Zulifkar Ali Bhutto - the politician, the leader and the personality. He was the only leader who brought the politics to the thresholds of the poor and due to this valiant step the speechless masses stood up and spoke for their rights. The present system of democracy is a gift of Shaheed Bhutto. He not only laid the foundation for democratic politics but also made it a feasible, perusable and glorious system for all time. If we go back in recent history, we shall see that the timesavers, in connivance with the dictators, tried to destroy democracy and the constitution. But even then Bhutto’s philosophy and system prevailed and we got the way of democracy to reach the destination of progress and prosperity. Bhutto’s politics were aimed at providing rights to poor classes and not the privileged segments of the society. He gave the constitution to society, invoked political consciousness in the minds of the poor, gave them self respect and confidence. Bhutto knew that positive change in favour of the poor was not possible by chanting slogans alone, and so he opened the gates of earning livelihood in the Middle East and provided free education to the people. He laid down structures for making Pakistan nuclear, completed Steel Mills, aeronautical complexes and eliminated the feudal system. The Islamic Summit held in 1974 is a golden chapter in our relations with the Muslim world.
The man who made this country a true welfare state was Bhutto; the giver of the constitution was Bhutto, the harbinger of unity amongst the Muslim world, builder of Pak-China friendship, maker of 90,000 prisoners free from India. But what happened to him? The dictator Zia-ul-Haq maneuvered his elimination by using the name of Islam; using the religion to serve his own interests. He wanted power for longer. He pushed the country towards lawlessness, terrorism, drug trafficking, arms smuggling and instability. I wonder at the people who hold Zia-ul-Haq as a staunch Muslim. Does a staunch Muslim commit dacoity on the rights of others? He held power illegitimately; to be head of government and the state was not his right but he snatched power in an unlawful, un-Islamic way. He promised elections in 90 days but it took him 8 years to hold party-less elections. He ruled the country with hypocrisy to meet his ends alone. During the early days of his rule, he began the practice of flogging political workers. He claimed he was reviving Islamic punishments, but after Bhutto’s martyrdom he thought political resistance was over and he stopped these punishments. Zia-ul-Haq wanted to intimidate political workers with severe punishments so that they would not challenge his dictatorship. After the hanging of Bhutto, (a judicial murder), he found himself secure and never felt further intimidation of the people was necessary. This example is enough to understand the Islam of Mr. Zia.
Time is the biggest judge and we have seen that Shaheed Bhutto rules the country and the people’s hearts even from the grave while his killer is now a nameless person. Today, he does not have any impact in the religious, social or political circles of society. He stands nowhere. People, I am sure, will never forget Bhutto and his sacrifices because, he would not be intimidated by the dictator and never left the path of truth. He stood by his people to his last breath. This is why, after 35 years of his martyrdom, Bhutto still lives in people’s hearts. Today, if democracy is flourishing it is because of Bhutto’s struggle. He kept his promise to the Quaid-e-Azam in his letter written in 1945. Mr. Bhutto in his letter said, “Our destiny is Pakistan, our aim is Pakistan. Nobody can stop us. You have inspired us and we are proud of you. Being still in school, I am unable to help the establishment of our sacred land. But the time will come when I will even sacrifice my life for Pakistan.” Bhutto proved his words and never sold his self respect and ego even in the death cell. But I say, like Socrates, Bhutto will never die. Today we know Socrates, but not his enemies and his killers. Similarly, Bhutto will live in the hearts of people forever and his killers will remain only in the dark pages of history. The temporary impulse of greed and cruelty curses with eternal gloom. That’s why we can see that Bhutto is an ever glowing light to this day, while his killers are forevermore doomed to the darkness.
The writer is Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly.