A member of a selection committee of a Public Service Commission asked a candidate, about how he rated Zulfikar Ali Bhutto as a leader. He replied that it would not be out of place to say that he is sitting today before the esteemed interviewing committee, because of leaders like Bhutto. The candidate continued that he was out of those thousands of common and privileged people who had passed competitive examinations based on a uniform syllabus, whereby a common man may pass it by virtue of his hard work and an influential candidate may fail by the mark of his non-work. The committee however asked how Mr. Bhutto could be given credit for this. The candidate proudly replied that it was because of Bhutto that commissions were constituted by an act of Parliament, through administrative and financial autonomy.

Before him, they might have been present but perhaps not for the common slot or common people, where they were either not made aware, encouraged or got prepared for such competitive examinations by the state. Entries to certain key positions such as police and tax inspectors, Tehsildars and other executive officers were made through the committees supervised by the head of the concerned departments instead of commissions Thus, only the influential could enjoy such appointments rendering them a prohibited tree for all the rest from the common slot who could only dream of it. Bhutto had liberated the commissions from direct control of the ministers and put them under such independent committees comprising of common people before whom sons of the poor like the candidate, could also come up for a viva and pass written examinations through hard work and could expect to join and relish the fruit of the forbidden tree of the privileged civil services. Measures for public awareness and though little misused “quota system” for the backward paved way for the common to become part of civil service. The independent system initiated by Bhutto is still carried today, compelling governments to follow the suit for opening avenues for the common man.

The candidate had indeed paid a candid tribute.

Admittedly, my column published in Nawa-i-Waqt on the eve of Bhutto’s recent anniversary received a wide range of appreciation from the common people, especially appointees of the Public Service Commissions but also met stiff criticism from certain corners including my senior colleagues and close family relations for highlighting Bhutto’s personality. Debate, undoubtedly, reflects beauty of thoughts and showers of life in a society and honestly, Pakistan is nothing short of this pulse and foretells hopes of growth.

Few of the debated questions are shared just for food for thought here to be best answered by the intelligentsia, nobility, political, civil, judicial and military leadership and to be taken care of in the future in the best interest of nation.

Whether Bhutto as a leader was hanged due to conspiracy theories woven by international forces, politico-religious, judicial and feudal antagonists, his independent policies or by his inflexible and unbreakable attitude? Whether, criminal administrative legal system of Pakistan including jurists, lawyers and judges can ever justify and compensate allegedly judicial murder of Mr. Bhutto? Whether, Bhutto was a mixture of opposites and his best play of emotions and words through his God-gifted quality of oration could have been best exploited in better interest of the nation and Ummah than to act as a catalyst for break- up of the country?

Whether, his stance to align with China in her strikes against India as against that of Ayyub could have got liberated the remaining part of Kashmir from India for good as offered by China through joint raids in 1962?

Whether, Bhutto should have given power to Mujeeb’s majority winning party. Bhutto had prepared to resign for new elections and a national government. Whether, such disasters could have been and shall be desisted in the future for availability of competent leadership to harness the country to its ultimate growth and development. Whether, like Sharifs, Bhutto should have been guest-exiled to countries like Libya on their specific and persisted requests to be subsequently utilized at times of need for uplift and unity of Muslim Ummah and the non-aligned wing in the bipolar or uni-polar exploitative world? Last but not the least, whether, the talented common becoming respectable civil servants and success stories called commoners by virtue of their entry to the civil services through independent Public Service Commissions autonomized by leaders like Bhutto and his successors? Till today and by virtue of their common training programmes at Civil Services Academy and NIPAs, they could serve and lead the country in its true letter and spirit to say that they have pride in becoming true commoners from the common and carry on the missions for service of humanity as the best human activist. The question to ask is whether, this system requires and can tolerate and utilize sincere, capable but independent leaders either political or common.