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Larkana became famous because of Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto and his descendants who made history by their charismatic personalities, unmatched bravery, and supreme sacrifices. The family of Bhutto is a symbol of sacrifices and the graveyard of Ghari Khuda Bakhsh demonstrates the love of the Shuhada for their beloved country, Pakistan.
Starting from Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto, the father of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was born in Sindh and got his early education at Sindh Madrassah in Karachi and later at St. Patrick's High School in Karachi.
He had also received the honors of Cambridge Assessment International Education (CIE) followed by knighthood. In 1921, at the age of 33, he started his career as a politician and entered the Legislative Council of the Bombay Province.
In 1931 he attended the Round Table Conference as a leader of Sindhi Muslims demanding separation of Sindh from the Bombay province and in 1934 he became a minister. Due to his tireless efforts and political wisdom under the Government of India Act, 1935, Sindh was granted the status of a separate province on April 1st, 1936 and Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto became the Chief Adviser to the Governor of Sindh. He also led the Sindh United Party and because of his effective campaign in 1937 Elections, the Sindh United Party emerged as the largest party by winning
21 out of 60 seats. It must be mentioned here that early in 1947, Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto joined the council of ministers of Muhammad Mahabat Khan–III, the Nawab of Junagadh in the modern-day province of Gujarat, as Dewan – Prime Minister. Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto had a great role in accession of Junagadh (Gujrat) to Pakistan as Dewan and on 15th August 1947 announced the accession of Junagadh to Pakistan. The Government of Pakistan accepted the accession on September 13th, 1947. However, the Hindu citizens of the State revolted, leading to several events and also a plebiscite, resulting in the integration of Junagadh into India. Pakistan Postal Services had issued a commemorative postage stamp in his honor in its 'Pioneers of Freedom' series.
The second personality born in the Bhutto dynasty was Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who was born on January 5, 1928 in Larkana and jolted the world both by his life and tragic judicial murder. He ruled the hearts of people of Pakistan and was admired internationally for his vision, wisdom and charismatic personality. He was a great statesman, a democratically elected Prime Minister, a popular leader, a President, and an architect of the Constitution of Pakistan and history. Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was the founder of Pakistan's Nuclear Programme and because of his administrative and aggressive leadership to lead this nuclear deterrence Programme he is the great benefactor of this nation and known as Father of Nuclear Deterrence Programme. By empowering the country as Nuclear Power, he changed the fate of Pakistan and made our defence as invincible. He had said “We (Pakistan) will eat grass, even go hungry, but we will get one of our own (Atom bomb). We have no other choice!” and by his tireless efforts and brave actions, he proved his words.
In his prophetic letter to the Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah on April 26, 1945, Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto wrote “You, Sir, have brought us on one platform, less than one flag, and the cry of every Muslim should be onward to Pakistan. Our destiny is Pakistan. Our aim is Pakistan. Nobody can stop us. We are a nation by ourselves and India is a subcontinent. You have inspired us and we are proud of you. Being still in school, I am unable to help the establishment of our sacred land. But the time will come when I will even sacrifice my life for Pakistan."
Shaheed ZA Bhutto was handed over the country in 1971 when it was fractured and people were demoralised and had lost their faith in rulers. He struggled day and night to heal the wounds of the nation and to restore their faith and hopes. With unmatched visionary leadership, he restored confidence in the people of Pakistan which is a source of inspiration for the well-being of the country and source of strength for the people. On July 5, 1977, General Ziaul Haq imposed martial law, the first democratically elected Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and all his cabinet ministers were arrested and all assemblies were dissolved. The Constitution of Pakistan was abrogated and the civil rights were set aside and the country was left lawless. The military coup, unfortunately, was endorsed by none but the Supreme Court of Pakistan and a dictator was given free hand to rule the country who later cultivated the seeds of terrorism, extremism, sectarianism and begun a culture of Kalashnikovs and heroin which later took thousand lives till today.
On the fake charge of murder, ZA Bhutto Shaheed was judicially murdered by sold judges of the High Court and the then Supreme Court. When Justice KMA Samdani of the Lahore High Court found the evidence against Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Shaheed as contradictory and incomplete and released him on September 13, 1977, General Zia sacked Justice KMA Samdani from his post. Three days later on the night of September 16, 1977, army commandos climbed the walls of Al-Murtaza in Larkana and arrested him again. Ironically, the trial of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto started on October 24, 1977 in the High Court of Lahore, instead of the lower court to deprive him of one level of appeal. Through a pre-planned conspiracy, five new judges headed by acting Chief Justice of LHC Molvi Mushtaq Hussain who was Zia’s family friend, were appointed.
It was in mid-1989, while sitting on the 4th floor of the FIA HQ in my office where I happened to see the murder case file where Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was implicated. Let me refer here the note portion of the then Director Law of FIA who had the moral courage to pen down the reality that the bullets shown to have been used in the murder of Mohammad Ahmad Khan Kasuri did not match with the weapon in question allegedly used by FSF official who was declared as the killer. Director/Law had killed the fabricated abetment theory against ZAB by the prosecution under pressure. The file is full of shocking criminal and intellectual dishonesties of replacement of the first 164 statement of Masood Mahmood recorded by Agha Ghazanfar, with another statement of Masood Mahmood recorded by another magistrate. Qureshi from Lahore falsely implicated ZAB in return of his migration to the USA under enough pressure. President Asif Ali Zardari in April 2011 sent a Presidential Reference to Supreme Court seeking to reopen the case of former Prime Minister and PPP founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Shaheed but no justice was ever delivered to PPP.
Bhutto family is unarguably a paradigm of tragedies and sacrifices. They have sacrificed their lives but did not bow, starting from the youngest son of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the Shahnawaz Bhutto. He being the youngest son sacrificed his life fighting the tyrannical regime of Zia against his father’s imprisonment and execution. When his father Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was put under house arrest, Shah Nawaz Bhutto left for Lahore where he delivered the first ever-political speech of his life and increased the morale of party workers. He was the most intelligent, aggressive and a ditto copy of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. It was understood that General Ziaul Haq will not spare Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and will do utmost efforts to eliminate him.
During this period, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto remained in jail and Shahnawaz Bhutto also went to Afghanistan where he got married with the daughter of Afghan-American diplomat and finally both brothers shifted to Cannes city of France. He was continuously chased by General Ziaul Haq being very scared of him because of his very aggressive nature. Finally, he was killed in very mysterious circumstances in 1985, when he was just 26. His murder was done in a highly suspicious manner where he died without medical aid in his flat in Cannes, France. I in the capacity of Director FIA along with my team, on the directions of then Prime Minister Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir investigated this murder case with the help of French police. My report on this murder was submitted to the then PM in my capacity as Director FIA and it has the full background and details who did it and how the war poison was used to kill him. The investigation proved that he was murdered by design and the suspects were allowed to fly away to the USA pending the investigations and trial. Justice is awaited by the family for the beloved Shaheed Shahnawaz Bhutto. The details of the investigations will be made public very soon in my forthcoming book.
Shaheed Murtaza Bhutto the elder son of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and brother of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto went into exile before the trial of his father. Both brother and sister tried their best and lobbied in Europe and the Middle East to save their father. Shaheed Murtaza Bhutto, in the beginning, stayed in Afghanistan where a PIA plane was hijacked through a planned conspiracy where Salamullah Tipu played the role against the two brothers, who was later on also eliminated. At the same time, Shaheed Murtaza Bhutto and Shaheed Shahnawaz Bhutto got married and migrated to Syria.
After the hanging of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, both the brothers went to Cannes, France and both remained there for a longer period. He eventually decided to return to Pakistan where he started his aggressive politics and he was murdered in very suspicious circumstances near his residence at 70 Clifton, Karachi on 20 September 1996. The investigations were carried out followed by findings of Supreme Court Judge Justice Aslam Zahid and it was declared goof-up by the police but the murder of SHO Haq Nawaz Sial created suspicion and let’s not forget that the then President Farooq Leghari used Murtaza Bhutto’s murder as an excuse to oust Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto which explained the reasons behind this cold-blooded murder.
Coming towards Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, I must say that it was misunderstanding of General Ziaul Haq that he will vanish PPP and the legacy of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto by his judicial murder as there was another Bhutto – Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto - who led the party and nation in a very right directions and worked for subjugated sections of this society and wellbeing of the country till she sacrificed her life in this struggle. One by one, each Bhutto was murdered through pre-planned international conspiracies duly abetted by local handlers but Bhuttos still rule on the heart.
The sun will rise every morning on 27th December and life will continue, but we will never be able to see Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. It was an early morning of 17th October when Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was giving goodbye kisses to Bakhtawar and Aseefa in the outer lounge of her house in Dubai. She hugged the kids again and again and walked her usual elegant style and sat in the car. She opened her car window and kept on waving her hands till out of sight. It was July 2007, when a Central Executive Committee meeting of PPP was held at my house in London where Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto decided to return to Pakistan against all the odds. Everyone advised her about life threats and security issues, but she remained firm about her decision without any fear despite having a clear understanding of the severe risks she was going to face. She believed that General Musharraf was using the security issue as a ploy to keep her out of Pakistan and away from her workers whom she loved the most, as Musharraf feared that it would diminish his power and raising the chances of her victory in the elections.
Finally, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto announced her return on 14th September 2007 and it ultimately distressed General Musharraf and his political colleagues who kept emphasizing the life threats against her by extremist groups during election campaigns. They also made several offers to her to finalize a power-sharing agreement, but she always denied it. Several discrete meetings in 2005 and 2006 in Dubai followed between Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, General Musharraf, and his close associates but they never produced a concrete agreement leading to the restoration of democracy in the country. Finally, two one-on-one meetings between Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and General Musharraf were held on 24th January 2007 and 27th July 2007 in Abu Dhabi. Few of the advisers of Musharraf and I myself arranged these meetings. They met again in August and September of 2007 when Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto expressed her concerns on many things including free and fair elections and lifting of 3rd time ban on the premiership.
Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto frustrated all efforts of General Musharraf to block her return to Pakistan and despite all threats and security concerns she landed at Karachi on 18th October 2007. She was moved to see the enormous crowd of people waiting at the airport to welcome her but her excitement to see her people and land vanished by twin blasts which took the lives of 149 of her devotees while injuring 402 jiyalas. It was a miracle that Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto remained safe in this massive attack but even then I found her fearless who continued her political struggle.
The police even refused to register the case after Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto attempted to file a complaint of the Karsaz Incident. The evidence was hosed away within one hour without securing the vital evidence and the case never advanced as the evidence was already destroyed through hosing off the crime scene. Surprisingly, the suspected mastermind of October 18 assassination attempt namely Qari Saifullah Akhtar, along with his two sons and other suspects, were arrested but released after few days claiming lack of evidence against them. He along with his sons subsequently fled to Afghanistan, where he had been running a training camp for al-Qaeda.
Under the PPP government, the dormant investigation of the case was activated, but DSP Nawaz Ranjha of Karachi police who was entrusted to investigate the case was mysteriously killed when he was close to arrest the attackers. However, being undeterred of the previous attempt on her life and continuously pouring in security threats, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto decided to keep on leading the election campaign. On 26th December, 2007, we along with Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto reached at the airport on the way to Peshawar for addressing an election rally where she addressed massive crowd of people. She was quite happy to have such a successful public gathering at Peshawar. There too, we faced an unsuccessful and foiled murder attempt.
On the dark evening of 27th December, 2007, our nation was bereaved of the great loss of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto at the hands of those who never wanted Pakistan to progress by a devoted leader like her. On 27th December 2007, the Interior Ministry issued numbers of warnings concerning possible terrorist attack on the campaign event of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto at Liaqat Bagh, Rawalpindi. The government was demanded to take foolproof security measures against the threats, yet it did not take any proper measures or issued specific instructions to the provincial authorities to ensure her protection. The federal government failed to execute the responsibility to protect her by not detailing full and comprehensive security as per the Blue Book. Due to lack of security of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, the terrorists finally managed to reach the proximity of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and assassinated her through a suicide bomber while she was leaving from Liaqat Bagh after having addressed the public meeting. There is no doubt about who killed her, who conspired and executed the conspiracy and who facilitated their conspiracy. The police under the instructions of the government hosed off the scene after one hour and 20 minutes, which action helped the destruction of vital evidence. After her martyrdom, a golden chapter of Pakistani politics was closed forever; however, none can put her legacy to death. The 27th December shall always be marked as the Black Day in the history of Pakistan refreshing our sad memories associated with Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.
The writer is Former Interior Minister of Pakistan, Chairman Senate Standing Committee on Interior and Chairman of Think Tank "Global Eye". He can be reached at: [email protected], Twitter @Senrehmanmalik