Ouster of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto

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Ever since Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto took over the responsibilities of governance, there was a strong group in the country that was not ready to accept him. They considered him as one of the players who were involved in the dismemberment of Pakistan. This hatred was further enhanced by the authoritarian style of his governance. His policy of suppressing the opposition and interference in the affairs of the Provinces proved to be the major factor for the unity of the rightist and the leftist political parties against him. As early as March 1973, opposition parties in the National Assembly set a common platform, called United Democratic Front, to counter the anti-opposition steps of Bhutto’s Government. However, the opposition emerged as a significant force against Bhutto at the macro level for the first time when elections were announced in January 1977. The opposition decided to join hands against Bhutto and contest the election from a common platform, the Pakistan National Alliance.

Formation of P. N. A. proved to be the beginning of the decline of Bhutto. During the elections, the Establishment showed its biased attitude towards P. N. A. which made the Alliance even more popular among the masses. Most of the public meetings of P. N. A., especially in the big cities like Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi, were immensely successful. Yet the result of March 7 elections astonished everyone as P. P. P. swept the polls and P. N. A. was only able to win 36 seats in the National Assembly. P. N. A. leadership did not accept the results and accused the Government of systematic rigging. P. N. A. Executive Council decided to boycott the Provincial Assemblies’ polls and demanded for immediate resignation of Bhutto, replacement of the Chief Election Commissioner, and fresh election of National Assembly seats under the supervision of Judiciary and the Army.

When Bhutto refused to accept the demands of P. N. A., leadership of the Alliance decided to bring the people onto

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