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Who wants Ayub or Zia back?

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THE demand by some powerful elements that the parliamentary form of government should be replaced with a presidential one may be taken as a continuation of a similar campaign launched by Gen Ziaul Haq in the 1980s.

Gen Zia could not change the system formally but he made so many alterations in the Constitution that the form of government in fact became presidential.

While arguing in favour of a presidential system, Zia claimed that the Quaid-i-Azam had opted for this system in a note in his diary. But the diary was not made public — only a small part of a page was released to the media — and the people could not examine the context of the observation attributed to the Quaid. Besides, the general was quite uncomfortable while invoking the Quaid-i-Azam’s name in his rhetoric as his theocratic objectives were in direct conflict with the Quaid’s political thought, especially his design for a Pakistani nation on the basis of common citizenship.

A campaign to demonise democracy, political parties and politics itself is in full swing.

Gen Zia did not mention the Quaid’s diary for long as his hands were not clean. He had overthrown a constitutional authority, an offence for which the Quaid had prescribed the death penalty before Independence. While speaking in the Indian Central Assembly on the colonial government’s decision to punish the officers of the Indian National Army, he said: “...when the time comes, my army in Pakistan shall, without doubt, maintain all loyalty, whatever the........

© Dawn