45 years later, Bhutto’s legacy lives on

The 4th of April 1979 was the day of judicial mur­der of the elected Prime Minister of Pakistan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. This happened on a split 4-3 court decision and re­mains the darkest and most brutal chapter of our history. A dictator in his quest for personal rulewas determined to make a horrible exam­ple of a popular leader who ruled the hearts of the people of Pakistan. Bhutto was subjected to months of abuse and humiliation in dark prison cells, before his execution, but the brave leader remained defi­ant and refused to give up his principles for his life. With his exemplary courage, Bhutto proved his saying right that he would nevershy away from laying down his life for the cause of the nation andhis people.

The judicial murder of an elected Prime Min­ister of Pakistan drew strong condemnation from around the world. In his short life, Bhutto left an un-erasable foot­print on the national and world stage. Even today, his contributions to the progress of Paki­stan are revered and re­main matchless. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto took the reins of a divided nation after the fall of Dhaka in 1971. The separation of East Pakistan had largely en­couraged vested inter­ests who were against the very existence of Pakistan, and they were anticipating and await­ing the further division and destruction of the country, which was very much in sight. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto changed all that and achieved even more. He soon inspired and revitalized a defeat­ed nation, and made it rise again with the span of a few years. He gave the people of Pakistan a sense of security and put to rest all doubts about the integrity and viability of Pakistan as a united, independent country. On 8th De­cember 1973, just two years after the forma­tion of Bangladesh, the New York Times rightly noted that Pakistan had regained its health from the injuries of 1971 war, and that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was an able politician who gave the country its constitution and democratic institu­tions. The paper further noted that Pakistan, two years after the war with India had won the war of wits and was success­ful in getting its thou­sands of prisoners back. The New York Times also commented that Pakistan appeared to be the most hopeful and stable nation in the sub­continent, and the credit for these achievements went to its Prime Min­ister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.

He brought back more than 93,000 pris­oners of war, ended their trials for war crimes, and freed 5,000 square miles of lost ter­ritory from India. Under Prime Minister Bhutto, Pakistan had become one of the most stable and promising country in the South Asia. Paki­stanis could again take pride in their nation and could exude con­fidence as was evident during the Islamic Con­ference of Lahore.

On the global front as well, Z.A Bhutto made historic achievements. The Islamic Confer­ence in 1974 instilled a new sense of unity and shared destiny among the Islamic nations, and spearheaded the Muslim Ummah into a new era of friendship and cooperation. The 4th of April of 1979 will forever remain etched in our memory. With his exemplary sacrifice and martyr­dom, Zulfikar Ali Bhut­togave us his final les­son which was to never compromise on prin­ciples and to never shy away from any sacrifice for the progress and prosperity of our na­tion. This year’s com­memoration is special because recently, Paki­stan’s Supreme Court’s unanimous ruling ac­knowledged that Mr. Bhutto was not given a fair trial in a murder case that lead to his hanging. It took nearly 44 years but the courts have finally endorsed what legal experts had deemed a judicial murder. The decision came in response to a reference filed by Mr. Asif Ali Zardari, Presi­dent and son-in-law of Mr. Bhutto. Those who wanted to erase Bhutto’s name must be disappointed because his name lives on and his work is being car­ried forward by his grandchildren. Bilawal has already served as the Foreign Ministerof Pakistan and Aseefa was recently elected as a Member of National Assembly. Bhutto’s leg­acy lives on.

BASHIR RIAZ

— The writer is the former press-secre­tary to Benazir Bhutto

The writer is former press secretary of Benazir Bhutto.

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