LAHORE - President Supreme Court Bar Association (SCBA) Ali Ahmed Kurd has said that martial laws had stifled the spirit of progress in Pakistan. Giving concluding remarks at a discussion on History of Martial Law in Pakistan at the Karachi Shuhada Hall of the Lahore High Court Bar Association (LHCBA) here today he said the feudal lords had dominated Pakistan since its inception. The East Pakistan could not remain in Pakistan because it comprised the areas where all the uprisings took place before the independence and had no feudal lords. The Pakistan Muslim League, which represented the feudal lords, was defeated in general elections there in 1954. He said that the first martial law was enforced in Pakistan with the sole objective of stopping the democratic process. Late General Muhammad Ayub Khan placed the country under martial law in 1957 despite the fact that there was neither any threat to the law nor the economy was in disarray. The reaction of Ayubs martial law came in the form of landslide victory of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Sheikh Mujibur Rehmans parties in 1970 general elections. The feudal lords subsequently dismembered Pakistan because they could not afford to keep the rebellious East Pakistan in it. He said late General Muhammad Ziaul Haq clamped the second prolonged martial law in 1977 to overthrow late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. He seized power by force and disfigured the constitution but continued talking about democracy and even held elections to hoodwink the people. General Pervez Musharraf also played havoc with the constitution and the institutions but had to quit due to the historic struggle of the bar, political parties and the civil society for the restoration of the deposed judges of superior courts. Dr Tariq Rehman said the Talibanisation was the outcome of the so-called Islamisation of late General Ziaul Haq. The general exploited the name of Islam to strengthen his stranglehold on power and described it as Islamisation. Every group of zealots now wanted to enforce their own version of Islam in the areas under their influence. Ashfaq Saleem Mirza said the exploitative forces had always used good intentions to justify their sinister designs. Brutal punishments awarded to the people in pre-historic times were attributed to the gods. The crusades were fought for the expansion of the empire of the Christians in the religion. Ideological contradictions prevailing in the world had now taken the shape of a clash of civilizations. He said that late General Ziaul Haq ruled the country in the name of Islamic Ideology and suppressed his opponents by force. He also used the intelligentsia to strengthen his stranglehold on power. The cunning general had the cheek to state an interview that God had made him place the country under martial law on July 5,1977. Syed Shabbir Shah said General Pervez Musharrafs martial law had strengthened the fundamentalism started during the tenure of Ziaul Haq. All the dictators had made conscious efforts to sabotage the democratic process by subverting the constitution. Religious forces, linguistic groups and regional parties had always supported the military dictators. They continued using the fundamentalists to undermine the democratic institutions. The so-called Afghan Jihad was fought with the connivance of the army with the religious forces. He said the dictators had encouraged non-political grouping in the society and promoted bigotry in the name of religion. General Pervez Musharraf claimed to promote enlightened moderation but retained the column of religion in the passport and continued supporting the jihad in Kashmir. Militancy flourished in Pakistan as a result of Musharrafs policies.