A leading Pakistani politician criticised countries which had called for clemency for the condemned ex-premier, Z A Bhutto. Maulana Mufti Mahmud, president of the eight-party pro-Zia Pakistani National Alliance, accused Bhutto of being responsible for the deaths of hundreds of people during the anti-government agitation last year. Countries now appealing for commuting the death sentence on Bhutto did not ask him then to stop the murder of innocents, Mufti Mahmud said. Several countries have appealed to the military regime, some publicly and others privately, to spare Bhutto, who has been sentenced to death. Another anti-Bhutto religious politician, Maulana Abdul Sattar Niazi, secretary of the Jamiat-Ulema-e-Pakistan, urged Muslim countries to avoid calling for clemency for the deposed leader.
CHAVAN ON CONGRESS
Y B Chavan, leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha, ruled out the possibility of a merger between the two Congresses. He said in Calicut that he was personally against merger of the two parties. The Maharashtra experiment of coalition has been tried only to avoid President’s rule in the state, he added. He termed the charge of the Congress (I) that the Congress was in league with the Janata as “silly, mischievous and baseless”.
Sanjay Gandhi was summoned to appear before the Shah Commission in connection with the hearings on the demolitions in Andheria Mor and Kapashera and the police firing at Turkman Gate. The commission resumes its hearings on March 27. The first case to be taken up relates to the import of an aircraft by Swami Dhirendra Brahmachari.
Close on the heels of the Centre’s decision to drop the move to enact preventive detention law in place of MISA, the Jammu and Kashmir government decided to scrap all “dreadful” provisions of the controversial Public Safety Ordinance. An amended form of the bill will be introduced in the assembly in the coming days with the maximum punishment of imprisonment reduced to one year from two.