THE month of August when the ruling coalition partners are locked in serious talks to take far-reaching decisions has mostly been action packed in Pakistan’s history.
The month springs sad memories to the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) mind as on this very day, August 6, 18 years ago, the first Benazir Bhutto government was dismissed by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan on grave charges just after 20 months.
The following period brought hardships for Benazir Bhutto, Asif Zardari and their party men. Nawaz Sharif was the chief minister of Punjab when her government was sacked.
This was the second time when the controversial Article 58(2)(b), providing for presidential discretion to dismiss the government, inserted in the Constitution in 1985 was used to dismiss the government and dissolve the National Assembly.
On this day of August 6 in 1990, the PPP and its coalition partners extensively pondered over the impeachment of a president, who is armed with the same discretionary power, fearing that he may use the same authority against the alliance government. It was during this month sixty-one years ago when that Pakistan appeared on the world map as an independent state.
In August 2001, General Pervez Musharraf strengthened his position by issuing the Legal Framework Order (LFO).
On August 29, 1998, the Nawaz Sharif government introduced the fifteenth constitutional amendment, which authorized the federal government to take steps to enforce the Shariah, to establish salat [the form of prayer], to administer zakat (Islamic taxes), to promote “amr bil ma’roof and nahi anil munkar” (to prescribe what is right and forbid what is wrong), to eradicate corruption at all levels etc.
On August 17, 1988, General Ziaul Haq died in a plane crash. On the same day, the then Senate Chariman, Ghulam Ishaq Khan, became acting president of Pakistan.
On August 12, 1983, Ziaul Haq announced a detailed blueprint for the “restoration of democracy” and expressed a firm intention to move towards some form of democratization.
On August 30, 1979, the Political Parties Act of 1962 was amended by a presidential ordinance requiring all existing political parties to register with the Election Commission of Pakistan to publish formal manifestos, and to submit their accounts for audit.
On August 14, 1973, Pakistan’s third constitution came into force and created a parliamentary form of government.
On August 15, 1947, Lord Louis Mountbatten was sworn in as the first governor-general of India.
On August 14, 1947, Mountbatten, the last viceroy of British India, administered the oath of office to Quaid-e-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah as the first governor-general of Pakistan.
On August 11, 1947, Mohammad Ali Jinnah presided over the first meeting of the Constituent Assembly.