ARY Special

Top Five Most Shocking Military Coups of the World

As Pakistan is facing a political crisis that many fear can bring a revolution or a military takeover, we have made a list of five of the most shocking military coups of the world.

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Interestingly, after a proper analysis, we found that two of the five belong to Pakistan while out of all five dictators, only Pakistan’s Pervez Musharraf’s reign was considered better than the government he toppled.

Let’s take a look at the five Coup d’état.

5. MALI- March, 2012 

The 2012 Malian coup d’etat began on 21 March, when renegade Malian soldiers attacked several locations in the capital Bamako, including the presidential palace, state television, & military barracks.
The soldiers declared the following day that they had overthrown the government of Amadou Toumani Toure, forcing him into hiding.

The coup was all the more unexpected because of the presidential elections scheduled for April 29.

Mr. Touré long ago announced that he would respect the Constitution and not seek another term. That attitude was in sharp contrast to what has occurred in neighboring countries — Senegal, Niger and Ivory Coast — whose leaders have sought to hang on to power past constitutional limits. African news media have cited Mr. Touré as an exemplar for the region over the last year.

4. PAKISTAN- October, 1999

In October, 1999 senior officers loyal to army chief Gen. Pervez Musharraf arrested PM Nawaz Sharif and his ministers after thwarting the Sharif regime’s attempt to dismiss Musharraf and prevent his plane from landing in Pakistan as he returned from a visit to Sri Lanka.

Two days later, on 14 October 1999, Musharraf declared a state of emergency and issued a Provisional Constitutional Order.

The Supreme Court of Pakistan declared the coup to be legal, but ordered that the army rule be limited to three years. Consequently, Musharraf held a national referendum on allowing himself to continue his rule, on 30 April 2002.

Interestingly, people of Pakistan consider Musharraf’s rule better than any civilian leader till today in terms of economic growth and good governance.

On 18 August 2008, Musharraf announced his resignation. On the following day, he defended his nine-year rule in an hour-long televised speech.

3. TURKEY- February, 1997

The military has long seen itself as the “guardian of Turkish democracy,” which it defines as the staunchly secular state created by Mustafa Kemal Ataturk, the founder of the modern Turkish republic. It has directly intervened three times in Turkish politics, and in 1997 it carried out what some scholars describe as a “postmodern coup.”

The 1995 election led to overwhelming gains for the Islamist Welfare party, which took power the following year as the head of a coalition government.

So in 1997 the military issued a series of “recommendations,” which the government had no choice but to accept. The prime minister, Necmettin Erbakan, agreed to a compulsory eight-year education programme (to prevent students from enrolling in religious schools), a headscarf ban at universities, and other measures. Erbakan was then forced to resign.

The Welfare party was shut down in 1998, and Erbakan was banned from politics for five years.

Some former members of the party, including current prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, would eventually go on to found the Justice and Development Party.

2. PAKISTAN- July, 1977

“What is the Constitution? It is a booklet with ten or twelve pages. I can tear them up and say that from tomorrow, we shall live under a different system. Is there anybody to stop me? Today the people will follow wherever I lead. All the politicians, including the once mighty Mr Bhutto, will follow me with their tails wagging.”

— General Ziaul Haq

Reported by Iranian publication, Kayhan International, on September 18, 1977.

Operation Fair Play was the code-name for the coup d’etat conducted at midnight on July 4, 1977 by the Pakistani military led by army chief General Zia-ul-Haq against the government of then-Pakistani PM Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. At midnight, Zia ordered the arrest of Bhutto, dissolved the National and provincial assemblies, and suspended the Constitution of Pakistan.
Zia also ordered the arrest of senior PPP  leaders but promised elections in October.

Bhutto was released on 29 July and was received by a large crowd of supporters in his Larkana, his home town. He immediately started tours across the country, delivering speeches to large crowds to come back politically but was arrested again on 3 September and was charged with conspiracy to murder Nawab Mohammed Ahmed Qasuri , the father of a party politician Ahmad Raza Qasuri, the alleged target in an assault on his car on 11 November 1974.

As expected and feared,court found Zulfikar Ali Bhutto guilty of murder and sentenced him to death on March 18, 1978.

Zia died in a plane crash on 17 August 1988. After witnessing a U.S. M1 Abrams tank demonstration in Bahawalpur, Zia had left the small town in the Punjab province by C-130B Hercules aircraft.

Zia-ul-Haq’s rule was a period of extreme tyranny and oppression.

1. August 1975, Bangladesh

The coup of 15 August, 1975 was organized by officers of Bangladesh Army led by Major Syed Faruqe Rahman and Major Rashid.

The coup resulted in the assassination of President and founder of Bangladesh Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, his entire family, and several ministers and leaders of the Awami League.

The Army personnel went there with a tank and machine guns and killed Sheikh Mujib’s whole family one by one. They were almost defenseless at that moment. Sheikh Mujibar Rahman was shot few times in the chest in his staircase.

At the time of his assassination, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman was serving as the President of Bangladesh. He had a slight idea that this could take place but he trusted his men and never thought that he could be betrayed by his own men.

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