By: Syed Muzaffar Hussain Shah Lakyari
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is the only political leader of Pakistan who has got such a reverence in the people which has not become the fate of any other leader of the country. This iconic figure was born on January 5, 1928. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto completed his early education from Bombay’s Cathedral High School. In 1947, he joined the University of Southern California, and later the University of California at Berkeley in June 1949. After completing his degree with honours in Political Science at Berkeley in June 1950, he was admitted to Oxford. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto married Nusrat Isphahani on September 8, 1951. He was called to bar at Lincoln’s Inn in 1953, and the same year his first child, Benazir Bhutto, was born on June 21. On his return to Pakistan, Bhutto started practicing Law at Dingomal’s.
In 1958, he joined President Iskander Mirza’s Cabinet as Commerce Minister. He was the youngest Minister in Ayub Khans Cabinet. In 1963, he took over the post of Foreign Minister from Muhammad Ali Bogra.
His first major achievement was to conclude the Sino-Pakistan boundary agreement on March 2, 1963. In mid 1964, Bhutto helped convince Ayub of the wisdom of establishing closer economic and diplomatic links with Turkey and Iran. The trio later on formed the R. C. D. In June 1966, Bhutto left Ayub’s Cabinet over differences concerning the Tashkent Agreement.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto launched PPP after leaving Ayub’s Cabinet. In the general elections held in December 1970, PPP won a large majority in West Pakistan but failed to reach an agreement with Sheikh Mujibur Ahman, the majority winner from East Pakistan. Following the 1971 War and the separation of East Pakistan, Yahya Khan resigned and Bhutto took over as President and Chief Martial Law Administrator on December 20, 1971. In early 1972, Bhutto nationalized ten categories of major industries, and withdrew Pakistan from the Commonwealth of Nations and S. E. A. T. O. when Britain and other western countries recognized the new state of Bangladesh. On March 1, he introduced land reforms, and on July 2, 1972, signed the Simla Agreement with India, which paved the way for the return of occupied lands and the release of Pakistani prisoners captured in East Pakistan in the 1971 war.
After the National Assembly passed the 1973 Constitution, Bhutto was sworn-in as the Prime Minister of the country. On December 30, 1973, Bhutto laid the foundation of Pakistan’s first steel mill at Pipri, near Karachi. On January 1, 1974, Bhutto nationalized all banks. On February 22, 1974, the second Islamic Summit was inaugurated in Lahore. Heads of States of most of the 38 Islamic countries attended the Summit.
Following a political crisis in the country, Bhutto was imprisoned by General Ziaul Haq, who imposed Martial Law on July 5, 1977.
On April 4, 1979, the former Prime Minister was hanged, after the Supreme Court upheld the death sentence passed by the Lahore High Court. The High Court had given him the death sentence on charges of murder of the father of a dissident PPP politician. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was buried in his ancestral village at Garhi Khuda Bakhsh, next to his father’s grave.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was a man of mixed personality. He was having good qualities in his personality. He did many appreciable works for Pakistan, such as Pakistan’s constitution of 1973, he initiated atomic energy projects due to which Pakistan became 7th atomic power of the world. He arranged 2nd Islamic conference in Pakistan etc. He was, no doubt, a great politician.