has given way to . . . a new realism. Acceptance of World Bank and IMF dogma, accommodation to the US regional
priorities and, above all, the need to reassure the army. have become guiding principles.45 She had also begun to placate the military. Winding up her election campaign she said categorically that 'Realistically it will be very difficult, given the present state of Pakistan, for any civilian government to survive without the critical backing of the armed forces. I suppose it will be more like an unspoken word, because we will not want to give any pretext for the army to intervene.46 For many months after being installed in office, in virtually every other speech Benazir Bhutto was full of praise for the Pakistan military leadership (in a political sense) and, ironically, she bestowed a special Award on the army for its 'services to democracy'. This has gone a long way towards restoration of the credibility and legitimacy of the military as an independent actor in the Pakistani political arena. Indeed, there is no need for the army to take office. In the face of repeated calls by the opposition IDA for intervention by the army, General Mirza Aslam Beg, the new army chief, has declared repeatedly that he had rejected every appeal to impose martial law, for that cannot solve the country's problems, which must be tackled and resolved by the political leadership that bears responsibility for them. That view has not deterred him from making important political statements from time to time and his weight in the political affairs of the country is widely recognized. The Financial Times noted that: 'General Aslam Beg, the Army Chief of Staff, has already emerged as an influential backseat driver in the government. . . . General Beg's public statements are seen as key policy statements in Pakistan.47 The 'Economist' noted that: "the Army's role in Government has been quietly institutionalized" 48 Given Benazir Bhutto's public and unequivocal surrender to the army, as well as to powerful US interests, the 'establishment' should have no fears about her being in office. Indeed, she is a great asset to the establishment, for she presents a 'democratic face' to the new order in which little has changed. True to the Sher Ali philosophy, it was necessary to have a political countervailing force to keep the PPP in its place; hence, the ISI went to great pains to devise a viable political alliance of nine right wing parties to oppose the PPP, the Islamic Democratic Alliance, the IDA (which is also referred to as the lslami Jamhoori Itehad, the IJI). The IDA acquired a majority in the Punjab and has formed the provincial Government there. The IDA Chief, Nawaz Sharif, Chief Minister of Punjab, has used that position to engage in an unremitting confrontation with the PPP Government that has paralyzed it. With the unedifying picture of politicians squabbling while the nation's problems worsen, this has had the effect of bringing politicians once again into much disrepute with the public. This bodes ill for the consolidation, even the survival, of democracy in the country. The IDA has repeatedly called upon the military to take over power at the center, again legitimizing the role of the military as a proper arbiter in the country's political affairs. In installing Benazir Bhutto in office, the United States has once again played a key role in settling the issue of who is to govern in Pakistan. The US Ambassador Robert Oakley played an active role throughout, meeting all political groups, the President and the military chiefs and in working out an arrangement between the military and Benazir Bhutto. These matters were settled in advance before she could see her way to office. Several newspaper reports saw the role of the US ambassador as that of 'smoothing the way for Benazir Bhutto by mediating with the military'.49 The fact remains that even after her victory in the elections it was left to a foreign power to install the victor in office.
Sadly, Benazir Bhutto has been prepared to grant everything that was demanded of her for the sake of Prime Ministerial office. The Economist thus reported that: 'Ten days after the election a visit from the American Ambassador, Mr. Robert Oakley . . . gave the needed American nod. . . . In return for the Prime Ministership, however, she has accepted the rules under which she will have to work'.50 For a Pakistani nationalist and radical, this is a humiliating victory and questionable democracy. Benazir Bhutto's Cabinet, which was announced on 4 December, was chosen in accordance with the wishes of the army, the President and the Americans. Besides the ubiquitous US Ambassador, two senior Americans, the Assistant Secretary for Defense Richard Armitage and his counterpart in the State Department Richard Murphy arrived to take part in shaping the final arrangements. The most extraordinary choice for the Cabinet was that of Lieutenant General Yaqub Khan, Zia's Foreign Minister for more than eleven years. He continues in Benazir Bhutto's Cabinet in the same capacity in which he had served Zia. This imposed 'choice' must have been galling for Benazir Bhutto. The Financial Times reported: 'Ms Bhutto has bowed to the pressure from the army and the US to retain Sahibzada Yaqub Khan as Foreign Minister.51 Retired Lieutenant General Yaqub Khan was not only Foreign Minister under Zia, whose record Benazir Bhutto had castigated in her speeches; ironically, he was also a candidate for the opposition IDA in the elections and was defeated. Benazir Bhutto's other choices for cabinet appointments and senior advisers have similarly been constrained. On the other hand, she has herself shown little wisdom in appointing her mother and her father in-law to senior positions, which has left her open to the charge of nepotism and has served to undermine her image. After more than a year in office the Benazir government has earned a reputation of doing nothing at all, indeed of being once again a government of corruption and incompetence. There are many pressing problems that the government was expected to get to grips with, not least that of rescuing Pakistan's bankrupt treasury and decaying economy. We have no space to discuss these issues here. However, the Government seems to have ruled out two main options that it could have turned to for this. They are, first, a reduction in defense expenditure and abandonment of wildly expensive schemes such as missile production (incidentally, it was General Mirza Aslam Beg, instead of the Prime Minister, who proudly announced Pakistan's successes in developing new home produced laser guided missiles).52 Second, a tax on agricultural incomes, which at the moment are free from income tax and the only major untapped source for taxation, is badly needed to generate urgently required fiscal resources. Benazir Bhutto is not likely to take either of these two options, because of her dependence on the power of the military and her political dependence on the landlord class, of whom she, too, is one. Nor does it look likely that she will do anything to reduce the lavish conspicuous consumption of Pakistan's upper classes and corrupt officials; for example, by reducing imports of expensive cars and durable consumer goods and other luxury items, which absorb such a huge part of Pakistan's scant foreign exchange earnings, diverting resources from productive investment in a country with one of the lowest savings rates in the world. But if she is not to have the power to do any of these things, what is 'democracy' for? That democratic struggle has yet to be waged. Four centers of power have emerged on the Pakistan political scene, of whom the Prime Minister and the party in government constitute the weakest element of all. The others are the United States, the military and the President. It is the key role of the latter that needs explanation here.
The fact is that despite the label democracy, only a part of Pakistan's political system was exposed to the verdict of the electorate, namely the National and provincial Assemblies. The Senate stands as it was originated under General Zia. Nor has the President, a bureaucrat and one of the closest associates and confidants of General Zia, been exposed to the winds of democracy. Their respective powers, especially those of the President, are ensconced in the undemocratic Constitution that is a legacy from General Zia. In the name of restoration of the 1973 Constitution Zia made changes that reversed it, concentrating all powers in the President, namely himself. These powers have been inherited by his successor, President Ghulam Ishaq Khan. Zia's version of the Constitution and his changes were validated by his tame 'Partyless Assembly', in the form of the Eighth Amendment to the 1973 Constitution. Repeal of the Eighth Amendment, and reinstatement of the 1973 Constitution as it was originally framed by an all-party consensus and democratic election of the Senate and the President, remain crucial conditions for a proper restoration of a democratic system in the country, which still remains incomplete. But this, given the present situation, and their desperate concern to compromise with those who wield real power, Benazir Bhutto and the PPP cannot possibly achieve. Before sitting in judgment on the record of her government, therefore, one has to recognize how these undemocratic conditions have hopelessly tied it down and made it subject to the arbitrary will of a President who is a legacy from Pakistan's authoritarian past; all this compounded by unrelenting and reckless pressures of the opposition. Benazir Bhutto occupies the high office of Prime Minister and bears heavy responsibility , but she enjoys little power. The Sher Ali formula is at work. From her Faustian bargain with the military-bureaucratic oligarchy and the United States Benazir Bhutto has gained nothing all . Power lies firmly in the grip of the oligarchy, represented by day to day affairs of the President. It is she who has yielded all that she can offer: political legitimacy. Benazir Bhutto has given that in full measure, without winning anything in return; indeed, she has taken over the burden of responsibility from the oligarchy, as Sher Ali so cleverly prescribed. But it is she who will pay the price because of public frustration that is turning against her, for the nation's most pressing problems remain unresolved. Despite the glory of her office she is a victim, not a victor. Once again, an opportunity for democratic advance in Pakistan has been sadly missed.
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