A military coup is defined as the sudden takeover of a
government by the military. It is basically a type of revolution or the
overthrow of the existing government. In case of a military coup, the military
takes control and assumes authority.
In Pakistan three successful military coups have taken place
from the periods of 1958 – 1971, 1977 – 1988 and 1999 – 2008.
The first President of Pakistan Major General Iskander Mirza,
dismissed Prime Minister Feroz Khan Noon government, while also dissolving the
Constituent Assembly of Pakistan. He appointed the army commander in chief
General Ayub Khan as the first Chief Martial Law Administrator, thus imposing
martial law in Pakistan. However, almost thirteen days later, Ayub Khan exiled
Iskander Mirza and appointed himself president instead.
Operation Fair Play/ 1977
July 4, 1977, at midnight, Chief of Army Staff General Zia-ul-Haq conducted
Operation Fair Play, a coup against the government of Prime Minister Zulfikar
Ali Bhutto. He ordered the arrests of Bhutto and his ministers along with the
leaders of the Pakistan People’s Party and Pakistan National Alliance. General
Zia also made a public announcement via television that the National Assembly
of Pakistan and all provincial assemblies have been dissolved. The constitution
was suspended during the coup and martial law was enforced.
1999, in the month of October, then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif was arrested on
the orders of Army Chief General Pervez Musharraf. The Prime Minister’s government
had tried to terminate Musharraf and prevent his plane from landing in Pakistan
as he returned from Sri Lanka. The takeover by the army started only minutes
after General Pervez Musharraf was removed from his post.
Rawalpindi conspiracy 1951
have also been a number of unsuccessful coup attempts in Pakistan. One of these
attempts is known as the Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case that was led by Major
General Akbar Khan in the year 1951. The coup attempt was a conspiracy between
Akbar Khan and a few left-wing politicians and activists along with officers who
were against the government of the first Prime Minister of Pakistan, Liaquat
Ali Khan. The renowned poet, Faiz Ahmad Faiz, is suspected of being involved in
this conspiracy. Faiz was serving as the editor of the Pakistan Times at this time. The conspirators were all arrested
and the coup was unsuccessful.
the time when Zia-ul-Haq was president, a coup attempt that involved
assassinating him was planned by Major General Tajammul Hussain Malik. The plan
was to be executed on 23 March, also known as Pakistan Day. The coup attempt was
exposed and actions were taken against it.
failed attempt was made in the year 1995 against the regime of Benazir Bhutto
led by Major General Zahirul Islam Abbasi along with the support of Islamic radicals.
This attempt was also exposed and thwarted.
coup was suspected to have been planned by politician Ghulam Mustaf Khar while
he was exiled during the regime of Zia-ul-Haq. Factors causing a coup de
years philosophers and scholars have deliberated over the reasons that may
cause a nation’s army to overstep their boundaries or authority as a nation’s
care takers to seizing power and authority. For a country like Pakistan that
has witnessed at least thirty three years of military rule since its inception
in 1947, it makes for a very interesting question. What factors can be behind
the military assuming control of the state?