4th April: A day to revisit convictions of Bhutto
4th April will always be remembered as the saddest day in the political history of Pakistan; when a dictator put a democratic rose to death with the help of judiciary.
A malicious judicial assassination of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto; who taught the Pakistani nation art of living with heads held high and gave the public a voice for speaking aloud for their rights; has been remained adequately unaddressed. Prior to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto the Pakistani public was not introduced to the real value of democracy and the country had no significant and widely consented constitution. Not only did he bring the nation together for one constitution but also played vital role in bringing the Muslim Ummah under one flag.
One who glorified Pakistan the worldwide and enabled it to become the first Islamic Atomic Power was buried silently but not unceremoniously in the darkness of the night. He was killed for no reason other than that he empowered Pakistan and brought together the Islamic countries on one platform.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was born on January 5, 1928. He was the only son of Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto. He completed his early education from Bombay’s Cathedral High School. In 1947, he took admission in the University of Southern California, and later in June 1949 joined the University of California at Berkeley. After completing his degree with honors in Political Science at Berkeley in June 1950, he was admitted to world famous Oxford University in United Kingdom.
He was the youngest member of the federal cabinet, as a Commerce Minister of Pakistan and in 1963 he took the charge of Foreign Minister of Pakistan. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s very first major triumph was to reckon the Sino-Pakistan Boundary agreement on March 2, 1963. In mid 1964 Bhutto enabled Pakistan to establish economic and diplomatic links with Turkey and Iran. A triangular relationship between Iran, Pakistan and Turkey culminated into Regional Co-operative Development (RCD) that was one of his biggest achievements on economic fronts.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto launched the first people based political party for the protection of rights, the Pakistan People’s Party(PPP) in 1967. He aimed to bring down the dictator Ayub Khan who had let down the nation at Tashkent in 1965. In general elections held in December 1970, PPP swept the polls with an overwhelming majority and on December 20, 1971 after General Yahya Khan’s resignation, Bhutto became the President of Pakistan. Major steps were taken by him for strengthening the national economy when Britain and other western countries recognized the new state of Bangladesh and in response Z A Bhutto withdrew membership from the Commonwealth of Nations and SEATO.
On March 1, 1972, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto introduced land reforms to empower the poor farmers of the country and bring revolutionary changes in the agricultural field. Same year on July 2, after political negotiations Zulfikar Ali Bhutto signed the Simla Agreement with India that paved the way for the return of occupied lands and the release of Pakistani prisoners of war captured in East Pakistan in the 1971.
After the National Assembly unanimously passed the 1973 Constitution, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was sworn-in as the Prime Minister of the country immediately after which he visited remote backward tribal areas of Pakistan. In FATA, he opened colleges for men and women and promised that he would improve the living standard of the people of FATA. The unemployed were given jobs, roads were constructed and hospitals were opened in addition to a lot other things.
Today, Pakistan is democratically ruled by the party founded by Z A Bhutto and perhaps it is the right time to correct the wrongdoings of judiciary and army dictators. Government has decided to reopen the Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s (ZAB) case.
Reopening Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s (ZAB) case would prove to be a milestone in the history of Pakistan. This landmark measure by PPP would promote justice in the country and would discourage those decisions that were taken on the bases of pressure, favour or biases. The President of Pakistan, Mr. Asif Ali Zardari who is the co-chairman of PPP too has sent the reference in accordance with Article 186 of the Constitution. The Pakistan Peoples Party would prove to be the real heir of the legacy of late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and this act would also provide solace to the soul of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto if justice is seen to be done. Such a bold step would also be a source nurturing and strengthening democracy in the country.
It has become custom to celebrate leaders death and birth anniversaries however celebrating leaders’ death and birthdays must not remain confined only to loud speeches. It is the need of the hour to fulfill aspirations of ZA Bhutto who had wished to bring FATA into the mainstream of the country. 32 years back, Z A Bhutto had wished for political reforms in FATA but even today, people are living there with the noose of FCR around their throats. Even today they are deprived of basic health and educational facilities. It would shock the readers to know that throughout the tribal areas there is neither a single university, medical college nor any technical institutions. Even tribesmen are frequently kidnapped by terrorists and extremists.
Parachinar that was called “Switzerland of Pakistan” by Z A Bhutto during his visit there is now turned into a valley of death. Nothing is available to the people there as it is to people in the rest of the country. The main Peshawar to Parachinar road is stained with the blood of innocent people of Parachinar.
Prime Minister, Yusuf Raza Gilani, and the PPP co-chairman, Asif Ali Zardari, are requested to help the people of Parachinar by making the roads secure and opening orphanages for the children whose parents were killed in heinous acts of terrorism. Z. A. Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto always wanted Parachinar to be a reflection of heaven while currently it depicts only hell.