Begum Nusrat Bhutto is the legacy of the past, today belongs to us”. These were the unfortunate remarks of one of the party leaders that he expressed on the occasion of Begum Nusrat Bhutto’s first death anniversary, and in fact he was against holding such a commemorating event. This shows his depth of mind and caliber and thinking. In fact, this remark is the negation of Begum Bhutto’s great sacrifices, sufferings, and struggles against the tyrannical and dictatorial rule of General Zia. In today’s time, some of the leaders are so absorbed in their so-called fame that they are willing to conveniently ignore the contributions of Begum Bhutto towards democracy and her fight against the martial law. In their ignorance they hold such views about the great brave lady, whose remarkable leadership qualities deserve respect and recognition.

Tomorrow will mark the 5th death anniversary of the Mather-e-Jamhoriat, Begum Nusrat Bhutto. No doubt, she was awarded the greatest award of the nation, Nishan-e-Pakistan, in recognition of her services for the cause of democracy. But the action of today’s PPP leader is conspicuous of his motives to bury the name of Begum Bhutto in the annals of history and it is his endeavour not to remember her any more. But he and others who share this view must not forget that she has mixed her sweat and blood to pave the way for democracy in this country; her contributions cannot be forgotten even if a few people wish so. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto shaheed wrote to Mir Murtaza Bhutto from his death cell, “In this crisis, and it has been the worst seen by u, your mother and sister have been shining pillars of strength. It would have been very difficult, I would say it would have been impossible, to be without their splendid and heroic contribution”. Indeed, Begum Bhutto has rendered invaluable services for the restoration of democracy.

It is a fact, that it was Nusrat Bhutto who stood all alone against Zia’s tyrannical rule and fought bravely. She faced cruelties, prisons, and tortures including baton charge in Gaddafi Stadium Lahore due to which she had to be admitted in UCH, Lahore. Her strength inspired the workers who also displayed exemplary courage and faced all sorts of cruelties including torture, prison, lashes, and hangings. This is how history was written and made.

The sacrifices made by the party workers are due to the leadership of Nusrat Bhutto. She developed strong relationship with party workers and highlighted the atrocities of the martial law regime in Pakistan and made the whole world aware o the draconian cruelties faced by the people of Pakistan who were struggling for the rule of law and democracy in the country. She also brought to limelight the injustices, barbaric laws and unconstitutional acts of General Zia and started the struggle throughout the country and abroad. Most of the workers went to prisons, some were hanged and many received lashes. The slogan of jiyaye Bhutto was the order of the day. But the love of their leader could not be taken from their hearts and mind. These workers upheld the banner of democracy, freedom, and human rights.

The greatest achievement of Begum Nusrat Bhutto was that she guided Benazir Bhutto in such a way that she became a brave daughter and was not scared of persecution by the dictator that included prison and house-arrests. She could not be defeated by all such difficulties and ultimately she became the great leader of PPP. By following in the foot-steps of her father she wrote the chapters of the history of Pakistan in blood. She faced prison sentences along with her mother and became the voice of her father against the false murder case and the whole world denounced General Zia and his regime. The voice that Mather-e-Jamhoriat had raised for the sake of economic prosperity and democracy was further strengthened by Benazir Bhutto and is the fruit of that struggle in which PPP was successful. The moment when Benazir Bhutto sworn in as the Prime Minster of Pakistan also witnessed the tears in the eyes of Begum Sahiba, reflecting her true thoughts; finally, the people of Pakistan had settled the score of the “judicial murder” and injustices done to Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

Despite lacking political support from important stalwarts of PPP, she had great confidence in the people of Pakistan and in the party workers and through these means she helped to strengthen the party. She gave a new life and blood to the PPP, which was the inheritance of ZAB Shaheed, in the most difficult times. Had she not come out in the field, General Zia would have been successful in liquidating the party altogether. It was Begum Bhutto’s efforts that prevented Zia’s dream from becoming a nightmare for Pakistan.

Begum Nusrat Bhutto shared the grief of the poor masses. She was a source of enthusiasm and great comfort for them. She was a kind hearted soul who became the voice of the poor people of Pakistan at a time when their voices were being strangled. She not only faced the pain of losing her husband but she also suffered immensely from witnessing the loss of her two sons and eventually, her daughter. Yet, her courage did not waver. No doubt, some new leaders are not aware of the struggles and services of Begum Nusrat Bhutto and are now considering that she is the legend of the past. Such people themselves are opportunists and time servers who will be left behind in the past. Those sincere to the PPP are aware of the sacrifices and contributions of Mather-e-Jamhoriat and will remember her as a brave leader of the PPP.

Today, the leadership of PPP is headed by Bilawal Bhutto, the Chairman of PPP and it is expected that he will uphold the flag of democracy while remembering the services and sacrifices of Mather-e-Jamhoriat. Bilawal Bhutto not only has the capability but is also the fortunate one to have the training of a mother like Benazir Bhutto. His recent political rally in Karachi has demonstrated his potential. I believe that if young Bhutto takes careful steps to reorganise the party, the future of PPP is still bright.

Had she not come out in the field, General Zia would have been successful in liquidating the party altogether. It was Begum Bhutto’s efforts that prevented Zia’s dream from becoming a nightmare for Pakistan.