Sindh govt declares public holiday on April 4
KARACHI: The Sindh government has issued a notification declaring April 4 as a public holiday across the province to mark the death anniversary of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
“The government of Sindh has been pleased to declare April 4, 2018 as Public Holiday throughout the province of Sindh on the occassion of the 39th martyrdom anniversary of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto,” the notification reads.
Zulfikar Bhutto – a profile:
Zulfikar Bhutto was born in Larkana on 5th January 1928 to Sir Shahnawaz Bhutto and Khursheed Begum. Bhutto’s family was influential landlords who decided to secede their territory and lands with Pakistan, at the time of partition. 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 honors in Political Science at Berkeley in June 1950, he was admitted to Oxford.
Initially after joining Iskander Mirza’s government as Commerce Minister and the youngest member of Ayub Khan’s cabinet, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto rose in prominence as a young, intelligent, firebrand politician and took over the coveted portfolio of Foreign Minister from Mohommad Ali Bogra in 1963. As Foreign Minister, Bhutto worked wonders for Pakistan and revamped Pakistan’s relations with several countries. He persuaded Ayub Khan to to establish close, brotherly relations with neighboring China, a relationship due to which Pakistan benefits even to this day.
Pakistan’s 1965 war with India was to have a huge impact on Bhutto’s legacy and political career. An invasion which the Pakistan Army had fended off well on ground, was lost at the table during the Tashklent declaration. Bhutto was upset with Ayub Khan and the two harbored differences. Ultimately, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto resigned as Foreign Minister in 1966 and established Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in 1967.
After forming PPP, Bhutto launched an organized and disciplined protest against military dictator Ayub Khan. The boastful, charismatic and fiery speeches by Bhutto drew in large crowds and people began to connect with Bhutto. Ayub was losing power and influence as thousands flocked to hear Zulfikar’s protest speeches and blameworthy anecdotes of Tashkent declaration. After immense pressure and political opposition, Gen.Ayub Khan was forced to hang his boots and announce his resignation on March 25, 1969. He handed over power to Gen.Yahya Khan, who oversaw the famous ‘one man, one vote’ election of 1970.
Bhutto became the Prime Minister of Pakistan in 1971 and assumed charge of the dismal state of affairs in Pakistan. It was a demoralized country he had to administrate and a weakened, war-torn economy he inherited. However, his active personality and clever tactics helped Pakistan emerge out of an impending crisis. Bhutto was also the pioneer of Pakistan’s nuclear program and was also dubbed during those days as the ‘Father of the Islamic bomb’. Bhutto reigned in Dr.Abdul Qadeer Khan and tasked him to equip Pakistan with a nuclear weapon. His famous words are still fondly recollected by people which were,”We will eat grass but build the bomb”. Bhutto successfully and with immense political acumen, secured the release of 90,000 Pakistan Army prisoners of War during the Simla Agreement in 1971.
In 1977, the Pakistan National Alliance (PNA), a group of political parties emerged to rally against Bhutto, took to the streets. Bhutto dealt firmly with journalists, activists and political prisoners through his armed force FSF (Federal Security Force). As tensions mounted and protests continued, Army Chief Zia-ul-Haq imposed Martial Law and overthrew Bhutto’s government. Bhutto was charged with the murder of a political rival Nawab Mohammed Ahmed Qasuri and a trial took place. Bhutto was handed out to a death sentence after a hostile trial had been conducted by kangaroo courts, under then president Zia-ul-Haq.
Amid petitions and appeals of clemency, mercy from several Heads of States, Bhutto was hanged on April 4, 1979. His death shattered the nation’s morale and was symbolic of the suppression of democracy. With his death, the needy lost their leader; the destitute lost their representative.