General Elections 1977

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According to the original schedule, the second general elections in the history of Pakistan, and the first after the dismemberment of the country, were to be held in the second half of 1977. However, on January 7, 1977, Bhutto announced that the elections would be held earlier. On January 10, Justice Sajjad Ahmad Jan, Chief Election Commissioner, announced the election schedule and declared January 19 and 22 as the last date for receipt of nominations for National Assembly and Provincial Assemblies, respectively. To many, the idea was not to give sufficient time to the opposition in order to make decisions and arrangements for the forthcoming elections. Election symbols were allocated to all the political parties. The total registered voters in the country were 30,899,052. Two hundred and fifty five Returning Officers were appointed for the National Assembly elections by the Election Commission.

Immediately after the announcement, Bhutto started his election campaign. The first step he took was the allocation of tickets to his party men. Unlike the 1970 elections, when Pakistan Peoples Party mainly banked on socialistic slogans, this time Bhutto also relied on political heavyweights. A number of feudal lords and other influential persons were allocated party tickets. Bhutto himself held public meetings all over the country, and to get further support from the common man, he announced labor reforms on January 4, and a second set of land reforms on January 5. The attendance in the public meetings was amazing in all parts of the country, especially in interior Sindh and Punjab. The opposition blamed Bhutto for using Government machinery in running his election campaign.

The biggest problem for Bhutto and his Pakistan Peoples Party was that nine important parties of the opposition had joined hands and formed an alliance, named as Pakistan National Alliance. P. N. A. decided to contest the elections

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