Tuesday, April 4, 2017
By M Waqar
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was executed on April 4, 1979, a darkest day in the history of Pakistan. Bhutto wrote a book from his death cell, Titled "If I am assassinated," its last pages contained a quote from Russian author Nikolai Dostoevsky: "Man's dearest possession is his life, and since it is given to him to live but once, he must so live as not to be scared with the shame of a cowardly and trivial past, so as not to be tortured for years without purpose, that dying he can say, 'All my life and my strength were given to the first cause in the world - the liberation of mankind.' " As death stared the Z.A Bhutto in the face, he stared back. His past has no shame of cowardice. His daughter, too, gave her life in courage. "If India builds the bomb we will eat grass or leaves, we will go hungry. But we will get one of our own." This statement by Zulfiar Ali Bhutto should open up our eyes and bring back the passion of patriotism, unity and love for each others for the sake of Pakistan.
I would like to express that this man is and was hero of Pakistan. Historians, Retired Judges of the Superior Courts and eminent lawyers have now unanimously admitted that Mr. 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. 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. 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. He was a brilliant Diplomat who negotiated some of Pakistan's most enduring diplomatic policies as well as bargaining from a position of weakness against Indira Gandhi in Simla. He was a great diplomat; there is a story that the American President John F. Kennedy was much impressed with 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".
A Pan Islamic socialist who weakened the Feudal and tribal system.. He also pushed through Pakistan's nuclear programme despite enormous International pressure. He was also a brilliant politician whose popularity and powerful speeches impressed even his worst opponents. It took a great man to get Pakistan out of the 71 trauma. A dynamic leader, who stood up against imperialism and looked to China and other progressive countries for an alliance. When he was Prime Minister, the country prospered and was set on a course of industrial and agricultural development. He gained popularity in villages and poor industrial areas. Bhutto was the only true leader in our history who gave us constitution, identity in international relations. You will be surprised to know when Bhutto became as Foreign Minister, at that time; we did not have ambassador level relations with so many big countries of the world like Indonesia etc. He empowers the poor of his country. Such people like Z.A BHUTTO are born rarely, who will forget his capabilities as an extempore speaker, as an writer, as an diplomat, as an leader and above all as lover of poor. On the day of his martyrdom his opponents called him as a culprit but same are now calling him as an innocent. The simple reason for this is that Zia tried his best to create divisions among people in order to finish the popularity of Bhutto. The irony is all those who hatched conspiracy against him are no more in this mortal world, all of them died a horrible death.
Bhutto was the greatest leader we can think in the modern history. In his book "If I Am Assassinated", Bhutto clearly mentions his fear of 120 million Pakistanis under a defenseless sky in comparison to a nuclear India. What a vision! India could have swallowed Pakistan long ago if thanks to Bhutto we were not an atomic power. On the economic front Bhutto vision for nationalization was that Pakistanis will work hard like Chinese, but here Pakistanis failed him. The labor and the management of nationalized industry had no interest to take advantage of this opportunity. Using this as a golden opportunity, the industrialists, bureaucrats, and above all corrupt army declared him as an unsuccessful leader. Bhutto loved poor and poor loved Bhutto. This relationship is ever lasting. The first leader who legislated labor laws and enforced in Pakistan and nobody could do it till now. This is the reason of his popularity among labors. He tried to unite the Islamic world. The Pakistan is still under developing country because Bhutto is not alive.
Z.A Bhutto is the first person in Pakistan who has given the voice to the common people. Z.A Bhutto was great charismatic leader, man of masses, top class negotiator, excellent communicator, a visionary, known for mercurial brilliance, wit and a highly well read person. He attracted mammoth crowds where ever he addressed public meetings even in remote regions of the country. He was a man of masses because of his personal charm and charisma and the one who spoke in the language of workers, laborers, peasants and the people in the streets. He would make the people feel that he was one of them, understood them, had solutions to their problems and give them roti, kapra aur makan. He might have given all these things to them if his government had not become target of the establishment's conspiracies. ZA Bhutto's Powerful Political Legacy Cannot be eliminated. 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. I can't help grieving the tragic death of a Hero who paid with his life to set an ultimate example of principled politics. I hope we honor Shaheed Bhutto by giving to the weak and less fortunate people of Pakistan the gift of unconditional empowerment through democracy and moral governance and not trade his dream for our illusions. Bourgeois battled Bhutto's populist economic and political enforcement, the bourgeois and the petty-bourgeois became ready instruments in carrying out their social propaganda against Bhutto. He was the man behind introducing democracy in the country by kicking out the dictatorial rule and finally gave a consensus constitution of 1973 with guarantees to basic human rights under the supremacy of parliament. Cruel dictators like Zia and Musharraf are responsible for bringing fundamentalists into the corridor of power, Mush, who is now trumping against them just an eye wash. Political Leaders must posses' qualities of power, vision, ethics, courage, knowledge, decision making, integrity, enthusiasms and devotion and should have principles, Z.A BHUTTO had all those qualities. Mr. Bhutto lived consciously to make history and to leave a legacy in the form of the development of his nation. He is right credited with saving Pakistan at the darkest moment of its history, as French President Giscardd' Estaing said he was the man,'' who incarnated Pakistan at a dramatic hour of its history''.
Z A BHUTTO was indeed a great leader, a leader we must salute today; who gave voice to the voiceless and helped them shape their own destiny. It was under his leadership that every Pakistani given the right to passport. 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. Bhutto pushed politics out of the posh drawing rooms into real Pakistan-into the muddy lanes and villages of the poor. The ever-lasting contribution of Bhutto was to raise the consciousness of the people for democracy. He awakened the masses, making them realize they were the legitimate fountainhead of political power. He enlightened the peasants, the industrial workers, the students, the women and the rest of the common people of their importance and of their right of franchise, which is the definite means of bringing changes and improvement in the lives of the common people. He deeply cherished democracy and democratic values and in the end gave his life for the cause of freedom. In the case of Pakistan, he 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. Today as the Nation pays tribute to one of its greatest sons; it is destined to move forward in the spirit of Federalism, Democracy, Autonomy and Egalitarianism which he lit through his example of courage in the defense of principles and ideals. Z.A BHUTTO was a people leader, a legend and a poet and he remained so till the last breath in his body. He was a true revolutionary; his revolution was against imperialism, against bourgeois. He was a charismatic leader and his charisma still rules the nation. Z.A Bhutto ruled the hearts of people when he was alive and till date he rules their hearts. Z.A Bhutto 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. His contributions to an impregnable Pakistan are seen in the Kamra Aeronautical factory, Heavy Mechanical Complex at Taxila, modernization 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. The death cell in which his killers kept him failed to break his will or his determination to challenge military rule and stand up as the leader of the people.
Bhutto 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. When the 1973 Ramadan War broke out, he sent Pakistan's military to defend the borders of the Muslim countries including the Golan Heights of Syria. Bhutto's short life of fifty years was spent in the service of many international, regional and national causes. Today Pakistan is at the crossroads. Its policies relating to Nuclear, Taliban, India, Militancy, Religious Parties, Democracy and Economy are in shambles. Shaheed Bhutto believed that the army could protect its institutional competence by keeping out of politics. He said, "Those soldiers who leave the barracks to move into Government mansions lose wars and become prisoners of war as happened in 1971; his words reverberate as a warning and a guide to the country to save its honor, respect, pride and position by reverting to the golden principles that gave it birth. April 4 falls at a time when Pakistan is faced with a critical situation. The dark shadow of military dictatorship clouds the political horizon and spawns fissiparous tendencies striking at the solidarity of the country. Rocket launchers and bomb blasts kill innocents while the military is involved in operations against its own people.
The rise of the suicide bomber and armed struggle is reminiscent of an earlier military dictatorship. The tyranny of General Zia's military rule led to the Kalashnikov culture where young men picked up automatic weapons. That culture has reasserted itself under the military dictatorship of General Musharraf. Except that the weapons are more dangerous than the Kalashnikovs of yesterday. Every time a General ruled Pakistan, innocent people were being killed.
Z.A Bhutto 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. No doubt, the age of Bhutto was an age of revolution. 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. Although his life and political career were cruelly terminated, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto will always be remembered 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. "It is better to live like a lion for one day than to live like a jackal for a thousand." Z.A.BHUTTO''.
Long Live Bhuttoism!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
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.
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.
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".
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'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.
By Sherry Rehman
This is not how it always was for Pakistan. Flashbacks to the OIC summit that Lahore hosted in 1974 under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s (ZAB) leadership come to mind. At a moment when the Muslim world stands under siege, the absence of a statesman is felt. What would Pakistan be doing at this stage, and how would Islamabad be telegraphing its key role in re-shaping the global narrative had Pakistan’s first popularly elected Prime Minister not been executed? As the country lurches from crisis to crisis again, it seems an unavoidable question.
It is also that time of year. April 4 reminds us of the statesman that the country lost to the ambitions of a cardboard-cutout of an archtypical dictator. In forcing through ZAB’s judicial execution, Ziaul Haq snatched both our history and our future, ripped it from its evolution, and brought Pakistan headlong into a proxy jihad whose murderous spawn we cannot rid ourselves of today. In many ways Pakistan’s innocent new generations continue to pay the price. Like Lady Macbeth’s hands, the blood just does not wash away. The existential trauma Pakistan faces today may not have stemmed from that day, but most of this murderous militant path was locked on course then. Look at the ruin about us. The smoke and blood from Sehwan in Sindh, the lawyers’ massacre in Quetta still simmers, while the APS carnage in Peshawar, and 2016 Easter in Lahore have become permanent scars. Religion has become a tool of the forces unleashed in our geopolitical search for security, and actually blurred our real security needs, both social and strategic.
Muslims are facing a dangerous world, where we are often judged by our identity and religious denomination, anguished by the bloodthirsty appropriation of a peaceful faith. Islamophobia and its exclusions are much bigger than Pakistan, but so often the dots to global episodes are landed at Pakistan’s door. In daily global discourse, the millenarian dangers of Daesh, the balkanised Middle East and its African dystopias are rarely connected to policy dominoes triggered long ago by great gaming power coalitions in Afghanistan. Pakistan became a country transformed by that encounter with proxy jihad against the Soviet Union. The arguable winning of that war cost us our peace. Yet, at the same time, no one can dispute the fact that Pakistan too became a player in those coalitions, without its parliament, without its consent, and lives today to reap that harvest.
These lost pages of our history point to roads not taken. True, it was a pre-9/11 world, where states still held the monopoly on the use of force, and non-state actors hijacking national agendas was not the norm. Pakistan was no unspoilt paradise, in fact, quite the contrary. East Pakistan had been lost not in one war of secession, but a series of exclusions and apartheids, both economic and political, that started with the language riots of 1952. Politics was a palace-led parlour game, where the voice of the hungry, the dispossessed and the landless was rarely heard. The country’s morale was at an all-time low, with prisoners of war in India, and a perilous sense of national drift. In this age of anxiety for Pakistan, like a classic tragic hero, with Promethean will and flaw, ZAB became the voice of a leaderless nation, pulling off foreign and social policy coups no one else could. Many of us still remember the Foreign Minister who tore up what was supposed to be the famous Polish Resolution on Kashmir at the United Nations, saying “my country harkens for me”. As the Prime Minister of a truncated country, he not only re-built the shattered economy, but brought back 90,000 soldiers from New Delhi’s prisons as his first task. His diplomacy gave the vexed India-Pakistan relationship the steadying hand of a statesman, with the Simla Treaty and the Middle Eastern spigot of the labour-remittance boom from the newly taking-off Gulf economies. While his government is remembered for building big infrastructure and cutting a wide swathe through bad governance, his commitment to the federation is often forgotten, sometimes deliberately so. An entire generation is fed the malicious canard that it was his ambition to assume power in West Pakistan that led to the ultimate secession of what is today Bangladesh. To the contrary, in fact, a little research will remind that after the 1970 election, ZAB had made it clear that he would prefer a democratic solution to the crisis of power-sharing between the two wings of Pakistan. Here is how it went: East Pakistan, with its higher population, had by then united behind Mujibur Rahman. On 31st October 1971, to be precise, in an interview to the Mumbai newspaper, the Blitz, Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (SZAB) made it quite clear that he was willing to lead his party into the opposition. He said, and I quote, “If Mujibur Rahman had a federal constitution, we would be happy to sit in the opposition and work in a democratic arrangement. But he wanted a confederal arrangement, and in a confederation, both sides had to have representation in the government”. Yet this point is brushed aside as is the fact that in complete contradiction to the charge sheet made to hang a man, SZAB had never sought the boycott of the National Assembly, but a small delay in its session so that space for an accommodation could be worked out before a conflagration took place in an atmosphere already muddied by high emotions and mis-representations. The Hamoodur Rahman Commission stands up to the light of day to expose hard truths, on which a panel of judges clearly examined evidence and testified to SZAB’s sincerity in attempting to avert a crisis, but that too is tossed aside in the face of a mountain of mythology spun out during the Zia years to protect a shaky regime from the power of Bhutto’s legacy.
In all the vilification that followed his judicial execution, many born after that era forget that Bhutto became the one leader who plotted a middle path for a fragmented and sect-riven Muslim world. Pakistan not only befriended Iran but also loomed large on the Middle Eastern monarchies. As the initiator of hard nuclear power he gave Pakistan strategic leverage. Many today contest its uses, but it remains the main card in Pakistan’s deterrence posture. More importantly, Bhutto should be remembered for his leadership of Pakistan, flaws and all, into a modern future where the nation could stand on its economic feet as sovereign and self-resourced.
He worked himself and his cabinet to deliver on his manifesto promises. For all those who ask what Mr Bhutto’s government accomplished, all they need to do is to talk to the 45% of the poor of Pakistan, who now live under two dollars a day, in a dangerously high statistic, where economic suicides and the selling of one’s own children has become a gruesome new statistic. These people remember a government that brought them food on their tables, that raised their wages, provided housing and jobs and schooling. Most importantly, they remember a leader and a party that addressed them directly. Today, like every terrorist targets the progressive parties, for decades every military dictator feared the legacy of SZAB. The country’s courts stand testament to state money spent on creating political alliances to keep his iconic daughter from leading a powerful government. Benazir Bhutto’s own story is a chronicle of so much struggle, yet she too embodied resistance to the enemy of her era, which morphed into terrorism and extremism. She too died as bravely as her father. If SZAB gave Pakistan the 1973 Constitution that kept the country united, the last PPP government gave it the long-delayed implementation of the diffusion of power.
This is the legacy which the young scion of the Bhutto clan must now defend, in a world riven by conflict, chaos and confusion. Because Bhutto’s party is still the only one which has paid a heavy price on the battlefield of ideas and politics. Years after ZAB’s death, his slogan of Roti, Kapra aur Makan, still resonates with the people who need it again today. The PPP is the only mainstream party that stands up with no equivocation for the rights of the most vulnerable, and it is the only party that addresses squarely the terrorism challenge of the day. Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto would have it no other way.
But for the new generation that may have only read or heard about the 1970s I would like to emphasise the significance of the 5th of July. This was also the cut-off date when a prosperous and tolerant Pakistan was thrown into dark ages. The seeds of terrorism and violence that we see all around us today were sown in that very year when Zia plunged Pakistan into Afghanistan as a US stooge.
Pakistan under Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was seen as the emerging economic and military power in the region. Tourists from all over the world came here to relish our tolerant society and fabled hospitality. Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto made us proud as Pakistanis by pushing us from the political periphery to the centre of the Islamic world.
I often wonder how Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto might have dealt with the multiple crises that we face today. We are despised as the patron of militant Islamists. We stand isolated as never before despite being the only Muslim nuclear power with the fifth largest army in the world. We are intimidated by India in the east and face continued hostility on our western borders. We see the Middle East in utter chaos as Saudi Arabia and Iran fight through their proxies.
We miss Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto today more than ever before because now is the time when we need somebody like him. He had a great diplomatic sense and he would have found a way to mediate between Muslim countries in rivalry with each other besides playing a crucial role to stabilize the Middle East. He did that precisely when he brought Iran and Saudi Arabia on a single table at the famous 1974 Islamic Summit in Lahore. This was how Arabs realised how to use oil as a weapon and Pakistan cashed in by sending millions of its workers to Arab countries. Thanks to Bhutto, we survive on the roughly $ 15 billion remittances that come from the Middle East today.
It may require lots of space to enumerate Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s lasting contribution to Pakistan but a few things stand out. The new generation may not realise in what difficult times Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was asked to play his innings. Pakistan was absolutely demoralised after the separation of Bangladesh with its 90,000 troops languishing in Indian custody. Bhutto brought home our troops without conceding to any compromise in Kashmir or otherwise at Shimla. It was no small feat. He got the phoenix of Pakistan rise from the ashes by restoring our self-respect as Pakistanis. He brought everybody together to forge the much needed 1973 constitution and set the country on the path to nuclear security. But his biggest achievement was that he empowered the ordinary Pakistanis by introducing participatory democracy in this country. The man in the street loved him and the world looked at us with respect and envy. Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was respected internationally as a leader of great caliber and his achievement were acknowledged by prestigious newspapers including The New York Times, Christian Science Monitor – to name a few.
Yet the 4th of April had to happen. I still wonder why. Perhaps our enemies got scared by our rising power; perhaps the West got threatened by Bhutto’s ability to gather Islamic counties in a common bloc; perhaps our ever growing relationship with China was thorn in the eyes of our enemies. Here I sit in the old attic of Bhutto Legacy Foundation and sift through files to understand that crucial chapter of our history. I am convinced that, whatever the case, Zia connived with the foreign enemies to rig our institutions to execute that great leader that Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was. I am proud that I got the chance to know Bhutto sahib and then worked with his great daughter, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed. And now I feel it important to bring out the duty files from my attic to remind the third generation represented by Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari of the rich legacy of the Bhuttos.
The 4th of April also reminds that the supreme sacrifice of the great leader Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. He spent his 51st birthday in the death cell of Rawalpindi. He was a courageous man and he faced this ordeal with dignity and calm demeanour despite ill health. This day is a reminder for us to reiterate our commitment to follow Bhutto’s democratic ideals and political philosophy. The evil of terror and injustice that tried to erase Bhutto’s name failed miserably because the name is alive even today; the streets of Pakistan still echo with zinda hai Bhutto zinda hai.
Wajid Shamsul Hasan
Relations between Pakistan and India have remained on a see-saw mould since their inception as independent states. There have been three wars and in between many war-like situations. Although there is no stand-off, the existing tense Indo-Pakistan relations do not provide any comfort for a better tomorrow. What has added to this grim scenario is the latest report in New York Times that in new assessments it is suggested that India is considering allowing for pre-emptive nuclear strikes against Pakistan’s arsenal in the event of a war.
The New York Times story has made it clear that India has become so desperate that it is planning to use a nuclear option. Its attempts at isolating Pakistan diplomatically have not produced the desired results. Its army has not succeeded in defusing the situation in Kashmir. Neither had it succeeded — as it claims — in stopping Pakistan in its alleged cross border terrorism.
Indeed, disclosure by New York Times provides us an opportunity to pay tribute to the great leader—Zulfikar Ali Bhutto -- who gave Pakistan nuclear teeth and his daughter Benazir Bhutto — who enabled it to have long range nuclear-head carrying missile technology that we so now proudly display on our national day celebrations without mentioning to both of Pakistan’s great leaders and their contribution to make Pakistan invincible. Martyred Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (April 4, 1979) — gave us our nuclear teeth at the cost of his life. His army chief general Ziaul Haq killed him to remain in power and to please his American masters who had warned Bhutto of making an horrible example if he pursued his nuclear agenda.
While India was lucky that it did not lose its founding fathers immediately after partition and they were there for many decades to consolidate the post-partition gains of freedom, Pakistan unfortunately was not. MAJ died after 15 months of its creation. Pakistan’s first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan, after having survived first attempt at military coup, was assassinated four years later and the hired assassin’s bullets plunged Pakistan into uncertainty that continues to haunt its future to this day.
While India did not, in Pakistan people were denied the role of sole arbiters of power and it remains undecided till today.
While ZAB changed the whole structure of politics in Pakistan — taking it out from the cool comforts of drawing rooms — to the scorching heat in the streets, lanes and by-lanes — he gave the poor and the shackled a voice and made them source of all power. The struggle started by him continues till today. It is yet to be decided as to who is the sole arbiter of power. It was only for a brief period — five years under ZAB — that masses had the taste of power. Ever since his execution in 1979 they are paying the price for having tasted it. Long periods of successive dictators, their oppressive rules, and revival of the vested interest and resurgence of retrogressive religious forces have brought us to such a pass that we now pray for another Bhutto. Only Bhutto could have got the subcontinent 43 years of peace.
No doubt following 2008 elections Pakistan has had some silver linings. First time its elected government completed its tenure and transferred power to another elected government — indeed a land mark achievement. Regretfully cloak and dagger moves by the powers that be through non-state actor s— be they container dharnas or imported saviours — openly looking for the umpire’s finger – stand taken by the parliament to support the prime minister got him through the storm.
The former army chief soon to be in the pay of the foreign masters, postured himself as above board apolitical person, however, throughout his three years it seemed that the government would not complete its tenure. Singling out Sindh for repression in the name of law and order while closing eyes to Punjab that is known to be epicentre of terrorism, it seemed to be a calculated move to weaken the federation that had got a new lease of life due to 18th Amendment. In this context it is interesting and welcome to note new Army Chief General Qamar Javed Bajwa’s statement that he and the army stand by democracy. It is definitely reassuring for our flagging democracy.
Indeed we would not have travelled this far had the path not been strewn with the blood of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, his daughter Benazir Bhutto and thousands of their followers. Theirs were a life long struggle for the empowerment of the people — especially the women and the minorities. After the most ignominious surrender in 1971, ZAB picked up the pieces and gave the nation renewed hope and confidence in its destiny.
The military-civil-judicial troika backed by the vested interest did not allow SZAB or his daughter to complete their missions. The machinations of the known enemies and their quislings within could not destroy SZAB’s or Bibi’s steeled determination to challenge the dictatorship.
It is very difficult to forecast how long this struggle between the people as the sole arbiter of power and the barrel of the gun shall continue. Half of independent years have passed under dictatorship with rest indirectly, have rendered Pakistan into a great hub of duplicity, converted it into a nation of confounding murkiness making life short, brutish and nasty.
ZAB’s advent in politics was a turning point in Pakistan’s history. He was the youngest minister with ideas in an autocratic Ayub government with generals and senior bureaucrats in cahoots to put their claim to political power. Bhutto was driven by his romance with democracy and freedom for the people as envisaged by the Quaid. He accepted to be part of an unelected regime to see how he could move forward to get the country back to MAJ’s vision. Bhutto, as such, chartered himself on a challenging course that would give a new sense of direction to the people and a fresh meaning to politics.
As a dynamic minister Bhutto did wonders whatever portfolios he was assigned. As minister for fuel and power, he opened Pakistan for diverse explorers tapping for our hidden energy resources discovering oil and gas deposits. As minister for science and technology he set Pakistan onto the path to match India’s advancements in the nuclear technology. And had he had his way earlier under Ayub Pakistan would have acquired nuclear capability much before India tested its atomic device in 1974.
ZAB had no match in statesmanship and his skills in international politics. He untied Pakistan from the American apron strings. Pakistan’s independence had been rendered into a myth by Ayub. ZAB salvaged it by consolidating relations with China, European nations and the Third World. And the Islamic Summit that he held in Lahore remains to this day unsurpassed in its glory.
Gen Zia treated Bhutto very shabbily though he was both his benefactor and Pakistan’s savour. He not only retrieved 93,000 PoWs, recovered over 5000 square miles of our prized territory in Sialkot lost in the battle, rearmed and rejuvenated a demoralised army — what hurt him most was that General Zia pushed Pakistan back into dark ages. He ruefully lamented before his execution: “In the process they have robbed the nation of the high ideals and spirit of fraternity the people shared and demonstrated in 1947.”
Massacre in Parachinar at Imam Bargah and the failure of the government to pillory the radical religious elements who are in cahoots with Mulla Fazlullah of TTP does not augur well for a pluralist, liberal and progressive Pakistan. Some people allege that the government is in league with such elements as they are its electoral allies. It does not seem to be far from truth.
One would not expect those who had opposed to support ZAB’s mission to carry forward torch of MAJ’s secular Pakistan. With Shaheed Benazir Bhutto gone, it is now incumbent upon the PPP leadership—AAZ, Bilawal Bhutto, Bakhtawar and Aseefa and its diehard workers to get organised, work on a left of the centre manifesto, carry forward the torch of democratic freedom fueled by the Bhutto blood.
There should not be any compromise on the supremacy of the Parliament, empowerment of the people and equality for all its citizens, irrespective of caste, creed, colour or gender, rule of law, independence of judiciary, freedom for media and a firm reiteration that religion shall have nothing to do with the business of the state.