General Zia, Pakistan’s most remorseless dictator

By Muzaffar Ali Jang

In Pakistan the slogan “Go Nawaz Go” has become the talk of the town but like his predecessors, Prime Minister Mian Nawaz Sharif is shamelessly shrugging off the people’s pressing demand of his resignation from the slot of premiership. Nawaz Sharif learned a lot from his mentor Gen Ziaul Haq and one of the quality which he got is remorselessness.
In 1983, on the eve of 14th August, a movement was launched against Zia in Sindh. Within days the whole Sindh was on fire. Policemen were lynched, soldiers attacked; in one symbolic gesture, dogs were let loose with “Zia” painted on their bellies. But in the end this movement was failed.
Zia, loved to use two weapons; one was repression and second was promoting the fear that Hindu India was once again destroying Islamic Pakistan.
M.J Akabar, a veteran Indian journalist, quoting his face to face meeting with General Zia, said when he asked whether he (Zia) had felt that the hanging of Bhutto was wrong, how exactly he felt personally at the moment that Bhutto was being hanged. Zia said, ‘No, no, never.
General Zia gave a lengthy reply “
Again I felt the same; he was destined to be hanged, because he committed so many murders. His own five years’ record, when you look back–perhaps this was the punishment which was destined by God. I have no regrets or second thoughts because a man of his intelligence and talent and so much education….if he was only loyal and sincere and would not have indulged in the atrocities and in the inhuman behavior which he allowed under his rule, he would have ruled this country for the rest of his life.
Why then he (Bhutto) was thrown out?
There must be something. That something was his atrocities. Under his own regime and perhaps with his knowledge, the daughters of respected people were lifted off the street and raped, people were subjected to acts of sodomy, just to take out the venom of political enmity.
Is this human?
There are a hundreds and one things… And I was surprised, honestly {When I learnt all this} I went to Bhutto and said Mr Bhutto, please hold the elections. I assure you, you will win a thundering victory. Then a second time I went to him and said “Please Prime Minister, this is a critical problem, solve it politically before the army breaks, because then you will not be able to solve it..
General Zia came with a gun in his right hand and a speech promising the restoration of democracy in his left. In a very short while, the left hand was not being told what the right hand was doing.

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Muzaffar Ali Jang is a senior journalist working with both various Urdu and English publications. You may contact him on

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