The making of PPP

Senator Jehangir Badr With the establishment of the PPP a new era had dawned in the Pakistani politics and it continues to maintain its position as a sweetheart of the people all over the country. It is the only political party with substantial representation in all the federal units for the last 40 years; no other party in Pakistan has ever managed to achieve it. But the question is: How was all this possible? For this, we will have to understand the purpose of PPPs creation, as well as its creator Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. General Ayub Khan unfortunately lost at the negotiation table, at Tashkent, the war that was won by the Pakistan army in 1965 with the support of the people of Pakistan. Therefore, this humiliation enraged the people against the dictator. And so then Foreign Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (Shaheed) - a patriot as he had always been - was left with no other option, but to resign from the Cabinet on June 16, 1966. After Shaheed Bhuttos resignation was accepted by the President, he left Rawalpindi on June 22, 1966, by train. On his way to Lahore, the masses gave their determined mandate and he was warmly received by the people, especially by students, labourers and lawyers, at every station. On his arrival at the Lahore station, thousands of people gathered there carried him on their shoulders and brought him outside from where he was taken in a procession to the Falettis Hotel. It was an amazing sight. Then on June 24, 1966, he left for Karachi and once again the same enthusiasm was shown by the people. This was indeed a clear sign of his emergence as a national hero and the most popular leader. It was the beginning of a new era in the politics of Pakistan, i.e. politics of the people, for the people, and by the people of Pakistan; the first breakthrough in the traditional politics of Pakistan, which was monopolised by feudals and the upper class of our society. Shaheed Bhutto was determined to bring down the dictator, who had betrayed the nation. To achieve his goal, he needed a political organisation, as well as a political platform. He waited for more than a year before he found both. The Pakistan Peoples Party was launched at its founding convention held on Lahore November 30 - December 01, 1967. At the same meeting, Bhutto was elected as its Chairman. Among the expressed goals for which the party was formed were the establishment of an egalitarian democracy and the application of socialistic ideas to realise economic and social justice. A more immediate task was to struggle against the much hated dictatorship of Ayub Khan, who was in power when the PPP was formed. The basic principles of PPP were: Islam is our faith; Democracy is our polities; Socialism is our economy; and All power to the people. History undoubtedly had chosen the Shaheed for this unique role and he was to play that role against all odds. Although everything was repressive - the military regime, the industrial oligarchy, the landed aristocracy and the colonial-style bureaucracy, yet he had the people with him with an aura of romance on both sides, bringing strength to each other. It was not an easy task; many have wondered how Shaheed Bhutto succeeded in spearheading such a large mass of humanity compared with more experienced politicians, who had failed at even a much smaller scale. However, he succeeded because he did not confine himself to the plush comfort of his drawing room. He came out into the streets and seized the moment, as the people were ready for a revolution. He was sensitive to the peoples feelings and articulated their aspirations; he was the one who showed them light at the end of the tunnel. This was Shaheed Bhuttos magic; this was his charisma; this was his appeal. He succeeded because he learnt from his mistakes and proceeded with utmost conviction, honesty and sincerity. PPP was and shall always be the voice of the man on the street, a party of the downtrodden class. This was the main aim of Shaheed Zulfikars PPP. Later, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto polished its features and it became a shining beacon of hope for the people in Pakistan for years to come. The writer is the central secretary general of the Pakistan Peoples Party.

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