The demoralisation brought about by these events in the military and the diminution in the public esteem for them enabled Bhuuo to establish civilian primacy over them. The new Constitution of 1973 made its subversion or abrogation by unconstitutional means or force an act of high treason punishable with life imprisonment or death. Despite these factors, Bhutto was unable to minimise the role of the Armed Forces in the system. With the vivisection of Pakistan, its defence needs were seen to have grown, requiring the strengthening of the clout of the military. A secret nuclear programme was launched in which the support of the military leadership was crucial.
With the vivisection of Pakistan, its defence needs were seen to have grown, requiring the strengthening of the clout of the military. A secret nuclear programme was launched in which the support of the military leadership was crucial.
Bhutto also relied heavily upon the military for dealing with serious law and order problems such as the tribal nationalist insurgency in Baluchistan in 1973 and tribal uprising in Dir in 1976. However, Bhutto started gradually losing his standing and goodwill with the people and the military as he turned more and more to personalised and autocratic rule, denying political opposition legitimate space to function democratically.
The creation by him of a new paramilitary force, Federal Security Force (1972), was seen as a counterforce to the military. The rigged general elections of 1977 in which the PPP won 155 out of 200 seats for the National Assembly led to a wide ranging anti Bhutto agitation during which opposition groups appealed directly to the Armed Forces to topple Bhutto from office. Beleaguered, Bhutto himself took to consulting the military brass on political matters.
The ultimate question again became one of the legitimacy of the Government, and the military was being made the arbitrator by both the sides. The deepening crisis had aroused the top brass to consider whether a solution other than another military intervention was in sight. General Zia-ul-Haq, the Army Chief, finally decided that a military take over was the only answer. He struck on July 5, 1977, paving way for the third military regime of Pakistan.
A large number of military officials were inducted into the governing system to augment the militarys supremacy. National security policy, particularly that relating to India, Afghanistan and nuclear matters, came under their direct control.
The coup also ignored the provisions relating to treason in the prevailing constitution, thereby demonstrating once again the absolute irrelevance of the constitution for the Armed Forces.
Military – The Bedrock
The military remained the bedrock of Zia’s regime, which marked the longest Martial Law reign (July 1977 to December 1985) in Pakistan so far. Even after Martial Law withdrawal, he remained President and Chief of Army Staff till his death (August 1988). Even though a facade of civilianisation was created after the withdrawal of Martial Law, a mix of senior generals and top bureaucrats ruled the country. A large number of military officials were inducted into the governing system to augment the military’s supremacy. National security policy, particularly that relating to India, Afghanistan and nuclear matters, came under their direct control.
The military’s move into a more privileged status continued with Zia contriving to give it an expanded role as protectors of Pakistan’s ideological frontiers and Islamic identity. He felt that Pakistan’s creation on the basis of the two-nation theory made them soldiers of Islam with a duty to safeguard the country from internal and external dangers. The military brass wanted the concept given a constitutional standing so that it could legitimately participate in decision-making and intervene in the event of a national crisis. More military officers were diverted to civilian positions of influence under government control.