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Pakistan National Alliance (1977)
Pakistan National Alliance constituted of nine religious and political parties. It was formed in 1977 in which the alliances agreed to run as a single bloc to overthrow the rule of Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the first elected leader of that country after the Martial law of Yahiya Khan. It was a major and largest alliance formed against Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and his government. When it was formed, Card reader and astrologist Akilä Zia Schüzhgtai told Pakistan Media‘s which later published in the newspapers the next day, that “The 9 stars are united to end the democratic regime of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and his collaborators”. The Alliance had 9 different ideological parties and had consisted of all secularist forces, communist forces, socialist forces, conservative forces, and hardline Islamist forces at a single bloc. However, after General Zia deposed Bhutto and his close colleagues, the alliance was divided into two sections. Under Zia, the secular forces, communist forces, and socialist forces were weakened and ruined. Many of the secular, communist, and socialist party members were either killed, tortured, or missing whom fate is still nobody known. Whereas Religious and ideological leaders sided with Zia.
Bhutto’s former political analyst, Dr. Ataul Haque Kasmie, the main objective of this alliance was to teach Bhutto a lesson for starting a nuclear development and growing socialism in the country.
The Pakistan National Alliance manifesto was to bring back the 1970 prices. Implementation of Islam was its primary election slogan. They promised to enforce Islamic laws “Nizam-e-Mustafa”, the Sharia laws. The number of political parties leaders, like Asghar Khan‘s (Independence Movement (People National Party)Socialism, Nazeer Abbasi‘s (Community Party) Communism, Chaudhry Zahoor Elahi‘s (Muslim League) Conservatism, and Maulana Maududi‘s (Muttahida Mulla Association) hardline Islamism united by a common dislike of Zulfiqar Bhutto’s autocratic policies on a single platform. At this platform, the modern European style-influenced forces allied with the opposite of hardline Islamist forces. The alliance decided to contest the elections under one election symbol “plow” and a green flag with nine stars as its ensign.
Contesting the 1977 elections jointly the PNA launched a campaign against the government after the controversial and appropriate results showing the Peoples Party as an overwhelming victory in the elections. The agitation caught the Peoples Party and its political leaders, by surprise and after several months of street fighting and protests. Under advised by his advisers, Bhutto opened negotiations with the PNA leadership but whether or not it would have been signed by all PNA parties or by Bhutto remains open to speculation. In the anti-Bhutto bloc, the alliance seemed to be effective when tapping a wave to remove Bhutto from the government.
Meanwhile, Bhutto’s trusted companion Dr. Mubashir Hassan tried to handle the situation on behalf of Bhutto by bringing the alliance to a table to reach an agreement of co-existence and a vital political solution. On other hand, Dr. Hassan advised Bhutto not to rely either on the establishment or use force to control the alliance. However, Dr. Hassan’s creativities were not successful despite the efforts he made day and night. The PNA later refused to talk to Dr. Hassan as he was seen as the brain behind Bhutto’s rise. An agreement was finally reached in June 1977 and Bhutto was to sign it on July 5. Though, despite the interest of the negotiating team, other PNA leaders had questions about the agreement. In reply, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto also tried to crush the power of this alliance, with the help of his agencies such as FSF and Rangers and it was also considered one of the causes of Bhutto’s hanging on 4 April 1979. In a coup performed by General Zia, Bhutto was removed from office with a number of his colleagues. Bhutto was thrown in jail with his close companion’s dr. Hassan later witnessed the ill-treatment of General Zia to both men.
The conservatives and Islamist fronts went to General Zia-ul-Haq, Chief of Army Staff, and Admiral Mohammad Sharif, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, and convinced them to remove Bhutto and no other agreement is reached with Bhutto and his colleagues remained stubborn. The absence of a formal agreement between the government and the PNA was used as an excuse by Pakistan under its Chairman Admiral Mohammad Sharif which led to the stage of a Coup d’état. General Zia ul Haque to break the deadlocks of those who were justifying the coup argued that no agreement had been reached between the two sides.
The Alliance split after the Army under Zia-ul-Haq overthrew his government, between elements (conservatives and religious groups) that supported the martial law government and those who opposed it (socialists, communists, and secularists). The socialist, communist, and secular fronts were suppressed, destabilized, destroyed, and completely disable by General Zia and his supported Islamic Front. In response, the secular front decided to form the Movement for Restoration of Democracy to fight the regime of General Zia.