THE LEGACY OF ZULFIkAR ALI BHUTTO
As a member of Pakistan's delegation to the United Nation in 1957, at the age of 29 years, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto addressed the Sixth Conference of the United Nations on "The Definition of Aggression", a speech which is still regarded as one of the best on the subject. As a participant at the International Conference in Geneva, Switzerland in March, 1958 Zulfikar Ali Bhutto spoke for mankind with the bold declaration: "The High Seas are free to all." He was the youngest Federal Cabinet member in the history of Pakistan, at the age of 30. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto held the key portfolios of Minister of Commerce, Minister of Information, Minister of National Reconstruction, Minister of Fuel, Power and Natural Resources before becoming the Foreign Minister. As Minister of Fuel, Power and Natural Resources, he signed a path breaking agreement for exploration of oil and gas with Russia in 1960. He set up a Gas and Mineral Development Corporation in 1961 and Pakistan's first refinery in 1962 at Karachi.Bhutto emerged on the world stage as Leader of the Pakistan Delegation to the UN in 1959. To muster the support for Kashmir issue he successfully toured China, Britain, Egypt and Ireland. He also held a series of talks with the Indian Foreign Minister Swaran Singh. He was appointed Foreign Minister in 1963 and remained at that post until his resignation in June 1966. Bhutto made indelible imprints on world community by his inimitable oratorical skills in United Nation's General Assembly and the Security Council. He had the vision to build a strategic relationship with China at a time when it was isolated. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto believed in an independent Foreign Policy which had hitherto been the hand maiden of the Western Powers. During his tenure as Foreign Minister, Pakistan and Iran cemented a special relationship. His opposition to the Tashkent accord between India and Pakistan led to his resignation from the government. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto believed in a Foreign Policy of bilateralism in which no state would be entitled to interfere in Pakistan's relations with other states.
During his student days, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had acquired an anti-Imperialist view of the world. He was a firm believer in economic self reliance and political independence themes he expounded in his famous book "Myth of Independence". Bhutto's finest hour came in the reconstruction of Pakistan after the traumatic dismemberment of Pakistan upon the fall of Dhaka on 16th December, 1971. He successfully put the derailed nation back on the track by rebuilding national institutions. His lasting achievement was the unanimous adoption of the Constitution in 1973. He established the Pakistan Steel Mills, Heavy Mechanical Complex Taxila, Port Qasim Authority, Quaid-e-Azam University, Allama Iqbal Open University, Karachi Nuclear Power Plant; thus, fortifying the prosperity, integrity and security of Pakistan. Using his experience as Foreign Minister, Bhutto cemented Pakistan's relation with Afro-Asian and Islamic countries and by 1976 had emerged as the Leader of the Third World. As an author, he brilliantly advocated the cause of hewers of wood and drawers of water of the Third World.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.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was the founder of Pakistan's Nuclear Program. Under his guidance and leadership as Minister for Fuel, Power and Natural Resources, President and Prime Minister, Pakistan developed into the unique Muslim State with a nuclear capability for which he paid with his life. In his book "If I am Assassinated" written from the Death Cell, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto revealed how Kissinger had said "We will make an example of you".
As a result Ziaul Haq at the support of foreign powers and conspirators imposed Martial Law upon the country on 5th July, 1977.Bhutto was arrested and on 18th March, 1978, was sentenced to death in a politically motivated murder trial. Despite appeals of clemency from several world leaders, Bhutto was executed on 4th April, 1979. The great leader of downtrodden masses and a visionary of unparalleled charisma will forever be remembered by his countrymen as Quaid-e-Awam (Leader of the Masses).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.