Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Politics of Charisma

In politics, around the democratic world, the cult of personality rules the hearts and minds of voters. The social thinker Max Weber gave the classic definition of the charismatic leader in democratic politics: a figure obeyed by disciples not “by virtue of tradition or statute, but because they believe in him. The devotion of his disciples, his followers, his party friends, is oriented to his person and to its qualities.”

The only Pakistani leader to fulfill these ideals is perhaps Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. It was his compellingly magnetic personality that inspired millions of Pakistanis.

Bhutto in death is bigger than life because, after his murder, he transcended the barriers of time and place and became embedded in the heart of history. His great courage and heroic martyrdom turned him into the pride and honor of the nation.

Much has been written about Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and much more will be written. It is not just a futuristic vision but a fact of life, as well as a fact of history. Z.A. Bhutto is equaled by very few people in the history of the world and by none in Pakistan.

When he walked gracefully to the gallows, Bhutto was already immortal. But he grew in stature with every passing day since his assassination on 4th April 1979. His forte was his politics of charisma. The present-day world owes him for his charming leadership, for showing the world how it’s really done. Therefore, he will go into the history of politics as a charismatic leader.

Since no other leader could replace him, the same goes for his political tour-de-force of a Party.

No one can or will challenge the dominance or supremacy of PPP. The establishment tried to undermine PPP in the 1977 elections. But the undemocratic alliance of PPP’s political adversaries couldn’t budge the party’s popularity then. Even after the passing of Shaheed Z. A. Bhutto, his party thrived in the hearts of people. Such is the power of his charisma.

For his supporters, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto symbolizes the best elements in politics: struggle against poverty and inequality as well as sacrifices for democracy and civilian supremacy. For his detractors, he remains the man who played a major role in the division of the country and introduced policies that upset the economic and social equilibrium.

But as proven time and again in the election after the election, people trust PPP and the Bhutto legacy. And that’s what truly matters.

Democracy in Pakistan has never been allowed to flourish and has always been subject to direct and indirect interventions. The graves of former prime ministers Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto, and those of their family members buried at Garhi Khuda Baksh, are a testament to the price which Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) has paid for taking a stand against the powers that be.

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was a Pakistani politician who served as the 9th Prime Minister Of Pakistan from 1973 to 1977, and prior to that as the 4th President of Pakistan from 1971 to 1973. He was also the founder of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and served as its chairman until he was in 1979.

Educated at Berkeley and Oxford, Bhutto trained as a barrister at Lincoln Inn. He entered politics as one of President Iskander Mirza’s cabinet members, before being assigned several ministries during President Ayub Khan’s rule from 1958, appointed Foreign Minister in 1963, After the Tashkent Agreement ended hostilities, Bhutto fell out with Ayub and was resigning from the government.

He founded the PPP in 1967, contesting general elections held by President Yahya Khan in 1970. While the Awami League won a majority of seats overall, the PPP won a majority of seats in West Pakistan; the two parties were unable to agree on a new constitution in particular on the issue of Six point movement which many in West Pakistan saw as a way to break up the country. Subsequent uprisings led to the Secession of Bangladesh, and Pakistan losing the war against Bangladesh-allied India in 1971. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was handed over the presidency in December 1971 and the emergency rule was imposed.

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto sought a peace agreement, Shimla agreement with Indra Gandhi, Premier of India, and brought back 93,000 prisoners of war to Pakistan and secured 5,000 sq miles (13,000 km2) held by India without compromising on Kashmir stance or recognizing Bangladesh which was the key Indian demands.

He strengthened ties with China and Saudi Arabia recognized Bangladesh and hosted the second Organization of the Islamic Conference in Lahore in 1974. Domestically, Bhutto’s reign saw parliament unanimously approve a new constitution in 1973, upon which he appointed Fazal Ellahi Choudhry President and switched to the newly empowered office of Prime minister.

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was the founder of Pakistan’s atomic Bomb programmed, and due to his administrative and aggressive leadership to lead this nuclear deterrence programmed, Bhutto is often known as the Father of Nuclear deterrence programmed.

The Bhutto government carried out a number of reforms in the industrial sector. His reforms were two-fold: nationalization and the improvement of workers’ rights. In the first phase, basic industries like steel, chemical, and cement were nationalized. This was done in 1972. The next major step in nationalization took place on 1 January 1974, when ZABhutto nationalized all banks. The last step in the series was the nationalization of all flour, rice, and cotton mills throughout the country. This nationalization process was not as successful as Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto expected.

During his period as prime minister, a number of land reforms were also introduced. The important land reforms included the reduction of land ceilings and introducing the security of tenancy to tenant farmers. The land ceiling was fixed to 150 acres (0.61 km2) of irrigated land and 300 acres (1.2 km2) of non-irrigated land. Another step that Bhutto took was to democratize Pakistan’s Civil Service. In Baluchistan, the pernicious practice of the Shishak and Sardari System was abolished.

Bhutto was a strong advocate of empowering small farmers. He argued that if farmers were weak and demoralized then Pakistan’s agricultural strength would be fragile, believing that farmers would not feel psychologically safe unless the country achieved self-sufficiency in food.

ZA Bhutto also made Pakistan a prominent member of the Non-Aligned Movement. Since no single leader could replace him and no single party could challenge his PPP, the state establishment forged an alliance of his political adversaries of all ideological hues and colors before the 1977 parliamentary elections which he was accused of rigging. The allegation led to a violent opposition movement that his government unsuccessfully tried to suppress. It was eventually followed by a military takeover.

The last and crucial phase of his political career started in July 1977, after the government was overthrown and ended in April 1979 when he was convicted for murder in a highly controversial trial and hanged by Zia-ul-Haq.

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto faced those tough times with courage and conviction. He never budged under pressure from an oppressive military ruler. The last two years of his life are entirely opposite to his eight years in politics when he was working with non-elected rulers.

For his supporters, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto symbolizes the best elements in politics, struggle against poverty and inequality as well as sacrifices for democracy and civilian supremacy.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was the one to lay the foundation of true democracy and paid the price for it heavily. It was he who gave a unanimously approved Constitution to the country, which provided and ensured the autonomy to federating units of the country.

History will never forget the personality like Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and he is real entitling for SHAHEED for the cause of poor people, democracy, and sovereignty of the Country. Shaheed Bhutto remains a contentious figure in Pakistan’s history, his party remains among Pakistan’s, his daughter Benazir Bhutto was twice elected Prime Minister, and his son-in-law and Benazir’s husband, Asif Ali Zardari, served as President. The Nation is still remembering his vocal voice for the supremacy of the country and advocacy for the Muslim cause. As this year PPP has decided to observe the 42nd Death Anniversary of ZABhutto at the District level due to the increased number of Covid cases and that is a wide decision of PPP. History never forgets the Leader of the word and the people of the country are still weeping, when they are paying tribute to their great leader on 4th April.


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