Sunday, December 20, 2015

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto: the Man who Broke up Pakistan

Pakistan Breaks Up

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto is the founder of the Pakistan Peoples Party, which was ruling Pakistan about 2 years back. With this party in power one is apt to think of this party as a progressive party that works for the benefit of Pakistan. But perhaps what is not highlighted is the role of its founder in the break up of Pakistan. Why Bhutto acted as he did is now consigned to future historians to study and interpret, but the fact is that Bhutto by his ill guided actions took Pakistan to a point of no return. One can blame the Indian leader Ms Indira Gandhi for this, but the fact is that she just took advantage of a situation creted by Bhutto in akistan..

Pakistan came into existence on the basis of the two nation theory, which was endorsed by the British. This envisaged a separate homeland for the Muslims of the sub-continent. Accordingly the state of Pakistan was created with two wings separated by a distance of over 1500 miles of Indian Territory. But one fact that helped negate the two nation theory was language and economics.

To start with Pakistan imposed Urdu as the national language and secondly most of the foreign exchange earned by East Pakistan was siphoned of to the western region. The Eastern region spoke Bengali and was more numerous than their western counterparts. All this led to an agitation by the political parties in East Pakistan for autonomy. To put a lid on this agitation, the then Pakistan President General Yahiya Khan agreed for a parliamentary election on the basis of adult suffrage. With a larger population East Pakistan thus had more seats in the Pakistan parliament.

In the general elections that followed, the Awaji party in the east won all but one seat while Bhutto’s people party came a poor second. At that stage Yahiya Khan was set to invite Sheikh Mujibar Rehman the East Pakistan leader to form the government. But now cloak and dagger politics came to the fore and in this the hand of ZA Bhutto was prominent. He was able to prey on the fears of a Bengali dominated administration on the mind of Yahiya khan and saw it that Mujibar Rehman was not invited to form the government.

Bhutto’s motives in this were selfish as he did not wish the Bengali leader to be the Prime Minister of Pakistan as he himself desired the same. He also convinced Yahiya to declare Mujibar as an anti-national. Mujibar was arrested and flown to Pakistan for trial. At the same time the Pakistan army started a crack down in the eastern wing.

This was the beginning of the end as the Indian PM Indira Gandhi marshaled her forces and saw to it that an independent Bangladesh was created. But in hind sight one can realize the enormous blunder of Bhutto. Much later even general Musharaff was also of the view that Bhutto precipitated the break up of Pakistan. Unfortunately for Bhutto, he was himself hanged as a common criminal. Those who ride the tiger are eaten up by the tiger.