A PPP worker paints the party's symbol, the arrow, during an election campaign. - Photo by Reuters

ppp-arrow-sign-reut_290

A PPP worker paints the party's symbol, the arrow, during an election campaign. - Photo by Reuters

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) is Pakistan’s largest political party. It is also perhaps Pakistan’s only party, which can be discussed in a context similar to that of major political parties which have evolved in democratic countries in the 20th century and beyond.

Thus, in spite of democracy still being a flawed and young creature in Pakistan, PPP’s evolution can actually be compared to that of major social democratic parties in Europe and India.

Adding a bit of red

ppp-crescent-star-ed

The party was formed on November 30, 1967. Headed by a young, energetic and highly-educated former foreign minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (a Sindhi), the party was conceived to bring about a socialist-democratic revolution in Pakistan after the military dictatorship of Field Martial Ayub Khan was overthrown.

Bhutto had been Khan’s foreign minister but had a falling out with the dictator after the latter agreed to a ceasefire with India during the 1965 Indo-Pak war.

Galvanised by the rise of the student-left in Pakistan and the popular sentiment across West Pakistan against the ceasefire (especially in the Punjab), Bhutto, after being eased out of the Ayub regime, showed an interest in joining the National Awami Party (NAP).

At the time, NAP was Pakistan’s largest leftist party. It was a consensual collection of communists, socialists, socialist-democrats, and, more so, Sindhi, Baloch, Pashtun and Bengali nationalists.

With his self-worth boosted by the enthusiastic response his stand against Ayub received from the students in West Pakistan, Bhutto decided not to join the NAP after it failed to give him the kind of a position he thought he now deserved.

Facing isolation and a possible ouster from the political process, Bhutto was too much of a political animal to miss out on the forthcoming commotion against the Ayub dictatorship.

While on a trip to Europe, Bhutto held a number of meetings with a former bureaucrat and an accomplished Marxist theoretician J A. Rahim.

Both decided to form a left-wing democratic party.

The party was launched at a convention in Lahore. It was a vibrant affair attended by a number of progressive intellectuals, leftist student leaders, labour and trade union activists and journalists. It also benefited from the split in NAP between pro-China and pro-Moscow factions.

The PPP convention in Lahore November, 1967, which officially launched the party and laid out the party’s manifesto.

ppp-founding-convention-ed

The PPP convention in Lahore November, 1967, which officially launched the party and laid out the party’s manifesto.

At the convention, Z. A. Bhutto read out the party’s manifesto (that he had written with J A. Rahim) and put it up for debate in front of the participants. Socialism and Pakistani nationalism were at the centre of the manifesto.

Almost immediately, three tendencies of the party’s overall ideology emerged.

Intellectuals like Dr Mubashir Hassan, Shaikh M. Rashid, Tufail Abbas and student leader Miraj Muhammad Khan expressed a more radical understanding of the manifesto.

They also brought with them certain radical Maoist tendencies into the party’s character because as communists, they had sided with China during the ideological Sino-Soviet conflict of the 1960s.

The left-wing National Student Federation’s Miraj Muhammad Khan (left) with Z A. Bhutto (centre) and NSF’s Rasheed Hassan Khan at a NSF event in Karachi, 1967. Miraj joined the PPP as a founding member.  – Photo courtesy Apna Kal

nsf-bhutto-ed

The left-wing National Student Federation’s Miraj Muhammad Khan (left) with Z A. Bhutto (centre) and NSF’s Rasheed Hassan Khan at a NSF event in Karachi, 1967. Miraj joined the PPP as a founding member. – Photo courtesy Apna Kal

Intellectuals like Hanif Ramay traded a middle-ground. They insisted that the party’s leftism needed to be fused with ‘progressive aspects of Islam’ so that the PPP doesn’t come out looking like an atheistic/communist party.

Ramay was part of the Islamic Socialism Group, a literary organisation formed by intellectuals inspired by the ‘Arab Socialism’ of Egyptian leader, Gammal Nasser, Algeria’s National Liberation Front, and Indonesian leader Sukarno’s attempts to express populist socialist theory and Indonesian nationalism through Islamic symbolism.

Ramay’s group prevailed in convincing Rahim and Bhutto to explain the party’s central ideology as a democratic expression of ‘Islamic Socialism’ which, in Urdu, was translated as ‘Musawat-e-Muhammadi’ (the political and economic system of equality and justice introduced by Islam’s prophet).

Hanif Ramay, a founding member of the PPP was also one of the leading theoreticians of ‘Islamic Socialism’ in Pakistan. It was Ramay who first advised Bhutto to use the expression ‘Islamic Welfare State.’

Hanif-Ramay-ed

Hanif Ramay, a founding member of the PPP was also one of the leading theoreticians of ‘Islamic Socialism’ in Pakistan. It was Ramay who first advised Bhutto to use the expression ‘Islamic Welfare State.’

The third tendency that emerged within the party was of a more conservative variety. It would go on to constitute the right-wing of the PPP.

This wing included influential spiritual leaders like Makhdum Muhammad Zaman, lawyer Abdul Hafeez Pirzada and ‘progressive’ members of the landed elite (in Sindh and Punjab) like Ghulam Mustafa Khar, Rasul Bakhsh Talpur, Mumtaz Bhutto, and later Maulana Kausar Niazi and Mustafa Jatoi.

This section of the party prescribed a more pragmatic approach towards the military and the ruling elite and advocated a dilution of the party’s radical socialist programme.

So, like any major democratic political party, the PPP too came attached with various ideological wings with their own views of the party’s overall philosophy.

Nevertheless, it were the PPP’s radical (Marxist) wing and moderate leftist Islamic Socialist wing that were the most active from the party’s inception in 1967 until about 1973.

The PPP, at once, come under attack by the Ayub regime on the one hand, and by religious parties such as the Jamaat-i-Islami (JI) on the other, whose leader, Abul Ala Maududi, dismissed the PPP as being an ‘atheistic party’ formed (with the help of international communist forces) to dismantle Islam in Pakistan.

The PPP’s Marxist and progressive wings countered the propaganda by founding the party’s own newspaper (Musawat) and magazine (Nusrat).

Leading secular and leftist intellectuals, poets and writers contributed to these publications.

After Ayub was forced to resign by a concentrated movement by leftist student groups; trade and labour unions; and parties like PPP and NAP, PPP swept the elections in West Pakistan. East Pakistan went to the Bengali nationalist party, the Awami League (AL). The elections were held under General Yahya Khan in 1970 whom the PPP, NAP and AL accused of funding right-wing parties like JI and various factions of the Muslim League.

In an interesting twist, Maulana Mufti Mhemood’s Jamiat-i-Ulema Islam (JUI) almost formed an electoral alliance with the PPP.

Staunchly opposed to JI and Maududi’s thesis on political Islam, JUI was the only religious party that approved of the PPP’s ‘Islamic Socialist’ philosophy.

The alliance was however ruled out by PPP’s Marxist wing.

Bhutto addressing the nation on PTV after taking over power from the military in 1972.

bhutto-tv-address

Bhutto addressing the nation on PTV after taking over power from the military in 1972.

After East Pakistan separated and became Bangladesh in 1971, PPP came to power on the basis of winning a majority in Sindh and Punjab.

NAP formed coalition provincial governments in Balochistan and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP). Pakistan was being governed by leftist parties.

PPP introduced a series of economic and social reforms between 1972 and 1974. These included the nationalisation of major industries; partial land reforms; rolling back of powers held by bureaucrats; co-option of certain identity-indicators of the country’s ‘folk culture’ first purposed by Sindhi, Baloch and Pushtun nationalists; rehabilitation of Pakistan’s military (after its defeat in the 1971 Indo-Pak war); and the framing and passing of the country’s first proper constitution.

Bhutto meeting Chinese revolutionary leader, Mao Tse Tung.

za-bhutto-mao-ed

Bhutto meeting Chinese revolutionary leader, Mao Tse Tung.

Fade to green

A series of international and local events in 1973 saw the PPP regime slow down its reformist/socialist manoeuvres.

First was the labour unrest in Karachi. Labour unions had firmly supported the rise of the PPP, but as restrictions on the unions were lifted, there was an increase in their activities.

A number of strikes by labour unions in early 1973 almost halted industrial activity in Karachi. Unwilling to meet their demands (which Bhutto thought were unrealistic and unproductive for a country recovering from a devastating war), Bhutto ordered a major crackdown on the unions.

Unions were the main constituencies of the PPP’s radical left-wing. Incensed by Bhutto’s crackdown, one of the party’s leading radicals, Miraj Muhammad Khan protested and was chucked out from the party. J A. Rahim suffered the same fate in 1975.

Then Bhutto dismissed the NAP government in Balochistan, accusing it of instigating a separatist movement in the province, which triggered an insurgency. Bhutto, then, sent in the military to crush it and installed PPP governments (run by handpicked governors) in Balochistan and KP.

Baloch leader, Akbar Bugti with Bhutto (1974). Bugti had supported Bhutto’s initial military operation against Baloch nationalists and was made governor of Balochistan. Ironically both men were killed by the military. Bhutto in 1979 and Bugti in 2005.

bugti-bhutto-ed

Baloch leader, Akbar Bugti with Bhutto (1974). Bugti had supported Bhutto’s initial military operation against Baloch nationalists and was made governor of Balochistan. Ironically both men were killed by the military. Bhutto in 1979 and Bugti in 2005.

1973 was also the year that saw Syria and Egypt go to war with Israel. The aftermath of the war pushed oil-rich Muslim monarchies to slow down oil production and drastically raise the price of oil.

Huge revenues earned from the move benefited Saudi Arabia the most. The profits gave it the leverage to begin playing a more prominent role in the Muslim world. Weary of the influence of the Soviet Union in Muslim countries and of Arab nationalism (which was opposed to monarchism), the Saudi monarchy began funnelling financial aid into Muslim countries.

Bhutto responded to the developments by severely undermining the party’s radical left-wing and giving more space to its conservative wing that advocated firmer relations with oil-rich Arab monarchies.

With Saudi money and influence, the Bhutto regime also began an elaborate intellectual project, in which, leading conservative historians and writers were asked to re-write Pakistani text books so to emphasise the country’s (largely imagined) ‘Arab roots’ and dilute its shared history with the Hindus.

The declaration of Ahmadis as non-Muslims in 1974, too, was a de-facto part of the said project.

Saudi monarch, King Faisal, at a dinner thrown in his honour during his visit to Pakistan in 1975.

king-faisal-bhutto-ed

Saudi monarch, King Faisal, at a dinner thrown in his honour during his visit to Pakistan in 1975.

While the PPP regime remained largely secular, its move towards the right continued until the 1977 elections. By then, it had all but alienated its leftist support base.

This didn’t mean it became the darling of the religious right. On the contrary, religious parties supported and financed by industrialists and traders stung by Bhutto’s socialist policies, became even more vehemently opposed to the PPP regime.

When the religious right organised itself into a united front for the election (Pakistan National Alliance [PNA]), the PPP all but deleted the word socialism from the party’s manifesto prepared for the 1977 election.

Bhutto with JUI chief Mufti Mehmood.

mufti-mehmood-za-bhutto-ed

Bhutto with JUI chief Mufti Mehmood.

Interestingly, PNA’s Islamist sloganeering and the PPP regime’s post-1974 Islamic project would both be hijacked and implemented in a more exaggerated manner by General Ziaul Haq, who overthrew Bhutto and took over in July 1977.

Seeing red again After General Ziaul Haq, with the backing of some religious parties, toppled the Bhutto regime and imposed what would go on to become one of the most oppressive and reactionary dictatorships in Pakistan, the PPP found itself in disarray.

Not willing to tolerate any chance of Bhutto’s return to power, Zia got him executed through a bogus murder trial.

Bhutto being escorted away by the police during his trial at the Lahore High Court. He was ultimately hanged in 1979.

bhutto-court-ed

Bhutto being escorted away by the police during his trial at the Lahore High Court. He was ultimately hanged in 1979.

The party’s top leadership was either thrown in jail or chased into exile. This reactivated PPP’s radical wing, which was encouraged by Bhutto’s besieged widow, Nusrat Bhutto, who took over as chairperson of the party.

Nusrat Bhutto, bleeding from the forehead after being struck by a cop’s baton at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium in November 1977. She arrived at the stadium with a  contingent of PPP activists during a Test match between Pakistan and England to protest against the Zia dictatorship. The attack by the police on her sparked a riot in the stadium.

nusrat-bhutto-ed

Nusrat Bhutto, bleeding from the forehead after being struck by a cop’s baton at Lahore’s Gaddafi Stadium in November 1977. She arrived at the stadium with a contingent of PPP activists during a Test match between Pakistan and England to protest against the Zia dictatorship. The attack by the police on her sparked a riot in the stadium.

Between 1978 and 1985, PPP witnessed its most radical period.

With no chance of an election in sight and up against a stubborn and violent military dictatorship that was reaping the benefits of international support due to the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, PPP’s leadership largely fell into the hands of young radicals and their patrons who had been sidelined after 1973.

Marxists and radical-left democrats within the party’s second and third tiers were at the forefront of leading the agitation against the Zia dictatorship. They were also successful in finally convincing the party’s co-chairperson, Benazir Bhutto to eject the leading lights of PPP’s conservative wing, whom they accused of betraying Bhutto.

This was also the time when the word ‘PPP jiyala’ (diehard, passionate PPP worker) came into prominence.

A policeman flogs a PPP worker in Lahore in front of an audience (1978). – Photo courtesy of Monte Fresco/World Press

flogging-pp-worker-ed

A policeman flogs a PPP worker in Lahore in front of an audience (1978). – Photo courtesy of Monte Fresco/World Press

After facing harassment, jail and house arrest, Benazir went into exile in 1984. But by the time she returned in 1986, she had already ejected a number of leaders belonging to the party’s conservative wing.

Bhutto’s youngest son, Shahnawaz Bhutto, who had formed an urban guerrilla outfit with brother Murtaza was allegedly poisoned to death by Pakistan’s ntelligence agencies in 1985.

shahnawaz-bhutto-ed

Bhutto’s youngest son, Shahnawaz Bhutto, who had formed an urban guerrilla outfit with brother Murtaza was allegedly poisoned to death by Pakistan’s intelligence agencies in 1985.

On the other hand, her triumphant return also marked the party’s turn towards a newer ideological path.

Not only did she clean up PPP’s old conservative wing, she gradually reigned in the left radicals as well, who had kept the party afloat after Bhutto’s execution.

A British television report on Benazir Bhutto's return from exile in 1986.

By the time of Zia’s gruesome death and PPP’s return to power (through the 1988 election), Benazir had begun to describe the party as a populist expression of left-liberalism.

Any colour you like In the 1990s (after the end of the Cold War and the collapse of communism), the word socialism was again diluted in the party’s manifestos, replaced with terms like human rights, de-nationalisation, ‘trickle-down economics,’ etc.

But the populism aspect addressed towards the peasant and working-classes remained a constant – now, more than ever, because these became the party’s main constituencies after the Punjab urban bourgeoisie and petty-bourgeoisie that had enthusiastically supported the PPP in the 1970s, turned towards conservative parties such as the Pakistan Muslim League, which was revamped and re-launched by the Zia regime in the mid-1980s.

In the 2000s (during the Musharraf dictatorship), fight against Islamic extremism became one of the central planks of the party’s manifesto. So did Benazir’s concept of ‘reconciliatory politics’ that saw her joining hands with her arch foe Nawaz Sharif, chief of the PML-N, in order to oppose Musharraf.

PML-N was also going through a metamorphosis of sorts.

Benazir and Nawaz after signing the Charter of Democracy (COD).

benazir-nawaz-cod-ed

Benazir and Nawaz after signing the Charter of Democracy (COD).

After Benazir’s tragic assassination at the hands of Islamic extremists (allegedly facilitated by the Musharraf regime) in 2007, the party leadership fell in the hands of her husband Asif Ali Zaradri, who guided the party to win a majority in the 2008 general elections.

Asif Ali Zardari – non-ideological and Machiavellian?

zardari-ed

Asif Ali Zardari – non-ideological and Machiavellian?

Zardari - non-ideological and Machiavellian in disposition - gleefully and acutely enhanced the concept of pragmatism in the spheres of the party’s thinking and policy-making.

In a two-pronged move, he constituted a new conservative wing in the party led by handpicked pragmatics whose job it was to keep an accommodating relationship with the ever-troublesome military and the ever-demanding coalition partners (of the new PPP-led regime).

On the other hand, to keep the party’s ideological legacy afloat, he chose committed left-democrats like Raza Rabbani to head the left-wing of the party, by now, had largely become left-liberal in essence.

The recent rehabilitation of old party ideologue, Aitzaz Ahsan, is also associated to the bolstering of the PPP’s ideological/left-liberal dimension.

Raza Rabbani & Rehman Malik represent the new Left and Right of the PPP.

raza-rabbani-rehman-malik-ed

Raza Rabbani and Rehman Malik represent the new Left and Right of the PPP.

Zardari’s endeavours and tactic to choose horses for courses have been successful in guiding his government’s survival through the economic and political mess left behind by the Musharraf dictatorship, as well as through whatever that was thrown at it by the opposition, the military-establishment, the Islamic extremists and the courts.

However, this process also seems to have drained the party and its regime of the energy required to achieve any substantial success in the spheres of economics and the law and order crises that Pakistan continues to face from religious extremists across Pakistan and from violent gangs in Karachi.

While PPP, under Zardari, has largely become a pragmatic entity, there still exists a vocal Marxist presence in the lower tiers of the party, and among the labour/trade unions associated with the PPP and in the party’s youth wings, Peoples Students Federation and Peoples Youth Organization.

Also active within these tiers are pro-PPP Sindhi nationalists, whom Zardari has often used to counter anti-PPP Sindhi nationalists and against what he perceives to be ‘conspiracies of the Punjabi establishment’ against the PPP regime.

In a Darwinian sense, the PPP under Zardari has been a political success - if not an ideological one.

*All images have been provided by the author.


80x80-NFPnew

Nadeem F. Paracha is a cultural critic and senior columnist for Dawn Newspaper and Dawn.com


The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.


Nadeem F. Paracha is a cultural critic and senior columnist for Dawn Newspaper and Dawn.com


The views expressed by this blogger and in the following reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

More From This Author

Comments (68) (Closed)


Karachi Wala
Jun 07, 2012 07:26pm
"Riding the arrow: An ideological history of the PPP" NFP, Should not it be titled Riding the Sword instead? As it was PPP’s original Intikhabi Nishan.
Malik
Jun 07, 2012 11:47am
Zardari succeeded where ZA Bhutto (and Benazir) failed. He has been able to cobble together coalition with smaller parties, something Bhutto failed to do and paid a tragic price for it. Zardari's success becomes more significant if one considers the fact that at one time during ZA Bhutto's government, Bacha Khan, Wali Khan and Asfandyar Wali Khan (grandfather, father and grandson) were in jails. But Zardari's downturn is in the fact that up till now he has come across as the survivalist. However, Pakistan needs a leader today.
shankar
Jun 07, 2012 08:50am
Zardari may be nowhere near as charismatic as the Bhuttos, but he is the only one who is likely to last the distance. Against such hostilities from the army, the radicals, the opposition and the judiciary, it is no mean feat!
Spi-der-man
Jun 07, 2012 11:24am
I don't know why everyone say PPP has changed - Being a political party its always possible that with change of Leadership and political situation on the ground force the political parties to change their manifesto accordingly- PPP manifesto on larger context has not changed perhaps small changes does not make any difference to masses - the real force behind PPP strength is its Philosophy towards tyranny and military dictatorships besides being socialist-left - it draws immense appeals from the poor class of our country - which is ample in supply.
mehwish
Jun 07, 2012 04:56pm
i agree with you saad. PPP has given this country destruction and nothing else.
zainengineer
Jun 07, 2012 05:04pm
Paracha how conveniently you skipped / hide 1990s Let's have a look at your writing ... .........re-launched by the Zia regime in the mid-1980s. In the 2000s (during the Musharraf dictatorship), fight against Islamic extremism became one ............... All 90s elections skipped. 1985 election skipped too
Abdullah Niazi
Jun 07, 2012 04:24pm
NFP - Rehman Malick representing' right' wing of PPP. Are you kidding ? Man is an errand boy of AAZ.
Ghani K
Jun 07, 2012 04:19pm
Man is being flogged, hundreds watching it as if it was a circus show. Character of the nation hitting the rock bottom. Now the man at whelm of PPP, some call him Machiavellian, I doubt if he understands the term Machiavellianism, no, he is willing to sacrifice every principle provided he can stay in the presidency.Once he called a coalition party 'Qatil League', now same party is his partner in the government.What is the philosophy & manifesto of current PPP?
shaukat ali chughtai
Jun 07, 2012 03:42pm
PPP is no longer exists as a leftist party, it has lost its flavour. People at the bottom (workers) peasants and labor would immediately to a party which proves it can work for people, the party which is liberal, progressive and pluralist. There is no sign yet for the emergence of such a patriotic and nationalist party. Get rid of agro industrialsts and feudals.
shaukat ali chughtai
Jun 07, 2012 03:26pm
NFP..We need a real left wing progressive, liberal and pluralistparty in Pakistan. PPP is gone now, all the workers will undoubtedly join any left wing party which will raise Pakista's image in the world and promise to get rid of religious extremism. R u sure, ppp has bacteria left to reorganize. Z is just playing to keep it going. He is not and can never be an idealogical order. You can't find jewels and gems which gathered around at the time the party was formed. Let us begin to form a real leftist part.
Karachi Wala
Jun 07, 2012 03:19pm
It would have been nice if you were able to put names with the faces attending PPP’s 1967 Lahore convention. I can recognize few, Sheikh Mohammad Rasheed sitting in Bhutto’s lap, to his right is Ghulam Mustafa Khar, In front of Sh. Rasheed, Mustafa Jatoi and Hafeez Pirzada, Sitting to Bhutto’s left is J.A. Rahim and in front I think is Mairaj Mohammad Khan. Man sitting in front of Mairaj, in white shirt could he be Maulana Kausar Niazi (without beard)? To J.A. Rahim’s left or perhaps behind him is Hyat Mohammad SherPao. Standing in the rear middle (the tallest man) is Abdul Hafeez Kardar (First Captain of Pakistan cricket team), left middle of the picture, long hair, glasses and suite is Mubashar Hasan Khan
Karachi Wala
Jun 07, 2012 02:53pm
What you consider Bhutto's achievements, are viewed differently by different groups of people. Mind you, all these groups do not represent extreme right wing or mullah element and yes, there are those who once fell into Bhutto's so called liberal and futuristic vision.
Karim
Jun 07, 2012 02:03pm
Ask about the achievements from the poor peasants and labours and women who get welfare support through BISP across Pakistan.. PPP is still without a doubt nation's largest party.. do some research and dont just rely on our biased journalists ..
Karachi Wala
Jun 07, 2012 01:57pm
Dear Baloch, The things you mentioned that NFP has omitted and in your view were Bhutto's achievement, have infect been mentioned by NFP many times previously. Now, what you consider Bhutto's achievements, are viewed differently by different groups of people. Mind you, all these groups do not represent extreme right wing or mullah element and yes, there are those who once fell into Bhutto's so called liberal and futuristic vision.
Morad786
Jun 07, 2012 01:44pm
Great article and I wish there was more disussion on ideologies of various political parties instad of scandals,......
A.Bajwa
Jun 07, 2012 01:19pm
The ideological content has withered over time. PPP in later years tended to follow conservative agenda.
fazal
Jun 07, 2012 12:33pm
Given their "achievements" I assure that wouldn't be the case in the next elections.
fazal
Jun 07, 2012 12:34pm
Somehow I doubt that PPP's current track record is going to ensure a progressive Pakistan.
Qadiri
Jun 07, 2012 10:48am
In context of PPP a balanced article
Khan
Jun 07, 2012 10:28am
We need revolution.
Shafi
Jun 07, 2012 10:25am
You must be lucky to have these!
Kini
Jun 11, 2012 01:35am
May the anti-democratic forces of Pakistan always fail. That's the reason they hate the PPP - because it challenges the very foundations these armed anti democratic forces are built on.
@rasikh
Jun 07, 2012 07:40am
This article was not supposed to count on achievements but an ideological background of PPP. Like if he have not discussed achievements he doesn't even pointed out flaws or corruption made during PPP regime.
Mushtaq
Jun 07, 2012 08:41am
Also, PPP remains to be the only truly nation-wide party in Pak.
Mushtaq
Jun 07, 2012 08:24am
But that's the point NFP is trying to make. All parties evolve. For example, you wont be able to recognize UK's Labour Party of US's Democratic party if you you look at their histories till the 70s. They were very different than what they are now. Same goes for Congress Party in India. Only those parties that are adaptable and flexible, survive. But as NFP says, working classes and peasants still constitute PPP's main constituencies.
MAD
Jun 07, 2012 08:10am
Aaah so you agree that the PPP has almost destroyed its ideology in order to survive politically. So why is there still support for a prty which essentially has ceased to exist in its original form.
SuperS
Jun 07, 2012 05:37am
Ramay played as big a role to devise PPP's ideology as Rahim and Bhutto did. And NFP is right: It was Ramay who advised Bhutto to first use the term Islamic Welfare State. Quite obvious how someone like Imran Khan is desperately trying to become another Bhutto. :) Mufti Mehmood's JUI was very progressive religious party till the early seventies and it is correct that it almost became an ally of PPP in 1970 elections.
Haji Ashfaq
Jun 07, 2012 07:12am
Good article Paracha. I specially appreciate your collection of classic photographs. Comments have been enough. What has been done with Original PPP - it's a disaster. Zardari & Co are interested in numbers game at the cost of Democracy and can go to any extent to let run the Samjhota Express - whatever consequences and mess for the future of the people of this country. BB would have felt ashamed if she were alive today for the game Mr 10% is playing.
Sabiha Mushtaq
Jun 07, 2012 06:10am
How conveniently you missed out the name of Yaya Khan while discussing East Pakistan debacle. Bhutto, as correctly portrayed by Paracha, was flawed in many ways, but his regime's democratic credentials can easily be proven with the way he united all political forces to pass the country's first true constitution.
Kafir
Jun 07, 2012 06:05am
The principles-socialism and democracy- have been mentioned several times in this article. It seems to indicate that Z.A.Bhutto and PPP are ardent lovers of those principles. The author has missed discussing the 1970 election results and the way Z.A.Bhutto reacted to the results. In 1970 Pakistan National assembly elections, there were 313 seats in total. Awami League(led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman) of East Pakistan won 167 of the total 313 seats and that gave them an absolute majority to form National government. Z.A.Bhutto refused to allow Mujibur Rahman to form a government. The compromise solution preferred by Z.A.Bhutto was a joint government by PPP / Awami League government with Mujibur Rahman as Prime Minister and Z.A.Bhutto as President. If PPP was such a passionate lover of democracy, shouldn't Z.A.Bhutto have allowed Mujibur Rahman to form a National government ? PPP was and is a strong political party, no doubt about that. They just can't be called as democracy believers. They believed in it when it suited them and not the other way.
Nasrat Baloch
Jun 07, 2012 06:02am
Sir, you ,yourself is so biased and anti Bhutto that you could not control yourself. You didn't mention Islamic summit, bringing back all prisoners, regaining lost land (of then West Pakistan), making atomic power , the best ever foreign policy and the wise leadership which was admired by all.Yes now PPP lost all its fame and credibility of being a secular, progressive and leftist party; now only a power party with all compromises on the earth.
Sabiha Mushtaq
Jun 07, 2012 06:02am
Loved it. interesting facts. Specially about Ramay's contribution, JUI's desire to ally with PPP, how Bhutto chucked out the leftwing of the PPP on Saudi's behest and how BB successfully updated the party for a new era. Zardari has been good for the party. It would have collapsed had he not taken over.
ayaz
Jun 07, 2012 06:02am
Truly there are two political forces in Pakistan, PPP and anti PPP, in spite of non delivering and bad governance of fourth PPP govt (Although they perform well with constitutional aspects), still PPP is the only right choice against religious fanatics like JI along with all army backed parties even PML (N). Nice article worthy to read and share.
RIZ
Jun 07, 2012 05:47am
These kind of articles will not convience me to vote PPP (incompetent party) in next elections.
malik
Jun 07, 2012 05:40am
Original PPP has been hijacked by bunch of hypocrites. This PPP is just a facade.
irfan
Jun 07, 2012 05:17am
Ever changing the way columns are written. Wont be surprised if the rest of the tribe starts following your style, illustrations giving it more clarity and now videos. Excellent article. Finally somebody remembers Hanif Ramay. Would like to see a detailed column on PSF.
Fahad
Jun 07, 2012 05:11am
The days of left and right in politics are gone. Now the people wants roti,kapra and makaan which was promised again and again by every politician since the fall of Ayub Khans regime.
Javed Shahid
Jun 07, 2012 05:04am
As I had suspected for long, NFP is not such a big fan of ZAB but he is of BB and even a bigger fan of Zardari. Nevertheless, a fine and well-researched piece indeed.
Shahid
Jun 07, 2012 05:02am
I don't understand your anger. Paracha has brutally castigated ZAB but I totally agree with his critique of Zardari. The chairman of the PPP has stood out and there is no doubt that he is a 'political success.'
Naveed Javed
Jun 07, 2012 04:59am
A Good Read, all problems apart, PPP is the name of an ideology, the ideology which can guide us to a progressive Pakistan! Jiye Bhutto
Javed Shahid
Jun 07, 2012 04:45am
Fantastic article! Very much needed for the young generation to understand the dynamics of large political parties. PPP is quite a phenomenon and I like they way NFP has dissected its ideological evolution. Also well said "PPP under Zardari is a political success if not an ideological one."
Saad
Jun 07, 2012 03:52am
Wow...you are so terribly biased. I have lost all respect for your articles. Look at how you're sugarcoating and euphemising all the ills that the PPP has bestowed upon this country since Bhutto, through Benazir and now Zardari. Civilian Martial Law, non-democratic ascent to power, nationalization of industries, terror activities by Al-Zulfiqar and the FSF, dehumanization of Ahmadis, massive corruption and the list goes on and on. Please wake up NFP. Musharraf had his chinks but if Zardari inherited a mess, he made a mountain out of that molehill. Sorry I have lost all respect in your bipartisanship. Keep glorifying them after these torturous years of economic turmoil and an excuse for governance.
Fahd
Jun 07, 2012 06:41am
Whats biased about this? He has only stated the facts. And I dont see any biased favors given to anyone in this article. I wonder why people are thinking he wrote this article against PPP. I seriously could not find any thing like that in it. Politics is a dirty game and I think the way he has written all about PPP is a kind of an acknowledgement that PPP did a brilliant job fighting all the odds in a filthy game like that. Read the article again I suggest. HE IS NOT BIASED
Fahd
Jun 07, 2012 06:37am
Sorry dude but the basic fundamentals never change. Its the faces that change from roti kapra makaan to burger, jeans, and apartment.
Kafir
Jun 07, 2012 06:31am
Yahya Khan was part of the 1970 / 1971 East-West Pakistan problem. But i guess this article's primary intent was to discuss PPP and not Pakistan Army / Yahya Khan. Z.A.Bhutto famously / in-famously promised to "break the legs" of any elected PPP member who dared to attend the inaugural session of the National Assembly (after 1970 elections ). This happened before a compromise was reached with Awami league. One of the litmus test for a country's democracy is when it's army / party / people allow another party to assume power after a general election. If Z.A.Bhutto refused to allow a person from another region to assume power, can it be called a flaw ? I would call it as placing more importance on regionalism than democracy / constitution. I leave it to you about how to call that episode. If a Political party was refusing to approve another party's win in general election, can that party expect Army to respect democracy ?
ali ahmed
Jun 07, 2012 07:57pm
Z.A.Bhutto nationalization in 1970 was the biggest culprit that stopped industrialisation and growth of middle class,while it preserved the feudal syst.Bhutto emasculated the industrialists who encouraged better education and skill development for their workers,while feudal rulers cont.to take their toll on the rural people living on their lands who remain slaves & reliably continue to vote their feudal lord into power in the name of democracy.He was used by the powerful punjabi elite to get rid of east pakistan..because seat of power would had shifted to dacca
Asif
Jun 07, 2012 10:25pm
"After East Pakistan separated and became Bangladesh in 1971, PPP came to power on the basis of winning a majority in Sindh and Punjab." ...and this happened how ? a genie came and "poof" E Pakistan separated ? why was Awami League not given a chance to form the Govt. and why was Sheikh Mujeeb denied the opportunity to form a Govt for the combined Pakistan ? Are Pakistanis suffering from amnesia ?
Munir Varraich
Jun 07, 2012 10:56pm
NFP missed out an important part of history of the PPP. The support which the Ahmadiyya Jama'at gave to Bhutto and the PPP during the 1970 elections. Over night PPP was able to get hundreds of thousands of volunteers campaigning for the PPP all over Pakistan. Even Bhutto was surprised at the election results when PPP won over 80 seats. It is irony of fate that it was Bhutto and the PPP government which declared Ahmadis as non-Muslims in 1974. Politics perhaps. But what about Pakistan? Earlier in the history of Pakistan, Ahmadis supported Quaid-e-Azam and the Muslim League. After his death, the Muslim League went against them and we had the 1953 riots. The only other party who was supported by the Ahmadis in Pakistan was the PPP. That resulted in 1974. We had the first Marshal Law after 1953. We had the Mllah General after 1974. Beyond that the world has Islamic Terrorism today. It all began in the Land of Indus, where Sufism had been the order of the day. But alas, that mindset has been burried beside the ruins of Moenjodoro. History need not be trampled with, by NFP or anyone else. Munir Varraich Sweden
Cyrus Howell
Jun 08, 2012 01:35am
The old photos from the newspaper files are great!
Salman Ali
Jun 08, 2012 01:35am
Very well written, unbiased, objective article. Leaves reader to draw own conclusions. From my understanding, it brings down ZA Bhutto status to the same as other politicians and dictators. All have been opportunist, making policy u-turns to prolong their power, rather than holding firm to their visions and beliefs. For Pakistan's sake, it needs to evolve out of its tainted image with stronger internal checks and balances.
Cyrus Howell
Jun 08, 2012 01:39am
" I say again. In my own mind the ISI is in partnership with Afghan warlords in the drug business. That is why they are so close to the religious. Just keeping an eye on the opium crops for them.
Cyrus Howell
Jun 08, 2012 01:41am
Yes. It is a facade.
Cyrus Howell
Jun 08, 2012 01:45am
A policeman flogs a PPP worker in Lahore in front of an audience (1978). – Photo courtesy of Monte Fresco/World Press. + Whoa Nelly. I thought that was a Cricket Match.
Cyrus Howell
Jun 08, 2012 01:56am
Zardari won the sympathy vote after his wife was murdered.
Cyrus Howell
Jun 08, 2012 02:01am
"Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny." -- Thomas Jefferson, Bill for the More General diffusion of Knowledge (1778) "The strongest reason for the people to retain the right to keep and bear arms is, as a last resort, to protect themselves against tyranny in government." -- Thomas Jefferson
Cyrus Howell
Jun 08, 2012 02:06am
"I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed." -- U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864, from a letter to Col. William F. Elkins
Shafi
Jun 08, 2012 11:21am
Donot look too far, just look at the leader's past history and you will find the roots of 'destruction'.
Steve
Jun 08, 2012 04:57am
and what is biased about16 hours load shedding crushing humans like worms all over the country. Accept criticism which is due.
Steve
Jun 08, 2012 05:02am
Why don't a JUI or MQM or any other party's supporter promote their ideology and agenda through dawn? I've seen a number of blogs on PPP, ZAB and relevant by this partisan. Readers should be able to read and judge other party's agendas as well.
I.A.Siddiqui
Jun 08, 2012 06:07am
NFP has intentionally or otherwise did not mention what PPP has done to Pakistan by raising the slogan of ' Udher Tum Idahr hum' and grabbing the power from Military and then destroying the very basics of Pakistan's ideology, industry, education and what not?
Mushtaq
Jun 08, 2012 06:47am
Siddiqui sahib, I think you've been sleeping lately. It was proven in the last few years that this slogan was NOT spoken by Bhutto but was a tong-in-cheek headline in Jang in 1970 written by Abbas Athar. Athar himself said this in his show 'Kalamgar' on Express.
Farhan
Jun 08, 2012 07:20am
Reads like a PPP apologist manifesto.
El Cid
Jun 09, 2012 06:30am
I have little interest in such politics. However, truth and facts interest me. Here are some that argue NFP's view: "On July 18, 1985, the 27 year old Shahnawaz was found dead in Nice, France. He died under mysterious circumstances, and the Bhutto family firmly believed he was poisoned. No one was brought to trial for murder, but Shahnawaz's wife Rehana was considered a suspect by the French authorities and remained in their custody for some time. She was found not guilty and later allowed to travel, and went to the United States wher she lives with her daughter Sassi. Pakistani media, which was under Zia's control, attributed his death to drug and alcohol abuse. Others have postulated that his wfe had indeed poisoned him with his drugs, murder could not be proved, and she got away with it"
Tariq K Sami
Jul 12, 2012 01:05am
Where is Mukhtar Rana. What happened to him?
Tariq K Sami
Jul 12, 2012 01:11am
Bhutto was one of our great heroes. His assasination by a activist judge is an example of Tyranny of the Judiciary.
tayyab
Jun 25, 2012 02:32pm
"roti,kapra and makaan", isn't it the politics of left o_O
Arshad Patel,Ohio US
Jul 07, 2012 03:53am
One thing is clear from the article that PPP is and never was faithful to its allies, friends or even well wishers. From ZABhutto till date PPP has been very selfish and have played the major role in disintegrating Pakistan.
Mustafa
Jul 05, 2012 07:42am
NFP just wana blame Agencies and the Military for no reason :) I think he was there when Shahnawaz was being poisoned :)