Birth Anniversary of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto
By: Dr. Maqsood Jafri (New York)
I received the call of eminent columnist and anchorperson Ms. Rubina Faisal of Rawal TV Toronto, Canada, to express my views about Mr. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto on his 84th birth anniversary. It was forty minutes of interview in which prominent journalist Mr. Najmul Hassan from Toronto also participated. Before writing a brief of my interview, I would like my non-Pakistani readers to know who Z. A.Bhutto was. He was the prime minister of Pakistan. He got education from the Berkeley University of the USA and then did Barr-at-Law from Lincoln Inns, London. He was the minister in the cabinet of President Skindar Mirza. Then he was taken as a minister by Field Marshal Ayub Khan. For his extraordinary qualities, he was a very successful foreign minister of Pakistan. In the war of Indo-Pakistan, on the long standing issue of Kashmir, he developed differences with the president in Tashkent, Russia, in 1965. Eventually, the gap of differences widened, and he resigned from the cabinet and emerged as a great leader of the masses. In 1969, he announced his own political party named Pakistan Peoples Party. For his charismatic personality and intellectual posture, he gathered throngs around him and, like a cyclone, swept all other political parties. From 1972 to 1977, he ruled with his revolutionary mission and introduced cardinal changes. He gave the constitution of 1973 to the country. He nationalized heavy industry, banks, schools, colleges and hospitals. He provided free education and health care to the poor people. He held Islamic summit conference. He made Pakistan a nuclear power. After the dismemberment of Pakistan in 1971, he managed to free our military and civilian prisoners of war from the prisons of India. Such a great leader was overthrown by a military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq and then hanged in 1979 on the plea of a false murder case. His intellectual daughter Ms. Benazir Bhutto came to power in 1988 and then in 1993. She was assassinated in a public meeting in 2007 in the government of another military ruler General Pervez Musharraf. A few months before her death in New York, she had asked me to write a book on the politics of her deceased father. I honored her wish and wrote the book titled The Ideals of Bhutto. Today, in Pakistan, the Pakistan People’s Party founded by Mr. Bhutto is in power, and his son-in-law Asif Ali Zardari is the President of Pakistan.
After this brief introduction of Mr. Bhutto, I come to the Rawal TV interview. Ms. Rubina Faisal very aptly and eloquently pointed out the national services of Mr. Bhutto and paid him glorious tributes. But as an anchor person, she asked me some very ticklish, touchy, and controversial questions regarding the politics of Mr. Bhutto. In my opinion, those were very pertinent questions that needed to be properly answered. Her first question was about the opponents of Mr. Bhutto accusing him for the dismemberment of Pakistan. They say that it was Bhutto who played a part to break Pakistan for political power in West Pakistan. While responding to this question, I said that in my book on Bhutto, I have clarified this accusation in detail. Briefly, we must know that Mujeeb-ur-Rehman, in a press conference, had declared that the constitution of Pakistan would be made on the basis of his Six Points. President Yahya Khan and Mr. Bhutto did their best to convince Mujeeb to abandon some of the points as they were anti-Pakistan points. But he did not agree as he was supported by India, and his Six Points were prepared by the Indian intelligence agency RAW. He was an Indian agent who was bent upon breaking Pakistan. When he succeeded in his mission and carved out Bangladesh, in London, in a press conference, he said that he did what he desired for the last so many years. The second question posed by Ms. Rubina Faisal was about a public statement of Mr. Bhutto in which he had said, "Ether hum; othur tum" (This side we, and that side you). The political adversaries of Bhutto mostly cite this statement of Bhutto and try to prove that he caused the dismemberment of Pakistan. Recently, Ahmed Reza Qasuri has written a book captioned Ether Hum; Othur Tum. It was Ahmed Reza Qusuri who was elected the member of the National Assembly of Pakistan on the party ticket of Mr. Bhutto. During the meetings between General Yahya and Mujeeb in Dacca, he had flown to East Pakistan and had assured his support to Mujeeb with the desire to be taken as a minister in his cabinet. As Mujeeb had announced that he would not hold the assembly meeting in Islamabad and hold it in Dacca and make the constitution on the basis of his Six Points, in the reaction, Mr. Bhutto had said that if some assembly member went to East Pakistan and endorsed the Six Points of Mujeeb, he would break his legs. It was not with the intention to break Pakistan; it was to save Pakistan.
It must be mentioned here that Mr. Bhutto in his books titled The Myth of Independence and The Great Tragedy had expressed sorrow on the bad political, social, and economic condition of Pakistan and the countries of the third world. He was a great political activist and a visionary. Once questioned as to how he would like to be remembered in history, he retorted that he would like to be remembered as a poet and a revolutionary. Did he ever compose poetry? No he never composed even a single line of poetry. But he was a great romantic. He loved beauty and praised the poetry of Faiz of Pakistan and Shelley of Britain. He was very articulate and eloquent in English. His books portray his mighty power of writing. His aphoristic and facile writings captivate the hearts. He was a well read man. Once, I visited the former President of Pakistan, Field Marshal Ayub Khan, and during our talks, I sought his opinion about Mr. Bhutto. He said, "He is a patriot. He takes advantage of the English language but he is emotional." I think this emotionalism of Bhutto had a method. William Shakespeare at a place says:" there is a method in his madness." Mr. Bhutto was a super genius. But it is said with heavy heart that he was surrounded by the pigmies. His towering personality was attacked by the military generals and the religious hardliners. He desired to see Pakistan as a modern, moderate, progressive and democratic state, but the short sighted clergy and self-conceited military generals maneuvered to eliminate him. He became the victim of international conspiracy, and the Pakistani generals dragged him to the gallows. While in jail, he wrote a book titled “If I am Assassinated.” In this book he wrote that he was victimized for making Pakistan a nuclear power, and general Zia-ul-Haq was a tout of the imperialists. He wrote that he would rule over the hearts of the poor people of Pakistan and also over the country from his grave. His words have been proven a truth. Twice his dear daughter Ms. Benazir Bhutto ruled over the country and today his son-in-law Mr. Asif Ali Zardari is the President of Pakistan.