“Mr. Rajiv, you want to attack Pakistan, go ahead and do it. But keep in mind that after this the World would forget Hulagu Khan & Gengis Khan & will only remember Zia-ul-Haq & Rajiv Gandhi. Because this will not be a Conventional War but a Nuclear War. In this situation, Pakistan might be completely destroyed, but Muslims will still be there in the World, but however with the destruction of India, Hinduism will vanish from the face of this earth.”

–Pakistan President General Zia-ul-Haq, 1987.


These words were said to Indian PM Rajiv Ghandi at the end of a visit of India. Even though the laws and polices of Zia’s time damaged the nation, at the international stage he projected the image of a strong Pakistan, so much so that at this meeting, the Indian side was shocked at how calmly he ha said such a thing. Such a show of strength, even by a tyrant, is why we look nostalgically back at our military dictators. Zia could say such things as he was not accountable to the people; he was not worried about votes and diplomacy. A civilian leader has to take many many players on board before he can say such a thing.