Security forces in Pakistan have begun intensive search operations in major cities, looking for arms and ammunition stores in the wake of Tuesday's (5 July) bloodless army coup which deposed Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
Security forces in Pakistan have begun intensive search operations in major cities, looking for arms and ammunition stores in the wake of Tuesday's (5 July) bloodless army coup which deposed Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Military strongman General Zia-Ul-Haque has promised that general elections will be held in October to restore the country to democracy and that Mr. Bhutto will be released to contest them. In the meantime, however, Mr. Bhutto and several members of his cabinet are being held in protective custody.
According to the Pakistan Press International news agency, in his impromptu speech at the mosque General Zia reaffirmed his resolve to return power to the people's elected representatives at the end of what he termed a 90-day operation to restore democracy. The agency added that General Zia arrived unescorted at the mosque and sat among the worshippers before being recognised and asked to speak.
SYNOPSIS: Mr. Bhutto is being detained at his official holiday residence in the town of Murree -- a hill station built during British imperial rule 7,000 feet (2,133 m.) up in the mountains above Islamabad. It is typical of its kind, with a mixture of local-style and European architecture -- a place of retreat for the more prosperous inhabitants of the blazing hot plains of Pakistan. Despite the crisis there is little evidence of military activity.
Opposition leader Asghar Khan and several of his associates are also under house arrest, following months of civil unrest triggered off by opposition allegations that Mr. Bhutto and his followers had rigged last March's general elections. However, observers in Pakistan have said that the armed forces have succeeded in reducing tensions since their takeover.