Ayub Khan's actions against politicians under EBDO or how to wipe out an entire political class

Facts about Elected Bodies Disqualification Order (EBDO) of 1959, compiled from “The Separation of East Pakistan” by Hasan Zaheer and “Bangladesh Past and Present” by Salahuddin Ahmed

When Ayub Khan took power in 1958 one of his main priorities was the destruction of the existing political order. In this connection, he abolished political parties on 7 October 1958. Politicians who were especially targetted and charged under security laws and martial law regulations were from the National Awami Party and the East Pakistan Awami League since both these parties were opposed to One Unit.

In August 1959, Ayub Khan passed the Elected Bodies Disqualification Order (EBDO). Under this, 75 leaders were disqualified for participating in political activities for 8 years (until December 1966). Under the EBDO, Ayub Khan primarily targetted East Pakistani politicians from the Awami League while leaving the Muslim League largely untouched.

Under Article 5 of EBDO:

a) public servants who had been removed from service on any charge other than inffeciency;
(b) persons who had ever been served with an order underr the Secuity of Pakistan Act or a similar law relating to an act prejudicial to the defence, external affairs, or the security of Pakistan;
(c) persons found guilty by the Federal Court or High Court or a tribunal under PRODA; and
(d) persons convicted of any offence, and sentenced to more than two years imprisonment stood debarred from being candidates or members of an elective body, until 31 December 1966

It was estimated that about 6,000 persons, half of them from East Pakistan, were disqualified under Article 5 of EBDO.

Article 7 or 8 of EBDO was used to go after senior party leadership who escaped disqualification via Article 5:

Under Article 7, any person served with a notice could opt to retire from politics until 31 Dec 1966, in which case further proceedings against him were dropped. In case this option was not exercised by the respondent, an inquiry would be instituted under Article 8 and if found guilty, he would be disqualified up to December 1966. (from Separation of East Pakistan)

A further 78 politicians were disqualified under article 7 and 8.

Prominent politicians disqualified under these three articles of EBDO were the top leaders of the East Pakistan Awami League including Sheikh Mujib ur Rehman and Hussain Shaheed Suhrawardy. Maulana Bhashani was also arrested.

On 30 January 1962 Suhrawardy was arrested in Karachi under the Security of Pakistan Act which authorized his detention without trial for a year. It was an irony that a politician who was the Prime Minister of the country was accused of activities “fraught with such danger to the security and safety of Pakistan that one could fairly describe them as treasonable” which was [obviously] the biggest shock of his life” (from Bangladesh: Past and Present)

When a habeas corpus petition was filed in Lahore High Court challenging his illegal detention, Ayub Khan conveniently promulgated an Ordinance suspending the habeas corpus rights of those detained under the Security of Pakistan Act.

See also, A Corrupted Debate by I.A. Rehman in Dawn, Dec 10, 2009.


Politician porn

Does anyone remember the news reports in the Urdu media after the Musharraf coup? I remember one that said Shahbaz Sharif had to change his shalwar several times when the soldiers came to his house.

If anyone needs confirmation that the PPP had learned noting from history at least by 1999, one can search the archives for PPP leaders’ statements in the weeks leading up to the coup:

Pakistanis can do without lectures from the United States on ”how to remove” the Sharif government or ”how the people” should react to an inefficient administration, Naveed Qamar, a lawmaker from the main opposition Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) said in a statement.

Here’s Qazi:

”Reiteration of US support for the PML government has vindicated our stand that Shahbaz Sharif had gone to the United States to seek assistance against army and Islamic movements,” Qazi Hussain Ahmed, leader of the Jamaat-i-Islami, told the press in Lahore. The Jamaat-i-Islami has been vociferous in its criticism of the government’s failure to protect the interests of the Pakistani army and mujaheedin, or freedom fighters, seeking to liberate India’s northern state of Kashmir.

Perhaps readers can contribute their memories of that time when there was a widespread feeling of satisfaction that the Sharif brothers had got their comeuppance in the most humiliating way possible.

It’s very similar to the happiness some are getting from the news that Defence Minister Ahmed Mukhtar has been stopped at the airport because he’s been placed on the Exit Control List and the news that a warrant for Rehman Malik’s arrest has been issued. The Supreme Court has clearly made a decision to enforce its NRO verdict in as confrontational and political a manner as possible. That’s because Iftikhar Chaudhry is a populist to the core and there’s nothing that makes us happier than seeing our elected politicians naked and humiliated every few years or so.


aaj hamaray students ko maloom hi nahin hai ke Bengal main hua kya tha. ek line likhtey hain ke udhar jang hui, darmiyan mein Hindustan aaya aur Bangladesh chala gaya. hamaray naujawan ko, aur un kay courses mein – hamaray bachon ko maloom hi nahin hai ke unki tareekh kya hai. mein samajhta hoon iss se baRi badqismati aur kya ho sakti hai keh aap ka apna mulk dolakht hota hai aur uss ki tehkikaat tak nahin hoti

Hasil Bizenjo in the Geo documentary on 1971 Hum ke theray ajnabi (via Gulbadan)

Interview with Mahmood Khan Achakzai

Part I:

Part II:

(via Khyberwatch)

By the way it is amusing to watch (in part 2) the anchor Meher Bukhari trying to get a direct answer from him regarding his stance on the Quetta shura and whether they should be targetted by drone attacks.



“‘You should not be afraid of Talibanisation because Pakistan is not that weak to be taken over by some armed groups,’ Justice Javed Iqbal quipped.”

The disregarded sovereignty of parliament

Ardeshir Cowasjee on Pakistani politicians, 4 June 2000:

Nawaz is now in jail, and the government appeal asking for the death sentence has been admitted by the Sindh High Court. Not fair. Justice must be evenhanded. Will the government hang Benazir and all the other delinquents?

Cowasjee, on Oct 3 1999:

The Americans seem not to realize that in this country, with the men of the calibre available to it, with their level of intelligence and integrity, there cannot be a democracy. No institution of the state supports its people, all work solely to support and maintain in power whichever man or woman happens to be on top.

The past is another country as the two excerpts above show. Even though you don’t come across many forceful defences of democracy in the media these days, it would be difficult to imagine a famous columnist – a famous liberal and secular columnist – saying what Cowasjee said in the above excerpts quite so openly anymore. And that’s a great thing. But one wonders why Cowasjee, who is famous for his respect for the law, could ever say such things. After all, here is Cowasjee on Oct 1 2001 in one of his many columns on the storming of the Supreme court by PML-N politicians in 1997:

(c) “At 0730 hours the same day, Lt General Nasim Rana, then heading the ISI, called on COAS General Jehangir Karamat to report that a large crowd of ruling party men had left Lahore the previous night and was now congregating in Islamabad preparing to storm the Supreme Court. General Karamat played by the book and asked Rana to warn the man whose orders he obeyed, Nawaz Sharif, prime and defence minister. Another general in Karamat’s place would have perhaps ordered a company of the 111 Brigade to conduct a ‘move’ exercise around the Supreme Court and the Parliament area that morning. The army is, after all, responsible for the security of the people and their institutions.”

Do you see a contradiction? How can someone who expresses the level of disregard for the sanctity of the elected parliament in the first two excerpts then feel any outrage at the violation of the sanctity of the Supreme Court? How can someone categorically rule out the legitimacy of the parliament based on the “level of intelligence” of the Pakistani people and then be expected to be taken seriously when he talks of lack of respect for the rule of law? In any case, it’s interesting to read Cowasjee’s suggestion to Gen. Karamat about ordering a “move” of the 111 brigade around the Supreme Court.

I have often wondered why the sanctity of Pakistan’s legislature has been so easily disregarded by individuals who otherwise have so much concern for the rule of law. If, as Cowasjee says, Pakistan is a country unfit for democracy then surely he must believe that it is a country unfit for an independent judiciary and a country unfit to have a 800,000 strong army and unfit to be a country at all. In which case why bother to write about anything at all? What exactly is it about the legislature that is so different?

In the Maulvi Tamizuddin case, the sole dissenting opinion against the majority decision to uphold the dismissal of the Constituent Assembly was Justice Cornelius’. He was of the opinion that “the Constituent Assembly’s sovereignty superseded that of the Governor-General’s whose functions were circumscribed by the Assembly’s power to amend the 1935 Act[…] He derived his concept of legislative supremacy first from the compelling task at hand – framing the constitution and thus making the state concrete – and second from the fact that the Assembly was an elected body, thus linking concepts of legislative powers and popular sovereignty”

But Justice Cornelius’ viewpoint has never been mainstream among the intellectuals of Pakistan. The idea of parliament as supreme, even before the parameters of the state have been defined, has never caught on in Pakistan. Part of the reason for this is obvious. The first sentence of the preamble to the 1972 constitution:

Whereas sovereignty over the entire Universe belongs to Almighty Allah alone, and the authority to be exercised by the people of Pakistan within the limits prescribed by Him is a sacred trust;

Of course Cowasjee is clearly not a proponent of the ideological Islamic state as defined in the Objectives Resolution. In fact quite the opposite, he is motivated by ideology of another sort. In his writing, he has made multiple references to Jinnah’s idea of Pakistan and how far Pakistan has strayed from it. Like the Islamists, proponents of “Jinnah’s [secular] Pakistan” (the Jinnah of the Aug 11 1947 speech) too, are defined by a vague and poorly defined ideal that they feel that the people of Pakistan are unable to live up to if left to their own devices. This statement by Cowasjee mirrors the thinking of many people of his social class: “The army is, after all, responsible for the security of the people and their institutions.” The army in the hands of proponents of Jinnah’s Pakistan has been used – too often – to forcibly move Pakistan in an ideological direction which they believe that democracy would be unable to achieve.

It’s unlikely we’ll ever know what kind of Pakistan that Jinnah wanted. But the interesting thing is that both major camps fighting over Jinnah’s legacy have always given the least regard to the sovereignty of the parliament. In a way, they both believe in an utopian ideal and history has shown that utopian philosophies have had very little regard for the sovereignty of something as prosaic and fickle as an elected parliament.

Interesting interview with Gen. Shahid Aziz former chairman NAB

A very interesting interview with General Shahid Aziz former chairman, NAB.
Some points:
1. Of his time as DG ISI analysis wing: he claims not to have been aware of Kargil until after he intercepted some wireless communications from the Indian border of some activity after which he approached the DG ISI who confirmed what was going on to him 2 days before the news went public.
2. Of the Musharraf coup, while he was DGMO he was also not aware of anything in advance. Although he did say that he talked to Gen. Mehmud on the phone who then moved the 111 brigade troops. I guess that was just incidental.
3. Regarding support for the US war on terror he also claims not to have known the extent of Pakistan’s involvement which he describes as Musharraf’s gradual drift from a policy of neutrality to overt support. He especially mentions the use of airports as a unilateral decision taken by Musharraf.
4. He claims that the army is not to blame for the decision of the Musharraf government to join the US war on terror
5. According to him the Afghan war is a jihad against a foreign invader and the terror attacks are being carried out by American agents operating from Afghanistan.
6. In his entire tenure as NAB chairman he did not receive a single corruption complaint against Musharraf
7. He does not believe there should be Parliamentary oversight of NAB – he suggests that a citizens committee should be in control of NAB and the public and media should influence it
8. He believes that corruption is the central problem facing Pakistan and is the root cause of terrorism

A lot of other interesting points, well worth watching if only to show the futility of the idea that the NAB and its corruption investigations can ever be separated from politics.


from Dawn:

Justice Sair Ali in lighter vein remarked that Constitution did not survive in its original but ‘both of you (Pirzada, Ahmed Raza Qasuri) survived to tell us the whole story.’

Punjab government action against foreign journalists in South Punjab

According to this article in The Hindu, the Punjab government has responded to the recent rise in attention to extremism in South Punjab by banning entry of any foreign journalists into seminaries in South Punjab unless they apply for special permission from Foreign Affairs and the Interior Ministry.

This is not a sudden development. Writing in In October, Ayesha Siddiqua said that the Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah had criticized her for investigating the Jaish-e-Muhammad seminaries and accused her of looking at the situation through a “western lens”. She had also been criticized in almost the same words by the Jaish-e-Muhammad newsletter. Interestingly, Ayesha Siddiqua mentioned that she went to the Interior Ministry and was given assistance in her investigations but the district government was extremely uncooperative. The much-criticized Interior Minister Rehman Malik has actually mentioned the militancy in South Punjab in very dire terms several times since June this year, even saying that an operation might be in the works against Southern Punjab militants.

Contrast this with the ostrich-like behaviour of Shahbaz Sharif. In today’s Nation there is an article about how the Punjab government is getting tough with suspicious foreigners. Continuing in The Nation’s now world-famous tradition of accusing foreigners of spying and of suspicious activity, the article mentions several suspicious individuals who have been lurking around various parts of Southern Punjab:

Punjab Chief Minister Mian Shahbaz Sharif has instructed the security officials not to show any leniency to all those foreigners who fail to prove their identity or are allegedly indulged in breach of municipal laws in the province.

I am sure that this decisive and nationalistic move made by Shahbaz Sharif has only endeared him further to his constituents and members of the media. Why deal with or even acknowledge internal problems when they can instead be described in terms of foreign spies and agencies. In the mean time, calls for resignation of Rehman Malik and the current government will loudly continue and we can then look forward to a PML-N government – in which the only anti-terrorism policy will be to literally deny that terrorism even exists.