Nation observes 42nd death anniversary of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto

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There remains a powerful, persistent, possibly growing, but certainly undying, mystic belief held by millions of Pakistanis, not only Sindhis but Punjabis, Baluchis and Pathan Frontiersmen as well, that “Shaheed (martyr) Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was never hanged, that he never died, “Zulfi Bhutto lives on”, they say, “and he always will”..

Stanley Wolpert had written these prophetic lines somewhere in 1993, the last lines in his biography of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, some 14 years after the midnight execution.

Former president Asif Ali Zardari in a statement paid tribute to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto that Bhutto is still ruling the hearts of the people. He had defeated the exploiting forces by giving awareness to the people of their rights, Asif Zardari said.

Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s visionary leadership shaped the events of the contemporary age according to the needs of the time. His vision was futuristic. His policies became the guiding principles for all times to come. The way he coped with most difficult circumstances and insurmountable difficulties and solved the trying problems of his country, made him a legend even in his life time.

On the night of April 4, 1979, former Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged in Rawalpindi. In the dead of the night, his body was flown down to his ancestral village of Garhi Khuda Baksh in Sindh, where he was buried in his family graveyard.

Wary of the unrest that would follow the news of Bhutto’s assassination, the military government hanged him without any prior notice, leaving the world shell-shocked. Overnight, a cult was created. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto became a legend.

He was a polarizing character in his life inspiring unbelievably strong emotions: adored for championing the cause of downtrodden; hated for being a feudal; accepted as founder of Pak-China special relationship; blamed for wrongly advising President Ayub Khan for Operation Gibraltar in 1965; loved for his position on Kashmir in the UN and his campaign against Tashkent Agreement; credited for the creation of Pakistan’s only political party of the “masses” that still survives after 50 years of traumas and tribulations; often blamed for separation of East Pakistan – Idhar hum udhar tum; ridiculed for being the first-ever civilian Martial law administrator; praised endlessly for giving Pakistan its first-ever consensus constitution but blamed for making person-specific amendments; worshiped for giving millions of workers and farmers their human dignity but condemned for unwise nationalizations and land reforms.

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