Who was Zulfikar Ali Bhutto?

Mudassir Ali
Jan 06, 2020 04:08 PM 1 Answers
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Who was Zulfikar Ali Bhutto?

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Sep 30, 2021

Originally Answered: Who was Zulfikar Ali Bhutto ?

Precis: Shahnawaz Bhutto took a lowly Hindu dancing girl named Lakhi Bai to be his wife. Lakhi was forcibly converted to Islam, renamed Khursheed Begum and gave Shahnawaz two children, Z.A.Bhutto and a daughter, Mumtaz.

Shahnawaz’s son by the little Hindu dancing girl bore the mighty name Zulfiqar, meaning ‘sword of Allah,’ which shall be swung by the returning Mahdi.

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s first arranged marriage was disastrous. He studied political science at the University of Southern California, then at the University of California at Berkeley. Zulfiqar attends Oxford University and flirts with the notion of socialism in Islamic countries. He marries his second wife, a Kurd from Iran in 1951. Their daughter Benazir was born in 1953, followed by three other children, a daughter Sanam and two sons Shahnawaz named after his grandfather and the other Murtaza.

Army dictator Yahya Khan fulfills his promise to hold elections in 1970 after one of the worst natural disasters in history, a cyclone hit East Pakistan, present day Bangladesh killing a half million people outright and displaces millions more. Yet elections continue, and East Pakistan under Mujibur-ur-Rehman becomes a political entity in its own right with 185 seats. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto wins 85 seats. In yet another act of treachery, both Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Yayha Khan collude, and Yayha Khan remains in power and denies Mujibur his electoral win. West Pakistan forces essentially invade East Pakistan, murdering Mujib’s supporters. In 1971, India finally has enough, and crushes Yahya Khan’s armies. Thus Bangladesh is born.

Yahya Khan is blamed for the defeat, but in truth, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto is equally guilty. Yahya Khan disgraced, resigns in favor of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who then continues as Pakistan’s first civilian chief martial law administrator and later president.

Under Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the Islamists are empowered, Pakistan develops nuclear weapons. Pakistan’s economy is ruined by nationalizing everything, farms and industry alike. The Baluch in the south are slaughtered, relations with India grow worse, and in every respect Pakistan goes downhill. Let no man say Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was democratically elected. He came to power by default, and he destroyed Pakistan with his insane Islamic Socialism.

When the Pashtun leader Khan Wali Khan becomes a political threat to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Wali Khan’s supporters are murdered, he is jailed, then exiled. Perhaps the only sensible politician of the era, Wali Khan had opposed the formation of Pakistan, trying to preserve a larger India. Wali Khan’s dream of a Pashtun nation should be taken seriously in our time, for it is the only sensible solution to the problems facing both Pakistan and Afghanistan. These are our problems, too, for the Taliban are Pashtun.

In 1977, things are bad enough for Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto who declares early elections. When his Pakistan National Alliance opponents accuse Zulfiqar’s Pakistan People’s Party of rigging the election, riots break out and General Zia ul-Haq seizes power. General Zia again implements Basic Democracy by imprisoning everyone, PPP and PNA alike, and Zulfiqar cools his heels in prison for a few weeks.

When General Zia feels things are under control, he announces elections in October. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto returns to his Al Murtaza estate and all Sindh turns out to cheer him. Feeling confident, Zulfiqar goes campaigning. General Zia is not amused; wearying of Zulfiqar’s opposition he puts Zulfiqar in prison again and has him tried for rigging the previous election — and the attempted murder of Ahmed Raza Kasuri.

During the disastrous war with East Pakistan, Ahmed Raza Kasuri, once a member of Zulfiqar’s PPP, had revolted against Zulfiqar over his treacherous collusion with Yahya Khan. Did Zulfiqar order the murder? We’ll never know. But Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was found guilty and hanged in April of 1979.

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was manifestly guilty of war crimes in East Pakistan against his fellow Muslims, and certainly more implicated in the murder of Wali Khan’s supporters. Zulfiqar was hanged because he led Pakistan to military defeat and economic ruin, from which Pakistan has still not recovered.

Tail piece: Was Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto responsible for separation of East Pakistan from Pakistan ?

Vijay Simha, A former journalist based in New Delhi answered on Quora. Very much so. The question can be slightly rephrased as Was Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto responsible for the breakup of Pakistan? Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto is known as गिलहरी (Gilaharee) by all Indians. It means squirrel in our language – because squirrels are always chirpy and upto some mischief running up and down trees and being very active. Whenever the following question was posed to us in our history class: Pakistan ka gilaharee kaun tha ? Everybody smiled because we knew the answer.

We Indians feel that he was like a squirrel always running up the General’s shoulder and whispering in their ears – some scheme or the other which always backfired on Pakistan after which the squirrel immediately scurried down the general’s shoulders climbed up a tall tree – The Awam or People of Pakistan and started chirping loudly at the Generals of the Pakistan Army, berating them for their failures. He did this twice with two generals, Ayub Khan and his successor Yahya Khan after first goading them into situations which led to war – which they could not win and then turning against them for not making substantial gains or losing the war. During the years 1962-1965 his patron was Pakistani General Ayub Khan, who had seized power in a coup in 1958.

In 1962, as territorial differences escalated between India and China, Beijing was planning to stage an invasion in northern Eastern territories of India. Premier Zhou Enlai and Chairman Mao secretly invited Pakistan to join the invasion and extricate the rest of Indian-held Kashmir from Indian control by launching their own attack in Kashmir. Bhutto advocated for the plan vociferously, but Ayub opposed the plan: he was afraid of punitive retaliation by the Indian Army which he feared was much bigger and stronger than the Pakistan Army and also was aware of Nehru’s stature as a world statesman – among the third world countries especially. Instead Ayub, who had just signed the Indus Waters Treaty with Indian Premier Nehru on September 19, 1960 and had an amiable relationship with him proposed a “Joint Defence Union” with India to jointly protect the frontiers of the entire subcontinent – shared by Indic people from – non-Indic peoples and foreign armies.

Ayub was an old boy of the British Indian Army which was divided between the newly created states of India and Pakistan in 1947. These two countries are basically populated by Indic peoples who are separated by religion alone and nothing else. Old affections for the British Indian army and its traditions were still alive in him.

Bhutto was shocked by such statements coming from Ayub and felt Ayub Khan was unlettered in international affairs. Bhutto was conscious that despite Pakistan’s membership of anti-communist western alliances, China had refrained from criticising Pakistan. In 1962, the U.S. assured Pakistan that Kashmir issues will be resolved according to the wishes of Pakistani’s and the Kashmiri’s. Therefore, Ayub did not participate in the Chinese plan in 1962. Bhutto criticised the U.S. for providing military aid to India during and after the 1962 Sino-Indian War, which was seen as an abrogation of Pakistan’s own alliance with the United States. It should be noted that negotiations between Pakistan and the PRC officially began on October 13, 1962 and resulted in a formal agreement being signed on 2 March 1963 by foreign ministers Chen Yi of China and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan. The agreement resulted in the surrendering of 13,000 square miles of Pakistani-Kashmiri territory called the Shaksgam valley to the PRC without a fight. While India ferociously fought for and lost Aksai Chin (which was part of Kashmir) to the invading Chinese in 1962. Aksai Chin covers an area of about 37,244 square kilometres (14,380 sq mi). The humiliating defeat, the Indian Army suffered at the hands of the Chinese PLA in 1962, did not go unnoticed by the Pakistani General Staff. Now Ayub was no longer feeling that the Indian army was as strong as he had imagined it to be before.

This time Ayub Khan, on Bhutto’s counsel and strong urging, launched Operation Gibraltar in 1965 in a bid to “liberate” Kashmir. It ended in a fiasco and the Indian Armed Forces launched a successful counter-attack on West Pakistan (Lahore) look at the (Indo-Pakistani War of 1965). This war was an aftermath of brief skirmishes that took place between March and August 1965 on the international boundaries in the Rann of Kutch, Kashmir and Punjab. After suffering reverses and not making any headway in grabbing Kashmir, Pakistan agreed to a ceasefire with India and a return to a status-quo. Bhutto joined Ayub in Tashkent – Uzbekistan to negotiate a peace treaty with the Indian premier Lal Bahadur Shastri. Ayub and Shastri amicably agreed to exchange prisoners of war and withdraw respective forces to pre-war boundaries. This agreement was deeply unpopular in Pakistan, causing major political unrest against Ayub’s regime.

Bhutto’s criticism of the final agreement caused a major rift between him and Ayub. Initially denying the rumours, Bhutto resigned in June 1966 and expressed strong opposition to Ayub’s sellout in Tashkent. Pakistan’s attack on Kashmir in 1965 earned them the wrath of the Indian leadership who now wanted to avenge this and cut Pakistan down to size, given the first opportunity which came just five years later.

Following his resignation as foreign minister, large crowds gathered to listen to Bhutto’s speech upon his arrival in Lahore on 21 June 1967. Tapping a wave of anger against Ayub, Bhutto travelled across Pakistan to deliver political speeches. In October 1966 Bhutto made explicit the beliefs of his new party, “Islam is our faith, democracy is our policy, socialism is our economy. All power to the people. ”Following Ayub’s resignation, his successor, General Yahya Khan promised to hold parliamentary elections on 7 December 1970. Bhutto attracted the leftist and ultra-leftist forces, who gathered under his leadership, becoming the full sum of force. The Socialist mass, under Bhutto’s leadership, intensified its support in Muhajir and poor farming communities in West Pakistan, working through educating people to cast their vote for their better future. Gathering and uniting the scattered socialist-marxist mass in one single center was considered Bhutto’s greatest political achievements and as its result, the leftists and Bhutto’s party – Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) won a large number of seats from constituencies in West-Pakistan. This leftist wave was also felt in East Pakistan and a leftist oriented party also gathered strength in East Pakistan called the Awami league.

The Awami league had been established in 1949 itself. One of its candidates had been Prime Minister of Pakistan before, so Mujib being made Prime Minister of Pakistan in 1970 was not unprecedented. In September 1956, the Awami League had formed a coalition with the Republican Party to secure a majority in the new National Assembly of Pakistan and took over the central government. Awami League President Huseyn Shaheed Suhrawardy – a Bengali, became the Prime Minister of Pakistan. Suhrawardy pursued a reform agenda to reduce the long-standing economic disparity between East and West Pakistan, greater representation of Bengalis in the Pakistani civil and armed services and he unsuccessfully attempted to alleviate the food shortages in East Pakistan. The controversy over One Unit (the division of Pakistan into only two provinces, east and west) and the appropriate electoral system for Pakistan, whether joint or separate, also revived as soon as Suhrawardy became Prime Minister.

In West Pakistan, there was strong opposition to the joint electorate by the Muslim League and the religious parties. The Awami League however, strongly supported the joint electorate. These differences over One Unit and the appropriate electorate caused problems for the government and paved the way for Pakistan’s first military dictatorship to be established in 1958.

In the 1970 elections, Sheikh Mujib’s Awami League won an absolute majority in the legislature, receiving more than twice as many votes as Bhutto’s PPP. After the Awami League had won a decisive majority (capturing 167 out of 313 seats) in the 1970 Pakistan parliamentary elections, the Bengali population of East Pakistan had expected a swift transfer of power to the Awami League based on the Six Point Programme.

On February 28, 1971, Yahya Khan, the President of Pakistan, under the pressure of PPP of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, postponed the national assembly meeting scheduled for March. Bhutto refused to accept an Awami League government and famously promised to “break the legs” of any elected PPP member who dared to attend the inaugural session of the National Assembly which now had a majority of elected representatives from East Pakistan’s Awami league.

Yahya Khan was the second general up whose shoulders “Gilaharee” Bhutto scurried and advised on February 28, 1971, to postpone the national assembly meeting scheduled for March. This blatant refusal to accept a democratic verdict infuriated the East Pakistanis who felt that Sheikh Mujib had every right to be sworn in as Pakistan’s Premier but was being denied this because of the racist attitudes of the West Pakistanis against the Bengali East Pakistanis.

Capitalizing on West Pakistani fears of East Pakistani separatism, Bhutto demanded that Sheikh Mujib form a coalition with the PPP which was rejected by Mujib since he felt he had the democratic mandate to become Pakistan’s premier and that he did not need to share power with anybody. Amidst popular outrage in East Pakistan, Sheikh Mujib declared the independence of “Bangladesh”. According to historical references and a report published by leading newspaper, “Mujib no longer believed in Pakistan and was determined to create Bangladesh”, despite Bhutto’s urging to form a coalition.

On 26 March 1971 Mujib was arrested by the Pakistan Army, which had been ordered by Yahya to suppress political separatist activities in East Pakistan after receiving constant advise from Bhutto. The Pakistan Peoples Party had already started lobbying to weaken the stand of Sheikh Mujib, and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was heard saying that he wanted the Bengalis to stay away. He also advocated a crackdown on the East Pakistanis (Bengalis) who were now hell bent on seceding from Pakistan and forming their own country. While supportive of the army’s actions and working to rally international support, Bhutto suddenly did an about face and distanced himself from the Yahya regime and began to criticise Khan for mishandling the situation once he saw the tide was turning against the Pakistan Army in East Pakistan and the situation was going out of hand. He totally refused to accept Yahya’s scheme to appoint Bengali politician Nurul Amin as Prime minister, with him as deputy prime minister.

In the opinion of many Indians, this small action may not have saved the Unity of Pakistan or placated the East Pakistani’s and made them feel equal as citizens of Pakistan since Amin was elected to the National Assembly as one of only two non-Awami League members from East Pakistan. The only thing which would have saved the Unity of Pakistan was Sheikh Mujib being appointed Prime Minister of Pakistan in 1970.

Soon after his refusal and continuous resentment toward General Yahya Khan’s mishandling of the situation, General Yahya Khan ordered the Military Police to arrest Bhutto also for treason charges, – quiet similar to Mujib. Bhutto was kept at the Adiala Jail along with Mujib, where he was set to face the charges. At the same time, Pakistan Air force committed the cardinal mistake of attacking India whose leadership had already mobilized an immense military force on East Pakistan borders over a period of eight long months with the intent to invade East Pakistan from four attack points, given the first opportunity, which came because of air-raids launched by Pakistan air force on Indian airfields on Dec 3rd 1971. The Indian armed intervention in East Pakistan led to the very swift and bitter defeat of Pakistani forces, who surrendered on 16 December 1971 to the joint command of regular Indian Army soldiers and Mukti Bahini guerillas called Mitro-Bahini.

Bangladesh came into being soon after wyłączny dystrybutor Rega, Guru, Art Audio Lab., Neotech oraz Monolith Audio the time Bhutto had assumed control of what remained of Pakistan, the nation was completely isolated, fractured, angered and demoralized.

Bhutto and many others now soundly condemned Yahya for failing to protect Pakistan’s unity. Isolated, Yahya resigned on 20 December and transferred power to Bhutto, who became president, commander-in-chief and the first civilian chief martial law administrator. Bhutto immediately placed Yahya Khan under house arrest, brokered a ceasefire and ordered the release of Sheikh Mujib, who was held prisoner by the Pakistan Army. To implement this, Bhutto reversed the verdict of Mujib’s earlier court martial trial, in which Brigadier-General Rahimuddin Khan had sentenced Mujib to death, released him and allowed him to fly back to the new nation Bangladesh (Formerly known as East Pakistan) Bhutto then became PM of Pakistan for a five years after fresh elections, but democracy unfortunately lasted in Pakistan only till 1977 before the Pakistani Army commanded by General Zia, intervened again.

During his years as Prime Minister of the now truncated Pakistan, credit must be given to him however for kick starting Pakistan’s nuclear program and its quest to make the atomic bomb and many other constitutional and social reforms and for his foreign policy success of forging very strong ties with the People’s Republic of China – however this relationship did not help Pakistan in both the 1965 and 1971 wars.

He was successful in suppressing many other secessionist movements in Balochistan and the North West Frontier Province which is now known as Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. In order to avoid a replay of the East-Pakistan war, Bhutto launched economic and political reforms in the midst of the conflict. Bhutto’s government tried its best to abolish the feudal system. Bhutto also established the Port Qasim, Pakistan Steel Mills, the Heavy Mechanical Complex (HMC) and several cement factories. Bhutto’s luck did not last long with the third General; General Zia whom he had handpicked to head the Pakistan Army. Bhutto was deposed in a military coup on 5 July 1977, arrested and finally hanged on trumped up charges which is widely believed to be a judicial murder orchestrated by General Zia.

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