“We must understand that democracy cannot work in a hot climate. To have democracy we must have a cold climate like Britain”.
–General Ayub Khan (former dictator)

Public flogging became a common sight during Zia’s regime. The practice had little to do with Islam; the main goal was curtailment of dissent.

 

July 5th, in the history of Pakistan will always be remembered as one of the fateful days. On this day in 1977, General ZiaulHaq seized power and forced the elected government of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to vacate the offices they had previously held. To draw legitimacy for his rule and to partner with the United States in its cold war against the USSR, Zia used Islam as a political tool to curtail any dissenting voices.

His Islamisation process and Jihad against infidel communists has completely altered the outlook of Pakistani society. Zia’s policies changed every aspect of the state and society and the impact of actions is so strong that people cannot recall a memory of Pakistan before his time. The latest judgment of Islamabad High Court shows the hold of arch-conservative elements on the religious landscape, who do not allow any intra-religious discourse and are hostile to the idea of pluralism. The policies introduced by Zia then have bore fruits in the form of divisions along ethnic, religious, political and sectarian lines.