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1985 Elections

General Zia position was considerably strengthened by the referendum and he had become so confident that he then decided to hold general elections in the country. Thus on January 12, 1985, it was announced that elections for National and Provincial assemblies would be held on February 25, and 28, respectively. The elections had to be held on non-party basis however, the office bearers of the unregistered political parties were permitted to contest the elections. The politicians who enjoyed this announcement, as they became eligible to contest, included Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, Wali Khan, Begam Naseem Wali Khan, Nusrat Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto, Sherbaz Mazari, Tika khan, and General Naseerullah Babar. The M.R.D. and opposition parties however, upheld their decisions to boycott the elections as their demands for parties based elections and restoration of the constitution of 1973 were not met. After the scrutiny of the nomination papers, Muhammad khan Junajo, Illahi Bakh Somro, Zafarullah khan Jamali and Mohayuddin Baloch were elected unopposed, but none of their opponents was kidnapped nor the nomination papers of any one of them were rejected on technical grounds. Many politicians could not win from their constituencies including former Members of National and Provincial Assemblies, and Advisors, who were very popular among the masses and had seemed popular in their appeals. New faces emerged on the scene. The M. R. D. soon realized its miscalculation of not fighting the elections that it should have fought the elections on Zia’s terms. The leadership then was totally an altered one in which many of the old leaders could not be seen.

After a long and weary waiting, Zia at last fulfilled his promise of holding the general elections in the country. Both the National and Provincial elections were held peacefully and a large number of people participated in it. Around 1300 candidates contested the elections. 207 seats were won by independents, 21 seats were reserved for women and 9 seats were reserved for the Non-Muslim minority total seats were 237. The turnout for the National assembly was 53.69 and interestingly the turnout on Provincial assemblies elections was even better, despite the fact that there constituencies were smaller and the contest was harder, it was reckoned approximately 57.37 percent nationwide. The majority of the elected Members were willing to co-operate with the government, hoping that their cooperation might pave the way for an early lifting of Martial Law. The Majlis-e-Shoora was to be replaced by the newly elected assembly and it also was to take over the legislative powers. Muhammad khan Junajo became the Prime Minister of Pakistan and he then formed his government.

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