“Had an agreement reached between the opposition and the Government, I would certainly never have done what I did”.
–Gen. Zia ul Haq

These were Gen. Zia’s words about the ouster of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. The hatred for Bhutto was enhanced by the authoritarian style of his governance. 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. The opposition emerged as a significant force against Bhutto at 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.
When Bhutto refused to accept the demands of PNA there were riots and unrest. Martial Law was enforced in three main cities of Karachi, Lahore and Hyderabad. Curfew was imposed in the rest of the big cities of the country and Army was called to maintain law and order. Bhutto took a step back eventually accepted almost all the demands of PNA, however, signing of the agreement was held in abeyance as he went abroad. His tour was termed as dilatory tactics and in these conditions that Chief of the Army Staff, General Zia-ul-Haq, imposed Martial Law. Bhutto’s stubbornness, and the military’s interference were both unjust, leading Pakistan into its darkest decades.