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The Chronicle of Pakistan
Compiled by Khurram Ali Shafique
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Feb 20 Zia inaugurates first Pakistani Mirage rebuild factory at Pakistan Aeronautical Complex, Kamra, Attock.

Feb 26 Federal Shariat Court formed, comprising chairman and four members

Feb Sindh High Court restores declaration of Al-fatah, cancelled in Apr 1978 on charges of misreporting news of clash between workers and police at textile mills in Multan

Mar 5 Pakistani Foreign Minister Shahi officially announces rejection of the US aid offer as "unless substantially modified," it would "detract from rather than enhance our security." He categorically announces that Pakistan would not allow itself to become a conduit for the flow of arms.

Mar Cinspiracy to assassinate Zia on Mar 23 Pakistan Day parade pre-empted; ringleader Major General (retired) Tajammul Hussain Malik and others arrested

May 26 Federal Shariat Court set up in Islamabad

Jun Progressive Lawyer's Association meets to pass resolution calling for end of martial law and restoration of democracy; military regime issues warrants for arrest of some of the speakers

Jul 4-5 Shia convention in Islamabad declares recently passed Zakat laws to be against Shia fiqh; Zia promises exemption

Jul 8 CPNE president Z.A.Suleri supports Zia in retaining pre-censorship: "the press freedom allowed by the regime during its three years had ever been enjoyed in the last 23 years."

Summer Pakistan retains Champions Trophy at Karachi under Munawaruz Zaman

Sep 15 Amendment to Zakat and Ushr Ordinance allows exemption to Shias

Sep 30 Port Qasim starts operations as first ship comes ashore, bringing raw material for Pakistan Steel

Nov 10 Fifteenth Islamic Century begins

Oct 3 Zia meets President Carter in Washington but avoids discussing F-16s with the outgoing President whose chances of re-election are slim.


Ibne Safi:
mystery novelist, humorist, poet

Suroor Barabankvi:
lyricist, filmmaker

Chaudhry Mohammed Ali: politician, former prime minister



Zia's finest hour?

January. Following the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan, General Ziaul Haq has come to the international limelight as the defender of the frontier of the free world against the communist aggression. While it remains to be seen how Zia will play his cards, the Democrat President Carter seems all set for tough bargaining.

The four principle points of the US approach have been spelled out during the Pakistani foreign minister Agha Shahi's two meetings with Carter's secretary of state Cyrus Vance and a White House session with the President. These are: (a) to make the costs of the Afghan adventur intolerably high to the Soviet Union; (b) to maintain in place the 1959 defense agreement between the US and Pakistan; (c) to offer Pakistan $400 million of military and economic aid over the coming two years, but not the advanced F-16 aircrafts, which Pakistan has requested; and (d) to maintain US concern about Pakistan's nuclear program.


January 18. Speaking to the journalists about the American offer of US $400 million, General Zia dismissed the proposal as "peanuts." It is sensed that he was also irritated by the fact that the details of the US aid offer were leaked into the press while he was still making up his mind.

"I have not heard it officially," he has stated. "But if it is true what has been in the press then it is terribly disappointing. Pakistan will not buy its security for $400 million." According to him, this amount "will buy greater animosity from the Soviet Union, which is now much more influential in this region than the United States."

Covert cooperation

Despite lack of agreement on economic and military aid between Pakistan and US, intelligence cooperation on Afghanistan between the two countries has expanded. Although the official stance of Pakistan is that it is only providing moral support to the Afghan mujahideen and shelter to the refugees, a secret system of cooperation is now set at work between the CIA and the ISI (the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence).

At Pakistan's insistence, the CIA is channelizing all aid through the ISI, which in turn hands over arms and other supplies to "recognized" Afghan resistence groups, most of which are headquartered in Peshawar.

In order to make it difficult for the Soviets to show tangible evidence of US involvement, the CIA supplies only the type of equipment that is used by the Soviets themselves or by their East European allies, or equipment that is also locally common in Afghanistan.

Compulsory Compassion

June 20 The Zakat and Ushr Ordinance was announced today from the Faisal Mosque, Islamabad. It will be enforced with immediate effect.

A five-tier structure has been established to levy zakat, comprising a central zakat council, four provincial zakat councils, district zakat committees, tehsil or sub-divisional zakat committees and local zakat committees (one per compact block of 3,000 to 5,000 persons in urban areas.) Zakat will be deducted at the rate of 2.5 per cent from all bank accounts on the first of every Ramzan.

Critics claim the ruling is not in accordance with the Shariah, which prescribes 2.5 per cent to be deducted from money that has been with a person for a full year.

Grand design

September The US Pentagon-funded thinktank, Rand Corporation, has published a study titled The Security of Pakistan, written by Francis Fukuyama. This document details the "advantages" of a closer US-Pakistan security relationship, including the possibility of military aid to Afghan rebels, the use of Pakistani facilities in connection with the planned "Rapid Deployment Force." And the demonstration of the US's "reliability" as an ally.

Saving the turtles

The Sindh Wildlife Management Board has started a project to focus on the endangered olive ridley and green turtles that come to nest on Karachi's beaches. The purpose of the Marine Turtle Conservation Project (MTCP) is to protect and study this archaic species that has survived stages of evolution but faces the danger of extinction in the modern age.

Teaching them a lesson

A memo from the education secretary, Punjab: "The Government has decided that... staff and heads of all educational institutions... shall seek clearance (before) writing or publishing any article in a newspaper or journal... and show the article to the appropriate authority. Any permission already issued shall be treated as cancelled."


Participation of women in spectator sports is banned in pursuance of General Zia's policies.

Moscow Olympics

Pakistan boycotts Moscow Olympics in protest against Russian intervention in Afghanistan

Orangi Pilot Project

The Orangi Pilot Project is launched by Akhtar Hameed Khan, with major funding from the BCCI Foundation, in the largest katchi abadi (squatter settlement) in the country.

Film industry in peril

Following the new registration laws for film producers, which require them to be degree-holders, the film industry takes a sharp nose-dive this year: as compared to the total output of 98 films last year (including 42 in Urdu), only 58 films (26 in Urdu) were made this year.

Addicted to TV?

Inheriting from Bhutto an obsession with self-projection on television, General Zia seems to be taking it a step further. His personal interest in policy programs on the state-operated Pakistan Television is unprecedented. While Zia's hawkish Secretary of Information Major-General Mujibur Rahman (a military specialist of psychological warfare) has no dearth of innovative ideas, a VHS copy of the prime time news bulletin Khabarnama is daily sent to the President's House for replay.

Meanwhile, Information Minister Rajah Zafrul Haq (an unknown Rawalpindi lawyer), describing himself as a "mullah without beard," has set out to Islamize the electronic media. Female models on TV are now required to observe "Islamic dress code," quantity (though not quality) of religious programs has geometrically increased and even a news bulletin in Arabic is introduced.

DIRECTIVES ISSUED: Female government employees to wear "Islamic dress."

Songs remembered
Saman woh khwb sa saman (Nahin Abhi Nahin)

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