March 20, 1978, Forty years ago: Arabs for Bhutto
Arabs for Bhutto
While diplomatic circles in Islamabad had been speculating that Z A Bhutto, deposed prime minister of Pakistan, would certainly be sentenced to death on charges of political murder, grave concern is now being expressed in these very quarters over the political future of Pakistan if he is finally hanged. In spite of the fact that the Lahore High Court judgment was received here by general public here with “shock” and “surprise”, the government has refrained from making any comment. However, diplomats of someArab countries with whom Bhutto had struck personal relationship, say that if the Pakistan Supreme Court confirmed the death sentence, the leaders of Saudi Arabia and Libya would especially intervene to ask Gen Zia ensure the death sentence was not carried out.
States’ own council
While the National Development Council, at the end of its two-day meeting in New Delhi decided to form committee to look into Centre-state fiscal relations, 11 chief ministers have chosen to hold their own conference in Chandigarh in the last week of April to discuss exactly that. According ta the Punjab chief minister, Prakash Singh Badal, the states that have agreed to participate in the Chandigarh meeting are Punjab, Jammu and Kashmir, West Bengal, Ttipura, Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Assam, Orissa and Bihar.
The police resorted to unleashing lathi charge and tear gas on about 1,500 Congress-I supporters outside the Prime Minister Morarji Desai’s residence after they had tried to break the cordon and clashed with thepolice. Later, 200 demonstrators were arrested for rioting, and obstructing and assaulting public servants on duty. Their, leader, Lalit Maken, a close associate of Indira Gandhi and her son, Sanjay Gandhi, was among them.