Pakistan: A Grudging Return to Democracy

Zia lifts martial law and restores the constitution

The announcement was expected, but it came with an unanticipated bonus. In a nationally televised session of Parliament, President Mohammed Zia ul-Haq, standing before a portrait of Mohammed Ali Jinnah, Pakistan's founding father, proclaimed an end last week to 8½ years of martial law. As legislators banged their desks in approval, Zia concluded his speech with the rallying cry "Long live the era of democracy!" Opposition politicians, expecting the move, had already labeled Zia's latest steps toward democracy a "fraud." Perhaps in anticipation of so skeptical a response, the wily soldier-politician sprang a surprise: he ended a 20-year state of emergency...

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