By Senator Rehman Malik
November 30 is a day for all of us, all the senior leadership and workers included, to celebrate as part of a political party, which was formed to represent federation throughout the country. Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto – the founding father of Pakistan People’s Party – was a leader with great political wisdom being a born politician and reformer with charming personality and intellect to influence his contemporaries. The PPP over a period of time, under the leadership of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and then Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, grew bigger with the efforts and sacrifices of leadership and its workers.
Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto left the government of Ayub Khan as Foreign Minister over Tashkent Agreement and formed his political party – Pakistan People’s Party – on 30th November 1967 to give voice to poor people, labourers and peasants alike, to make aware of their rights and how to secure their future. The wave of support of masses to Mr. Bhutto scared the military junta resultantly a civil-military wedge was ignited by Ayub Khan when ZAB was going to announce his party by opening fire on him. Though he survived the attack a rift and inimical mindset were put in motion.
ZAB sworn in as PM of Pakistan in 1973 and then as Prime Minister consequent to the promulgation of the 1973 Constitution, emerged as the most popular leader not only of Pakistan but also as a leader of Muslim Ummah. He was the man who put us on the highway of development, which was shattered by the successive Military governments. He was the one to lay the foundation of true democracy and paid the price for it heavily. It was he who gave a unanimously approved Constitution to the country, which provided and ensured the autonomy to federating units of the country.
His wisdom and foresight timely realised the importance of strong defence of the country against the hegemonic posture of India and USA in the region. In the background of potential nuclear threats from India, Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto conceived and put in motion nuclear program. His remarkable declaration about nuclear power is still remembered by the nation: “We (Pakistan) will eat grass, even go hungry, but we will get one of our own (Atom bomb)… We have no other choice!”
On the diplomatic front, he realised the importance of neighbors of Pakistan and further strengthened the alliance with China as Prime Minister of Pakistan, which he had already forged as Foreign Minister of the country. China became a strong ally for Pakistan during his regime as Prime Minister. He even facilitated USA to improve its relations with China.
He Introduced social reforms for Pakistan and stood up against capitalism. Unfortunately, Gen. Zia – a right-wing General of that time – overthrew his government with the backing and support of the USA that was bent upon to contain the socialist leaders in the Muslim countries whereas the non-Muslim countries following socialist policies, India included, at that time of point were never touched or countered. The then US Secretary of State Mr. Henry Kissinger was on record having threatened him of dire consequences if he did not roll back the nuclear programme.
It was Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who restored the moral of people of Pakistan by bringing back 93000 POWs from India besides securing back vast area of Pakistani territory under Indian occupation after 1971 Indo-Pak war through an agreement with India called as Simla Agreement in 1972. He stood up as a leader and secured the release of POWs and Pakistani territory, even he was representing a defeated country.
His support amongst the poor, labourers, students, landless and women was incomparable to any other politician of Pakistan. It was this love of people and his love for the people, which rightfully earned him the title of Quaid-e-Awam. He served the people of the country till the last day in office and beyond that.
Finally, in order to eliminate ZAB from the political scene for once for sure, he was falsely implicated in the murder case of Nawab Muhammad Ahmed Kasuri. I having gone through each file pertaining to the investigation of ZAB and can confidently say that it was a tutored case to finally execute him in 1979. It was even confessed by none other than Justice Naseem Hassan Shah, part of the Bench of Supreme Court which heard the appeal of Mr. Bhutto, who himself stated that it was not a fair trial. Even the former Chief Justice of Pakistan Mr. Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhary – a staunch opponent of PPP – also remarked that the trial of ZAB was “not a good trial” while hearing the Reference filed by the then President of Pakistan.
People were still hoping that Zia would not hang Bhutto but 5th April 1979 was the black day in Pakistan’s history that PM from Sindh was hanged to death and was shipped through a cargo plane to Mohenjo Dero under the cover of darkness.
His beloved daughter, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto could not even hug her father for the last time, as she wasn’t allowed to step inside the cell. This judicial murder of her father made her undertake a journey to take the country back on the track of democracy to revenge the take over of the government by the military junta. She had always been professing, “Democracy is the best revenge”, which proved to be a valid way of revenge when she took the oath of the office of Prime Minister of Pakistan in August 1988, being the first Muslim lady to hold the office.
The family suffered heavily where Begum Nusrat Bhutto was tortured; Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was put in jail as a young girl and finally, the family was put into exile. The sacrifice of Begum Nusrat Bhutto being the biggest political victim in the hands of Gen Zia remains unquestioned. She began to lose her memory after a head injury during a PPP procession in the hands of police Lathi charge in Karachi. She was a brave lady.
Soon after this, another tragedy came their way when Shah Nawaz Bhutto got murdered in 1985 in Nice, France. I was ordered as director FIA for the investigation and reporting back information on his murder. I returned and gave a full briefing on the murder of Shah Nawaz and I disclosed to BB as to he was given war poison and how he was left alone in his sitting room. The French authorities charged his Afghani wife for leaving her husband dying. Why was he killed and who was behind this murder; I will unveil the whole facts soon.