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The Chronicle of Pakistan
Compiled by Khurram Ali Shafique
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Jan 15 Wing Commander Shahid Hamid leads first sortie of three F-16s delivered by US to Pakistan

Feb 12 WAF leads women's demonstration against proposed Law of Evidence in Lahore; protestors manhandled by police

Mar Session of non-aligned Movement passes resolution with 101 votes to condemn Russian intervention in Afghanistan

Apr Student organisations banned in NWFP

Jun Several women from the same family stripped naked and forced to parade on streets in Nawabpur, near Multan

Jun Russian Foreign Minister Gromyko takes a hardline in his talks with Yaqub Khan in Moscow: the Russians have entered Afghanistan in response to the Kabul government's request and its departure is not a subject for discussion in Geneva talks, which should focus on the elimination of "outside interference" (i.e., US covert war)

Jul 10 Maulana Zafar Ahmed Ansari heads commission to review reports on future political system

Aug 8 President passes ordinance to set up office of Federal Ombudsman headed by Chief Justice (retired) Sardar Mohammed Iqbal

Aug 12 Zia addresses nation on radio and television, announces that martial law regime has prepared plan to transfer power to civilian government

Aug 14 MRD launches second wave of agitation against Zia regime

Sep Municipal elections held in major cities on non-party basis; national identification card compulsory for voters

Sep US Secretary of Defense Caspar Weinberger vists and applauds Pakistan as a key US ally against the Soviet push towards the Arabian Sea

Oct 24 International Conference on Science and Muslim Civilization started; General Zia presides

Nov 14 Dr. Qadeer Khan sentenced in absentia to four years in prison for nuclear espionage by court in Amsterdam, Holland..

Obituary

Ahmed Rushdi: playback singer

Salim Ahmed: scholar, dramatist, poet

Razzak Rajoo: comedian

Waheed Murad: film star, producer, writer

Khameesu Khan: folk musician

1983

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A law unto itself

The recently drafted Islamic Law of Evidence equates the evidence of two women to that of one man, while the evidence of one woman is not valid. Subsequently, the Law has been amended to restrict the equation of "two women - one man" to financial matters only. In such matters, the evidence of one woman will not be admitted.


WAF to the rescue

The signature campaign and rallies led by the Women's Action Forum and other women's organisations prove successful as the Federal Shariat Court acquits Safia Bibi, apparently pressurised by the bad publicity her case was receiving in the international press. Safia, aged 18, who was raped but could not identify her rapists because she is virtually blind, was earlier sentenced to public lashing, imprisonment and a fine on charges of adultery.


Stand up for your rights

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan (HRCP) is formed by a group of concerned citizens, including Justice (retired) Dorab Patel. The HRCP accuses the US government of helping the Zia regime in abrogating human rights in Pakistan.


Internal affairs

July. George Shultz is the first US Secretary of State to visit Pakistan since Henry Kissinger in 1976. He has praised Pakistan for providing a home for 3 million refugees, expressed US willingness to continue a large Afghan aid program but has also, in a lower key, voiced continuing US worries about Pakistan's nuclear program.

In secret cables to the White House, Shultz has lauded Zia as "a capable and impressive leader" and Yaqub Khan as "one of the most impressive and articulate foreign ministers now in office."

Like all other American dignitaries who have made a beeling to Islamabad over the last few years, Shultz too has avoided to comment on the human right issues and diminishing civil liberties in Pakistan. On these, the official US stand remains unchanged, i.e., they are internal affairs of Pakistan.


Women should be barred from high political office?

August 4 The Ansari Commission suggests Islamic provisions to be incorporated into the 1973 Constitution, proposing that women should not be allowed to hold high political positions such as president or prime minister. In addition, women contesting elections must be above 50 years of age and have prior written permission from their husbands.


Cry freedom

The second wave of the Movement for the Restoration of Democracy (MRD), which began on August 14, seems to have subsided. The last three months have seen massive demonstrations, especially in the interior of Sindh, frequently leading to a law and order crisis for the administration. The failure of opposition leaders, all of whom are behind the bars, to oust the Zia regime through a popular uprising may allow those in power to heave a sigh of relief, but the violent demonstrations prove that the people are not willing to accept the dictatorship of "mard-e-Haq" and are actually looking forward to his fall. Given General Zia's endless plans for "reform" and his systematic mutilation of the constitutional set-up, however, such freedom continues to remain beyond reach.

A Law for protecting the environment

Pakistan Environment Protection Ordinance passed recently is the first framework environment legislation in the country. The primary focus of the legislation is pollution control and it sets up emission standards for industries.

Blind faith?

February Believing they would be miraculously transported to Karbala, 38 Shia men, women and children from a village in Chakwal climb into metal trunks and are pushed into the Arabian Sea off the coast of Karachi. Almost half the group, including the young girl whose visions prompted this bizarre expedition, perish. The Hawkes Bay incident raises questions about the limits of blind faith. Believing they would be miraculously transported to Karbala, 38 Shia men, women and children from a village in Chakwal climb into metal trunks and are pushed into the Arabian Sea off the coast of Karachi. Almost half the group, including the young girl whose visions prompted this bizarre expedition, perish. The Hawkes Bay incident raises questions about the limits of blind faith.


National Conservation Strategy

Inspector General of Forests (Pakistan) has approached International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) at Gland to help Pakistan develop its National Conservation Strategy. The idea of a conservation strategy has emerged since the IUCN and the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) developed a World Conservation Strategy to 'save the world' three years ago in collaboration with the United Nations Environment Programme.


The difference

"The difference between India and Pakistan was Imran Khan," says Sunil Gavasker. The current series between Pakistan and tourists India ends with the Indian skipper's tribute to his Pakistani counterpart.


IMPORT OF VCR LEGALIZED


Songs remembered
Aaj tu ghair sahi (Dehleez)
Mil gaye tum to ik yahi gham hai (Hero; not yet released)

PTV stage show Silver Jubilee recreates old film songs with new arrangements, sung by a number of new singers among whom Benjamin Sisters attain overnight popularity.

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