Remembering July 5th, 1977 & ouster of charismatic ZAB

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Munawar Anjum

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Shaheed is an exceptional and hauntingly striking character in the history of Pakistan. His charismatic personality will keep on mesmerizing human minds for ages.

A highly educated individual, a diplomatic and far-sighted politician to a well read, and intuitive statesman, the man was extraordinary.

Being a spellbinding orator, he proved his mettle with his intellect and eloquence, and the world came to know him as a master politician.

He remains to date the most loved political leader in Pakistan’s history with a huge countrywide following.

Just as Pakistan came into being with the power of the vote, Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Shaheed holds this unique privilege that he was the first elected Prime Minister in the history of Pakistan who rose to power with an electoral majority.

July 5th, 1977, is marked as a “Black Day” in Pakistan’s political and constitutional history when a dictator ousted the country’s elected prime minister out of his lust for power.

The first elected government was toppled by force, and the 3rd martial law was imposed in the country.

That day turned back the wheel of progress, and Pakistan lost its diplomatic relations and international rapport. Democratic forces in Pakistan haven’t still forgotten that fascist act of General Ziaul Haq.

It’s been 44 years since the 1st elected government of Pakistan was unseated. July 5th was the darkest day in the history of Pakistan when the founder of PPP and 1st elected Prime Minister of Pakistan was dismissed.

General Zia-ul-Haq, then chief of army staff (COAS), overthrew the 1st elected government of Pakistan by falsely accusing it of rigging the general elections, imposed martial law, and pushed the country into a morass of darkness. The first democratically elected prime minister was incarcerated.

Nearly two years after this dictatorial move of general Zia-ul-Haq, the spectacular leader of the Muslim world, Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, was executed on July 5th.

However, history testifies that national and international political analysts acclaim and honor his political vision to date.

Bhutto’s image still lives on without fail in national politics. This kind of fervor and adoration is not reserved for ordinary mortals.

The vision and ideology on which Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Shaheed laid the foundation of PPP are still alive, and the workers of PPP carry his legacy forward under the leadership of Chairman Bilawal Bhutto. Mr. Bhutto Shaheed played a crucial role in making Pakistan the 1st Muslim nuclear power globally and establishing a peaceful and progressive image of Pakistan.

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was the 1st leader who gave the country a constitution equally acceptable to all political parties.

General Zia-ul-Haq ‘s martial law derailed the democratic process and hollowed the country’s moral roots.

History will neither forgive nor forget Bhutto’s assassination, and it will always be marked as the darkest era in the democratic history of Pakistan.

On July 5th, 1977, democratic thinking was curbed, seeds of sectarianism, nationalism were planted, and terrorism raised its ugly head.

Then chief of army staff, General Zia-ul-Haq, in an authoritarian move, struck the axe of martial law against an elected government and promised to organize free and fair elections within 90 days. However, the promise remained unfulfilled till the tyrant went to his grave.

July 5th marks an unfortunate black day in the history of Pakistan when Quaid-e-Awam Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s democratically elected government was overthrown in the dark of night.

Today any mention of General Ziaul Haq will be blown away by a waft of disdain and negativity.

The country still has not been able to extricate itself from the ill effects of the fascist Zia regime.

The nation will have to wait for decades to mitigate the damage done to the political, administrative, and constitutional framework at the hands of the dictator.

Dictatorship in any form is always an instrument of maneuvering of imperial powers. It considers national and state interests only an afterthought and of secondary importance.

Ziaul Haq held the country hostage of colonial powers, used its resources to benefit them, and handed over the Siachen Glacier in a plate to the enemy.

He didn’t even care for his country and region and victimized it for the personal gains of the outsiders.

Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s services for Pakistan are undeniable. His feat of making Pakistan an atomic power and setting it free from India’s terror will always be written in golden words. Gen Ziaul Haq tried to eliminate Bhuttoism by assassinating Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

However, in a karmic justice of history, Bhutto shaheed still rules people’s hearts while the dictator was made a disgrace for the rest of the world.

Although it’s been 44 years since July 5th, 1977, careful observation of the state of affairs reveals that we are still standing there where we were 44 years ago. The only difference is that faces have changed.

Four decades ago, the political figures, journalists, and representatives of civil societies were targeted, imprisoned, and flogged. Freedom of speech was curbed, and openly criticizing the dictatorial

Gen Majid Malik (late) writes in his book “Hum Bhi Wahan Maujood Thai” that “In a bid to gain the favor of Bhutto, Ziaul Haq set such belittling examples of flattery that were unprecedented and against the traditions of the army.

Zia-ul-Haq was appointed as lieutenant general and was handed over the command of Multan Corps. One day Bhutto had to visit Multan.

Zia-ul-Haq ordered that all the officers of our corps welcome Bhutto by standing in a queue on the road.

When Bhutto arrived, Zia-ul-Haq and all other officers welcomed Bhutto by standing on the roadside. This was totally against the ethics of the army.”

To woo Bhutto, Ziaul Haq used such tactics that a shrewd politician like Bhutto was also beguiled by it.

Bhutto started seeing him as a kind-hearted, considerate, and harmless individual. He was also a migrant and didn’t belong to any particular region.

Had no intense lobbying in the army; therefore, Bhutto thought he was the most suitable army chief for his government.

It was Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who, in a way, choreographed the emergence of the Islamic Block by hosting an Islamic Summit at Lahore, gathered all the Muslim countries on one platform, and made invaluable decisions for the unity of Muslim Ummah.

Due to the achievements of the first truly elected prime minister of Pakistan, the world’s developed countries felt threatened by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

The way Mr. Bhutto highlighted the Kashmir conflict in the United Nations is unparalleled.

To designate May 5th as the “Kashmir Day ” and the Simla Accord are the most outstanding achievements of Bhutto Shaheed. Apart from this, history is full of such distinguished feats of Bhutto shaheed.

A ruthless and tyrant immolated a historical figure such as Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto for his lust for power.

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