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Senator Rehman Malik
January 1, 2018



Why coffins to Larkana only?

Why coffins to Larkana only?

It was a fine morning here in Naudero and people around here are simple and very loving and caring. I have just come out from my room from very modest Rest House and the waiter was waiting to serve my breakfast. I was served with local breakfast with sugarcane juice. When I was having my tea, the waiter asked me: “Saab jee, hamari BB rani aur Baba Bhutto ko kis ney Mara aur Kaiun Mara?” It was a question, which saddened me, as it was question being asked by all habitants of Larkana.

I could see the love in his eyes for his leadership. I asked him would he like to work in Islamabad but his response was even more shocking and thought provoking as he stated No as Islamabad may send his dead body to his poor parents like our two PMs from my village and I became speechless.

This is the atmosphere and mindset of a villager from the village of BB. I decided to learn something more about the history and about the people of Larkana and surrounding area, which I would like to share. This city has a unique distinction that it has produced three Prime Ministers whereas there is no such town or village in the world, which had produced three prime ministers.

In fact, Larkana is the fourth largest city of the province Sindh and is known as “Eden of Sindh”. The city has a great historical significance, as it is closely associated with some of the famous political personalities of Pakistan. This land has produced great politicians as it is home district to our two former premiers and even the grandfather of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was the prime minister. There is no other city of Pakistan, which has ever produced this many prime ministers.

Surrounding areas of Larkana include Shikarpur town, Sukkur, Garhi canal and many archaeological sites such as Mohenjo-Daro, which dates back to 500 years. This site is a huge attraction for tourists from all over the world. Mohenjo Daro is situated on 25-28 minutes of drive from Larkana and has historical significance of Indus Valley civilization. Another archaeological site in Larkana is Jhoker Jo Daro, which is also a main source of attraction for tourists. Apart from archaeological sites, there are a number of religious sites and famous markets such as Allah Wali Masjid, Resam gali, Sonarki market, Machi (fish) market and Khataan market, which sells various pickle flavours.

Larkana railway station is also located in middle of city and airport is located near Mohenjo Daro. The city of Larkana has great historical significance and the historical facts show that it was fertile land of leaders and past cultural history shows part of Sindh was being ruled from this small region. The culture of Larkana has a lot to offer for increase in knowledge and information, which is related to history as well.

At one hand Larkana is known to be as important as the hometown of the greatest decision makers of the state, on the other hand the political magic of this Bhutto family belonging to Larkana has been tested again and again. This piece of land remains the source of attraction and the land of rulers.

The history is witness to the fact that this land gave leaders to the country but the dictators shipped the coffins back to Larkana and I was thinking perhaps the waiter was rightfully expressing his fears.

This small village Noudero, a town in Larkana district, has the graves of Bhutto family, being the burial place of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Mir Murtaza Bhutto, Madam Nusrat Bhutto and Shaheed Benazir Bhutto. In the roller-coaster world of Pakistani politics, Bhutto family saw many ups and downs. Bhuttos steered the country out of very difficult times and since then the tragedies have been kept on haunting the family but none of them ever gave up.

The first to make a start on these seasons of catastrophe was, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the one who laid the foundation of true democracy and justice in Pakistan. He served as Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1973 to 1977 and prior to that as the fourth President of Pakistan from 1971 to 1973. He is revered by his followers in Pakistan as Quaid-i-Awam. Despite not being declared as guilty of murder he was convicted in 1978; he was hanged on April 04, 1979 at the Adyala jail in Rawalpindi leaving behind a widow Nusrat Bhutto, two sons Murtaza and Shah Nawaz Bhutto and two daughters Benazir and Sanam Bhutto.

Shah Nawaz Bhutto was the youngest son of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. He was just 27 years old when he was found dead in Cannes, France. He died under mysterious circumstances and I along with my team investigated this case and it was proved beyond doubt that he was poisoned in Cannes in South of France. The under trial suspects including his own wife was sent to USA and matter is still pending in the trial court. The forensic reports state that he was given a kind of poison called “war poison”. Another Bhutto was murdered and coffin was sent to Larkana. No further trial and the murder remains mystery till today and the words of senior French investigator are echoing in my ear: “we could not stop the departure of accused persons and even one of the trial judges declined to be part of the trial”. The finding our report should still has been available in FIA.

Then comes the elder son of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who as well was not spared. Like his other brother he was abroad when the military authorities hanged Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. He along with his brother started an international campaign in an effort to save his father, which failed. His political popularity in Sindh slowly started gathering pace. On September 20, 1996 he along with his six party workers was also shot dead in a suspected police encounter in Karachi.

The first ever female Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto was the eldest daughter of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was true reflection of her father and was loved by the nation just like her father. She never intended to be a politician but was plunged into this vast sea of blood and had to swim against the tide adding another permanent page in the book of legacy of the Bhuttos. She could never give up on what she had promised because she was destined to meet her father in the next world.

She was born on June 21, 1953 in Karachi. At the time of hanging of her father she was in Pakistan, was first placed under house arrest and then forced into exile along with her mother. She returned in 1986 to lead Pakistan People’s Party. In 1988 she contested elections and won. She became the first female Prime Minister of a Muslim country and the only one in Pakistan. She became Prime Minister twice first from 1988 to 1990 and then from 1993 to 1996. Then she again went into self-imposed exile when General Musharraf took over government. She returned in 2007 after entering into an agreement with the General Musharraf for the restoration of democracy in the country but unfortunately she was assassinated in Rawalpindi on December 27, 2007 after having addressed a campaign rally.

Since the assassination of Benazir Bhutto on 27th December, it has not only become a day of remembrance of Mohtarma but it is the day to pay tribute to the sacrifices of the whole family which has been enveloped in tragedies since decades.

The ancestral graveyard of the Bhutto family Larkana became more significant when Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was buried here in 1979 and later even more significant when Mohtarma was buried here 10 years ago. Everything about Garhi Khuda Bakhsh (Larkana) is surreal, especially if one is travelling to the Bhutto family mausoleum at night. December 27 has turned into an annual show of strength for the PPP in Larkana as no other party has a real presence in this area. People have an affinity for the Bhutto family.

People of Larkana have the right questions and fears. I think the capital of Pakistan owes an apology to the people of Larkana for the judicial murder of ZA Bhutto and assassination of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, injustice to her for delay in trial for more than 7 years and for acquittal of her murderers.

I saw pain on many faces in Larkana on this day of 27th December. The coffin is sign of misery and unfortunately it is true that Larkana has been receiving coffins of leadership and they have right to ask “why coffins only to Larkana?”

While leaving the huge ‘Jelsa’ and going towards Sukkur for Islamabad I was thinking that we in the capital have not reciprocated the love and sacrifices given by Larkana. The face of waiter and his question was coming to my mind again and again I am concluding my article by saying: Mian Nawaz Sharif sahib, thanks God that aap power sey Nakely gay ho whereas our two PMs tu Dunia sey Nikal diya gey.

People of Larkana have the right question and fears.

The writer is Chairman of think tank "global eye" & former Interior Minister of Pakistan.

@Email: [email protected] .com

Twitter @Senrehmanmalik , @GlobalEye_GSA

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