LARKANA: President Zulfikar Ali Bhutto announced today [Jan 22] that the provincial Assemblies will be convened on March 23 and provincial ministries will be formed immediately thereafter. … The President promised to deal with the question of the lifting of the Martial Law and the convening of the National Assembly in his next statement. He did not, however, say when that would come. Today’s announcement by President Bhutto fulfils his promise to give before January 25, the details of the first phase of his plans to restore complete democracy in the country. — News agencies

[Meanwhile, as reported by the staff correspondent from Karachi,] President Z. A. Bhutto’s datelining the ushering in of representative governments in the provinces coupled with his categorical assurance of relegating the Martial Law to the background in regard to the administration of provincial affairs evoked mixed reactions in political circles... . People’s Party sources were happy over the President’s announcement considering it a step forward towards restoration of democracy, despite a most critical situation in the country. The rival situation camps were, however, unanimous in their criticism of the time-table laid down for convening the Provincial Assemblies and for holding elections to the local bodies.

Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2022

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