Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto! (January 5, 1928-April 4, 1979)

BY:M Waqar

January 5, we celebrate birthday of Z A Bhutto, a leader, politician, revolutionary, who after his execution in Pakistan on April 4, 1979, still lives on in the hearts and minds of millions of Pakistanis, and the party that he founded still possesses the largest permanent voting bank in Pakistan. The possibility of the secular, democratic Pakistan that he had in mind, like Pakistan 's founder, Jinnah has earned ZAB the title of Quaid-i-Awam . Z. A. Bhutto has still more charisma than any politician in Pakistan. Mr Bhutto was inducted into office as the President of Pakistan in 1971 and was removed in 1977, both events took place around midnight; one in the wake of a war and the other in the shadow of a civil war. In between he gave the country what even his sympathizers and admirers would concede was a 'strong' government, he mobilized his country's first mass-based political party around a socialist ideology and highly independent foreign policy. Pakistan's modernizer Zulfikar Ali Bhutto left deep footprints in the sands of history. To his lasting credit remains the 1973 Constitution of the country, the
Shimla Accord of 1972 which brought the longest peace between India and Pakistan, the social reforms to build an egalitarian society, the non-aligned foreign policy, the nuclear programme and the building of the social, economic and military infrastructure of the country. He was a thinker, author and orator. He was deliberate, discreet, and competent; honest, upright and keeper of his covenants. He was a friend of the poor, downtrodden and oppressed. Fearless in his beliefs he refused to bow before any man or power other than the Almighty. His courage was such that he preferred to face death for his beliefs and embraced martyrdom. He had profound faith in freedom and the liberation of humanity. Under his government, Pakistan gave overt and covert support to the African nations than under apartheid and minority rule. He rejected fanaticism. He gave pride to the poor.
He gave voice to the voiceless and power to the powerless of the country. He helped them shape their own destiny and the destiny of their country. He was a man of honour who gave honour and raised the honour of his country and his people. He was able to do this because the people of the country from Khyber to the shores of the Arabian sea in Karachi loved him and supported him. Bhutto brought back 90,000 prisoners of war, prevented their war crime trials and also restored the territory lost on the battlefield. As leader of the Third World he spoke boldly against racism, colonialism and imperialism. He fearlessly defended the right of nations to independence. When the 1973 Ramazan war broke out, he sent Pakistan's military to defend the borders of the Muslim countries, including the Golan Heights of Syria. ZAB's short life of 50 years was spent in the service of many international, regional and national causes. The most important and the most enduring legacy of the Quaid-i-Awam was raising the consciousness of the people for democracy. He awakened the masses, making them realise they were the legitimate fountainhead of political power. He enlightened the farmer, the industrial worker, the student, the woman and the rest of the common people of their importance and of their right of franchise, which is the definite means of bringing changes for the betterment of the lives of the common people. Z. A. Bhutto's rule brought a transformation of Pakistan's rules of the game, a new populist style of governance, a new governmentality, he favoured a much more active role of the state in relation to society, he reshaped the economic and political landscape of Pakistan. He reached out to masses, aroused their feelings and disciplined their minds. The role of Bhutto family in the uplifting of the poor is unforgettable. Z A Bhutto is the first person in Pakistan who has given voice to the common people. Z. A. Bhutto remains alive in hearts of millions of Pakistanis. It was a miracle that in less than half a decade a defeated nation had become a significant entity in the comity of nations. Pakistan had friends all around the globe from Africa to the far corner of Asia and from Europe to South America. We were regarded as a nation which had proved itself. Pakistani manpower was exported in the Middle East and the statesmanship of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had started bearing fruit. Under Z A Bhutto's rule, a new vision of Pakistan was born. Within a few years of the defeat in 1971, Pakistan began to see itself not as some beleaguered non-entity in South Asia, as the Indian establishment was prone to see it, but as a strategically located middle-sized power straddling the two worlds of South and West Asia, uniquely poised to take advantage of a host of geopolitical possibilities and enjoying widespread support among the Islamic states. He is one of the few Pakistani leaders that energized the nation and gave it a sense of optimism. Z A Bhutto, saw the future of Pakistan. Like Jinnah he outwitted Indira Gandhi at Shimla and formed alliances with various world leaders, from Sadaat, to Boumediene to Qaddafi to Faisal. Pakistan survives today because of those alliances that enabled him to build the Nuclear bomb. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto understood the geo-political realities of the region. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto has earned a place in the pantheon of leaders from the Third World who earned everlasting fame in the struggle against colonialism and imperialism. He had the privilege of interacting with many of those leaders who played a great role in the epic struggle for national independence in the 20th century, including Mao Tse Tung, Ahmed Soekarno, Chou-en Lai, Gamal Abdel Nasser and Salvador Allende. During the period between the end of the Second World War and the end of the Cold War, the world was divided into two blocs: The Capitalist West and the Socialist East. All these leaders aspired to aspects of a socialist pattern of economy. Bhutto shared their faith in a leading role for the public sector as an instrument of self-reliance. Bhutto's foundation of the PPP was a setback for the reactionary forces in a country long dominated by the Right. The slogan of "Food, Shelter and Clothing" shifted the focus of Pakistan politics from theological to economic issues. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had the courage of his conviction to decide to lay down his life rather than compromise or seek appeasement. The last chapter of his life is a glorious example of martyrdom for the cause of resurrection of democracy. At the time of his overthrow, Bhutto was emerging as a spokesman of the World of Islam and the leader of the Third World. The age of Bhutto was an Age of Revolution, he was the architect of the China Policy, Pakistan Steel Mill, Agriculture Reforms. Although his life and career were cruelly terminated, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto will forever shine in history as one of the Great leaders who took part in the liberation of the Third World from the yoke of Imperialism and Neo Colonialism during the Twentieth Century. He could have easily entered into a deal, as others did, at the cost of principles, to save his life and move out. How cruel it strikes to bring down such a sincere leader like Bhutto with rare caliber, competence and integrity, Bhutto never colluded with generals, he confronted them. Mr. Bhutto remains a memorable figure . He commanded the allegiance of millions of people inside Pakistan, across the Muslim world and in the Third World as a hero of the people. His leadership gave pride to his followers, to his Nation and to oppressed people everywhere. He conquered the hearts of a Nation through supreme qualities of leadership, vision, intellectual breadth, charisma, dauntlessness, bravery, boldness and a programme for political redemption of an exploited people, he built the foundations of education and industrialization in the country. He liberated the small farmers and peasants from the repression and cruelty of big landlords and banished the jagirdari and sardari system declaring that all citizens are born equal and must live with equal rights. The Taliban, the terrorist groups and the new war against terror are the direct result of the overthrow of the modernizing government of Z. A. Bhutto and its replacement by a clique of military officers that cynically used the name of religion to promote their own illegal stay in power. Quaid e Awam was murdered but his memory lives on in the monuments he built. It lives on in his ideas. And it lives on in the hearts of all men and women who believe that humanity can only progress when there is tolerance, freedom, dignity and equal opportunity for all. Pakistan survived due to the leadership of a bold and courageous leader, a people's leader, who had the vision to break the shackles of poverty to emancipate his people and lead them into a new decade of glory, strength and achievement. Quaid e Awam built the most modern schools, colleges, universities, professional colleges, vocational training institutes, including Quaid-e-Azam University, Allama Iqbal Open University, Chandka Medical College and many others. He built hospitals to take care of the sick and poor. He opened the way for the middle classes to develop and prosper in the fields of medicine, engineering , law and other specialist studies. He introduced peaceful nuclear energy to help treat cancer setting up the first cancer treating institutes in the four provinces of Pakistan. He built roads in the tribal areas and the Northern areas knowing how poor and oppressed people in the distant areas of Pakistan were. Internationally, using his experience as Foreign Minister, he hosted the Islamic Summit Conference in Lahore. It was at this conference that the Palestinian Liberation Organization was recognized as the authentic voice of the Muslims. He advocated closer relations with the Muslim countries arguing for a common economic bloc with banking and other financial institutions long before regional blocs became identified as the economic way forward. Bhutto pushed politics out of the posh drawing rooms into real Pakistan - into the muddy lanes and villages of the poor. Bhutto's inspiring leadership filled Pakistanis with hope, energy and strength. There was a sense of purpose and direction in the country in pursuit of peace and prosperity. The economic growth rate increased and money poured in from expatriates who got the universal right to passport. The Muslim countries donated roughly $500 million annually to Pakistan, freeing it of international financial institutions. The people got jobs and opportunities. Women of the country were emancipated entering the police force, Foreign, Civil Service and subordinate judiciary for the first time in the country's history. There is a story that the American President John F. Kennedy was much impressed with the then Foreign Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. When they met, Kennedy walked with him in the Rose Garden and said, "Bhutto, if you were an American, you would be in my Cabinet". To which Zulfikar Ali Bhutto smilingly replied, "No, Mr. President. If I were an American, you would be in my cabinet". Z A Bhutto, was highly skilled negotiator and an international statesman, he secured the agreement between USSR and Pakistan, he signed an agreement with China on demarcation of the Sino-Pak boundary. When he became President, Pakistan had innumerable problems, but he was not a man to be cowed down by knotty problems, he was in fact, a dynamo of inexhaustible and boundless creative energy, he was born to solve problems , he had to tackle the problems of shattered country by a methodical system of fixing priorities. Bhutto the adroit politician and statesman tackled the difficult problems of his country one by one with devotion, determination and patriotic zeal and solved them successfully. Since his assumption of power this great man of vision and destiny, equipped with resolute will, extraordinary intelligence and seething patriotic zeal fought successfully against the landlords, capitalists, industrialists, religious fanatics, corrupt bureaucrats, saboteurs, foreign intriguers and spies, he stood like a rock against all odds and achieved national unity, he worked hard for the emancipation of the exploited working class and illiterate masses. His cruel and barbaric murder by military despots caused revulsion across the globe, Z A Bhutto dedicated his life to remove the sorrows from the hearts of the poor and the oppressed, to remove the tears from the children of his poor nation. He lived consciously to make history and to leave a legacy in the form of the development of his nation, his fight was a fight against the policies of IMF, which serve to perpetuate the backwardness of the developing nations. Bhutto is rightfully credited with saving Pakistan at this dark moment in its history, as French President Giscard d'Estaing said, "he was the man who incarnated Pakistan at a dramatic hour of its history. Tolstoy in the last volume of his War and Peace expressed that history is a movement of ideas in which political leaders play a minor role. Sometimes the movement of ideas is indeed rapid. Yet, at times, the movement of ideas is slower than the melting of the glaciers. The movement of ideas is facilitated in a vibrant political and democratic culture, which gives room for dissent and disagreement. In dictatorial societies, history remains static in a cold freeze. And so it was in Pakistan before Quaid-i-Awam. He was the one who converted that static and decayed dictatorial polity into a vibrant and dynamic democratic society; the cost of which he paid with his own life. He who gave his blood, and the blood of his sons and daughter, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, knew that there can be no sacrifice greater than the sacrifice for the people whose respect, honour and dignity is the respect and dignity of the Nation. Quaid e Awam made the people proud of themselves and of their Nation. The 20th century has seen many great leaders, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is one of them. Due to his glorious achievements, Mr. Bhutto rules the hearts of the Pakistani people from his grave. He was not only the leader of Pakistan, he was the leader of an Islamic world, the leader of Third World. He will forever be remembered by his countrymen as Quaid-e-Awam. As his followers say, "Zinda Hai Bhutto, Zinda Hai"--Bhutto lives, he lives. Indeed he does, in the hearts of all those who dream of a better tomorrow. Long Live Bhuttoism….

Nawaz Sharif's prank

Editoria:Frontier Post

Is it mere hypocrisy, skullduggery, petty politicking or just a sheer puerility, this prank of the head honcho of his own PML faction, Mian Nawaz Sharif? He says if his PML (N) returns to power in the next election, he would set up yet again military courts in Sindh to rid the province of what he termed the dacoit rule. But these military courts were declared unconstitutional by the nation’s highest court, the Supreme Court of Pakistan, he surely would know. Then how does this erstwhile conqueror of the Supreme Court and Amirul Momineen-aspirant square up his fancy of military courts with his new clothing of a reinvented democrat wholly devoted to noninterference of military in the civilian affairs and whole-heartedly committed to the independence of judiciary? Of course, time will test the new-acquired credentials of this intrinsically a dwarf who by a conspiracy of circumstances has been catapulted to a position of eminence in the national politics, although the portents have never been any cheery, notwithstanding the flattering chirpings of the shoal of his acolytes, sidekicks and hangers-on. His track record is, verily, not any inspiring. If for sheer opportunism he could ditch his pals of the All Parties Democratic Movement (APDM),

which incidentally he himself had cobbled up, and fling into the electoral ring under the military dictator without a prick of conscience, what guarantee is there he would not kick out a democratic norm he would find inconvenient and rebuff a judicial verdict found uncomfortable or hard? But is it written in some scriptures that he has to put on display his intellectual shallowness and innate irrationality again and again? Courts come later; first come the nabbing of criminals. After all, you cannot put the cart before the horse. What then has he thought of catching criminals? That is crucial to know but he is just blank on that score. But if practice tells a man, not his vow, Nawaz

certainly fares very poorly on that critical scale. For chasing and nabbing criminals and law-breakers, you necessarily have to have the full police force out on public duty, not on VIP duty. But right under his own nose in his bastion of Punjab, the bulk of police force and police assets are deployed on VIP security, not the people’s protection, under the watch of his own younger sibling. And if media reports are to be believed, he himself is savouring that privileged protection to the fill.So if that is to be the practice, which in all probability it would be, if he does make to the guddi yet again, then where will be a police force to catch criminals and bring them up to his touted military courts for trial and punishment? Surely, the dacoit raj of his perception would keep ruling the roost. It is as simple as that. But, for a change, this self-professed reinvented democrat could afford to give a pause to a distraught and weary people and not play pranks on their nagging distresses and woes. Fighting out criminality and criminals, he must know, is a very serious business. It is not just establishment of military courts. It is more policies, strategies and action plans. He has not shown as yet if he has anything in his mind on this score. Had he had it, Punjab definitely would not have been in the lap of mounting criminality as is it in veritably. He would have guided his younger sibling in ridding their Punjab bastion of the vile scourge. Obviously, his mind is bereft of any ideas or plans. Indeed, had the two brothers purged Punjab of crime, Nawaz would have come across a credible preacher and campaigner to the people of Sindh to free them from the wickedness of criminals. But since in the sea of criminality Punjab is sailing as badly, if not worse, as Sindh, his listeners in Sindh must be laughing in their hearts that if military courts are such a silver bullet in mowing down the thugs, why have the brothers not used it in their own domain. Of course, one can understand the nervousness that a rising political star has driven the brothers into unbearably by storming into their long-held barns. But petty politicking couldn’t be unbounded. One has to refrain from playing politics on a people’s distress and grief and not add insult to their injury. Certainly, the people of Sindh would do without his joke of military courts. Those, in any case, were not as popular with them as has he mistakenly given himself to the belief. Those were very controversial, despite his blatant use of the then state-controlled electronic media to put a very charming contour on them. Perhaps, he doesn’t know this.

Dacoits’ raj begins in Punjab at sunset

Opposition members in the Punjab Assembly staged a walk out from the House on Tuesday for being not allowed to speak on the deteriorating law and order situation in the province.While raising the slogans of “Shame Shame”, the opposition members said the situation in the province has gone from bad to worse but no one was ready to listen to the views of the elected representatives. They said no body from the provincial government was ready to respond to the opposition demands and in their place speaker starts giving his opinion.Leader of the Opposition, Raja Riaz said that as night falls in Punjab, dacoits become active and start ruling the entire province.Speaking on a point of order, he said that the provincial chief minister was absent in this situation and taunted that perhaps he has gone to Turkey. Raja Riaz said there is no government worth its name and police have failed.He said 14 people were killed in Gujranwala during broad day light while seven others were murdered in Lalamusa. He opined that bribe rate at police stations has increased ten times.At this Law Minister Raana Sanaullah stood up and said they would tell the opposition where the corruption has increased by 10% and 110%. He said those who plundered the national wealth were disturbing the atmosphere in the house to divert people’s attention from their own corruption.When Raja Riaz again tried to speak, the speaker did not give him the floor. This infuriated the opposition and some of the PPP and PML-Q members walked out of the house. However, opposition seemed divided over the walkout issue as some of their colleagues remained sitting and raising slogans against the behaviour of the treasury benches.While Speaker Rana Mohammad Iqbal in a louder voice asked the opposition to return to their seats, Law Minister Rana Sanaullah held the speaker responsible for the situation by not allowing the opposition to speak.

Salmaan Taseer: a year later...

EDITORIAL: Daily Times

Today marks the first death anniversary of late Governor Punjab and founder-publisher of Daily Times Salmaan Taseer. Mr Taseer was gunned down by one of his bodyguards on January 4, 2011. His self-confessed murderer, Mumtaz Qadri, was a fanatic who took it upon himself to silence a voice of reason because some elements in our society cannot tolerate reforms. Mr Taseer was not just a successful businessman or an ordinary politician; he was a man with a vision. He was a strong proponent of a democratic and progressive Pakistan where human rights would be safeguarded and where the minorities would be treated as equal citizens. His vision espoused what the founding fathers of Pakistan envisioned for our country. Today, we have done everything humanly possible in complete opposition to what Mr Jinnah stood for and what he wanted to see in this country.

Salmaan Taseer lost his life because he stood up for the rights of a Christian woman who was charged with alleged blasphemy. His stance was not just about Aasia Bibi — it was about hundreds of others, a majority of them Muslims — who are languishing in Pakistani prisons over frivolous charges due to the much-abused blasphemy laws. It was also about those who have been victims of vigilante (in)justice at the hands of the obscurantist forces. Neither military nor civilian governments have been able to do anything to reverse the changes in the blasphemy laws ever since General Ziaul Haq and his protégés made draconian amendments to the original blasphemy laws introduced by the British in the Indian subcontinent. When a debate on these flawed laws came to the fore during the present Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) government, there were only a few who supported any amendment or repeal of the blasphemy laws. With the brutal assassination of Mr Taseer, arguably by a lone fanatic, the debate slowly but surely died. Federal Minister for Minorities Shahbaz Bhatti tried to keep the debate alive but his murder on March 2, 2011, was a clear signal that any debate on this issue should end right there and then. It is indeed a tragedy that two politicians lost their lives at the hands of extremists but their mission of a pluralistic Pakistan could not be carried forward despite their sacrifices. It seems as if the Pakistani state and society have abandoned all notions of what is right and wrong.

There are grave implications for Pakistan in abandoning the road to a democratic, secular and progressive Pakistan. Regressive forces are not just united in their fight against this notion but also out to silence saner elements by hook or by crook. Unfortunately, our media has played into their hands. The media played a dark role in Mr Taseer’s murder by vilifying him at every possible opportunity. Optimists could be forgiven for thinking the media would have learnt its lesson after Mr Taseer’s death but it seems that some sections of the media are still engaging in defamation and playing a part in incitement to violence and murder of those who talk about reforming the system in defence of the minorities and human rights. This is not just highly irresponsible but criminal. It is time to stop this madness. The government and society at large is not prepared to do what is necessary to put a stop to all this. If we want to move forward in the comity of nations, we will have to stand together and fight extremism.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s 84th birth anniversary on 5th

Sindh PPP president and Chief Minister Syed Qaim Ali Shah said on Sunday that 84th birth anniversary ceremonies of founder chairman of party and first elected prime minister of Pakistan Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto would be held across the province on Jan 5. He said in a statement that all the divisional and district chapters of party have been directed to organise ceremonies in a befitting manner and after cutting the cakes, young generation be informed about life, philosophy and struggle of Shaheed Bhutto. The birthday ceremonies would also be held at taluka, city areas and union council and ward level

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to be remembered as architect of democracy

Pakistan Observer

The first democratically elected Prime Minister of Pakistan Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto will be remembered forever for his contribution to democratic norms, giving nation a unanimous 1973 constitution and providing respect and honour to the commonman. The nation will celebrate 84th birth anniversary of founder Chairman of Pakistan Peoples Party and former Prime Minister on January 5, with a renewed pledge to work for solidarity and strengthening democratic institutions. Bhutto was born on January 5, 1928.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto laid the foundation-stone of democratic process in the county with the formation of Pakistan Peoples Party on November 30, 1967.

Besides giving the nation a consensus Constitution, passed unanimously by the National Assembly on April 12, 1973, it was the credit of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to make the defence of the country invincible through initiating nuclear programme.

Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto will also be remembered for his struggle for the rights of poor masses as he gave the conscious to the common man to raise voice for his rights including the right to vote.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was the only son of Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto. He completed his early education from Bombay’s Cathedral High School and in 1947, he joined the University of Southern California, and later the University of California at Berkeley in June 1949.

After completing his degree with honors in Political Science at Berkeley in June 1950, he got admission in Oxford University.

Bhutto married to Nusrat Isphahani on September 8, 1951 and his first child, was former Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto, the first women prime minister of the Muslim World.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto launched Pakistan Peoples Party and in the general elections held in December 1970, the party won with vast majority in West Pakistan. Following the 1971 war and the separation of East Pakistan, Yahya Khan resigned and Bhutto took over as President on December 20, 1971. He took many practical measures to revive the honour, dignity and respect of commonman in the country.

After the National Assembly passed the 1973 Constitution, Bhutto was sworn-in as the Prime Minister on August 14, 1973

Besides starting major development projects, Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto made sincere efforts to host second Islamic Summit in Lahore on February 22, 1974.

General elections were held on March 7, 1977. The PPP emerged as the victorious but at the behest of General Ziaul Haq, Pakistan National Alliance, a political alliance of rightist forces accused government of so-called rigging in the elections.

Negotiations with PNA resumed and an Agreement was reached on June 8, 1977 for holding fresh elections on October 8, 1977. But on July 5, 1977 Chief of Army Staff General Ziaul Haq imposed Martial Law, dissolved the National Assembly, the Senate and provincial assemblies and held Constitution in abeyance.

Following a political crisis created by some elements for their vested interest, Zulfikar Bhutto was imprisoned by General Zia-ul-Haq.

On April 04, 1979, former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged, after the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence passed by the Lahore High Court.

Besides taking reforms in different fields, Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had many achievements to his credit including lifting of Martial Law on April 21, 1972, inauguration of Pakistan’s first Nuclear Power Plant at Karachi on November 28, 1972, establishment of Port Qasim Authority on June 27, 1973, starting of identity Cards for Citizens on July 28, 1973, agreement for repatriation of 93,000 prisoners of war from India on August 28, 1973, foundation Stone laying of Pakistan Steel Mill on December 30, 1973, establishment of Allama Iqbal Open University on May 21, 1974 and holding Pakistan’s first Seerat Conference on March 03, 1976.