Thursday, June 23, 2011


Zulfikar Ali Bhutto has earned a place in the pantheon of  leaders from the Third World who earned everlasting fame in the struggle against colonialism and imperialism.  He had the privilege of interacting with many of those leaders who played a great role in the epic struggle  for national independence in the 20th Century including Mao Tse Tung, Ahmed Soekarno, Chou-en  Lai, Jawaharlal Nehru Gamal Abdel Nasser and Salvador Allende.  During the period between the end of the Second World War and the end of the Cold War, the world was divided into two blocks: The Capitalist West and the Socialist East.  All these leaders aspired to aspects of a socialist pattern of economy. Bhutto shared their faith in a leading role for the public sector as an instrument of self-reliance. 
President of Allende of Chile  and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan pursued  socialist democratic  policies in countries long dominated by the military, and thus,  were overthrown in the same year - 1977 by the collaborators of the Neo-Imperialists, killed  at the behest of the Military  Juntas of Pinochet  and Zia and followed by long spells of repressive Military regimes which did not retreat until the Cold War drew to an end. 
The key factor in the  over throw of Bhutto was  Pakistan's nuclear capability.  The Karachi Nuclear Power Plant was inaugurated by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto as President  of Pakistan  at the end of 1972 but long before, as Minister for Fuel, Power and National Resources, he has played a key role in setting up of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. The Kahuta facility was also established by Bhutto. 
Bhutto's foundation  of the  PPP  was a setback  for the reactionary  forces in a country long dominated by the Right.  The  slogan of "Food, Shelter and Clothing" shifted the focus of Pakistan politics from theological to economic issues.  This focus has never shifted back.  Bhutto nationalised the commanding heights of the economy; another blow to the capitalist West.  During his tenure there was a massive transfer of resources towards the dominant rural economy by setting higher prices for agricultural products. 
The Constitution of 1973,  passed unanimously,  is yet another lasting  legacy of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.  Time has shown that it cannot be replaced.  Constitution making in  Pakistan was  bedevilled, since  the birth of the State,  by three unresolved issues: (i) The role of Islam in the State, (ii) the degree of Provincial Autonomy, and (iii) the Nature of Executive.  Bhutto managed to bring all the political parties, including those like the Jamat-e-Islami, JUI and JUP, who demanded  an Islamic State, and the Awami National Party, which was the major party in the Frontier and Balochistan, calling for   maximum provincial autonomy, to agree to a consensus on the Constitution, thus, permanently  resolving all the three issues.  A new institution,  the Senate of Pakistan was,  created in which the provinces had equal representation, in order to redress the balance of power  in Pakistan,  probably the only country in the world where one federating unit has an absolute majority.  The creation of Council of Common Interest also gave to the provinces a greater weight in the federal dispensation.  Islam was declared to be the State religion and the  Council of Islamic Ideology given charge of Islamisation of laws.  At the same time the Constitution reiterated  the basic principle of socialism:  "from each according to his ability to each according to his work". 
The never ending tussle between the Head of State and Parliament was resolved by empowering the Prime Minister.  Ironically, it is opponents of Bhutto who have, through 13th Amendment of 1997, restored the role of the Prime Minister  as was envisaged  in the original Constitution of 1973  after General Zia had shifted power to dissolve the Assembly and make key civilian and military appointments to the President  No better tribute can be paid to the foresight and sagacity of the martyred leader. 
Finally, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had the courage of his conviction to decide to lay down his life rather than compromise or seek appeasement.  The last chapter of his life is a glorious example of  martyrdom for the cause of resurrection of democracy.

At the time of his over throw, Bhutto was emerging  as a spokesman of the World of Islam and the leader of the Third World.  The age of Bhutto was an Age of Revolution.  Although his life and career were cruelly terminated, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto will forever shine in history as one of the Great leaders who took part in the liberation of the Third World from the yoke of Imperialism and Neo Colonialism during the Twentieth Century.

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