“What is a constitution? It is a booklet with twelve or ten pages. I can tear them away and say that tomorrow we shall live under a different system. Today, the people will follow wherever I lead. All the politicians including the once mighty Mr. Bhutto will follow me with tails wagging.”

–Zia UlHaq, Speaking to an Iranian Newspaper in September 1977, as quoted in Pakistan, a Dream Gone Sour (1997) by Roedad Khan.

Chief Martial Law Administrator (CMLA) General ZiaulHaq was managing perceptions and reality on both the home front and abroad. But the statement above, issued while the General was in Iran, alarmed political circles: would elections even be conducted? General Zia thought it best to meet various leaders as and when it became possible, so as to dispel any judgmental sentiments about overthrowing Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s government. After incarcerating Bhutto and his party’s leaders, Gen Zia told journalists that Bhutto had offered to face any investigations against him — which the CMLA had decided to accept; Bhutto and his colleagues would be tried in military courts. Zia clearly lived in his own world and on his own tangents, creating a country according to his own ideology completely detached with all logic and sensibility.