Quaid-e-Awam – The Ideal Leader
April 4, 2004
The People of Pakistan pay tribute to Quaid-e-Awam Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Shaheed on the twenty fifth Martyrdom anniversary of his assassination on April 4, 2004.
April 4 is a day to recall the Quaid-e-Awam Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Pakistan’s first directly elected Prime Minister.
Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Shaheed was sworn in as President during Pakistan’s darkest hour in December 1971. The Nation was demoralised and divided. Ninety thousand prisoners of war had surrendered to Indian forces. The Indian General Manekshaw was promising to give his people another “present in a few months”. Defeatist voices said that Pakistan would fail to survive.
Quaid e Awam defied the defeatists. With his enormous confidence in the people of the country, he promised to save residual Pakistan from disintegration, rebuild the armed forces, revive the economy, educate the youth and make Pakistan a country respected in every corner of the world. And he succeeded.
Quaid-e-Awam fulfilled Quaid-e-Azam’s constitutional dream by formulating a unanimous Islamic, Federal, Democratic and Egalitarian Constitution providing autonomy to the federating units, creating Balauchistan as a separate province with its own High Court and creating the Azad Jammu and Kashmir Assembly in Muzzafarabad. The 1973 Constitution was the first constitution in the Muslim world to recognise habeas corpus, that is the human rights of its citizens.
That constitutional framework is now endangered
Under General Musharaf’s Legal Framework Order, Parliament exists but power is vested outside it. This mocks the right of the people to determine their own future. By vesting power outside Parliament, the Islamic and democratic principles of accountability of the rulers is openly flouted promoting corruption, nepotism and the plunder of the
Nation. Consequently the ghost of poverty and unemployment is haunting the lives of every second Pakistani.
Quaid e Awam was firmly opposed to Military rule. He believed that the greatness of a Nation could be achieved when its military performed its professional duties under civilian command and political authority. He was so right.
Quaid e Awam was the Father of Pakistan’s nuclear program. When India detonated a nuclear device, he said, “We will eat grass but build the bomb”. He was told that “a horrible example” would be made of him if he refused to abandon his nuclear dream. However, he preferred to walk to the gallows than sacrifice the interest and honour of his country.
Compare Quaid e Awam’s sacrifice of his life with the mishandling of the nuclear export issue. This mishandling is endangering the program for which the great Quaid gave his life.
Instead of owning up to the export of nuclear technology which would mean a loss of power for General Musharaf (nothing compared to the sacrifice of life), his regime tried blaming the scientists carrying out their orders. This is the difference between a popular leader who lives and dies for his Nation, accepting responsibility, and a dictator that loves power at the cost of national security and solidarity.
By putting the blame on the scientists alone, the Musharaf regime has ridiculed the Pakistan armed forces and the security services throughout the world. Musharaf is trying to say that the military is so weak and the intelligence so inept that highly guarded secrets could be spirited out in military planes without discovery by a handful of scientists.
The Martyrdom of Quaid e Awam in 1979 led to the intervention of the armed forces and their growing dominance. The politicisation of the armed forces has damaged the standing of Pakistan and derailed the industrialisation and economic growth of Pakistan. While India and China boom with growing economies, Islamabad survives on debt reschedulement and floats on a sea of unemployment and misery.
The politicisation of the armed forces led to the Kalashnikov and drug culture, the rise of ethnicity, sectarianism and militancy, the collapse of the judiciary and the police force, the militarization of the foreign service and the denial of press freedom. It led to the destabilisation of the democratically elected governments and the rise of the intelligence state.
The expansion of the intelligence as the unelected government of Pakistan making and breaking political parties, devising policies without debate or accountability while redrawing curriculums in military academies to brainwash young men into clones of the existing hierarchy is correlated to each rising crisis.
The expansion of the security services to the grass roots level correlates to the death of democracy, the collapse of justice, the jobless economy, the forward Afghan policy, the Kargil disaster, three near wars with India and the export of nuclear technology. This series of horrific events could never have occurred if the policies of the Quaid e Awam, the true political heir to the Quaid e Azam, were followed and military had remained in the barracks.
If Quaid e Awam believed that progress and military rule are alien to one another, he equally felt that the role of the religious elements was outside politics. He believed that those exploiting religion for political ends damaged the progress and prosperity of a Nation.
It was the rise of religious parties under successive dictatorships which contributed to the politics of militancy and the negative image with regard to Muslim countries. Respectful of the various Muslim schools of interpretation, Quaid e Awam kept the works of religious leaders out of the training program for the military and judiciary academies and out of the educational curriculum. He believed that stressing one school of interpretation could provoke another and lead to Muslim fighting Muslim. This was a nightmare scenario which he felt must be avoided. He believed that every Pakistani, irrespective of his religious affiliation or gender or race was equal before the eyes of God, the eyes of the state and the eyes of law.
Under Musharaf, the Frontier assembly has controversially introduced the teaching of Maulana Maudoodi in the school system. Unless the school system is freed from Maudoodi’s doctrinaire teaching, the consequences
can be worrying for the next generation. His teachings can end up exploiting the state school system to churn out future generations committed to a particular ideological view.
Quaid e Awam’s message was a message of liberation from injustice, discrimination and exploitation. He believed that serving humanity was the biggest service that could be done. He believed that human dignity flowed from ending misery which came from oppression, poverty and unemployment. He introduced far reaching social reforms, including providing universal right to travel, free education, labour rights and land distribution to the landless tenants to transform Pakistan’s economy from one of grinding poverty to that of prosperity. He was committed to the poor. He lived to liberate them from the shackles of the suffering that comes from joblessness and hopelessness.
The road to success for lies in emulating Quaid e Awam. A person attains greatness by the cause that he lives for and not self-dividends. To allow opportunism and expediency to replace integrity and steadfastness is the road to self-destruction.
Quaid-e-Awam was very conscious of his Islamic heritage. He used to say, “courage is in our blood, we are the children of a rich heritage. We shall succeed in our dream of an Islamic association since destiny demands it, political reality justifies it, posterity awaits it”. It was this dream that concretised in laying the foundation of the fortress of Islam in Lahore’s Islamic Summit in 1974.
In this way, he was the forefather of the regional concept, which today sees the birth of the European Union, the Gulf Countries Cooperation and the South Asian Regional Countries Association.
Under his government, Pakistan gave overt and covert support to the African nations then under apartheid and minority rule. He was a hero of the Third World who spoke boldly against racism, colonialism and imperialism. He was the boldest voice for the rights of the Kashmiri people and the Palestinians. The general who hanged him had once confessed that the amount of attention Pakistan army received from Prime Minister Bhutto had “no parallel in the history of Pakistan army prior to 1971”.
He was, in fact, a harbinger of colossal change taking Pakistan from bullock backwardness into the atomic age. His progressive socio-economic and democratic ideas gave him the strength and popular support to consolidate the state on an egalitarian agenda to attain Food, Clothing and Shelter. He pushed politics out of the posh drawing rooms into the muddy lanes and villages of the poor. The party founded by him – the Pakistan People’s Party — remains the only formidable symbol of peoples rule.
Shaheed Bhutto’s source of strength were the masses whose political consciousness he raised to hitherto unknown heights. He educated the people to be the fountainhead of all power. He deeply cherished democratic values and gave his life for the cause of freedom. For him military rule was a negation of the very genesis of the country that came into being as a result of a democratic process and a vote.
Today Pakistan is at the crossroads. Its policies relating to Nuclear, Taliban, India, Militancy, Religious Parties, Democracy and Economy are in shambles. Shaheed Bhutto believed that the army could protect its institutional competence by keeping out of politics. He said, “Those soldiers who leave the barracks to move into Government mansions lose wars and become prisoners of war as happened in 1971.”
Through the twenty five years since he was assassinated, Quaid e Awam’s words reverberate as a warning and a guide to the country to save its honour, respect, pride and position by reverting to the golden principles that gave it birth.
From his grave, the Quaid e Awam’s ever lasting message of freedom, emancipation and progress resound in millions of hearts from the mountains of the Khunjrab pass to Khyber and on to Karachi on the shores of the Arabian sea.
It is witnessed in the struggle of those imprisoned, exiled or tortured. It is symbolised in the sacrifice of Shaheed Dhani Bux who immolated himself this year in protest against military rule.
On April 4, each citizen that believes on Quaid-e-Azam’s Pakistan, pays tribute to Quaid-e-Awam and to so many men and women, known and unknown, that gave their blood, sweat and tears to inspire coming generations to stand up and live in courage, dignity and hope.