In one of his landmark public speeches Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had said amidst huge non-stop clapping, “Mein Aaap ko Hamesha Yeh Kahta Hoon Ke, Bhutto Ek Naheen Do Hae – Ek Mein Jo Yehan Khara Haey Aur Doosre Aap”, meaning “I have always told you there were two Bhuttos; one is me standing before you and the other Bhutto is all of you”.
This statement alone is more than enough describe the kind magical nonpareil connect that he enjoyed with the common men in Pakistan. He was a mesmerizing character who could have a direct access into the hearts and minds of the people whenever he wanted to. Scores of his public addresses along the length and breadth of the country are still a delight to watch and listen to. He indeed was the Quaid-e-Awam – that is the leader of the peoples. One would no disagree here that Pakistan has not seen a public speaker of his caliber and stature ever since. The only other person who came a little close was none other than another Bhutto – his beloved daughter Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto – aka SMBB.
In the words of SMBB, “the most important and the most enduring legacy of the Quaid-i-Awam were raising the consciousness of the people for democracy. He awakened the masses, making them realize they were the legitimate fountainhead of political power. He enlightened the farmer, the industrial worker, the student, the woman and the rest of the common people of their importance and of their right of franchise, which is the definite means of bringing changes for the betterment of the lives of the common people. He was true to his values. When the time came he sacrificed his life but refused to compromise on his lofty ideals. He was fond of saying; “It is better to live like a lion for one day than to live like a jackal for a thousand.” He lived with the courage of a lion, defying death in embracing martyrdom. He said he would show “how a leader of the people lives and dies,” and he did. The world pleaded for his life wanting to save a man whose intellect and contribution to peace and progress was vital to the world community. But a frightened dictator, ignoring the unanimous call of the Supreme Court of Pakistan to spare the Quaid’s life, ordered the execution in the middle of the night. His last words were, “I am innocent.”
Shaheed Baba Bhutto led from the front. His actions, words, speeches, policies, ideals, plans, visions, missions, accomplishments, character, determination, steadfastness, honesty, nationalism & patriotism and above all his love for the country is known as and comprise what is called as Bhuttoism. He instilled in the common men of the country to grains of Bhuttoism.
And, as Wajid Shamsul Hasan writes in his Op-Ed – Bhutto’s relevance today – “Bhutto had emerged on the national horizon at a time when vintage politicians were on their way out. They had become ineffective and made the task of filling the vacuum more difficult especially when their very survival had become impossible in the new ball game, with rules made to order, by players who represented the powerful Establishment rather than the people of Pakistan.” Yes, indeed he came on the horizons of the Pakistani politics as a pleasant change of winds. Like it is said, “he came, he saw and he conquered”. It is not a matter of dispute any more that he remains the “King of the Pakistani body politics – the politics of Pakistani revolves around him and shall continue to revolve for all times to come. In short he continues to rule from the grave. As a matter of fact this theses is also testified by the famous American historian in his famous book on Shaheed Baba Bhutto entitled, “Zulfi Bhutto of Pakistan” writes, “Millions of Pakistanis still hail Zulfi Bhutto as their Quaid-e-Awam (Leader of the People) even as they do Muhammad Ali Jinnah as Pakistan’s Quaid-e-Azam – that is a Great Leader.
SMBB is the real heir of Shaheed Baba’s legacy and the torchbearer of Bhuttoism. It is matter of immense greatness that she was able to keep the party together for about thirty years since Shaheed Bhutto was physically removed from the political scene of Pakistan on the fateful day of 04 April 1979, by a ruthless and shameless dictator whose name doesn’t deserve to be posted in this article alongside the names of the two great shaheeds of the party. SMBB knew the great Quaid more than any body lese. According to SMBB in her message (on the occasion of 04 April 2006) she writes, “to consolidate its hold on power, the military dictatorship always ruthlessly resorts to targeting the mainstream political parties through horse trading, coercion, and inducements. However as Bhuttoism lives on, they almost always had failed to deceive the people, who are children of the democratic dream of Quaid-e-Azam and Quaid-e-Awam in to abandoning the mainstream political parties.” According to her, Quaid-e-Awam opposed “rentier mentality” that lies at the heart of military dictatorships and creates the crisis that damage national integrity as well as impoverish the people of Pakistan. She also added that Baba Bhutto believed that Pakistan’s true wealth lay in its people. “He strived to take Pakistan from the bullock age to the atomic age”, she added. SMBB also writes that he gave hope to the millions of Pakistanis living in poverty by telling them that it was not birth or class but hard work and knowledge that would determine their future. He created a new middle class and sent Pakistanis overseas to work and earn foreign exchange for their country. At that time they were all welcomed with open arms because Islamabad’s standing at that time had reached the skies. In sharp contrast and all due to Zia and Musharraf, the presentation of Pakistani passports today at an immigration desk in the world cities sadly means suspicion. The dictators very well knew that Bhuttoism was antitheses of the rentier politics and this explains their opposition to PPP and to Bhuttoism.
The people of Pakistan trusted his words and actions and the Quaid-e-Awam believed that the strength of a political party came from the people. This explains the cardinal basic slogans formulated at the time of founding of PPP which says “Taqat Ka Sarchashma Awam Haen” – meaning of all powers to the people. It is interesting to mention here that when Shaheed Baba had launched his party in 1967, General Musa – an apostle of Ayub Khan – had mocked him and the PPP by claiming that it had only “rickshawalas and tongawalas” in it. However, following the dictates Bhuttoism, the brave people of Pakistan at that time had rallied around him with full commitment and devotion. The common men at that time were utterly sick and tired of the drawing room politics prevalent at that time wherein a small group of elites belonging to the bureaucracy and the security decided the destiny of the nation. The people at that time had said they would vote for the PPP even if it gave ticket to a lamppost. And, the world was witness to the fact that the people indeed voted for Bhuttoism, as they wanted to take charge of their lives.
Today Pakistan is faced with undaunted challenges, which directly affect common man’s lives. It is time for the people to take charge of their lives all over again. It’s time to revert to Bhuttoism. 04 April 1979 reminds us all of the following famous poetry line:
Yeh Baazi Jaan Kee Baazi Haey Yeh Baazi Tum Hee Haro Ge. Har ghar Sey Bhutto Nikley Ga Tum Kitne Bhutto Maro Gey?
Meaning, this bet is that of life, which you ought to lose. How many Bhuttos would you kill as every house in Pakistan shall produce yet another Bhutto?
Faiz Al-Najdi is a Riyadh-based Writer and a Columnist; Email: firstname.lastname@example.org