Pakistan's new martial law administration today imposed harsh, Islamic-style punishments for a variety of offenses, including amputation of a thief's hand and whipping of a man who "insults the modesty of any woman" by word, deed or gesture.
The regime also began dismantling the machinery of political violence assembled during the six years of former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's rule.
The tough orders announced by Chief Martial Law Administrator Gen. Mohammed Zia ul-Haq are based on the Koran, the Islamic holy book. They are practiced in just a few countries, notably Saudi Arabia and Libya.
Bhutto's political opponents in the Pakistan National Alliance had been agitating for the imposition of these laws before Zia staged his bloodless coup Tuesday and arrested the Alliance's leaders along with the former prime minister.
An Alliance source said tonight, however, that the organization was not pleased by the army imposing the harsh, Islamic ordinances. "This shows that the army, or someone in it, is ambitious," he said. "They're seeking popular support instead of just maintaining discipline while preparing for fresh elections."
This comment reflected fairly widespread concern among Pakistanis that Zia, himself a doctrinaire Moslem, does not intend to give up power and hold elections.
The opposition nevertheless has been generally pleased by the start investigations into excesses allegedly committed by the former government.
One inquiry is beginning into allegations of officially sanctioned kidnapings and torture of political figures. Another investigation is under way into the conduct of the former head of a paramilitary force set up by Bhutto.
The junta, has also issued edicts sharply limiting the number of firearms in the hands of political party workers. According to a variety of Pakistanis and foreign sources, Bhutto issued thousands of arms licenses to his followers in anticipation of campaigning for fresh national elections in October.
Meanwhile, an election commission has begun drafting rules for the campaign, which Zia has promised will be held according to the schedule tentatively agreed upon by Bhutto and the Alliance.
Bhutto and most members of his Cabinet along with the major Alliance leaders are being held under "protective custody" in the hill resort town of Murree, 30 miles north of Rawalpindi. An Alliance source said today he expects all the detained leaders to be released in two more weeks to begin preparations for the campaign.
While inquiries have began into charges involving Bhutto's government, that there is speculation on whether the martal law administration intends to follow through on Alliance claims of Bhutto's own involvement in alleged excesses.
At a Moslem service on Friday, Zia told worshippers demanding punishment for Bhutto that it was not Islamic to behave in this way. Political observers have noted that he might have reasons for not wanting to probe allegations against the former prime minister.
One is that to do so would effectively eliminate Bhutto from the election, severely hampering Bhutto's party and making the vote virtually meaningless.
A second reason suggested by one experienced observer is that if Bhutto should be returned to power. Zia would not want to be in a position of having launched investigations against him.
In one inquiry into allegations of kidnapping and torture, the Lahore high court has ordered former Punjab State Minister Chowdhury Mohammed Irshad to appear next Saturday to substantiate his claims of being abducted and detained for nearly two years at a concentration camp. Irshad, a dissidentmember of Bhutto's party, left the camp following Tuesday's coup.
According to informed political sources, some 1,200 political prisoners were held at the concentration camp, known as Dulai, and many of them were subjected to brutal torture.
Here in Rawalpindi, an investigation has been ordered into the conduct of the former director general of the para-military Field Security Force, Masood Mahmood. The FSF, as the 20,000 man force is known, was established by Bhutto in 1973 to combat civil disorders.
A new FSF chief has been appointed, but according to official sources, the organization may be abolished.
The force was used frequently against opposition demonstrators during the three months of violence following the March general elections.