Remembering the ‘flamboyant, versatile’ Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto on his 41st death anniversary


Sehrish Khan

Sehrish Khan, working as a digital content writer at 'The News Vision'. She is a media sciences student and working as a content writer for last five years.
Sehrish Khan

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the founder of one of the country’s largest political party, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), a prominent figure who shaped the political history of Pakistan was born on 5th January 1928 at Larkana, Sindh. Today, the nation observes his 41st death anniversary.

A Barrister, the youngest member of Pakistan’s delegation in the United Nations and the youngest Cabinet Minister who was upgraded to the Ministry of Commerce and later to Minister of Water, Power, Industry, and Communications.

While stepping the stairs of success, this man upgraded to the designation to Foreign Ministry, later as President and finally as Prime Minister of Pakistan with his hard work, dedication, manipulation, stubbornness, and sharp mind.

Highly Qualified:

Being the son of dewan in India, the Zulfikar family was financially strong, due to which he was able to acquire a good education. He got his early education from Cathedral and John Connon School in Bombay. In the year 1947, he went abroad to study political science from the University of South California. Moreover, he earned a B.A (honors) degree in political science from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1950. The same year he studied studying law from Christ Church, Oxford. Bhutto was able to receive multiple degrees which were LLB, LLM, M.Sc (honors) in political science.

Youngest member among the delegations in the UN:

Being a highly qualified, sharp barrister and an activist in Pakistan Movement he got the honor of receiving the title of the youngest member among the delegations who were representing Pakistan in the United Nations, in 1957 and addressed at the UN Sixth Committee of Aggression. In 1958, Bhutto led Pakistan’s delegation to the UN Conference on the Law of the Sea.

Role as Cabinet Minister:

Progress with success, Bhutto was able to receive the trust of Ayub Khan, military dictator and president then, as the goodwill Bhutto became the Cabinet Minister in 1958 and again bag the title of the youngest person to be the Cabinet Minister in Pakistan’s history.

As the Minister of Commerce:

The year 1958, proves to the delighted year for Bhutto as he was upgraded to the Ministry of Commerce which was in the hands of President Iskandar Mirza.

Chief martial law administrator:

Zulfikar got the change to be the Chief martial law administrator as the first civilian, during Ayub Khan’s regime in the year 1958.

Minister of Water, Power, Industry, and Communications:

Being a young, inexperienced, advisor to Ayub Khan and negotiating the Indus Water Treaty in India, Bhutto was promoted as the Minister of Water, Power, Industry, and Communications by the year 1960. Bhutto was the one who signed the oil-exploration agreement with the Soviet Union in 1961, which leads towards the surging of Pakistan’s economy. Only in the era of Ayub Khan Pakistan did progress and rosed to the highest economy in the history of Pakistan up to date.

Part as the Foreign Minister:

In 1963 Bhutto was mounted as the Foreign Minister of the country and developed friendly relations with the neighboring country China. Even the signed the Sino-Pakistan Boundary Agreement, which states that China can control 750 sq/km land from the Pakistan-administered Kashmir on 2nd March 1963. Bhutto Pakistan was able to be recognized in South Asia Treaty Organization. Even he managed to maintain friendly relations with many Muslim and Non-Muslim countries including Saudia, Germany, Indonesia and many more. Bhutto and Ayub’s khan signed the peace treaty in Uzbekistan with Indian PM Lal Bhadur after the Indo-Pak War 1965.

Establishment of Pakistan Peoples Party:

Being against Ayub Khan’s policy, Zulfikar after traveling and delivering the speeches all around the country in 1966, he firmly decided to form a new party on the principle of “Islam is our faith, democracy is our policy, socialism is our economy. All power to the people.” In 1967, on 30th November in Lahore, Bhutto with his few members formed the PPP party with a strong base in Sindh and Punjab.

Role in the partition of East and West Pakistan:

According to Yahya Khan, “It was Bhutto, not Mujib, who broke Pakistan. Bhutto’s stance in 1971 and his stubbornness harmed Pakistan’s solidarity much more than Sheikh Mujib’s six-point demand. It was his high ambitions and rigid stance that led to rebellion in East Pakistan. He riled up the Bengalis and brought an end to Pakistan’s solidarity. East Pakistan broke away.”

It all started back in 1970 with the rejection of Ayub’s continuation as President and denying of Shaikh Mujibur Rahman’s Six Points Movement from East Pakistan. During the general elections in the 1970 Rahman part, Awami Muslim League won the majority in legislature with double of the votes in East whereas Bhutto’s PPP won in West Pakistan.

Being unjust Bhutto denies to accept the defeat, called out the National Assembly and Pakistan Army arrested the Mujibur Rehman, he didn’t stop here but openly challenged to “break the legs”, heading the properties on fire and blaming Yahya for not being capable of handling the situation. It results in the riots in East Pakistan which leads to separation as “Bangladesh”.

President of Pakistan and Commander-in-chief:

The power of the President was transferred to Bhutto when the military dictator and president Yahya Khan resigned suddenly on 20th December 1971. Bhutto was the fourth and the first civilian who took the charge of Presidentship of the country and commander-in-chief.

Pakistan faced the economic loss due to the partition from its East wing. Bhutto release Mujib and house arrest Yahya. New policies were introduced to increase the rights of laborers. Further, he dismissed 2000 civil servants on the ground of corruption and dismissed the chief of army staff.

Even he sustained martial law on 21st April and the new constitution was written changing the legislature. However, 93,000 Pakistani war prisoners were release and the Simla Agreement was signed between India and Pakistan for the Line of Control.

Nationalization and Socialization:

It was the nightmare for the nation when Bhutto’s policy of Nationalization and Socialization seized the public property and declared it as Government’s property on 2nd January 1972. That brutal step turned the public against the Bhutto for being taking their personally built properties without any reason.

Establishment of Nuclear Weapon Program:

Considered as the father of Pakistan’s nuclear-deterrence program, he established an atomic power development program. On 28th November first Pakistani atomic reactor was built in Karachi with the collaboration with Canada.

9th Prime Minister of Pakistan:

On 14th August 1973, Bhutto became the PM of the country while receiving the 108 votes from 146 in house members. Bhutto’s new reforms were good but it created civil disorder which was outburst during his presidentship. Still, Bhutto was able to complete his five-year tenure. His excessive changes made him unpopular and forced military dictator to take strict action against him.

Execution of the family with time:

Without any denial, we all will agree that PPP is among the oldest yet still the strongest party since its foundation. Being aware of this phase, “Politics is a bad game”, permeable it fits right in the case of Bhutto’s family, ZAB had to go to jail, resigned from his designations and finally was overthrown by the military dictator Zia ul Haq and was later executed, even his eldest daughter Benazir Bhutto (2007) was assassinated, sons Murtaza (1996) was encountered and Shahnawaz (1985) was poisoned. After the purposely manipulated execution of the lives of the family members the legacy of PPP is still being carried, not with the same spring of power but in a trending political way.

Bhutto’s own man described him as “Great man but cruel” but he was the man of vision and change the course of Pakistan politics by giving the parliamentary form of government, Bhutto himself quoted, “Forty years is enough to form a picture of the actions taken, mistakes made, lessons learned, paths chosen, the price that was paid, power paradigms that jostled, shifted and solidified, and rules of ruling Pakistan that were written and re-written so many times the exception became the norm.”This is what exactly our society is facing now, being selfish all are considering as an individual but not as a nation and repeating the same mistakes again and again without learning the lessons.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here