FOR SERIOUS STUDENTS OF HISTORY ONLY. My write-up on Zulfikar Ali Bhutto a few days after his 93rd birthday

EXPLORING THE ENIGMA THAT WAS ZULFIKAR ALI BHUTTO

“Blow, blow, thou winter wind, Thou art not so unkind as man’s ingratitude”

By

Dr Ghulam Nabi Kazi

Like Julius Caesar (44 BC), Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (1979) could not be accorded a decent burial. Being the most brilliant offspring of one of the four Knights in Sindh, he deserved better. Coming from a poor family herself, his mother Lady Khursheed Shahnawaz had taught him to care for the poor as he began his academic career in the UK and the USA, he preferred to live with relatively poorer people, and rather than buying cars he preferred to buy books and became a voracious reader. Even Bertrand Russell was impressed by the intellect of this young man.
His father Sir Shahnawaz Bhutto was Adviser to the Governor of Bombay and helped to create Sindh as a province in 1936. He expected to be the Chief Minister of the newly created province and was actually made incharge of the province’s affairs, but took elections too lightly. He regarded his constituency as his pocket borough and spent most of his time entertaining Britishers. He got the shock of his life when in the elections, a relative stranger Shaikh Abdul Majeed Sindhi won from his constituency and he had to retire from politics. He later served on the Bombay-Sind Public Service Commission and as Deewan / Chief Minister of the Junagadh State. When Pakistan came into being, he was a good friend of Iskander Mirza of the Indian Political Service inducted into the Civil Service of Pakistan who had being appointed Defense Secretary of the new republic and saw him rise to the Presidency a year before his own death in 1957. It had taken Mirza only 9 years to rise from a Political Agent / Joint Secretary to the highest position in the land.
Being impressed by his abilities, President Mirza sent the young Zulfikar as Pakistan’s chief delegate to the UN Conference on the Law of the Sea in 1958. From the feedback he received, he had no qualms or inhibitions in inducting him as a Central Minister after declaring martial law on 7th October 1958 and designating the CMLA General Ayub Khan as the prime minister on 27th October 1958. ZAB was only 29. The same night Mirza was deposed and later sent into exile, but Zulfikar Ali Bhutto managed to survive with Ayub Khan who was clueless about his antecedents. Ayub has reportedly asked his Deputy CMLA and Secretary General Cabinet Aziz Ahmed about Bhutto, and not knowing anything better he said he was a businessman. Ayub was already sick of the old lot from Sindh like Muhammad Ayub Khuhro, Qazi Fazlullah and Pirzada Abdul Sattar and wanted some fresh faces anyway.
ZAB on the other hand had his eyes on the Foreign Ministership but realized it was too premature to make such a request. He held the portfolios of Commerce, Information and Broadcasting and Minorities Affairs until 1960. However, he was hounded out from the Ministry of Commerce soon by the big businessmen. He would remark later: “That was an era of the robber barons; you could be Vice President of the World Bank and Finance Minister of Pakistan at the same time.” This was an obvious reference to Finance Minister Muhammad Shoaib. Subsequently he was assigned Fuel, Power and Natural Resources, Works and Kashmir Affairs and was told to learn diplomacy from Manzur Qadir and Mohammad Ali Bogra. On the latter’s death in office, he was assigned his coveted portfolio of External Affairs in January 1963 till August 1966. Following the 1965 war and the post-Tashkent visit of Ayub Khan to Washington, an interesting development happened. The US First Lady Mrs. Johnson came to where the Pakistan delegation was sitting and asked who Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was and on his getting up, she informed him that he was being sacked. Ayub had apparently blamed the Foreign Office was advising him to go to war with India and had grown weary of Bhutto and his Foreign Secretary Aziz Ahmed. When President Johnson had a one on one meeting with ZAB, he told him he would be looking to his progress as he was yet young. This time Bhutto knew his days were numbered in Ayub Khan’s cabinet. The formal announcement soon followed of his resignation on personal grounds being accepted, and he quit the cabinet on the 31st of August 1966. Two to three weeks later on September 18, 1966, the all-powerful Governor of West Pakistan Nawab Amir Muhammad Khan of Kalabagh was also shown the door and General Musa inducted in his place.
Bhutto waited for a while, poised himself to take on the government of President Ayub Khan, and got together with likeminded socialists and some right wing landlords and formed his political party. He was only cautious about the extreme leftists and extreme rightists. The Pakistan People’s Party came into existence on November 30, 1967. The momentum of the agitation was gaining ground mostly through students and labour leaders and Bhutto gave them a choice for a new leftist party that retained Islam as the religion. The party’s manifesto and other documents were visualized and drafted mostly with the help of Dr Mubashir Hasan and J. A. Rahim. While the doctor had specialized in engineering and was new to his teaching career, the latter was an Indian Civil Service Officer who had retired as Foreign Secretary. Both shared Bhutto’s Marxist views and acknowledged the need for adapting their views in a Muslim country. The party was launched in Dr Mubashir Hasan’s simple and modest house in Model town, Lahore, which he retained till his death last year.
Swift retribution followed as Bhutto mobilized the masses and he was jailed along with his main party leaders. For weeks his affidavits, counter-affidavits and rejoinders written in beautiful English coupled with extraordinary legal acumen hit the newspapers and posed an additional problem for the beleaguered government. Essentially Ayub Khan’s time was coming to an end. His health problems had multiplied and as soon as he got his first attack of pulmonary embolism, his Commander in Chief General Yahya Khan had taken over the presidency. A semblance of normalcy returned when he recovered, but there was a feeling that he had lasted too long and a change was needed. General Yahya Khan was also growing impatient and was about to satisfy his ambitions. In a last minute bid to survive, Ayub Khan convened a Round Table Conference with leaders of all the political parties after they had been released. Even Sheikh Mujibur Rehman who had been called a traitor had his treason case withdrawn and attended the meeting. But now even Ayub’s own cabinet members were looking up to Yahya Khan for guidance. Finally, Ayub Khan who had already assured he would not contest any future elections, walked into Radio Pakistan to announce the abrogation of his own Constitution formed in 1962 and asked General Yahya Khan to take care of his ‘constitutional responsibilities’ as he did not want the country situation to deteriorate any further. Which constitution was he talking about though. Now there wasn’t any constitution. Had the 1962 constitution been there, Speaker Abdul Jabbar Khan should have been handed over power as acting President. As it turned out, by the time Yahya Khan’s martial law was over, East Pakistan had gone too and Bangladesh created as of December 16, 1971.
Anyway, on the 25th March 1969, Gen. Yahya Khan recorded his own speech and after having delivered it winked at his second in command General Hameed and said: “General, where do we go from here.” Apparently, he had no plans beyond coming to power.
Bhutto meanwhile had to re-evaluate his position vis-à-vis the new man in at the helm. There are indications that when political activity was allowed, he had problems like every other politician and frequently complained to the martial law authorities on the attitude of some of the officers. Meanwhile, just before the elections scheduled for December 1970, a devastating cyclone hit East Pakistan and the slow response to this humanitarian tragedy further alienated the masses there towards West Pakistan. Over the past 23 years, the West had treated the East as a liability and had shown remarkable apathy in resource allocations and looking to their security needs. During the 1965 war, the defense of East Pakistan appeared to lie in China so what was the rationale between keeping the two wings together at all. Nixon and Kissinger began lobbying with Yahya Khan and at some time he agreed to grant them independence. But by then the trust deficit had escalated.
The December 1970 election further exacerbated issues as contrary to expectations, Sheikh Mujibur Rehman harnessed every National Assembly seat barring two – those that were held by elderly politician Nurul Amin and the chief of Chittagong Hill tracts Chakma tribe Raja Tridiv Roy. Both, Nurul Amin and Raja Tridiv Roy would spend the rest of their careers in Pakistan, As Sheikh Mujibur Rehman ultimately got control over East Pakistan. In West Pakistan, Bhutto’s Peoples’ Party emerged as the majority party but immense problems were foreseen in the aftermath of these elections. Essentially the two wings of the country had been held together by the bond of religion, with little else in common. Secondly, the Legal Framework Order drafted by Justice A. R. Cornelius Law Adviser to the President allowed a constitution to be framed by a simple majority. This meant that Sheikh Mujibur Rehman and his party members could easily pass the new constitution whether or not they had the support of any other party. At the same time, the powers that be in West Pakistan were not prepared to divest power to anybody. To confuse things further, Yahya Khan acting as an honest broker declared Sheikh Mujibur Rehman as the next Prime Minister of Pakistan and summoned the Assembly session but later postponed it when he understood the true position.
In hindsight, we know that the talks held in March 1971 were a sham and simply a ploy to gather troops in East Pakistan to prepare for Army action. Some concessions were proposed to Sheikh Mujibur Rehman but they were too little too late. The people were already up in arms at the postponement of the Assembly session and it was clear that the country was heading for a tremendous upheaval. On 25th March 1971 Yahya Khan left for Rawalpindi leaving orders for Operation Searchlight or military action. The latter provoked a lot of Bengalis to seek refuge in India providing it with an excuse to initiate hostilities against Pakistan. Full-fledged war between India and Pakistan broke out on December 3, 1971. Meanwhile, on December 7, 1971 Nurul Amin was appointed Prime Minister and ZAB Deputy Prime Minister of Pakistan. Curiously neither Amin nor Bhutto took oath of their respective offices, which in the absence of a constitution may have been declared superfluous. A couple of days later, Bhutto was ordered to proceed to New York to attend the Security Council deliberations. He made a rapid assessment of the situation and found it to Pakistan’s disadvantage from every dimension. Meanwhile Major General Rao Farman Ali Adviser to the Governor of East Pakistan had already approached the diplomatic missions of the USA and all Western countries in Dacca and the United Nation’s Secretary General seeking a surrender contradicting the statement of President Yahya Khan. It was not clear who was in charge or at the helm in Pakistan, the President being too inebriated to issue any rational order. Finding himself cornered from all sides and with the country in a state of complete inaction, Bhutto lambasted the United Nations on December 15, 1971. It was a totally incongruous situation with the top diplomat of the country speaking plainly and most undiplomatically referring to the impotence of United Nations and failing to come up with any equitable solution. I doubt if there is any other speech of this nature anywhere in the UN archives. To quote just a small passage”
“The Security Council has failed miserably, shamefully. "The Charter of the United Nations," "the San Francisco Conference," "international peace and justice"-these are the words we heard in our youth, and we were inspired by the concept of the United Nations maintaining international peace and justice and security. President Woodrow Wilson said that he fought the First World War to end wars for all time. The League of Nations came into being, and then the United Nations after it. What has the United Nations done? I know of the farce and the fraud of the United Nations. They come here and say, "Excellence, Excellence, comment allez-vous?" and all that. "A very good speech-you have spoken very well, tres bien." We have heard all these things. The United Nations resembles those fashion houses like Nina Ricci which hide ugly realities by draping ungainly figures in alluring apparel. The concealment of realities is common to both, but the ugly realities cannot remain hidden. You do not need a Secretary-General. You need a chief executioner. Let us face the stark truth. I have got no stakes left for the moment. That is why I am speaking the truth from my heart. For four days we have been deliberating here. For four days the Security Council has procrastinated. Why? Because the object was for Dacca to fall. That was the object. It was quite clear to me from the beginning. All right, so what if Dacca falls? Cities and countries have fallen before. They have come under foreign occupation. China was under foreign occupation for years. Other countries have been under foreign occupation. France was under foreign occupation. Western Europe was under foreign occupation. So what if Dacca falls? So what if the whole of East Pakistan falls? So what if the whole of West Pakistan falls? So what if our state is obliterated? We will build a new Pakistan. We will build a better Pakistan. We will build a greater Pakistan.”
The members of the Security Council as well as members of Mr. Bhutto’s team looked shell-shocked as he uttered sentence after sentence of a hard hitting speech very close to the truth accusing countries and their foreign ministers or ambassadors by name. At the end of his tumultuous discourse, Bhutto walked out of the Security Council after tearing up his notes, followed after a brief pause by his aides including Rafi Raza, Yusuf Buch and Agha Shahi. It was clear they did not know about the walkout beforehand. Bhutto stayed on in New York dining with US Ambassador to the UN and later President George H. W. Bush. Decades later Barbara Bush would write in her memoirs how impressed her husband was with Bhutto’s speech. Bhutto later called on President Nixon who told him he was particularly impressed with his saying he didn’t want to return to Pakistan with an instrument of surrender, which his teenage son had forbidden him to do. From New York Bhutto moved to Rome from where a PIA aircraft escorted him back to Rawalpindi after a couple of stopovers on December 20, 1971. He was administered oath as President and Chief Martial Law Administrator by President Yahya Khan the same day. Yahya himself was retired and placed under house arrest.
Initially Zulfikar Ali Bhutto enjoyed the powers perhaps no had before or after him. He was the President of Pakistan, Chief Martial Law Administrator, President of the Constituent Assembly and Chairman of the Peoples’ party, just to name a few. In his first speech to the nation broadcast live at night – we still had blackout nights despite the cessation of war – he assured the people he would as hard as he could put to put the country on an even keel. “I will serve you even if it kills me” he reiterated. Perhaps he did not realize how correct he was. He devoted attention to his main priorities, which was Constitution making, initiating talk with India to secure the release of prisoners of war and the occupied land and yet something else.
Bhutto has been criticized for being Chief Martial Law Administrator. However, it must be realized that at the time when Yahya Khan was relinquishing charge of the office of the President, in the absence of Martial Law there was no document to save Pakistan from reverting to the Government of India Act of 1935 read with the Indian Independence Act of 1947. Well into the 25th year of its existence, Pakistan had no legal umbrella to fall back on. Bhutto being a brilliant lawyer and constitutional expert was well aware of this precarious balance in which the country was hanging. Therefore, constitution making would be his foremost challenge and priority. Bhutto’s constitutional team included Mian Mahmud Ali Kasuri and Abdul Hafeez Pirzada, supported by Hayat Sherpao, Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi, Dr. Mubashir Hasan and Rafi Raza. This group also constituted the negotiating team of the government side with the opposition which included certain formidable leaders. Around the first week of March 1972, a basic accord was reached with the NAP-JUI leaders like Khan Abdul Wali Khan the de facto leader of Opposition, Khair Bux Marri, Ghaus Bux Bizenjo, Arbab Sikander Khan Khalil and Maulana Mufti Mehmood. Seasoned politicians from other political parties included Sherbaz Khan Mazari, Ghulam Ghaus Hazarvi, Shah Ahmed Noorani, Prof. Ghafoor Ahmed and Sardar Shaukat Hayat Khan, just to name a few. The Constituent Assembly had enough talent across both sides but was somewhat crippled by a lack of understanding. If Bhutto said it was the night, it became incumbent for Wali Khan to declare it was the day – such a situation usually does not augur well for any agreement let alone one on such a fundamental issue like the constitution. History will nevertheless record that an accord was reached between the two sides on thorny issues not only for the interim constitution in April 1972 but also for the permanent one a year later.
On March 6, 1972 the government and opposition sides agreed on the fundamentals of the interim constitution and incidentally agreed to Martial Law till August 14, 1972. The opposition had erred here; very soon stalwarts like Wali Khan and Bizenjo were under fire for agreeing to a somewhat prolonged Martial Law mainly by the communist or ultra-left elements. Meanwhile, sensing the situation correctly, Bhutto made all his MNAs sign a resolution calling for Martial Law till the 14th August 1972 to consolidate reforms. The stratagem worked! The opposition was forced to approve the Interim constitution on April 21, 1972 to facilitate the lifting of Martial Law four months before the time they had somehow agreed. It was a win-win situation. Pakistan would go in its silver jubilee with a constitution approved by almost every member present. The Supreme Court judgment in the Asma Jilani case declaring Yahya Khan as a usurper but recognizing the need for the Constituent Assembly to play its role proactively may also have expedited the approval of the constitution by exerting pressure on both sides of the house. Bhutto has used Martial Law mainly to retire 1,300 civil servants in a hastily and somewhat erroneously drawn up list and the nationalization of basic and heavy industries. However, that is a topic for another day.
There is evidence that as a minister in the cabinet of President Ayub Khan, he had got the portfolio of Atomic energy. It was his passion but he could not succeed at that time, due to the refusal of Finance Minister Shoaib to provide sufficient funds for the project. Immediately on taking over, he convened a meeting of nuclear scientists and reiterated his resolve to make all out progress in this domain.
Bhutto moved to Simla with his daughter Benazir for negotiations with Indian Prime minister Indira Gandhi. After days and nights of negotiations at the summit, ministerial and secretary level, the same familiar deadlock was witnessed as we have seen in the intervening years. Then something happened that made a difference. Writing in Indira Gandhi: The Emergency and Indian Democracy, P. N. Dhar notes: "Soon, word spread that the conference had failed. Media men rushed off to announce the failure. In the midst of this enveloping gloom Bhutto asked to see Mrs. Gandhi and a meeting was fixed for 6 p.m. at the Retreat, where she was staying. When Bhutto came to see Mrs. Gandhi, he met P.N. Haksar and myself briefly and said: "You officials give up too easily". Mrs. Gandhi and Bhutto then met for an hour while Haksar and I waited in the adjoining room. Emerging from his tete-a-tete with Mrs. Gandhi, Bhutto looked pleased and said, "we have settled the matter and decided to give you some work to do before dinner." Since then it has been a matter of conjecture what exactly transpired between the two leaders that night. In all probability, Bhutto told Mrs. Gandhi that military victories notwithstanding one day they would have to stand before the bar of history. History would judge them not on the basis of wars won or lost but on the basis of how well they worked for their respective people. After the President of Pakistan emerged out of the private talks, the ministers and secretaries got genuinely busy correcting and re-correcting the successive approximations of drafts. Until the time that the leaders were ready to sign the final draft agreement, it was already 0040 hours and technically the 3rd of July 1972. However not wanting another delay, the two leaders signed the agreement dated the 2nd of July 1972. It was a victory for the people of both the countries.
When it came to framing the permanent constitution of 1973, the government made it known that they favored a parliamentary type of constitution. The constitution negotiating team was now spearheaded by the young Abdul Hafeez Pirzada. It was usually a bumpy ride but to cut a long story short, the negotiating team soon reported to Finance Minister Dr. Mubashir Hasan that only an accord on financial aspects was pending. Earlier capacity constraints in certain provinces had forced the central government to retain a long list of constitutional responsibilities or subjects in a second Concurrent List meaning they were provincial responsibilities but would be given support by the Federal Government for a period of 12 years until provincial capacity was built.
It may be interesting that the biggest hint to constitution making came not in any legislative forum but in the Federation of Pakistan Chambers of Commerce and Industry. President Bhutto went there in early 1972 and expressed that he was a firm believer in provincial autonomy, but he didn’t want the Federal or Central Government to be a widow! He had said it all despite the sexist remark. As detail after detail of the proposed constitution came out in the open, this position was vindicated further.
The government presented the ingenious proposal for a Council of Common Interests and later the National Finance Commission along with equal representation of all provinces in the Senate, which while empowering the role of the provinces, equally highlighted the role of the Federal Government in inter-provincial coordination. Dr. Mubashir Hasan was provided highly elucidative and useful reports on each sector of the economy prepared by the Finance Secretary AGN Kazi and Deputy Chairman Planning Commission Qamarul Islam. The reports were not in the way they are in nondevelopment (recurrent) or development budget books but more clearly designed to tell the real story. Telling the two gentlemen to leave the two briefs with him, the good doctor began to peruse them with absolute concentration. It appeared to him that NWFP and Balochistan were clearly the poor relatives of Punjab and Sindh as evinced by the figures in front of him. The next day in the meeting with the NAP-JUI leaders he was essentially speaking their language totally disarming them and significantly agreed to give Balochistan the royalty for natural gas against a certain formula. By the time Zulfikar Ali Bhutto came to the meeting, the opposition was already convinced of their imperative to agree with the government side. As per a prior agreement with Mubashir, the President announced to not only give royalties for natural gas but petroleum as well. The accord was virtually reached!
Subsequently, the government was itself amazed on its success and wondered why the provincial governments were not more dogmatic in their approach on provincial autonomy. The fact was that Ghulam Faruque who had represented the Central government throughout his long career as first Chairman of PIDC and WAPDA, Commerce Minister and Governor of East Pakistan was the main spokesman and technical guru of the NAP as Finance Minister of NWFP. If Bhutto didn’t want the Federal Government to be a widow, he couldn’t have found a better though inadvertent advocate than Faruque.
Now it only remained to tie up certain loose ends. The Jamaat-i-Islami had representation in the National Assembly but had sworn enmity with the government. With the help of intermediaries, Ghulam Mustafa Khar arranged a very long but secret meeting of Bhutto with Maulana Maudoodi leaving the latter most concerned about his own position within his party. His leaders told him that they couldn’t agree to anything with Bhutto and would amplify their point in a huge public meeting called for the purpose. When Maudoodi told Khar of this, the latter infiltrated his own people in the public meeting creating confusion and encouraging Maudoodi to negotiate with the government. Several references to Islamic provisions in the constitution must have satisfied him and it is possible he may have added some specific articles in this regard.
Then there was a case of a Maulvi from Balochistan who insisting on money for his vote. An annoyed Bhutto said that he would personally give him the money. He called the MNA and threw a bundle of notes in his direction forcing him to go down on his knees and collect the money at the cost of his self-respect. S. M. Zafar has also narrated the poignant story of Justice (Retd) Abdul Hamid, a retired judge of the Peshawar High Court who was staying at the Inter-Continental Hotel and discussing the article on equality and equity with him. In the morning he was found dead from cardiac arrest, but the article was ready for incorporation in the Constitution.
When the constitutional accord was finally signed on April 12, 1973, the relationship of the government and opposition sides were at its lowest ebb ever, yet they both took the step in the supreme national interest. It was a victory for professionalism and a classic book example on how to develop a mutually shared vision and move along more concrete lines to actually draft and develop the single most important document in the Republic. Although the constitution given formal assent on August 14, 1973, has witnessed two full-fledged Martial Laws, and several other extra constitutional actions in the intervening 47 years or so, and has undergone more than a score of amendments, it has truly emerged as the binding force for all the people of Pakistan.
Bhutto now moved down from President to Prime Minister on August 14, 1973 while Speaker of the National Assembly Fazal Elahi Chaudhry assumed the Presidency. Bhutto noted to his Cabinet Secretary that he did not want another Ghulam Muhammad to emerge, hence the powers of the President were further curtailed and every ordinance signed by him had to be counter-signed by the Prime Minister.
India’s nuclear explosion in 1974 made Bhutto almost desperate for having nuclear capabilities. What happened in Kahuta and how the French nuclear reprocessing plant deal was used as a smokescreen is now well known. Coming hand in hand with a summit meeting of Islamic countries in Lahore during 1974, the situation was alarming for Western countries. By 1976, Henry Kissinger’s demeanor with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had changed for the worse. His endgame was fast approaching. He had appointed General Muhammad Sharif as Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee and General Ziaul Haq as Chief of Army Staff with Ghulam Ishaq Khan moved from Governor State Bank to Secretary General Defense. The latter two decisions proved to be monumental blunders. Confident of an electoral victory in 1977, Bhutto dissolved the National Assembly in early January 1977. He had miscalculated the strength and support provided to his adversaries. Soon the word was sent around by the powers that be that he was not wanted anymore. All those aggrieved in his tenure be they civil servants or armed forces officers, owners of nationalized industries or banks, the clergy and fundamentalists, those indicted by the Hamoodur Rehman Commission in addition to all his political enemies ganged up against him and financed the opposition, which came together mysteriously as one electoral group of parties. This is when the defining moment came in Bhutto’s life.
As Bhutto himself later noted and has been seconded by Abdul Hafeez Pirzada: In early January 1977, his Minister for Production Rafi Raza had a four and a half hour interview with him and told him that a Pakistan National Alliance was coming into being and gave him the names of the office bearers. He also told him the the strategy and aim of the alliance and gave him three alternatives: (a) Forget the Nuclear Reprocessing Plant and the imminent unity of the Opposition will not materialize, (b) Postpone the elections, or (c) Face very grave consequences. Bhutto thanked him for the valuable advice but told him that it was too late to either postpone the elections or drop the Nuclear Reprocessing Plant. Rafi Raza told him that he had no doubt that they would win the elections in a fair context, but would not be allowed to reap the benefits of the victory. He insisted that more than an election or an office was at stake.” Bhutto replied, “I got your point and you got my answer.” Rafi Raza then asked him why was he doing all this and taking such big chances with himself and his family? Bhutto told him that he was doing it to build an egalitarian society, to make his country strong and modern, to bring happiness to people who had no idea what the world meant. Bhutto told him that tears will always be shed but he wanted less tears to be shed and less bitterly.
By the December of 2007, Bhutto and three of his four children had been assassinated ostensibly for not heeding this timely warning but he went ahead with his plans. The elections of March 1977 and their unfortunate aftermath is known to all. His handpicked general had deposed him by July of that year and indicted him on a murder charge. On 2.12 am on April 4, 1979 he was executed. Rather than go into the proceedings of the cases, all I can say is that a superior court of the country, namely the High Court of Sindh and its subordinate offices and courts remain closed on the 4th of April every year to mark the martyrdom of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who is termed as a Shaheed in the holiday notice.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was a passionate man. He did not negotiate or compromise the national interest at any point despite severe risks to his life and that of his family. He did not bend his knees at any point and preferred to mount the gallows. Dr Mubashir Hassan noted that once he had seen Bhutto weep when he saw a laborer breaking stones manually and asked the doctor when his country would progress sufficiently so that this was not required. He thus endeared himself to the common man. The intelligentsia and the worldly-wise persons will always speak ill of him in the hope of some worldly gain but the myth of Bhutto will abide in the memories of all the common masses of Pakistan. Speaking to Oriana Fallaci in 1972, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had remarked, “I could be finished tomorrow, but I think I will last longer than anyone else who has governed Pakistan.” What an astute prediction that was. Happy 93rd ZAB!

Copyright Dr Ghulam Nabi Kazi

Posted by Doc Kazi on 2021-01-11 05:38:54

Tagged: