Politics of Z A Bhutto | By Dr Abdul Razak Shaikh


Politics of Z A Bhutto

April 04 witnessed the judicial murder of charismatic political leader Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in 1979.

The judicial murder of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto on this day by a dictator was actually the death of humanity and the voice of the masses.

History will neither forgive nor forget the murder of a leader who wanted to make us the leading nation, progressive, peaceful, and towards national integrity and prosperity by empowering the masses and by making Pakistan the first Muslim Nuclear Power in the world.

He had feared that Pakistan will be exposed to external danger by neighboring India, therefore, announced We (Pakistan) will eat grass, even go hungry, but we will get one of our own (Atom bomb), we have no other choice.

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Shaheed was the leader who had the vision to foresee the disintegration of the Soviet Union and future of the Asia.

Democracy in Pakistan has never been allowed to flourish and has always been subject to direct and indirect interventions.

The graves of former prime ministers Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto, and those of their family members buried at Garhi Khuda Baksh, are a testament to the price which Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has paid for taking a stand against the powers that be.

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was a Pakistani politician who served as the 9th Prime Minister Of Pakistan from 1973 to 1977, and prior to that as the 4th President of Pakistan from 1971 to 1973.

He was also the founder of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and served as its chairman until he was in 1979.

He founded the PPP in 1967, contesting general elections held by President Yahya Khan in 1970.

While the Awami League won a majority of seats overall, the PPP won a majority of seats in West Pakistan; the two parties were unable to agree on a new constitution.

Subsequent uprisings led to creation of Bangladesh, and Pakistan lost the war against India in 1971.

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was handed over the presidency in December 1971 and the emergency rule was imposed.

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto sought a peace agreement, with Indra Gandhi, Premier of India, brought back 93,000 prisoners of war to Pakistan and secured 5,000 sq miles held by India without compromising on Kashmir stance or recognizing Bangladesh which was the key Indian demands.

He strengthened ties with China and Saudi Arabia recognized Bangladesh and hosted the second Organization of the Islamic Conference in Lahore in 1974.

Domestically, Bhutto’s reign saw parliament unanimously approve a new constitution in 1973, upon which he appointed Fazal Ellahi Choudhry President and switched to the newly empowered office of Prime minister.

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto founded Pakistan’s nuclear program, due to his administrative and aggressive leadership leading this nuclear deterrence program, Bhutto is often known as the Father of Nuclear deterrence programs.

The Bhutto government carried out a number of reforms throughout the country that unfortunately were not as successful as Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto expected. During his period as prime minister, a number of land reforms were also introduced.

The important land reforms included the reduction of land ceilings and introducing the security of tenancy to tenant farmers. Bhutto was a strong advocate of empowering small farmers.

He argued that if farmers were weak and demoralized then Pakistan’s agricultural strength would be fragile, believing that farmers would not feel psychologically safe unless the country achieved self-sufficiency in food.

ZA Bhutto also made Pakistan a prominent member of the Non-Aligned Movement.

Since no single leader could replace him and no single party could challenge his PPP, his political adversaries of all ideological hues and colors before an forged alliance the 1977 parliamentary elections which he was accused of rigging.

The allegation led to a violent opposition movement that his government unsuccessfully tried to suppress. It was eventually followed by a military takeover.

The last and crucial phase of his political career started in July 1977, after his government was overthrown, and ended in April 1979 when he was convicted of murder in a highly controversial trial and hanged by Zia-ul-Haq.

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto faced those tough times with courage and conviction. He never budged under pressure from an oppressive military ruler.

The last two years of his life are entirely opposite to his eight years in politics when he was working with non-elected rulers. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto worked for People’s democracy and paid the price.

History will never forget the personality of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and he his services for the cause of poor people, democracy, and sovereignty of the country.

— The writer is contributing columnist, based in Karachi.


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