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Tuesday, April 4, 2017
A tribute to “Qaid-e-Awam” Z.A Bhutto
By: Nazia Memon
It’s been 38 years but every year 4th of April tells a different story as Garhi Khuda Bux and Larkana wear a dark chaddar of sorrow to mourn and remember once again their most distinguished leader “Qaid-e-Awam” Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Widely venerated by the mass of ordinary people.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was born at Larkana in the province of Sindh on January 5, 1928. On his 51st -birthday he was in the death cell of Rawalpindi gaol, Z.A Bhutto have refused to compromise on his principles even when face to face with the gallows. More than three decades on, millions of Pakistanis still mourn the fate of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
Z.A Bhutto, 51, who had been Pakistan’s leader since 1973, was deposed in an army coup in 1977.
In 1977 during his services as a prime minister, General Zia-ul-Haq his political opponent accused him of rigging an election and staged a coup. Later Zia imprisoned Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto on charges of murdering another political rival.
He was sentenced to death for the murder of a political opponent following a trial which was widely condemned as unfair.
The appeal process was also tainted by allegations of bias on the part of some judges.
Despite international calls for clemency, the Pakistani authority carried out a barbaric act, no advance warning of the execution had been given.
If I look back in the window of political history of Pakistan and so particularly about the first democratically elected Prime-minister, I have got these following facts about him.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto lacked far nothing as a child. His family was rich and influential. His education was rounded off in the United States and Britain: he graduated in political science from the University of California at Berkeley in 1950, and later studied at Christ Church, Oxford. There he was awarded MA honors with distinction in jurisprudence in 1952, and became a barrister at law in Lincoln’s Inn, London. Later Bhutto went to lecture in international law at the University of Southampton – the first Asian to teach there. When he returned to Pakistan, Z.A Bhutto kept his legal work briefly but soon became entangled in politics.
He was a politician who broke away from the gentlemanly cabals of wealthy landowners and bureaucrats who had previously ruled Pakistan between military dictatorships.
Bhutto resigned from the cabinet in June 1966. He was highly critical of the Tashkent agreement between Pakistan President Ayub Khan and Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri in the aftermath of 1965 Indo-Pak war.
In 1967, he established Pakistan People’s Party, along with Dr. Mubashir Hassan, J.A. Rahim and Basit Jehangir Sheikh. The party became a part of the pro-democratic movement and denounced Ayub Khan’s regime as a dictatorship, demanding his resignation.
Bhutto brought power to the people, campaigning in a western style. He exchanged his Savile Row suits and silk handkerchiefs for baggy trousers and long shirts.
It was his strong personality clubbed with his aggressive nature and immense determination that made him the country’s greatest civilian leader, with him dominating almost the entire decade of the 70s.
In 1970’s general elections Awami league won a majority of seats in East Pakistan and PPP won a majority of seats in West Pakistan, the two parties were unable to agree on a new constitution in particular on the issue of “Six point movement” which many in West Pakistan saw as a way to break up the country.
Bhutto was handed over the presidency in December 1971 and emergency rule was imposed.
People continue to position SZAB till today as the real villain in a drama where the entire responsibility of the separation of East Pakistan and the creation of Bangladesh is laid at his door.
Recognition of Bangladesh was a thorny issue as Pakistan was caught between pressure to recognize against domestic public opinion, which was virulently opposed on the one hand; and the looming threat by Mujeeb ur Rehman to carry out war crimes against the POW’s on the other. Added to this was India’s insistence on making the release of the POWs and Pakistan’s captured territory contingent upon recognizing Bangladesh, and satisfying all her mounting and unreasonable demands. It was a diplomatic tight rope, which called for unprecedented political dexterity. Muhtarma Benazir Bhutto stated in “Bhutto’s vision of Pakistan” that there were those who, forgetting that a Military dictator was at the helm of affairs of the State, unkindly accused Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Shaheed of thwarting the rule of the majority and creating the conditions for the breakup of Pakistan.
When Bhutto set about rebuilding Pakistan, he stated his intention was to ‘rebuild confidence and rebuild hope for the future” by July 1972, Bhutto had recovered 93,000 prisoners of war 5,000 square miles of Indian-held territory after signing the Simla Agreement.
Bhutto significantly transformed Pakistan’s hitherto pro-West foreign policy once he has got the power.
Benazir Bhutto has written in “Bhutto’s vision of Pakistan” that Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Shaheed moved with amazing alacrity in all directions.
In line with the PPP manifesto, agricultural reforms were brought in and lands distributed amongst the landless peasants. Labor unions were allowed and minimum wage for labor was fixed. Owing to a near economic collapse faced by the country, currency devaluation became necessary. It was a very difficult decision but decision was taken and the currency devalued.
Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Shaheed’s politics and diplomacy was based on what he termed as “the total sweep of history”.
He was the architect of bilateralism, which he propounded as the only effective mode of conduct among nations in a bipolar world where the competing interest of the super powers could easily influence and cloud relations between nations. Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Shaheed perused a fiercely independent foreign policy, always keeping Pakistan’s national interest foremost in consideration.
He was the protagonist of flexibility in politics and was not tied to any fixed prejudices. “The dogmas, the theories and the script stand outside the gates of history”, Z.A Bhutto once wrote I am guiding you to seek truth from the facts of the historical conditions of our society and to identify the problems. The correct solutions will come with the correct identification of the problems.
“A dreaded society is not a civilized society. The most progressive and powerful society in the civilized sense, is a society which has recognized its ethos, and come to terms with the past and the present, with religion and science. With modernism and mysticism, with materialism and spirituality; a society free of tension, a society rich in culture. Such a society cannot come with hocus-pocus formulas and with fraud. It has to flow from the depth of a divine search.
During his term as the President, he uplifted the state of emergency, thus allowing opposition governments to be formed. His main aim was to eliminate poverty and revitalise the economy, industry and agriculture.
On 14th August 1973 Zulfikar Ali Bhutto took up the position of the Prime Minister. In his five years of term, he made extensive reforms changing the capitalistic and western policy to socialistic reforms.
Pakistan is one of nine states to possess nuclear weapons and the only Muslim majority country to do so. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was the main architect of this programme, Bhutto led Pakistan’s nuclear weapon programme, despite several shortcomings in the form of limited financial resources and strong western oppositions, Bhutto reportedly said, “Pakistan will fight, fight for a thousand years. If… India builds the (atom) bomb…. (Pakistan) will eat grass or (leaves) even go hungry, but we (Pakistan) will get one of our own (atom bomb)…. We (Pakistan) have no other Choice!” In his 1969 book The Myth of Independence Bhutto argued that it was the necessity for Pakistan to acquire the fission weapon, and start a deterrence programme to be able to stand up to the industrialised states, and against a nuclear armed India.
Perhaps, Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Shaheed’s greatest contribution to Pakistan was the 1973 Constitution. It was the only unanimously adopted Constitution in the history of this nation and for that reason, even today, in spite of its many mutilations by Military dictators, remains the index and the reference point of Pakistan’s legal and constitutional system.
The people of Pakistan, especially the poor will always remember him with affection because it was Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who gave the down trodden people of this country a reason to hope for a better future, he gave them a voice, he gave them a sense of dignity. He gave them consciousness that no tank, no dictator can take away; Bhutto brought power to the people. It’s his image lives on, its bhuttoism and his ideology couldn’t be killed
I haven’t witnessed his reign, nor I have any kind of far flash memory but years after his death the grief of loss loomed in the hearts of millions and I have found it in my family members as well, with time I came to know that it’s hard for them to vanish that grief or may be that grief is the only way to keep them close to their leader Who they aspire, who they don’t want to forget..!! Perhaps never.
It’s a reciprocal love between Bhutto and Awam” and his death couldn’t take it away.