Forty Years Ago, March 9, 1977: Bhutto Sweeps Poll

The ruling Pakistan People’s Party won a resounding election victory with final returns giving it 155 seats in the 216-seat National Assembly.

Published:March 9, 2017 12:18 am
 Z Bhutto, Pakistan People's Party, Maulana Mufti Mahmud, Indira Gandhi, Indira Gandhi Madras, Indira Gandhi Marina beach rally, Krishnan Chander, Krishnan Chander death March 9, 1977

The ruling Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) won a resounding election victory with final returns giving it 155 seats in the 216-seat National Assembly. Minister Z. Bhutto’s PPP will also receive 16 seats set aside for women and minority groups and the support of eight Independent parliamentarians elected from tribal areas. The Pakistan National Alliance, formed by nine opposition parties shortly after elections were called in January, won 33 seats, fewer than it had expected to take. The chairman of the nine-party opposition alliance, Maulana Mufti Mahmud, charged that Bhutto had rigged the elections — the first held in Pakistan under a civilian government. After winning the elections, Bhutto imposed a ban on rallies and marches until further notice in view of violence . According to official sources quoted by Pakistani Radio, eight people were killed and 130 others injured in incidents. The only woman in the field of 115 candidates, Begum Naseem Wali Khan, won a seat in the North-West Frontier Province. She is the wife of Abdul Wali Khan, imprisoned leader of the banned National Awami Party (NAP).

Indira In Madras

Prime Minister Indira Gandhi said that the issue in the current elections was what direction the country would take and not whether she would continue as prime minister. “No one person is indispensable. The question is what direction this country is going to take, what kind of society we want to have, and what sort of public life we want for India.” Addressing a huge meeting on the Marina in Chennai, she said elections were not a game but involved the lives of people.

RIP Krishan Chander

Krishan Chander, noted Urdu novelist and Hindi film writer, died in Bombay of a heart attack, at the age of 62. He is survived by his wife, noted writer Salma Siddiqui. He was a prominent member of the Progressive Writer’s Association.

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