Friday, January 4, 2019
Napoleon Bonaparte rightly believed that “it is the cause, and not the death, that makes the martyr.” In this historic perspective those leaders become immortal who live and die for causes dear to them. There could not be a better example of a father and daughter who died for the causes they had struggled for all their lives.
Very few leaders enjoy that permanent epitome in glory in history that judicially murdered Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (Born Jan 5, 1928) does to this day. Bhutto Sahib from the days of his school-had chosen the hazardous path that was to take him to eternal glory for waging a dauntless struggle to unshackle the masses, give them a voice and free them from all sorts of bondages. He walked to the gallows head high to arm Pakistan with a nuclear bomb so that his people and his army would not have to lower their heads ever. As a school student he had pledged to Pakistan’s founder-that if need be, he would die for Pakistan.
Bhutto Sahib’s original letter and Quaid-i-Azam’s reply to him is preserved as part of Shamsul Hasan Papers in the National Archives in Islamabad.
Indeed true to his word, he sacrificed his life for Pakistan. Muhammad Ali Jinnah (MAJ) advised him (May 1, 1945): “I was very glad to read your letter of 26th April and to note that you have been following the various political events. I would advise you, if you are interested in politics, to make a thorough study of it. But, don’t neglect your education, and when you have completed your student’s career, I have no doubt that you will be all better qualified if you study thoroughly the political problems of India, when you enter the struggle of life.”
To know the real story read ZAB’s “Myth of Independence” along with Ayub’s “Friends, Not Masters”. It bares how intrusive American interference had become in the day to day affairs of running Pakistan
It is nothing but ironic that he did not die in a foreign prison, neither his killers were aliens. He was judicially murdered by the dictator who was also an ungrateful beneficiary. What made the crime more horrendous was the fact that in cahoots with him were four persons belonging to legal fraternity. Ever since then, Pakistani judiciary has this judgment hanging around its neck as an albatross.
He took MAJ’s advice to his heart, immersed in his studies to prepare himself for the future leadership role. Perhaps no one in history has sustained his fame and a coveted place among the top leaders despite year after year of slander on him by successive generations of unscrupulous power manipulators. Generals Ayub and Yahya Khan lost the wars with India, to cover it up they blamed Bhutto. Despite that he remains dear to the masses. It seems to be a rare phenomenon-the most dominant political personality in post-1947 Pakistan until death came to him “not with the due panoply of justice but like a thief in the night, a deed done shamefully, apprehensively and with desperation”-by a dictator.
Bhutto found his way forward when the power troika comprising of generals, judges and civil bureaucracy had shown the door to the vintage politicians. They had become ineffective and their very survival had become impossible in the new ball game, with rules made to order by the powerful Establishment rather than the people of Pakistan. Always a moot point that he owed his political career to a military dictator–Bhutto had learnt much earlier in the day to practice politics as the art of the impossible. His entry was a means to an end and not an end in itself. And in due course of time he outplayed them all.
Bhutto’s outstanding reservoir of multifaceted talents and charismatic personality made him master of every portfolio that he was entrusted with. He outshone all previous foreign ministers to date by providing unique dynamism by unshackling Pakistan’s subservient foreign policy to American diktats and making it proactive. Indeed, if ever Pakistan had an independent foreign policy it was during Bhutto’s time. President Ayub Khan had devalued Pakistan with the United States. To know the real story read ZAB’s “Myth of Independence” along with Ayub’s Friends, Not Masters. It bares how intrusive American interference had become in the day to day affairs of running Pakistan.
A question keeps coming back to me by researchers-asking me for my journalistic opinion about Pakistan’s foreign policy, my conscientious comment-instead of beating about the bush saying nothing–typical of diplomats-I just tell them: “Pakistan’s foreign policy is made in Washington and executed by security apparatus”. If one looks at it from the days of General Ziaul Haq to this day, it is nothing but kowtowing to the Americans, more related to defence procurement and financial assistance for military needs-whether it is CSF or those suitcases full of dollars that CIA delivered to the last two generals in the Presidency.
Except for Bhutto’s initiative to charter an independent foreign policy, laying the foundation of ever lasting friendship with China, building bridges with the Third World, uniting the Muslim countries-Pakistan was leased out by Ayub Khan, General Zia followed by General Pervez Musharraf to the Americans. I hope and pray we don’t revert back to the era of dictators to cast a shadow of uncertainty on our future by becoming kingpins in the American designs for “enhancing uncertainties abroad”.
Bhutto’s unnatural demise unleashed nearly four decades of unease, disruption, dislocation, ethnicity, divisiveness, sectarianism, ongoing trauma, terrorism and unending war between the Praetorian establishment and the people-the former defending its right to a security state and later seeking the supremacy of the vote as the sole arbiter of power-a phenomenon symbolic of martyred Bhuttos.