By.Dr.Abdul Razzak Shaikh,
Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was a Pakistani politician who served as the 9th Prime Minister Of Pakistan from 1973 to 1977, and prior to that as the 4th President of Pakistan from 1971 to 1973. He was also the founder of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and served as its chairman until he was in 1979.
Bhutto was a strong advocate of empowering small farmers. He argued that if farmers were weak and demoralized then Pakistan’s agricultural strength would be fragile, believing that farmers would not feel psychologically safe unless the country achieved self-sufficiency in food.
The last and crucial phase of his political career started in July 1977, after his government was overthrown and ended in April 1979 when he was convicted for murder in a highly controversial trial and hanged by Zia-ul-Haq.
Elections were held on March 7, 1977. The Pakistan Peoples Party won these elections but was accused by their opponents, Pakistan National Alliance, of rigging the elections. On March 14, 1977, the Alliance started a series of nationwide protests. Talks between the Alliance and Bhutto government were held in June 1977 and an agreement was reached, but it could not be implemented.
Operation Fair Play was the code the name for the military coup d’état conducted on 5 July 1977 by Pakistan Chief of Army Staff General Zia-ul-Haq, overthrowing the government of Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. The pretext for the coup was the failure of the ruling PPP and the opposition PNA to reach an agreement regarding fresh elections. The code name Fair Play was intended to portray the coup as the benign intervention of an impartial referee to uphold respect for the rules and ensure free and fair elections.
In announcing the coup, Zia promised free and fair elections within 90 days. He arrested ZA Bhutto and his ministers, as well as other leaders of the PPP. He dissolved the National Assembly of Pakistan and all provincial assemblies suspended the Constitution and imposed martial law. A four-member Military Council made up of Chief of Army Staff General Zia-ul-Haq as Chief Martial Law Administrator, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee, and the Chiefs of the Navy and the Air force, took over government operations in the country. Bhutto was persecuted on the charges of murder of political opponents.
The Supreme Court of Pakistan, the Chief Justice of Pakistan Anwar ul Huq legitimatized the military response after issuing the Doctrine of necessity orders. On 24 October 1977, the Supreme Court began the appeal trial against Bhutto on charges of conspiracy to murder Nawab Muhammad Ahmed Khan Kasuri. Earlier Lahore High court directly convicted to ZA Bhutto punishment of Death by the Chief Justice Molvi Mushtaque Ahmed. This case was not trialed in the Session Court as required in law.
In 1977, the Supreme Court found ZA Bhutto guilty of murder charges and awarded death punishment. Despite appeals of clemency sent by many nations, the government upheld the Supreme Court verdict and following the Supreme Court orders ZA Bhutto was hanged on 4th April 1979. This was another Black day of Country and Lovers of ZA Bhutto still pay tributes after passing 40 years of that day.
The promise of 90 days election was postponed indefinitely and Hundreds of the workers of PPP were arrested and convicted by Military Courts. Human rights violations have done and punishment of lashes was used to PPP workers and they faced bravely.
In 1985, General Zia announced the general election on a non-party basis, with candidates standing as individuals rather than as representatives of a political party. PPP did not take a part in non –party elections and later on Muhammad Khan Junejo from Sindh made the Prime minister of Pakistan from that Assembly. In 1988 General Zia dismissed the Junejo Government on charges of Corruption. In August 1988, Zia suddenly died when his aircraft crashed shortly after take-off from Bahawalpur Airport.
Pakistani investigation was unable to ascertain the cause of the crash. Bhutto family attributed it to an act of God. After his death, the Supreme Court announced that the election should take place on a party basis, rather than the non-party basis that Zia had desired.
The rule of martial law dictatorship of 1977 ended with the death of President Zia ul Huq and many other key military administrators in the government. Following this event, the country returned to democracy and the PPP again came in power in 1988.
In 1999, chief of Army Staff General Pervaiz Musharraf came in Power and overthrowing Prime Minister Nawaz Shareef, resulted General Pervaiz Musharaf remains in government for nine years. The History of Military take over in Pakistan is widely unacceptable in the democratic system of the country but even today they are the concealed partners of our democratic governments.
Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto faced tough times with courage and conviction. He never budged under pressure from an oppressive military ruler.
For his supporters, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto symbolizes the best elements in politics, struggle against poverty and inequality as well as sacrifices for democracy and civilian supremacy.
History will never forget the personality like Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and he is real entitling for SHAHEED for the cause of poor people, Democracy and sovereignty of the Country. Shaheed Bhutto remains a contentious figure in Pakistan’s history, his party remains among Pakistan’s, his daughter Benazir Bhutto was twice elected Prime Minister, and his son-in-law and Benazir’s husband, Asif Ali Zardari, served as President. The Nation is still remembering Shaheed ZA BHUTTO, his vocal voice for supremacy of country and advocacy for the Muslim cause.