Benazir Bhutto-a symbol of struggle and sacrifice
Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto emerged in the political arena of Pakistan as a true follower of her great father, Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, and continued her struggle with her unmatched wisdom and political vision.
Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in his lifetime had decided to train and groom his daughter as his heir as he had found in her all political capabilities and abilities. Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was sent to Harvard University for higher studies and Oxford, where she was elected as the President of the Oxford Union, the only Pakistani student, proving her unmatched leadership capabilities. She visited various countries with her father and met number of world leaders across the world at various forums with her father. She witnessed as to how her father fought for the cause of the country; as to how prudently her father Shaheed ZA Bhutto articulated the return of 90,000 prisoners of war from India and retrieved back thousands of square miles of Pakistani land.
Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto remained active and attached with her father to enhance her political skills and to learn the real matchless qualities of leadership. Her father had refused to bow his head before a dictator and we witnessed how Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto followed those footsteps and refused to bow before Gen Zia and her other powerful opponents, after her father’s demise. To block her movement for the restoration of democracy, she, along with her mother, were imprisoned and tortured but she did not submit to the wishes of the dictator.
She made a historical come back on April 10, 1986, after more than two years in exile. Her arrival set the trend in favour of Benazir Bhutto and her foes could not block her struggle by threats, guns, house arrests and all sort of victimisation by the dictator. The dictator’s nervousness was visible from his announcement, with warning that he would impose yet another hard martial law to block her way but she ignored all the warnings and threats, and she continued to travel throughout the country and kept on addressing public gatherings in various cities and villages of the country. The world witnessed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto emerging as a stronger and brave leader; as she fought to get the country free of dictatorship and mobilised the masses for democracy. Her struggle worked and got the democracy restored with the power of her people.
The world still remembers her first oath taking ceremony on December 2, 1988 when she became the first female Prime Minister in the Muslim world. On the occasion she wore green dress resembling the flag of Pakistan to express her unmatched love for her country. Her strong speech is still echoing in the ears of every Pakistani.
Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’ sculpture in her that green dress is placed in Madame Tussaud’s Museum London in her memories and in recognition of her services and to remind the visitors about her charismatic and towering political personality. She is the only political personality from the third world countries whose incomparable services were recognized universally.
The mind-set of the Establishment and her stern opponents did not accept Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and they continued to hatch conspiracies against her. An Elite intelligence Agency distributed huge funds amongst the opposition politicians to influence general elections in 1990 against the PPP led by Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. The way, she was ousted from power not only once but twice, in what is a tragic and darker chapter of Pakistani history.
After the fall of her government for second time in 1996, her political opponents, who had turned the political differences to personal enmity, implicated her along with her husband in a number of false and frivolous cases. Her successor government influenced and pressurised the judges of the High Court to convict her and her husband with maximum sentence, which was later known as the “Tape Scandal”. When those judges who were instrumental in the conspiracy were confronted to their taped conversation, they had to seek retirement as judges of the Supreme Court. This was the level of justice she got in her life time. No one concerned so for apologised to her party for this injustice done against her and her husband.
Despite all tribulations and hindrances, she won a sizable majority while in exile. However, the anti-PPP Establishment hammered conspiracy created Patriots who ditched their leader and joined Dictator General Pervez Musharraf. This was a big jolt for my leader Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and I remember she had called those Patriots in Dubai where they had given commitment to her that they would not betray her. I feel sorry when I saw some of them around us even today, and they remind me of that meeting in Dubai where they had committed to remain loyal with my leader. It seems ministerial temptation made them leave their leader.
Eventually, PPP lost the chance to make government because of disloyal patriots. Interestingly, General Pervez Musharraf made government by one-vote majority, which Mr. Zafar Ullah Jamali needed to become prime minister. For the one vote, Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan (SSP) Chief Azam Tariq was released from Adyala Jail and was brought in the National Assembly in order to cast that one crucial vote and in return several SSP prisoners were released in bargaining. This was the beginning of promotion of extremism with political support of the then government.
Shaheed Benazir Bhutto was a unique leader who had in her personality the Islamic and Eastern values and also a moderate face for Pakistan. She had a dream of her happy, prosperous and developed Pakistan and she expressed this desire in the last speech of her life. She had foreseen the current deteriorated situation of the world because of increasing extremism and terrorism. She used to warn the world against promotion of extremism and militancy for any political gain. Once, she said, “Extremism today is a challenge. A challenge we must collectively seek to understand and overcome, before it overcomes and consumes us and leaves destruction in its wake’’.
In very clear words, she warned the world to not promote extremism and militancy as this was going to become a big monster, which would come back to bite everyone. Her prediction turned to be absolutely right, as today, terrorism and extremism exist in every society.“The force of moderation and justice must combine to confront the ugly face of extremism”, she had emphasized to the world. I wish the world had listened to Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and had well understood her vision, and today the monster of extremism and terrorism would have not overcome us all.