Friday, April 4, 2014

Britney Spears - Toxic

4/4/14: White House Press Briefing

U.S. evaluating role in Middle East peace talks: Kerry

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says it's time for a ''reality check'' in the Middle East peace talks and that the U.S. will be evaluating what the next steps will be.

Pakistan: What were you thinking Prime Minister?
Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif has expressed the army’s reservations to Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif on the “unilateral release” of Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan (TTP) prisoners, Pakistan Today has learnt.
Reportedly, the army chief has claimed that the army was “kept in the dark” over the issue and has expressed displeasure over the release of Taliban prisoners without ensuring the release of the civilians in Taliban captivity. The government released 19 combatant and non-combatant inmates of TTP since March 21 while another 100 prisoners are to be released in the next few days. Reportedly, this move has not gone well with the military top brass. There is no word either from the government or the TTP whether or not the civilians and the security personnel kept by the militants in captivity would also be released in the prisoner swap.
Sources privy to the details of the meeting at the Prime Minister’s House confided that this was perhaps the first expression of serious differences between the army leadership and the government since the dialogue process had commenced. The sources added that if not handled prudently, this move may affect the relationship between the civil and military leadership despite the fact that Gen Raheel was handpicked by the prime minister and both had to develop a good working relationship.
Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan, Inter-Services Intelligence (ISI) Director General Lt Gen Zaheerul Islam and PM’s Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs Syed Tariq Fatemi also attended the meeting.
The army’s top brass also conveyed to the premier its concerns that apparently the move by the government without consulting the khakis or winning anything in a bargain was a bid to ‘appease’ the militants who had used pressure tactics to make the civilian leadership succumb to their pressure. The sources said that the army leadership also conveyed to the civilian leadership that classifying the TTP militants as combatants and non-combatants was also childish as approximately all the militants were hardened criminals and getting evidence against them in tribal areas was next to impossible given their might and fear in the area. “Combatants or non-combatants – they all are criminals and murderers. A division can’t be drawn. They are two faces of the same coin,” an insider said.
The source said that such a step by the government without input and feedback from the military leadership reflected that it was a bid to appease the militants and was tantamount to surrendering the writ of the state which had been challenged. “Thousands of soldiers have laid down their lives to arrest these killers. Now releasing these militant inmates without seeking advice from the security forces leadership is just like serving the objective of the Taliban. This would destroy all the gains made by the army in South Waziristan operation while the Taliban would now have an upper hand in the dialogue process. They have achieved a lot without surrendering even a single inmate and without firing a single shot,” the insider added.
The insider privy to the developments of the meeting told Pakistan Today that there was not a single word mentioned by either side pertaining to the gains the government had made in lieu of release of these 19 militants. “We have not been told what the government got in return of this release. Actually it was a unilateral move under pressure of a threat given by the TTP. It’s like surrender without ensuring the release of the detained civilians or the security personnel in the bargain.”
It is pertinent to mention here that following the meeting at the Prime Minister’s House, a meeting scheduled on Friday between the government and Taliban dialogue committees with the interior minister was postponed for today (Saturday).

Zardari stresses need to protect Pakistan from sectarianism

Former president Asif Ali Zardrai has stressed the need to protect Pakistan from sectarianism. Speaking on the occasion of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s death anniversary, he said on Friday that everybody needed to adopt the thought to save Pakistan. He said he would also talk to other ‘friends’ in this regard . the former president also asked intellectuals to guide as to how Pakistan should move forward. Zardri also spoke of “difficult situation” which he said Muslim world was facing.

VIDEO: Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari's speech at Garhi Khuda Bakhsh - 4th April 2014

Chairman #PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari's speech at Garhi Khuda Bakhsh - 4th April 2014 #CapitalTV from Capital TV on Vimeo.

A Tribute To Benazir Bhutto Pushto Song

Letter written to Quaid e Azam by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto

Letter written to Quaid e Azam by Zulfikar Ali... by abbtakktv

A great speech by zulfikar ali bhutto, a message for all of us

A great speech by zulfikar ali bhutto, a... by arsalan-jaraal

Bilawal Bhutto: 'Taliban dictatorship not acceptable'

The 35th death anniversary of former prime minister and founder of Pakistan People Party (PPP), Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was observed today.
Addressing a public gathering in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh on the occasion of 35th death anniversary of party’s founder Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Chairman Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has said that Taliban are deceiving in the name of negotiations, adding that his party won’t bow before savages. Bilawal said that those who termed Quaid-e-Azam as ‘Kaafir-e-Azam’ are being negotiated with today. He said that those who level allegations against PPP are politicking over children’s dead bodies.
He alleged that Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif only issued statements and made promises when he came to Tharparkar, claiming that Prime Minister’s team stopped aid of drought affectees. He said the nation is at a point of history right now where uncertainty prevails and every heart is filled with fear. “Terrorists want to take away our identities and existence,” he said, adding that people are asking for way from blind in the name of negotiations. “What did we do that history is not willing to forgive us?” he asked the audience. He said that the country is facing the crises today because the nation buried the man thirty five years ago that was akin to light for nation. “Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was a philosophy and ideology; he was the man upon whom the poor relied,” he said.
Bilawal said that it was his grandfather who transformed the country into an atomic power. He said that he is worried seeing Punjab as held hostage in the hands of terrorists, adding that this wouldn’t be the case if Z.A. Bhutto was alive. Pakistan needs a Bhutto once again today, he said. Lamenting at the privatization scheme of government, Bilawal said that nation’s house is being auctioned in the name of privatization, adding that no one even thought of taking the nation into confidence. Pakistan’s assets are capital of nation’s poor people, he said, adding that the nation will not be thrown in unemployment. Our nation has built these assets after making several sacrifices, he added. “If government cannot run the country, does this mean we should sell it?” He asked. Bilawal asked what price Pakistan has to pay for friendly money paid by friendly country. He said those who want to rob the country in the name of privatization are not friends.
He said the government has left the nation as professional beggars. Bilawal said that his party is descendant of martyrs, adding that dictatorship of Taliban will not be tolerated. Several Jiyalas- party workeers are confronting terrorists even today, he added. He said that his party’s government will not remain silent on demolishing of temples unlike Punjab government. Harming and burning minorities’ worship places is not Islam, he said, adding that the army is honourable and not anyone’s private property. He said that it is not wise to muddle in others’ war. Bilawal kept chanting “Khappay khappay Bhutto Khappay” slogan which literally means “Bhutto needed.”
According to details, a large number of workers of Pakistan Peoples party were present at a gathering at Garhi Khuda Baksh town in Larkana. Tight security arrangements were made on the occasion. Special functions were held to pay tribute to late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Born on January 5‚ 1928 Zulfikar Ali Bhutto laid the basis for the democratic process in the country with the formation of Pakistan People’s Party on November 30‚ 1967. Bhutto made country’s defence impregnable by starting nuclear programme. He made possible the consensus enactment of constitution of 1973.

Former president Zardari vows to fight forces of regression and bigotry
Former president Asif Ali Zardari has said that treading in the footsteps of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who rejected appeasement to save his life, Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) workers will reject the policy of appeasement and “vow to fight the forces of regression, bigotry and intolerance and not permit them foist their regressing political agenda through force.”
He said this in a message on the eve of the 35th death anniversary of the PPP founding chairman Bhutto.
“We must confront and not fear the bigots, the militants and the zealots. Only then we will be able to rebuild our lives; only then we will be able to live in dignity and honour and in peace and make progress.”
Rejecting extremism, he called for fighting discrimination against women, minorities and the marginalised behind the facade of religion.
Paying tributes to Bhutto for giving the unanimous constitution “that refuses to be extinguished”, Zardari said that the self-sustaining power of the constitution was demonstrated a few years ago when it was purged of the changes made by successive dictators.
Today the power and resilience of the constitution is at play yet again as a dictator, who sought to subvert it, has been chased and made accountable, he said. Bhutto’s life was curtailed in the prime of his life by those, who feared him the most through a macabre conspiracy hatched by some generals and judges of the time, he said.
But those very cowards, pygmies, dictators and political orphans, who conspired to eliminate Bhutto, are afraid of him even more while he is in grave, he said and recalled the words of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto that “by signing the death sentence, the conspirators hanged themselves and were forever condemned at the bar of history”. Zardari paid glowing tributes to the vision of Bhutto and recalled that retrieving the territory lost in the 1971 war, bringing back over 90,000 prisoners, holding of the OIC summit that recognized the Palestinian Liberation Organisation as the sole voice of the Palestinians and signing the Simla Agreement which together with scientific and technological capability gave Pakistan the longest spell of peace despite adventurism by dictators as some of the achievements.
It was Bhutto’s vision to build, along with Chairman Mao, strategic relationship with China at a time when it was shunned and isolated. Pakistan today is reaping the dividends of Bhutto’s vision, he said. The former president said that Bhutto publicly lent moral and material support to Syria when it was a victim of external aggression. At the same time, he also possessed the wisdom and the vision to avoid being sucked into internal civil strife of other countries, Zardari said.
He said that Bhutto was a conqueror of hearts and minds of the people and most ordinary people, who came in direct contact with him, became extraordinary.
Bhutto lifted the spirits of the people; gave them a dream and a hope; and led and illuminated the path of modernity and enlightenment, Zardari said. The former president also paid tributes to those, who suffered for the cause of democracy, saying that democracy, federalism and constitutionalism hold the key to our survival.

Z.A.BHUTTO.....A Legend,Who Still Rules !!!!!

ON this spring day, when flowers bloom and sparrows sing, all of nature joins in celebrating creation. For the multitudes of this stricken nation, though, April 4 is a sad reminder of the day when the shadows lengthened and darkness set in forever. Z.A Bhutto was hanged by a military dictator General Zia-Ul Haq by orchestrating a judicial trial to get rid of a popular leader. When the light was put off in one of the most brilliant shining stars in the galaxy in that dark night of April 4, 1979 Bhutto had already made indelible imprints on the sand of time, which no dictator could erase. When Zulfikar Ali Bhutto took the reins of a truncated Pakistan in December 1971, a new state was taking shape, not through gaining liberty , it had come into being because it had been decapitated and dismembered. Unlike 1947, there was no hope, no anticipation, no dreams, only distress and dejection. In 1947, Pakistan had to be built from the physical building blocks. In 1971, it had to be rebuilt psychologically. If Jinnah got a moth-eaten Pakistan, Bhutto got a truncated and traumatized Pakistan. He had to carry his charge forward through its first steps in a mocking world. He bore the pain and the passion of a new Pakistan. It was like the first chapter of Genesis. Myriad problems and challenges confronted Pakistan, both at home and abroad. Over 5,000 square miles of territory lay under enemy occupation and 90,000 prisoners of war, 20,000 of them civilians, were languishing in Indian jails. Not a day passed without the anguished cry of thousands of sisters, mothers and relatives reverberating across the country. The humiliating vision of Pakistani soldiers surrendering to General Aurora at the Dhaka Race Course haunted our people. An empty treasury, a tottering economy, an all-pervading sense of gloom - it seemed we were set to collapse in a slow dance of death. Globally, Pakistan had become a pariah. Indira Ghandi threatened and taunted us from across the border while Mujibur Rehman ranted and raved about war trials and demanded a share from our empty coffers. There was a mountain to climb and soon the mountain would become an Everest. But ZAB moved with amazing alacrity in all directions. "We have to pick up the pieces, very small pieces," he declared in his opening address to the nation.
Brick by brick, the edifice of a shattered Pakistan was rebuilt from the debris of defeat and dismemberment. An ailing economy was nursed back to health. In line with the PPP manifesto, agricultural reforms were introduced and land distributed amongst the landless peasants. Labour unions were allowed and the minimum wage for labour was fixed. He gave Pakistan its first constitution, nuclear programme, held peace talks with India and brought 90,000 POW who were in Indian prison and were going to face war crimes.
ZAB opened the doors for Pakistani labour to work in the Arab Gulf states, thus alleviating unemployment and providing the base for foreign remittances. The honor and morale of the demoralized armed forces was restored and they were equipped with some of the most sophisticated weapons the world had to offer. From the ashes of defeat was emerging a new Pakistan. In no time at all, the engines of government were rolling. "If you think FDR had an amazing first 100 days, watch us," he prophetically declared. ZAB possessed a vital magnetism which he transmitted to the people. He could touch the raw nerve of their emotion. He could tap the emotional wellsprings of the nation. He knew the pulse of the people, their heartbeat. They would laugh with him and cry with him. There was a compelling chemistry, an electrical charge that has not dulled with time. It was, in is own words, his greatest romance. He gave to the poor a future and he gave them a voice. He gave them consciousness and dignity which no tank, no dictator can take away. That bond has been frozen into doctrine. 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.
Z.A Bhutto was a Legend,
who lived and died like a hero with courage, determination and devotion to his principles, when cruel dictator Zia was going to kill him, Z.A Bhutto could sign few papers and could live in exile but he was a real man, he was not a coward. He too could have made a deal and lived to fight another day; but only great men with principles sacrifice their life for their cause. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto earned everlasting fame in the pantheon of leaders from the Third World 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, Soekarno, Chou-en Lai, and Gamal Abdel Nasser. He belonged to a category of anti-imperialist leaders who included Jamal Nasir of Egypt and Jawahir Lal Nehru of India. Life in Pakistan has never been the same again following the judicial murder of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto by General Ziaul Haq in April 1979. Bhutto had crash-landed in Pakistan’s politics in 1958 as the youngest minister in the government of Ayub Khan. He was all together a different person in a cabinet that had generals and senior bureaucrats who had been in cahoots with each other to put their claim to power as the legal heirs to the British Raj. As opposed to them Bhutto was driven by his romance with democracy and freedom for the people as envisaged by his leader Quaid-i-Azam Mohammad Ali Jinnah. Having found a place for himself on a platform that was not favorable to politicians, Bhutto chartered himself on a course that would give a new sense of direction to the country and a fresh meaning to politics.
In no time Bhutto had made a tremendous impact all around. As Minister for Fuel and Power, he had diverse explorers tapping into Pakistan’s underground hidden energy resources. For the first time Russians were involved in oil and gas exploration. His time as Minister for Science and Technology was well spent. He could measure the advancements made by India in the atomic field. He gave a proper sense of direction to the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission, set it on the mission to have a sound infrastructure and to educate and train a whole army of nuclear scientists and engineers. It was he who had convinced Ayub to seek enriched uranium course for acquiring nuclear wherewithal. From his death cell he wrote to his "dearest daughter" Benazir Bhutto, "There is personal bitterness no doubt [against Zia regime] but the impersonal hurt predominates over my personal feelings. These [ruling] individuals have taken Pakistan back to 1947. In the process they have robbed the nation of the high ideals and spirit of fraternity the people shared and demonstrated in 1947". He reflects further in the letter: "It is worst than saying we are back to square one or that we are right back to where we started from. Nations do not fall back to square one, nations progress or they deteriorate explosively or decompose silently". Bhutto had believed that the country's sound defense was dependent on a solid industrial base. Pakistan owes not only its nuclear arsenal - now inching towards a fold up - to Bhutto but to him goes the credit of establishing Pakistan Steel Mills, aeronautical and heavy machine tool complexes, shipyard, Karachi Nuclear Power Plant and its automobile industry. His daughter Benazir Bhutto picked up from where her father had left and the combined efforts of the two made Pakistan cover a long way in becoming self-sufficient in missile technology and arms manufacturing including exports.
For Pakistan Bhutto was the harbinger of colossal changes. He harnessed socio-economic forces for challenging the status quo, unshackling the masses and their empowerment. His sense of direction not only gave him the strength but also a popular support to consolidate the edifice of the state on an egalitarian program seeking for his people roti, kapra and makkan. Besides, he awakened the masses, making them realized they were the legitimate fountainhead of political power. He deeply cherished democracy and viewed military rule as a negation of the very genesis of the country that came into being as a result of a democratic process and a vote. 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 over throw, 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. 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. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto used to say that, "courage is in our blood, we are the children of a rich heritage. We shall succeed in our dream of an Islamic association since destiny demands it, political reality justifies it, posterity awaits it".
>He laid the foundation for his dream fortress of Islam in Lahore's Islamic Summit in 1974. The rest is then a chapter of blood in history--the blood shed of the Quaid and of his young followers. He was hanged by his own general who once said that the amount of attention Pakistan army received from Prime Minister Bhutto had "no parallel in the history of Pakistan army prior to 1971."
Bhutto pushed politics out of the posh drawing rooms into real Pakistan-into the muddy lanes and villages of the poor. ZAB was a principled friend to the poor, downtrodden and oppressed. He was fearless in his beliefs and refused to bow before any man or power other than the Almighty. ZAB’S contributions to an impregnable Pakistan are seen in the Kamra Aeronautical factory, Heavy Mechanical Complex at Taxila, modernisation of Karachi Shipyard, creation of precision engineering works, Pakistan Steel Mills, Port Qasim, Pakistan Automobile Corporation to name a few. By signing the Simla Accord of 1972 he negotiated longest peace between India and Pakistan. His social reforms laid the foundation of an egalitarian society, his non-aligned foreign policy earned Pakistan respect in the comity of nations. He lifted the nation drowning in a sea of despair to Himalayan heights.
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. He was a modernizer and saw nationalism as the key to unity. He rejected fanaticism. He gave pride to the poor. As leader of the Third World he spoke boldly against racism, colonialism and imperialism. He fearlessly defended the right of nations to independence. He was true to his values. When the time came he sacrificed his life but refused to compromise on his lofty ideals. He was fond of saying; "It is better to live like a lion for one day than to live like a jackal for a thousand." He lived with the courage of a lion, defying death in embracing martyrdom. He said he would show "how a leader of the people lives and dies," and he did. The world pleaded for his life wanting to save a man whose intellect and contribution to peace and progress was vital to the world community.
But a frightened dictator, ignoring the unanimous call of the Supreme Court of Pakistan to spare the Quaid's life, ordered the execution in the middle of the night. He was true to his values. Prime Minister Bhutto went bravely to the gallows as the world learnt in shock that it had lost its most beloved son. There was widespread national and international condemnation. Bhutto left his world to enter the pantheon of history where he stands today with other towering personalities who shaped the course of history. His martyrdom sparked freedom movements in many countries as people gathered in capitals across the world to condemn his murder. As a student of history, he knew that eternal life remains in sacrificing oneself for a cause that is larger than an individual. And the noblest of all causes is the cause of the liberation of humanity from tyranny and oppression..
Z A BHUTTO was indeed a great leader, a leader we must salute today. Education was nationalized and made available to every child. Scores of Universities were built to turn the children of the discriminated and downtrodden into lawyers, doctors and engineers liberating them from a destiny of backwardness. Quaid-i-Awam was born in 1928. He was martyred in 1979. Yet he lives in the hearts and minds of the people still shining like a star that brightens the sky motivating those caught in the prisons of oppression. 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, honor 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. ZAB's detractors have distorted history and tampered with the written word. They killed Plato's philosopher-king and filled the space with charlatans. But he has written his own history in blood and the legend has been nourished by the tears and the sweat of those who work in the fields and the factories. Bhutto belonged to the sweat and sorrow of this soil. His soul has mingled with the soul of the multitudes who cry out in their sorrow and in their pain, ZAB gave the people of Pakistan the foundation on which to build an inspired dream palace of their national thoughts. Today, we have surrendered ourselves to the momentum of mediocrity. In Plato's words, "what is honored in a country will be cultivated there." But we are not a nation given to honoring our heroes. Today, let us rise above narrow considerations and interests and acknowledge a man who was a brilliant beacon on the highway of history. 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….

Pakistan: Bhutto and I

Nadeem F. Paracha
On the morning of April 4, 1979, the military dictatorship of General Ziaul Haq hanged to death Pakistan’s first elected Prime Minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
Today is the 35th anniversary of that judicial crime. If you are as much of a maniacal reader on the political and social history histories of Pakistan as I am, then I’m sure you’ve already noticed that after Muhammad Ali Jinnah, the second most discussed Pakistani leader in such books is Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
So much has been written about the man. His achievements and follies; his charisma and eccentricities; his accomplishments and blunders. I can’t really add more to what is already out there in the shape of whole books, papers and articles written on the man.
I was barely 6 years old when Bhutto rose to become Pakistan’s head of state (in January 1972) soon after the secession of what was once called East Pakistan.
Bhutto’s populist Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) had swept the 1970 general election in West Pakistan's two largest provinces, Punjab and Sindh, and it became the country’s majority party once East Pakistan broke away (after a violent and tragic civil war there).
I do have some memory (rather random images) of the 1971 Pakistan-India war (that followed the civil war) and of Bhutto’s first address to the nation on PTV when in early 1972 he took over the reins of a defeated and demoralised nation.
What I remember about the war are the blanket blackouts, loud sirens and terrifying sounds of artillery fire and jets zooming over our house near the coastal areas of Karachi in Clifton; and how one evening there was a huge explosion that shattered the window panes of almost every house in the vicinity after which (in the morning), the war was over (December 1971).
We trickled out of our basements and make-shift bunkers only to see a number of oil refineries visible from our house, and a series of war ships on the horizon on fire.
The flames rose so high it seemed (at least to a 6-year-old kid) that their thick black smoke was about to darken the fluffy white winter clouds hovering over Karachi.
Then Radio Pakistan announced that the Pakistan armed forces have surrendered. But we kids were too busy collecting the smothering splinters of the bombs that had been dropped by Indian jets only miles away from our area of residence, not knowing that the country had acutely been split into two.
Bhutto was no stranger in our house. In the early 1960s my father was a Psychology major at the University of Karachi (KU) and a member of the left-wing National Students Federation (NSF).
He was also a bosom buddy of famous student radical (and future PPP minister and politician), Miraj Muhammad Khan.
Though my father came from a large, conservative business family from North Punjab, he was a rebel. He was the first in the large family to bypass studying for a business degree; the first to marry outside the family (to a ‘mohajir’ - an Economics major at KU, my mother); and the first to join journalism (instead of the widespread family business) after he graduated from the university in 1964.
Like many passionate young men and women in the late 1960s, he too became a Bhutto enthusiast and remained to be one until his death from respiratory failure in October, 2009.
When Miraj Saheb, these days himself facing health issues, called and spoke to me at length soon after my father passed away, it reminded me how in January 1972 my father returned home from the Karachi Press Club and told my mother that Miraj had told him that Bhutto would be speaking to the nation on TV.
Being just 6 years old then, today I only vaguely remember my parents, cousins, younger sister, grandparents and paternal uncles gathered in front of our Russian-made ‘Mercury’ TV set listening to that address.
In those days we were one of the few homes in the country that actually owned a TV set, so the address was largely heard by Pakistanis on the radio, in spite of the fact that Bhutto spoke in English. It is said that the speech remains to be one of the most widely heard addresses from a head of state and government in Pakistan. In February 1972, my father moved our family to Kabul in Afghanistan where he agreed to heed my paternal grandfather’s advice to set up offices of the family business in that city.
Instead my father became the Afghanistan correspondent of the PPP’s newspaper, Musawat. It was a Kabul that today would seem like a totally different planet compared to what happened to this city at the end of the Soviet-Mujahideen war in the 1980s and beyond. I remember Kabul to be a pleasant and clean city, with hordes of western tourists (mostly hippies) roaming its streets and markets.
My father became a regular visitor to a popular coffee house in central Kabul where the city’s most animated leftist intellectuals met for coffee, tea, beer and most importantly, to strike passionate discussions on the state of affairs in Afghanistan. One day my father brought home an intense looking and stocky Afghan Pushtun for dinner. The Afghan was bald, had thick spectacles on him, chain-smoked and spoke both English and an accented Urdu. The gentleman was Sardar Daoud - the former Prime Minister of Afghanistan (1953-63) and the future President of that country. Daoud, who was a cousin of Afghanistan’s monarch, Zahir Shah, had resigned as PM in 1963. He was also a passionate advocate of ‘Pushtunistan’ – a movement that wanted to merge Afghanistan with the Pushtun majority areas of Pakistan. My father later told me that Daoud – who’d been banished by the monarchy and had become a radical pro-Soviet republican – befriended my father at the coffee house and told him about a ‘coming revolution in Afghanistan.’ ‘Bhutto was not very happy with my friendship with Daoud,’ my father told me many years later. Bhutto as well as Pakistan’s military establishment were extremely anti-Daoud, especially due to his views on ‘Pushtunistan.’ Though we returned to Pakistan in mid-1973, Daoud would go on to topple the Zahir Shah monarchy in a military-backed coup and declare Afghanistan to be a republic (in 1974). He was himself toppled in a communist coup in 1978.
In Pakistan, my father began publishing a radical pro-PPP Urdu weekly called Al-Fatha with another journalist colleague of his, Mehmood Sham. Al-Fatha's name was inspired by Yasser Arafat’s militant left-wing Palestinian outfit. Now back in school in Karachi I fondly remember how small kids (especially boys) loved to imitate Bhutto’s antics as a public speaker. At first I just couldn’t understand, until I rediscovered Bhutto on TV. Afghanistan didn’t have any TV in those days, even though I remember accompanying my parents to a host of Rajesh Khanna films at Kabul cinemas. back in Karachi, I particularly remember one Bhutto speech on PTV that he made in late 1973 that finally made the now 7-year-old me understand what all those boys at school were up to.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto by dm_50e74c2e900c7 It was during a public gathering in Lahore. It set the nation on fire! Drunk on passion, patriotism (and his favourite brand of whisky), Bhutto was canvassing to ask his supporters to help him regenerate Pakistan’s lost pride. To my delight, a small section of this speech can now be found in cyberspace.
Another memory I have of the period is watching my father discussing the passing of Pakistan’s first genuine constitution (the 1973 constitution) with his cousins and brothers. Later on when I entered my teens in the early 1980s, I asked my father why the Bhutto regime declared the Ahmadis as non-Muslim. His explanation was that since Bhutto wanted to bag the support of Islamic outfits like Jamat-i-Islami and others before the historic 1974 International Islamic Summit in Lahore, ‘he threw them a bone they could get busy with and get distracted by.’ I continued disagreeing with him on this issue, and he continued defending Bhutto’s action even many years later. I remember the Islamic Summit very well. PTV ran a marathon transmission of the event and I also remember watching speeches by a number of leaders from various Muslim countries. The Summit was explained as a global expression of Bhutto’s ‘Islamic Socialism’ and ‘vision’ of turning the Muslim world into a ‘third progressive force’ between western capitalism and Soviet communism.
My childhood unfolded in a very different Karachi. TV was a joy to watch (even though it was entirely one-sided); men and women were crazy about cinema as the Pakistan film industry churned out an average of 60 to 70 films a year; and people loved staying outdoors without any fear and at all hours.
Bars, nightclubs, cinemas and other recreational sites were always illuminated with bright, shimmering lights. I remember accompanying my elder cousins and their friends to the edges of the Clifton area on weekends (on bicycles) where people would gather to drink, chat, take long walks on the Clifton beach and especially eat chaat and ‘gola-gupas’. Some would order ‘special gola-gupas’ whose liquidy chatni was laced with a heavy dose of tamarind but mixed with beer. At this edge of Clifton was a house called ‘70 Clifton.’ This was the spacious residence of Z A. Bhutto and his family. From 1975 onwards, when I turned 9, my father began to often take me with him to this house whenever he had to meet Bhutto. By now he had also joined the Soviet Embassy (on Bhutto’s suggestion). Bhutto had wanted him to use his position to strengthen the media and cultural ties between the Soviet Union and Pakistan. It was, I think, in the summer of 1975 when I first met Bhutto in real life. I saw a very young Benazir Bhutto as well, lurking in the background; and I also remember a tall, lanky guy shaking my hand as my father stood talking to the lad in the garden of 70 Clifton. He was Murtaza Bhutto, then just 21 years old. I found Bhutto’s wife, Begum Nusrat Bhutto, to be the warmest and closest towards my father. I would last meet this amazing woman in 1993 when (as a journalist) I made my last trip to 70 Clifton on the evening Murtaza returned from exile. As a former member of the PPP's student-wing (PSF), I had sided with Benazir in her little tussle with Murtaza. And I continued siding with her. She was to my generation of young ‘radicals’ in the 1980s, what her father had been to the generations before us.
But the fondest ever memory of those visits with my father to 70 Clifton was of one evening in early 1976 (I was now 10) when, as my father and I entered a spacious hall, Bhutto, smartly dressed in a suit and a tie and with a cigar in hand, approached my father and with a mischievous smile loudly asked: ‘Aur Paracha! (So, Paracha); how are the Soviets treating you?’ My father smiled back and answered something to this affect: ‘Sab sahi hai, Bhutto Sahib (All’s well, Mr. Bhutto); the Soviets are fine as long as one keeps appreciating their Vodka!’ Bhutto burst into laughter. My saddest childhood memories of the time were not exactly the shutting down of schools and the curfews that were imposed during the right-wing Pakistan National Alliance’s protest movement against Bhutto in April 1977. Nor do I remember what I felt when I saw this weird looking military man with a strange handlebar moustache talking on PTV (in July 1977) - A man against whom I would eventually spend all of my college years fighting as a student activist in the mid and late 1980s. A tyrant who would retard the political and social evolution of Pakistan for years to come. A man called Ziaul Haq.
My saddest memory regarding Bhutto is, of course, of April 4, 1979. I was 12 years old and now smart enough to understand what was going on. My father had been blacklisted by the Zia regime (in 1977) and was out of a job. He still refused to join the family business. I’d had a terrible morning at school two days before Bhutto’s hanging. My mother was summoned by my teachers and told that I would be suspended for giving a fellow student a big fat black eye! Thankfully I wasn’t. The bugger had been waving a picture (cut out from Jang newspaper) of a cop flogging a man in public. He was mocking the flogged man, saying that all PPP supporters would be getting flogged this way. Suddenly, bam! I smashed my fist in his face, knocking him out in 5 seconds flat. My anger was purely the result of the depression I was feeling from the economic pressures and uncertainty my family had been facing ever since the Zia regime blacklisted my father, making it impossible for him to get a job in any newspaper or magazine. Saddest was when on the night of 4th April, some 12 hours after Bhutto’s hanging, I entered my parent’s bedroom and found my father sitting on his bed, his palms cupping his face, his head hung low, as he listened to a special programme on Bhutto on BBC Radio’s Urdu service. I quietly sat on a chair opposite him, my knuckles still sour from punching my classmate. Then it happened. A sight I shall never forget. My father removed his palms from his face to light a cigarette. And for the first time ever, I saw this cool, calm and stoic fellow, wiping tears from his cheeks. His eyes were swollen and red, as if he’d actually been weeping for hours. I was stunned. I had no clue what to do. It was only then that I realised that Bhutto really was dead. Scene after scene was related over the years in articles and books by so many people of how Bhutto’s death had actually made grown-up men and women cry. I saw one such person do that right in front of my eyes. That evening I wanted to hug my father. But I somehow couldn’t. I just got up and left. The age of apathy had arrived in Pakistan.

Pakistan: The Bhutto I knew

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto has been the most loved and most maligned person for the last 50 years. He is loved by the people in general, by the mob and by those who fell in love with him because of his oratorial skills and personality. Our historians have not paid any attention to the period of 150 years which illustrated the great distance between the Hindus and the Muslims. Ultimately, Muslim rulers violently resisted British occupation everywhere in India. In the process, hundreds of thousands of Muslim families lost all they had, millions of refugees moved from one place to another, and there was destruction, most of all, of the cultural values the Muslims held dear.
After taking over, the British favoured the Hindus and rightly considered the Muslims their enemies. During the period of resistance between 1858 and 1947, it was the Muslims who opposed the British with violence, while the Hindus cooperated.
For 250 years, generation after generation of the Muslims carried a grudge against the Hindus and the Hindus carried similar grudges against the Muslims. This was a big reason why Muslims all over India rallied round Muhammad Ali Jinnah, a man who spoke neither Urdu, Punjabi, Bengali, Sindhi, Pushto, Balochi, or in fact, any other language except perhaps Gujarati. Jinnah ignited a flame in the hearts of Muslims by the 1940 resolutions, and his leadership gave us Pakistan.
From 1947 to 1965, substantial forces existed in India who wanted to undo Pakistan. For 18 years from 1947- 1965, Pakistani newspapers were full of stories of India being unjust to Pakistan. Mostly these were true, though some were exaggerated. And then, in 1965, in burst the prince, declaring he would fight the Hindus for a thousand years if need be. Lo and behold! Almost everybody in the Punjab and in the border areas where the 1965 war took place, became ‘Bhutto-ites;’ allow me to say, quite unknown to Bhutto himself. It took Mr. Bhutto one and a half years to make up his mind about founding a new political party. He won a landslide victory in the 1970 elections, and his ultimate judicial execution gave him the status of a great Shaheed.
Mr. Bhutto is mostly maligned by a small group of people of wealth and high ups in the civil and military officer’s class. The capitalists and zamindars hate him for his socialist policies; nationalising banks, insurance companies, big industry, means of energy etc. They do so, not merely because of his economic policies, but Mr. Bhutto’s clear declarations of his support for third world countries and his opposition to imperialism- praising China, Cuba, Ho Chi Minh, Achmed Sukarno, Gamal Abdul Nasser, Muammar Gaddafi and so on.
Most of the allegations against Mr. Bhutto are false; there was never corruption, loot or the plunder of public money. His nationalisation policies, in fact, cannot be opposed by any lover of democracy. All of them are enshrined in the 1973 constitution which was passed unanimously. And so it was the verdict of the people (unacceptable, of course to the United States, to Zia ul Haq and some of his generals). Another much touted and serious allegation levelled against Mr. Bhutto is that he was party to the secession of East Pakistan, which is completely untrue. It is not in the interests of the Pakistan army, the Bangladesh army and the past and present Bangladesh governments to address the fact that President Yahya Khan had told Sheikh Mujib-ur-Rehman to wait for a few months until after the 1970 elections following which Yahya Khan would be President and Sheikh Mujib-ur-Rehman Prime Minister of Pakistan. It was a case of deception. After three months, the agreement was ready to be signed. The T’s had been crossed and I’s had been dotted. 23rd March 1971 was the date set. On that day, Mujib’s party kept telephoning Yahya Khan’s Government House in Dhaka asking “When shall we come?” There was no answer. Mujib-ur-Rehman realised that evening that he had been cheated. Yahya Khan flew out of Dhaka and on the night of the 24th, action to crush Mujib-ur-Rehman’s party began. So badly deceived were Mujib ur Rehman and his friends, that they spurned all of Bhutto’s offers from January to March 1971, to work something out together and save the democratic government of Pakistan. But it was not to be. Despite our party proclaiming in writing that Pakistan had an internal colonial order, during the last 24 years, East Pakistan had drifted away from the rulers of West Pakistan.
And then, there are those who oppose Mr. Bhutto on their perception of his personal character. Do these accusers not know that the head of state is never judged on the basis of his personal character? Mr. Bhutto was, on a personal level, a kind man. It was difficult to be in his presence and not be overwhelmed by his arguments and his charm. He would argue with you, and almost always convince you that he was right. He was ready to make friends with his worst political enemies. He loved literature, he loved music, and most of all he loved the people. Once we were going from Kharian to Islamabad by car, and as labourers broke stones along the way he wept and said, “When will my people not have to go through this?” Another time near Essa Khel in the month of June, he saw farmers, their bare backs bent in the great heat cutting their crop. Then too, I saw him cry. And here is the story, that perhaps best illustrates his gentle humanity, and the love inside him for the country: when we had just been elected, a Canadian writer, who we were having dinner with at the time, asked Mr. Bhutto, “You were born with a silver spoon in your mouth. Where did you pick up all this love for the poor?” Tears welled up in Mr. Bhutto’s eyes, and quietly he said, “From my mother.”

Zulifkar Ali Bhutto’s death anniversary being observed

The 35th Death anniversary of former prime minister and founding chairman of Pakistan People s Party (PPP) Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is being observed today (Friday). Arrangements have been finalized for the huge gathering to be held at Garhi Khuda Baksh in Larkana. People from different parts of the country have started reaching Garhi Khuda Baksh. Tight security arrangements have been made on the occasion. Special functions will be held to pay tribute to late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Sindh government has announced public holiday throughout the province on the occasion of 35th death anniversary of the former prime minister.