The vigour of the followers of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto on his 33rd death anniversary particularly at Garhi Khuda Bakhsh is intense. The respect that he still commands springs from several factors, most prominent of them being that he infused the downtrodden with political consciousness. His frank, bold and awe-inspiring oratory at open rallies was a welcome departure from secretive and dull drawing room politics that the masses had come to detest. Also one cannot forget his efforts for pacing up the country’s atomic programme. His commitment manifested by his statement that ‘we will eat grass, even go hungry but we will have nuclear capability of our own’ in response to India’s nuclear programme earned him the ire of Henry Kissinger who warned him “we will make a horrible example out of you.”

Apart from the hustle and bustle of political life in which he seemed invariably absorbed, he was introspective enough to take out time to author some great books, including on foreign policy. That he wanted his own country to adhere to such lines was made increasingly clear in his flamboyant address to the UN Security Council  in 1971 where he tore up the Polish resolution and condemned India’s war as ‘legalised aggression.’ But as the old adage goes, every masterpiece has its own flaws. His was when he gave an out of turn promotion to the seemingly pliant General Zia. His life was an epic, ending in a tragedy, one that will resonate in the minds of Pakistanis for ages to come.