Alert Sign Dear reader, online ads enable us to deliver the journalism you value. Please support us by taking a moment to turn off Adblock on

Alert Sign Dear reader, please upgrade to the latest version of IE to have a better reading experience


Al-Zulfikar: The unsaid history

Published Apr 09, 2010 01:51pm


Your Name:

Recipient Email:

Pakistan is infamous for having a history cramped with assorted Islamist and sectarian organisations that have been unleashing havoc on its people and the state for over a decade.

But long before violent terror groups like Sipah-e-Shaba, Lashkar-e-Taiba, Lashkar-e-Jhangvi, and the Tehrik-e-Taliban-Pakistan started using unprecedented violence and coercion to turn their idea of a mythical Sunni Islamic utopia into reality, there was Al-Zulfikar, – a leftwing terror group formed by the sons of former Pakistani prime minister, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and the brothers of late Benazir Bhutto.

The son rises

Al-Zulfikar Organisation, or AZO, came into being some months after the execution of Z.A. Bhutto (April 4, 1979). The execution was sectioned by the Ziaul Haq dictatorship through a sham trial .

Although AZO lasted for over a decade, its history has remained shrouded in mystery.

The most complete document available on the subject is in the shape of an invigorating book by former Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) member and (later) AZO operative, Raja Anwar.

The book was first published in 1997. Called the ‘The Terrorist Prince’, it is an insightful look at the nature of the organisation as well as of its originator, Mir Murtaza Bhutto.

Raja Anwar, one of AZO’s earliest members, after escaping Zia’s tyranny travelled to Soviet-held Afghanistan to join AZO operations in Kabul.

Other sources I have used for this article are newspaper interviews of some of AZO’s leading operatives (many of whom are now dead), and private interviews with the family and cousins of AZO’s most notorious henchman, Salamullah Tipu (who died in 1984).

Recently, Murtaza Bhutto’s daughter, Fatima Bhutto, too has discussed the AZO in her book, ‘Songs of Blood and Sword.’ Unfortunately, Fatima betrays her obvious talents as a writer by sounding cringingly naïve on the matter. In fact, she allows emotionalism and her extreme dislike of anyone even slightly critical of Murtaza to override any worthy hint of objectivity.

Consequently, Fatima completely ignores the telling evidence and information available on the AZO in shape of books such as ‘The Terrorist Prince,’ and ‘The Politics of Terrorism’ (Michael Stohl), and interviews given by Murtaza to the BBC and the Indian media between 1981 and 1986.

Also, Fatima (unlike Raja Anwar), did not find it important to talk to the families of the young, idealistic AZO operatives who were jailed, hanged, or killed between 1980 and 1989.

AZO was formed by Murtaza Bhutto (who was 25 years old at the time) and his younger brother, Shahnawaz Bhutto, in late 1979 after their diplomatic efforts (in London) failed to stop Zia from executing their father who was also the country’s first-ever popularly elected prime minister.

Frustrated and angry, Murtaza got in touch with sympathetic Muslim leaders such as Libya’s Colonel Qaddafi, Syria’s Hafizul Asad, and the PLO’s Yasser Arafat and told them about his plans to overthrow the Zia regime through an armed struggle. After bagging some funds (from Libya and Syria) and a huge arms cache (from the PLO), Murtaza arrived in Kabul, Afghanistan, which was under a pro-Soviet communist government at the time.

The AZO’s early recruits were a handful of fiery PPP members who had escaped Pakistan to avoid being arrested by Zia’s police. These men then helped Murtaza get a number of passionate activists from the PPP’s student-wing, the Peoples Students Federation (PSF), who crossed the Pak-Afghan border on foot to enter Kabul. However, almost all of them were either killed or arrested during AZO’s first few actions on Pakistani soil.

The AZO managed to survive the blow and began receiving its second batch of recruits in late 1980. This batch, though smaller in size, had some of the most militant elements from the PSF. One of them was the 25-year-old Salamullah Tipu, who already had blood on his hands, having previously shot dead a member of the Islami-Jamiat-Taleba (IJT), the violent student-wing of the pro-Zia Jamaat-i-Islami (JI), at the University of Karachi.

Murtaza put Tipu in charge of a plane hijacking plan he’d been contemplating. In early 1981, Tipu, along with a cousin and another PSF militant (Nasser Jamal) in Karachi, pulled off a dramatic hijacking, taking a Peshawar-bound PIA plane at gunpoint to Kabul and then to Damascus in Syria.

He shot dead a Pakistani official on board when Zia refused to accept Murtaza and Tipu’s demands for releasing over 50 activists from the PPP and PSF who had been languishing in Zia’s cramped jails. Zia finally relented, but only when Tipu threatened to kill the six American passengers who were also on the plane.

The successful hijacking not only saw many of the released men join AZO, but the organisation also welcomed a whole new batch of recruits who travelled across Pakistan’s tribal areas and entered Afghanistan, dodging bullets fired by the roaming bands of anti-Soviet jihad gangs that Zia had started to gather on the Pak-Afghan border.

AZO described itself as a socialist guerrilla outfit, but its main purpose was avenging Bhutto’s death. The organisation was mostly made up of young PSF militants, and members of small left-wing groups such as the Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party. Almost all of these men belonged to the lower-middle-class and working-class strata of society and had faced stiff jail sentences, torture, and lashes of Zia’s Islamist tyranny.

AZO was successful in making an “international impact” with the hijacking. Bolstered by fresh funds and support by the Afghan, Libyan, and Syrian governments, AZO soon made at least two serious assassination attempts against Zia. One was a missile attack at Zia’s special plane (Falcon) in Rawalpindi in 1982.

The Russian-made, heat-seeking missile whizzed pass the plane and just missed smashing into it, thanks to an astute last minute maneuver by the pilot who’d somehow seen the missile approaching. The attack was engineered and undertaken by two PSF brothers from Rawalpindi.

The rot sets in

Instead of further strengthening the urban guerrilla outfit, AZO’s sudden success and the fear that it sparked in the country’s brutal military regime, ironically left the organisation in the vicious grip of reckless infighting, mainly due to Murtaza Bhutto’s growing paranoia. He became convinced that the AZO had been infiltrated by Zia’s agents.

Murtaza began to jail and eliminate his own men (with the help of the Afghan intelligence agency, KHAD), accusing them of being traitors, or worse, men ‘planted by the Zia regime.’ A number of murders were committed on Murtaza’s suspicious whims, as he now pitched one group of AZO men against the other.

Murtaza’s increasingly paranoid disposition saw him moving some of his men to Libya while he left some behind in Kabul as he himself moved to Damascus.

In 1983, at the height of infighting within the AZO, Murtaza once again decided to use his main weapon, Tipu, this time to assassinate Zia during the dictator’s trip to India. The plan came to a naught, and Murtaza ordered Tipu to go back to Kabul and assassinate some ‘traitors’ that he blamed for the botched assassination attempt. But after Tipu eliminated the ‘traitor’, Murtaza now decided to get rid of Tipu as well. He asked KHAD to arrest him.

Conscious of Tipu’s worth and daring, KHAD hesitated, leaving enough room for Tipu to take over AZO’s Kabul operations. Murtaza, by now firmly in the clutches of mistrust and irrational suspicions, faced the first major challenge to his leadership in the AZO.

From Damascus he again asked KHAD to put Tipu on trial for a murder Murtaza himself had ordered. It was Tipu’s bad luck that though he was able to charm both KHAD and the Soviet KGB with his declaration of being a communist revolutionary who was ready to undertake another hijacking, Tipu’s hot-headed and violent nature soon got him into trouble with the Afghan government as well.

By late 1983, Tipu began to be seen as a security threat by the Afghan government, and this time KHAD obliged Murtaza by arresting Tipu. He was then executed by a firing squad in early 1984.

By 1985, AZO had crumbled. Most of its operatives had lost their lives. Many surviving AZO men escaped to Libya and Syria (never allowed back into Pakistan); some got asylum in European countries, while a huge number either rotted away in war-torn Kabul, or came back to Pakistan only to be arrested and given long jail sentences.

Benazir Bhutto, who had languished in Zia’s jails, was sent into exile in 1984, and she (while talking to BBC) at once denounced AZO and Murtaza’s tactics.

Murtaza and Shahanawaz (along with their Afghan wives) moved to Cannes in France, where Shahnawaz was allegedly poisoned to death by Zia’s agents.

The second coming and demise

The gulf between Murtaza and Benazir continued to grow. Benazir plunged back into the mainstream politics of the country when she returned to the country in 1986.

The same year, Murtaza began changing the ideological nature of AZO. He began turning it into an exclusively Sindhi nationalist organization.

The first version of the AZO (1979-84), had a number of ideologically-charged young Punjabi, Mohajir, Pushtun and Baloch men (along with Sindhis) in its fold.

The second version of the organization (that shifted its base from Kabul to India), however, was exclusively made up of Sindhi nationalist youth who (between 1986 and 1992), took part in various cases of sabotage and murder in Karachi and the interior of Sindh.

Murtaza’s return to Pakistan (in 1993) was made possible only when the first government of Nawaz Sharif agreed to implement a plan hatched by former PPP big-wig, Jam Sadiq Ali (earlier chucked out by Benazir from the party) and some ISI sleuths. They were to make way for Murtaza’s return because they saw him capable of wresting the control of the PPP from Benazir and factionalize the party.

Murtaza arrived back to Pakistan in 1993 (after 17 years). After failing to get a prominent position in the PPP, he formed his own faction, PPP (Shaheed Bhutto).

Nonetheless, his party faced heavy defeats in the 1993 elections (which Benazir’s PPP won).

Till the day he was tragically killed, Murtaza spent all his efforts in trying to undermine Banazir’s second government, but the truth was, his short stint as the agency’s trump card came to an end as soon as it was realized that the majority of the PPP voters had rejected his claim of being the party’s ‘true heir.’

He was finally killed in 1996 during a police ambush on his convoy near his house in Karachi. The ambush was unconvincingly described as an ‘encounter’ by the police.

Murtaza’s widow, Ghinwa Bhutto (his second wife) accused the Benazir government and Asif Ali Zardari for the murder, whereas Benazir blamed the agencies which she claimed used the episode to topple her elected government.

Along with Murtaza also died whatever was left of Al-Zulfikar, whose last known operative was killed (by unknown assailants) in 2000.

Of the two hundred or so young, hot-headed and passionate (albeit naïve) operatives of the organization (between 1979 and 1993), only a few have survived to tell the tale. Most of them died young (aged between 17 and 27), and were buried either in Kabul or Libya, mostly in unmarked graves.

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

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.


Your Name:

Recipient Email:

Author Image

Nadeem F. Paracha is a cultural critic and senior columnist for Dawn Newspaper and He is also the author of two books on the social history of Pakistan, End of the Past and The Pakistan Anti-Hero.

He tweets @NadeemfParacha

The views expressed by this writer and commenters below do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of the Dawn Media Group.

Comments (148) Closed

Ghaffar Moazzam Apr 09, 2010 09:17am
Good one. This is a vital piece.
obaid Apr 09, 2010 11:13am
Well the killing of Shanawaz Bhutto by Zia agents is debatable, because few months back I read an article by "Anjum Niaz" about her recent meeting with seasoned ambessador Jamshed Marker, who now resides in US, she mentioned that Mr. Marker is busy in writing a book where he will mention how Murtaza and Shanawaz had fight on some big amount of money and after that Shanawaz died.
Salman Shah Apr 09, 2010 11:23am
How can Mr Nadeem say that he has got the correct version of the saga. No reference given. Mr Bhutto was a fighter and a patriotic son of soil. If he is a terrorist then Bhagat Singh and Nelson Mandela were also terrorist.
Zeeshan Jawaid Apr 09, 2010 12:05pm
I used to think that we were taught a more objective and fair view of Pakistan Studies in O' Levels. But this article opens up a whole new chapter which probably people of my generation do not even know about. Great job NFP!
Absar Apr 09, 2010 12:12pm
There's something missing. This is a brief history of AZO. But NFP failed to point an interesting fact. It's that, when you compare the AZO with the tyranny of Zia, you'll find that both of them possess extremists views which was proved at times based on their extremists acts. At least I reach to a conclusion that extremists and avenging ideologies, like the AZO and Zia, aren't fought with another extremist ideology or with a mood of vengeance. Hope that NFP gets the point in regards with the very first para of this blog pointing at the decade long havoc in Pakistan.
Sarmad Pretu Apr 09, 2010 12:03pm
Great peace of work Nadeem. Well done
Ahsan Syed Apr 09, 2010 11:41am
This is good attempt to know about the history of Pakistan, You did a good job, and cleared that some of us become violant when pushed to face difficulties without doing wrongs.
Schazad Apr 09, 2010 11:51am
For people who see NFP cynical to right ideas, this is the answer. NFP always believes in facts not dubious ideas and thoughts.
raf Apr 09, 2010 09:36am
Paracha you're on your own tracks again..Bravo! This is indeed not some very known part of history!
Umer Ijaz Apr 09, 2010 09:57am
Great job.....
Wasif Shakil Apr 09, 2010 09:58am
Good piece from history.
Irfan Husain Apr 09, 2010 10:07am
An important reminder of our recent past.
Sajid Apr 09, 2010 10:08am
Fatima will avoid talking objectively about Al-Zulfiqar because we don't have a culture of intellectual honesty.
Amit Apr 09, 2010 10:10am
Nice article. Thoroughly researched and well written
ILTAF KIANI Apr 09, 2010 10:27am
Really very good did not know the real culprits behind all this!
Rizvi SAA Apr 09, 2010 10:28am
A good coverage of history however all aspects have not been covered fully specially the Murtaza/Shahnawaz episode at Cannes France. Moreover saying that the only popolarly elected PM of Pakistan ZA Bhutto is also not true. Can you forget Mujib who was the first Popularly elected man of this country, later denied his right that resulted into breaking of Pakistan. I suggest touch this subject when you have a complete record and have the courage to write it as it happened. Ignore Fatima, she is a child but has a potential to become a significant person in future.
Tooba Apr 09, 2010 10:32am
THANKYOU.. something we all needed to know..
Magans Apr 09, 2010 10:33am
I got to know some thing different about Pakistani history.
syed tanveer Apr 09, 2010 10:37am
We need honest writers to lift the curtain from our recent past. good work dear.
babar Apr 09, 2010 10:37am
I was wondering why NFP is quiet and now I got the answr after reading this masterpiece from the history of our political terrorism........ good work done..!!
Wiqas Apr 09, 2010 10:40am
Good work Paracha. It reminds me a saying " We learn from history that we do not learn from history". I do not know how many young people have died un knowingly under one or other umbrella or politics.
Ikmal Apr 09, 2010 10:47am
Good use of historical material for the article..
kashif Apr 09, 2010 10:48am
It is one sided view of writer.
Johnings Apr 09, 2010 10:50am
Fatima Bhutto will have a problem with this. But NFP has the advantage of being able to be more objective about Murtaza and AZO than fatima. This is the finest document on the obscure history of AZO I have read after Raja Anwar's Terrorist prince. Kudos once again, NFP.
Asim Saeed Apr 09, 2010 10:53am
An important piece to understand the paradoxial history of Al Zulifiqar and the tragic death of Mir Murtaza Bhutto. Great job NFP!
Shiraz Apr 09, 2010 10:54am
A good quick summary of history. Thanks.
Imran Apr 09, 2010 10:54am
Nadeem, That is really a nice piece. Very factful article which shows the dark side of the history where people usually dont go.
Shahbaz Apr 09, 2010 11:04am
Fantastic work of research. I only wish more writers were nearly as objective.
Raja Hindustani Apr 09, 2010 11:49am
Wow! Great article once again Mr. Paracha! Keep it up!
Sardar Mohkim Khan Apr 09, 2010 11:32am
Impressively written. I have admired such of his pieces that take you back in time and talk so about what remains hidden. Thanks for sharing this.
Reasoner Apr 09, 2010 11:37am
NFP, I was also wondering about your absence and here you are with yet another excellent article ! Keep up the good work !
sadsid Apr 09, 2010 12:15pm
Very well researched. Good job Paracha
Pakistani Apr 09, 2010 12:41pm
Very objective article, NFP, well done! I wonder if you will be able to write on Liaqat Ali Khan's murder, its perpetrators, their motive, why/how the details are still classified and its impact on us. That's one event that changed the course of Pakistani politics and unsettled us to this date. I am sure it will be an eye opener for today's generation. Thanks in advance.
Goga Nalaik Apr 09, 2010 12:43pm
Dear Nadeem, Bravo for this great article. You have very well recapitulated the history of Al Zulfiqar. No doubt, this article is the result of a great amount of work and hours and hours of research
Romano Apr 09, 2010 12:50pm
'Cringingly naive', well said NFP. Fatima Bhutto will have to rise above personal interests if she wants to be taken seriously.
Goga Nalaik Apr 09, 2010 12:56pm
NFP has just recapitulated AZO history (without his personal views or judgement). Don't forget he is a journalist and therefore he has to remain impartial Goga Nalaik
Johnings Apr 09, 2010 01:16pm
He has clearly mentioned his sources. Raja Anwar's Terrorist prince.
Imran Hussain Apr 09, 2010 01:23pm
Good job Obaid: I was about to raise the same point. NFP, we would all very much appreciate, if you could elaborate more on this statement: "Murtaza and Shahanawaz (along with their Afghan wives) moved to Cannes in France, where Shahnawaz was allegedly poisoned to death by Zia
Absar Apr 09, 2010 01:43pm
Are you sure he has to remain impartial is true to say about him? I don't see this overall impartiality from his past journalism. This is quite over thing that he has been vocal against Zia's ideologies all the time, but surprisingly in this article NFP hasn't offered his views in opposition format. And this is why I reasoned above in my first post. Did he try to hide something or did he really fail to reach to a conclusion in regards with the way he took the start of this blog.
Abdullah Hussain Apr 09, 2010 01:44pm
Facts unfolded. AZO was a fearful terror organization headed by no other than Mir Murtaza Bhutto. The purpose of creation of this terror organization was to avenge Bhutto's death. Be it through killing one or all. It lasted almost 10 long years. AH
ArsalanKh Apr 09, 2010 01:48pm
AZO also planned to break the prison in its initial time once to get Bhutto out of it. For that, Kadafi was providing the Aeroplane standing at Pindi/Isb airport perhaps and they would fly in that for Libya but the whole plan got leaked because both brothers told this to BB and their phone was taped too. Zia did manage to increase the security of the Prison and didn't let any plane to land at air ports. BB was angry on both of the brothers for that. That was told by Tehmina Durrani in her book on Mustafa Khar. Very good article and I think, Fatima Bhutto should call a spade a spade.
Muhammad Babar Khan Apr 09, 2010 01:58pm
nice insight
realist Apr 09, 2010 02:00pm
i noticed you left out the other assasination attempt on the judge that hung bhutto, which ended up killing Chaudhry Senior
wYSe Guy Apr 09, 2010 02:10pm
Now that Mr Zardari seems to have a "relatively" secure Presidency with the passing of the 18th Amendment, NFP is implicitly criticising Mr Zardari from the left by bringing up the controversial topic of the assassinated Mr Murtaza Bhutto. The gentle and overt criticism of Ms Fatima Bhutto corresponds with critiques he has made in the past, of her being "pushed forward" by various media forces. Three Major Points: Of the two hundred or so young, hot-headed and passionate (albeit na
Absar Apr 09, 2010 02:20pm
Good point, Obaid. NFP, care to explain?
Natasha Apr 09, 2010 02:25pm
An informative piece. And still , it's Shahnawaz Bhutto SHAHEED and Murtaza Bhutto SHAHEED. //Zia finally relented, but only when Tipu threatened to kill the six American passengers who were also on the plane.// Gori Chamrri it seems is more valuable than the desi.
Qamar Zaman Apr 09, 2010 02:50pm
I was in Damascus and met all the passengers when they were released from the AZO hijacked plane. What hell they were put through by Fatima Bhutto's dad is unimaginable! She should use her great writing skills to go an interviews the passengers, the pilots - but especially the brave stewardesses on that flight. Maybe she'll learn a thing or two.
S M Shah Apr 09, 2010 03:02pm
Mr Paracha, Always thought you write opinion pieces, but it appears you can do factual accounts too. I am very grateful to you for this piece. I found it very illuminating, and it certainly answers a few of my own questions. I am often disappointed at the lack of historical research/scholarship on matters such as the AZO. Your services in this field are very welcome and greatly appreciated. SMS
Harris Apr 09, 2010 03:07pm
... and perhaps validate.
Z Apr 09, 2010 03:11pm
Thanks again. NFP
Faris R Apr 09, 2010 03:46pm
A well timed article that highlights the dark and tragic insight of Bhuttos. Zulfiqar ali Bhutto being a good father would have noticed his sons instincts and therefore betted his horse on Benazir Bhuttos intellect. I would argue that Benazir and Bhuttos at large were co-horts of AZO and as the conspiracy theorists rightly credits the "Mango Crates" in Zia's plane on AZO that paved the return of power to Bhuttos. Faatima Bhutto appears to be in denial about his father's past and is glamour and attention seeker, a very bright lady though. FR New-York
jaihind Apr 09, 2010 03:54pm
Nadeem,you have a neck of hitting the nail right on the head.your hard work and sincereity towards journalism does not need words of admiration.I wish there were more like you in pakistani press and there were more pakistani people to take a second before critisizing you and have a more open mind to believe that what ever media perceptions of history be,there could be the other side. Just keep up the good work Nadeem.
aLi Apr 09, 2010 04:16pm
As always a good read by NFP. Just wondering who was that last operative that was killed in 2000. Must be an anonymous "hot-headed and passionate (albeit na
TAH Apr 09, 2010 04:24pm
Z A B is given undue credit for being a democrat. He was a feudal lord who believed he owned the Pakistani people and so did his family, Mir Murtaza being no exception. Fatima Bhutto shows the same tendencies. At any rate it would be tough for her (anyone) to objectively analyze their murderous father. Whereas Z A B did have the popular support of the people in the West Pakistan, his party did not win the election in 1971. His failure to accept that and sit in the opposition seats is what drove the last nail in the coffin of Jinnah's Pakistan. We were told that Mujib was a traitor, but he was a patriot and true to his people. Accepting him as the rightly elected leader of the whole of Pakistan may well have prevented the vicious spiral that our nation find itself in.
ghazi Apr 09, 2010 04:30pm
Why was it that AZO couldnt topple the Zia govenment? With the Soviet and KGB expertize it should have made an impact. My own cousins went to Kabul from Azad Kashmir all fired with a passion to avenge Bhutto's death. Was it because of lack of leadership or lack of direction? I always wondered.
Bilal Apr 09, 2010 04:55pm
NFP, you are taking references from Raja Anwar's book!!! You can't be serious. Do you conider that based on facts? And then comparing Murtuza's struggle against the tyrant Zia to Sipah-e-Shaba, Lashkar-e-Taiba, etc, is just pathetic. And Murtuza being an agency person!! Yeah right, what next, him being on the CIA payroll. I do like your articles, but it seems this one is just written on hear and say from different people who for their own personal agendas, with no real research or facts. You can do better.
Ash Apr 09, 2010 04:57pm
This is how things take ugly turn. To support one, we drag two more names. Please keep discussion clean without any provocation.
Riaz khan Badrashi Apr 09, 2010 05:02pm
nice article !
farrukh Apr 09, 2010 05:13pm
those who live by the gun,will sure die by the gun.....thats what happened to both young boys of ZAB
Danial Jameel Apr 09, 2010 05:20pm
According to the french version, the death of Shanawaz is attributed more to an infighting between the brothers than an assassination attempt by Zia. Just thought i mention that. Great article!
Faria Khan Apr 09, 2010 05:39pm
Why on earth do people expect Fatima to talk 'honestly' about her own father, when we as a nation rarely assess any leader impartially. It will be decades before we can honestly assess the role all our leaders have played in our demise. I look forward to a future politics without any Zadaris, Bhuttos, Sharifs, Chaudaries et al. We need a clean break with the past.
Assad Apr 09, 2010 06:08pm
Your article is an almost chilling revelation of Pakistan's convoluted political history. Scary to say the least. Way to go NFP! And kudos to Dawn for being the only sensible news agency in an otherwise plethora of sensationalized nonsense...
Ashfaq Apr 09, 2010 06:21pm
I remember those days when I was student in Lahore. Thanks to Ahsanullah Khan Bobby (Chairman of Black Eagle Students Organization) who saved hundreds of student to join AZO.
Usman Malik Apr 09, 2010 06:30pm
Thank you NFP for writing something which was really worth reading. Cheers
Tahir Rizvi Apr 09, 2010 07:15pm
Thanks to Nadeem Paracha for the research and record of a part of the sad history. Unfortunately Ziaul Haq dictatorship left behind a lot of bad baggage which still haunts Pakistani politics. The introduction of violence in Pakistani politics was and is one of unfortunate legacy of Ziaul Haq
Q man Apr 09, 2010 07:32pm
I remember reading the same article in DAWN. It seems without a doubt that Shahnawaz was killed by his brother Murtaza in a drunken brawl over money as told in the article. It was recounted by Jamshaid Marker who is a Pakistanis career diplomat above reproach so his account is probably what really happened. I remember believing the story that Zia's agents did it but it's odd that we Pakistanis are so easily taken in by conspiracy theories. I'm disappointed to hear that AZO was invovled so closely with anti Pakistani groups in Kabul and India. I have been a fan of Fatima Bhutto since hearing her speak in the US condemning the dictatorship of Musharraf. She was a welcome sight as a young educated and intelligent Pakistani woman speaking in perfect English-the contrast between her and Musharraf speaking in accented poorly understandable English cound not have been more dramatic. I only wish she can be objective enough to distance herself from Murtaza Bhutto's past and objectively refute AZO terrorist activities. I know she had nothing to do with it but she should still speak out against all anti state actors.
Munir Varraich Apr 09, 2010 07:39pm
Mr. Piracha, You have taken the initiative of bringing to life AZO. Thanks for that. Pakistan's politics had totally ignored the courage of those young Pakistanis, who were ready to sacrifice their lives for a cause. Unfortunately, even today they are labelled not as those who fought against a ruthless dictator but as "terrorists." MAV
Aamir Mughal Apr 09, 2010 08:12pm
Kamran Khan [The Correspondent of The News International/Washington Post] was the one who met with Murtaza in Damascus (Syria) [at the behest of Brigadier (r) Imtiaz] several times and insist him to come back to Pakistan, Kamran used to fly to Syria every month at that time. Read observation of Mr Justice Nasir Aslam Zahid on Kamran Khan. Excerpts are from a book, Kamran Khan was then a Correspondent for The News International/Jang Group of Newspapers's News Intelligence Unit. I wonder why our Esteemed Journalist Kamran Khan suffer from acute Inferiority Complex to name his feature as if its a section of US Central Intelligence Agency, he should have been proud of just quoting the story as Special Report.??? What is News Intelligence Unit? There must be a difference between Special Branch Report and Newspapers.. "QUOTE" Murtaza Bhutto; Events after his murder Kamran Khan, a correspondent of The News, appeared with a written request that he should be heard as a witness to reply to the statement made by the former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto, to clear his name, to which the tribunal said it was not holding a defamation trial. The tribunal said it was not concerned with who had said what and that the former prime minister had named 50 people in her statement and there was no time to allow all those who had been named in her statement the opportunity to hear them. "We have limited time and by March 17 the report has to be submitted to the government and we will not allow you to examine Ms Benazir Bhutto and if we allow that there will be no end to it," the chairman observed. The chairman asked him to submit a written statement before March 17. He also observed that he (Kamran Khan) should have come forward earlier, when the messages were being sent to him. He was reminded by the tribunal that one of the reporters of The News, Maqbool Ahmed, was given the message to convey to him for his appearance when his name was mentioned in the list submitted by the PPP (SB) party counsel, Manzoor Bhutta. "You kept quiet when you knew about it through the newspapers. You did not wake up until she came and named you by saying 'if he could be used by me others can also use him.' "Kamran Khan said he did not know who Maqbool Ahmed was. He said Ms Bhutto had used the tribunal's platform to say things against him and, therefore, he wanted to reply to her from the same platform, to which the chairman said she had a locus standii, because her brother had been killed and her husband had been arrested in the case. "UNQUOTE"
Luqman Apr 09, 2010 08:14pm
Thank you for the concise inisght into the history of AZO. indeed, people see no bans and rules in love and war. Someone smells power and does everything to have it and another one does everything possible for "love" (?) / revenge.
Aamir Mughal Apr 09, 2010 08:14pm
"The tribunal held later in 1997 ruled that Murtaza could not have been killed without approval from the highest echelons of government." [Justice Retd Nasir Aslam Zahid] Please tell which echelon of the government is highest? Have you seen the movie 'JFK' by Oliver Stone if not then please watch it again and again, it will solve many of your puzzles."Quote"As per Ghazali Book The Fourth Republic Chapter IX While the people speculated about the motives behind the killing of Mir Murtaza Bhutto, Dr. Mubashir Hasan, a former Finance Minister and a founder member of the PPP, was very blunt in his remarks: "For those who have removed Murtaza from our midst, the real problem has been and is Prime Minister Benazir. As long as Murtaza was alive, removing Benazir carried unacceptable risks. Murtaza could take over the mantle of the elder Bhutto's legend. Else Murtaza and Benazir would be striving for a common cause, separately or jointly. That would have presented formidable political problems. Murtaza gone, the way is clear. Benazir stands perilously weakened. She is the next to go. Such are the brutal pathways of realpolitik." [Dawn 25.9.1996.]" [For Further Reading UNHCR REPORT ON PAKISTAN OF 1996]
m. akhtar Apr 09, 2010 08:46pm
Well, all Bhuttoes are shaheeds and living in jannat for ever.
Salman Shah Apr 09, 2010 09:00pm
How can he say that Tipu was directed by Mr Bhutto to hijack the plane and kill an army officer?
M. Jamaluddin Apr 09, 2010 09:10pm
Seems like everyone likes to hear the truth, that's a very good development. I'll request the writer to start researching about other such groups also.
munwar Apr 09, 2010 09:11pm
Military has been cause of all evil in pakistan. Well done.
Jawahar Apr 10, 2010 12:12pm
I do read NFP articles off and on but this one is really special in how it digs up one of the many buried life stories to expose the interplay between the Army, ISI, Government, student bodies, rogue elements and foreign support that have shaped our history. We are now reaping the rewards from the seeds sowed three decades ago... I hope it doesn't take another three decades for us to put all of this behind us! Excellent piece!
Syied Nasir Mehdi Apr 09, 2010 09:38pm
A very good job and reminder of our past. It would have been been of some interest to throw light on relationship between Mr AA Zardari and his sons in law- brothers of BB
Mohammad A Dar Apr 09, 2010 10:10pm
Writer has done noting but tried to kill two birds with one stone. On one hand he states that sons of Bhutto were terrorist on the other hand he tries to implicate always loyal Muslim brother countries to be involved in anti Pakistan activities. Bhutto brothers were not anti Pakistan, their father died for the sake of Pakistan. They were just young grief stricken, naturally vengeful, as any of us could be, people. Who took the wrong path in anger. But writer has no right to implicate friendly countries to appease the enemies of Pakistan by usual disinformation and respectable family a bad name.
Raza M.Qureshi Apr 09, 2010 11:05pm
Mr Nadeem Paracha you have written a good article, but you did not describe the detail of Murtaza's murder in Karachi. Please try to open the murder mystery of Murtaza. Also write an article on the murder of Benazir.
Nasir Apr 09, 2010 11:21pm
Its really interesting but my father once old me that in the 70's Murtaza Bhutto used to frequently visit Army Aviation Mess on Peshawar Road, Rawalpindi...where he had many friends in the young officer community. I asked dad about his impressions of Murtaza B...and the first comment was that he was very soft spoken, not overly-friendly but soft spoken. He also had an aura of sophistication about him and drank only moderately. It's heart-breaking what execution of a father can do to his son!
Muhammad Apr 09, 2010 11:51pm
It has a lesson: as you sow so shall you reap. This is not meant to support what Zia did. I am thinking of so many innocent people who lost their lives or limbs due to terrorist activities of so called AZO.
Shakoor Raheem Apr 10, 2010 12:28am
This tale started from
SSGPA1 Apr 10, 2010 12:30am
Great work NFP! I hope that one day we make documentaries regarding such orgs so that we as nation could learn some lessons.
Aussiedessi Apr 10, 2010 01:30am
I am impressed by Mr Paracha's quest for truth and also of so many Pakistani respondents' desire to know why their nation has suffered so much bloodshed for so long. It appears that deceit, mistrust and lust for revenge were the main motivators for the ruling. Now the nation is awaking due mainly to brave people like Mr Paracha. This sort of self analysis is good for Pakistan and also for its much maligned neighbour, in Pakistani eyes, India.
faraz ahmad Apr 10, 2010 01:33am
Can we call second left wing armed group history? If we give some credit to Faiz Ahmad Faiz and General Akbar Khan alleged attempt to overthrow the government. The funny thing is that MB could not get his father's party from his sister nor could he get popular votes by his new party. It is also strange that Fatima Bhutto is passionate about her father and lacks objectivity in her book about her father.
Haris Apr 10, 2010 01:38am
An eye opener of an article. Sometimes it is good to refresh the memory and revisit the history with a very objective analysis and that is good to read amidst all the publicity that Fatima has garnered in her successful attempt to write a book and get noticed. It is hard to call a spade a spade when your own father is being ruthlessly murdered so I wont really blame Fatima too much in wanting to show the other side of his father, however kudos to Nadeem for a very unpassionate piece and seemingly factual part of the history. Haris
z.shah Apr 10, 2010 01:49am
Dear Nadeem, what a artical on history of azo. congratulations on job well done. keep it up.we are all with you.
Munir Varraich Apr 10, 2010 11:17am
Paracha has done a good job of at least recording AZO. Murtaza and all those young Pakistanis who joined him with a vengeance were left in the cold by the so called democrats, whether it was PPP or other progressive groups, (all hiding behind the their policy of "HIKMAT" and that of "democratic struggle") and anti-dictatorship forces whether within Pakistan or abroad. And the Islamic parties, which played the most reactionary role by supporting a ruthless dictator in the name of Islam. Now we have the slogan of "Democracy is the best revenge" being imposed from the pulpits of power in Islamabad. Is it the peoples revenge OR the revenge of one group of elites against the other? Paracha should continue this investigation about AZO. There were the apparent reasons of why that hijacking at that point of time, and then there are those "batin" (hidden) reasons for that hijacking. Otherwise that would not have been recorded in Britannica Encyclopedia of 1981. Batin reasons are intertwined with the impetus given to the monster of Jihad, knowingly or unknowingly, by PPP high command in 1974 and later implemented by Zia in 1984. Murtaza was the only person amongst the Bhutto family who was very clear about the "batin reasons" of why PPP and why Zia and was clear about the original PPP Manifesto and wanted to implement it, to clean up Pakistan of this virus - mullahism - which has played havoc not only in Pakistan and this region but also in the world. As such let us salute those young revolutionaries of Pakistan who had sacrificed their lives for the common Pakistanis. It will be a great sin for Pakistanis to brand Murtaza as "The Terrorist Prince" which Raja Anwar has tried to do. MAV
Muneeb Afzal Apr 10, 2010 11:01am
Sir i think any daughter writing about her father is unlikely to be objective. This is an excellent piece on an event which is a part of our very recent history but still very less has been written abt it
Checkmate Apr 10, 2010 09:19am
Bhai, that is Mr. Marker's side of the story. That does not mean it is the only truth. Relax.
Al Apr 10, 2010 09:28am
Nice article. Very informative. However, NFP's leftist bent is evident when he uses words like 'passionate' & 'na
Checkmate Apr 10, 2010 09:17am
This is the version given by Nusrat Bhutto and Ghinwa Bhutto side of the story. That's also the problem with Fatima's book. She failed to air the other side of the story whose roots can be found in Paracha's article where he rightly mentions how Jam Sadiq and some ISI men tried to break PPP through Murtaza. But when Murtaza failed, he became useless to them.
Mehmud Ahmed Apr 10, 2010 03:17am
It is interesting article by Mr Piracha but there are discrepancies also. He probably does not read DAWN otherwise he would have been more sure of causes of Shahnawaz's death in Cannes. In its issue of 7th March, 2010, DAWN published an interview of Mr Jemshaid Marker with Ms: Anjum Niaz that clearly outlined the cause of Shahnawaz's suicide. Mr Marker at that time was our Ambassador to France and had made personal inquiries into the case. The adventures of Bhutto youngsters needs a detailed inquiry and report. Mehmud Ahmed (Brampton - Canada) 9th April, 10
Checkmate Apr 10, 2010 09:13am
Shoaib, what do bari and kazmi have to do with AZO? kazmi and Bari were active as student militants in the 1960s and were part of the leftwing NSF. But they never went on to join AZO which, as Paracha rightly mentions, was mostly made up of leftist militants from PPP's studentwing, PSF. So what really is ur point?
clare Apr 10, 2010 03:32am
paracha,you are a great and fearless journalist.i admire you brilliant not ever stop telling the truth in the land of liars
Hassan Javed Warraich Apr 10, 2010 03:36am
i just hope its the truth..not many people tell un-biased stories. good effort.
Rafiq Hasan Apr 10, 2010 03:43am
NFP has not mentioned some incidents related to the killing of Murtaza. A few days before the police encounter with Murtaza, it was reported that Zardari had been gheraoed at Karachi airport by AZO jialas who forcibly shaved half of his moustache. Naturally Zardari had to shave the other half also and it was reported in the press. Begum Nusrat Bhutto was out of the country when Murtaza was kiilled. She immediately rushed back. When she came across Benazir at the Karachi airport, she reportedly retorted, "Yeh tum ne kia kardia?" (What have you done?), implying that she or her husband was involved in the killing. These incidents carried by rumours and partly reported in the press as well form the basis for the assumption that Zardari was involved in the killing of Fatima's father.
Asif Apr 10, 2010 03:43am
A Very good article but a very sad story. How sad to hear that how our youth were used for the sake of personal goals and revenge. But in the end neither Zia nor Murtaza are remembered today in better words.
Shoaib C. Patail Apr 10, 2010 04:05am
Kudos to NFP. However, he did not mention contribution of Ameer Haider Kazmi and Abdul Bari Khan to PPP's saga. I would like to see if NFP can shed some lights on ZA political circles (cronies) who turned their back and did not support him during crisis especially former AG. ZA made a worst decision in his life by ignoring Karachites. Karachi had played a major role in his downfall, at that time JI had the strongest hold in Karachi and now the same strong support IJ had, MQM is enjoying it.
Vizarat Gowher Apr 10, 2010 04:35am
I was a child when all these events took place. But I remember reading about Shanawaz Bhutto's death due to a drug overdose. Also later on I was in USA when USSR was unraveling and remember a small NEWS in western media where a KGB agent defected to USA and claiming Zia's plane shooting was a KGB operation. Motive USSR pulled out of Afghanistan but wanted to finish off the elements that caused their humiliating withdrawal. I believe KGB used AZO to make a second attempt on Zia's life using American provided Stinger Missiles, a successful operation this time. A well written piece but needed more references.
Indusonian Apr 10, 2010 04:56am
Elimination of fuedalism is the only pre-requisite for this nation to prosper. Bravo, Mr. Paracha.
Fahad Zafar Apr 10, 2010 04:59am
I agree with Mr Paracha, AZO should not have ever existed.... but we also need to understand the situation... a popular leader... a PM was hanged on shady judgement... their sons had thousands of charged youngsters around... wanting revenge... and then foreign agencies/ enemy putting fuel in the fire...think.. things can go in such direction...but about Fatima Bhutto missing AZO in her book... i think a good writer should be able to write both negative and positive facts about its main character... she should have discussed AZO and Tipu... Anyways... we need to find ways of overcoming hard realities of life... I end with a thumbs up to Mr Paracha. Regards Fahad Zafar
zaeem Apr 10, 2010 06:07am
I think the claims by you are true but their struggle was against Zia and his government. Fatima Bhutto mentions Tipu the mastermind of the PIA plane in Kabul. But the way he was killed and humiliated by Benazir and Zardari shows that how much hunger Benazir has for power. Murtaza was alone but he did his best to get support. He tried to change the system, he found both ways through being an exile during Zia's time and as a opposition politician against her own sister tough and at the end saw his death. Fatima Bhutto potrayed Murtaza what he is from her own insight and she also claims that her grandfathers and father both made mistakes but nothing more than Benazir who openly showed her power and massive corruption as its normal in Pakistan.
Raza Apr 10, 2010 08:50am
the battle they had to fight was within them before they went all-out against zia. money and power have always been the Achilles heel for people of our country!!!!!!!
Cyrstal Yurchiak Apr 10, 2010 08:58am
Another new write-up with logical points, We have been a lurker right here for some time but desire to be a lot more engaged from now on.
Zaheer Apr 10, 2010 10:23am
Nice article, thanks for thought provoking history piece
Umar Aftab Apr 10, 2010 12:50pm
The writer's expectation from Murtaza's own daughter to condemn her father is unjustified. There are a number of factors that must be considered. Zia committed high treason (the biggest crime in Pakistan) and was an illegitimate president. If an ordinary citizen or a law enforcement person had killed Zia it would have been justifiable in a court of law. While violence in any shape or form is wrong and condemnable. It will be interesting to get a legal opinion on activities of a person or organisation that tries to illiminate an illegal dictator. Position or all government officers specially senior officers is quite questionable as they themselves break the law. Nadeem - while a lot of circles talk about prosecuting Musharraf. What about Generals Mahmood and Aziz they seem to have faded in to oblivion? What about the Army major who broke in to Pakistan TV headquarters? In the greater context of things are the crimes of these elements any less than AZO or Zulfiqar Bhutto?
Zahid Ilyas Apr 10, 2010 02:07pm
Zia's dictatorial rule is worst in history of Pakistan. He tried to strengthen his grip on power by allowing religious parties to implement their so called islam. He got into a trap where he knew he was taking pakistan in wrong direction but lacked courage to step down because he feared he would get killed by his enemies. We are still not able to recover from that culture and i think it will take a generatioin to get out of that.
Hasan Apr 10, 2010 02:27pm
Murtaza was, like his father, a fatally flawed human being. Both were very intelligent people who held great promise, but let their paranoid tendencies destroy them. Wolpert describes it very well in ZAB's case. Despite his many flaws, though, I can understand how ZAB represented such a great hope for our parents' generation, but like all other hopes this one was dashed as well.
Salman Latif Apr 10, 2010 02:41pm
It's remarkable that you were able to dig it all from the pages of history for truly, the organization has mostly been shrouded in mystery to most thus far. It's very surprising for me, youth of post-Zia days with its Islamic connotations and products, to visualize that there once existed such an extreme left group in Pakistan who committed feats as hijacking planes.
sahar Apr 10, 2010 07:25pm
'' The attack was engineered and undertaken by two PSF brothers from Rawalpindi.'' They were not brothers. One is dead by now. Other lives in Europe. Both were friends from their university days.
George Apr 11, 2010 07:17am
Lacks authenticity? How is that? It is well backed up by solid sources. Or maybe had it not been so against Murtaza, you would have called it authentic, perhaps? It's a pointed piece and a look at a very important episode in your country's disturbed history. I'd suggest you learn from it.
MNBK Apr 10, 2010 09:27pm
Nicely worded article but lacks authenticity.
Salman Malik Apr 10, 2010 11:13pm
I agree with you, TAH, one hundred percent.
Irfan Hussain Apr 11, 2010 01:24am
Confused Pakistanis still judge people by their British or American accents only!!!
Imran,Australia Apr 11, 2010 04:02am
Nice Job done, in just few para you have covered decades.....very intresting...
Altaf Sheikh Apr 11, 2010 04:31am
Perhaps you are dreaming of Utopia, ma'm. Wake Up, its Pakistan.
George Apr 11, 2010 07:26am
"The writer
che Apr 12, 2010 08:08am
Once again great job....Hope some day you will shed some light on the role people like Mustafa Khar and Jame sadiq.. it would be very interesting.
Umar Aftab Apr 11, 2010 06:09pm
George I am quoting a paragraph from the article that shows Nadeem's expectation. Obviously we can not, and probably should not expect objectivity from a daughter who lost her father to violence. "Consequently, Fatima completely ignores the telling evidence and information available on the AZO in shape of books such as
Davison Apr 11, 2010 06:37pm
George, Read the article again. Mr. Paracha makes it very clear that he thinks Fatima Bhutto should have addressed her father's subversive activities.
ishaque Apr 11, 2010 11:17pm
I condemn violence irrespective of the motivation. AZO was a terrorist organization funded by dictators (Qaddafi, Asad and Arafat). Murtaza struggle was to achieve his personal endeavor. Its again shows doctorial nature of Bhutto family they don
zaeem Apr 12, 2010 06:50am
I am not a fan of the PPP, but this book by Fatima Bhutto is amazing and shows a different side of the Bhutto's. In the book she has mentioned that both her father and grandfather were not perfect and made mistakes which proved costly to the country as well as their lives at the end. firstly Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto is responsible for 1971 debacle, his thrust for power was so much that it cost us half the nation but even during power he made some changes which benefited the country , ties with China and the Muslim countries but his domestic policies were poor and it proved costly which Fatima Bhutto in her book admitted. But the way he was deposed and hanged by Zia was out of order and would make anyone do something which he would regret later on. a famous phrase is "one man's terrorist is one man's freedom fighter" In her book she has mentioned her fathers time in Kabul and Middle Eastern countries and his role in the running of his " terrorist" group or a group dedicated to remove Zia from power. this group cannot be compared to the groups like Islamic fundamentalist or the Taliban. I am sure in the process many civilians were killed and we are not sure who is responsible for the PIA plane in Kabul. Murtaza Bhutto was willing to come back to Pakistan and face trial but benazir was feeling insecure about her brothers presence in Pakistan and made him wait outside Pakistan. Both Benazir and Murtaza made allot of sacrifices during their time in exile and lived in constant fear. Murtaza Bhutto was trying to change the system in Pakistan first trying to kill zia and his crooks in which he failed and in the process got a terrorist tag to his name and then as a rival to her own sisters government and the constant corruption and abuse of power by her sister. He fought for his rights and won as an independent candidate in his own legislation. No attempt was taken by Benazir to find the killers who killed her brother outside his own home. Fatima Bhutto portrays her father very well and there is one hell of a difference between Benazir and Murtaza.
Amir Apr 12, 2010 09:40am
Very interesting article indeed.
ishaque Apr 12, 2010 11:56am
@Irfan One has to agree with you.
zaeem Apr 12, 2010 01:06pm
These kind of statements gets sympathy votes and is incorrect and this creates dynasties...Fatima Bhutto is against that!!
Q man Apr 12, 2010 01:59pm
Whether you want to agree or not, it is a fact that Pakistan needs articulate, well spoken and clear diplomats representing the nation. Fatima Bhutto as a well spoken, modern and educated woman puts many of our semi literate politicians and dictators to shame. The content of her interviews is as important as the presentation whereas the content and delivery of the verbal nonsense spoken by others leaves a lot to be desired.
Bandaras Apr 12, 2010 02:25pm
"Politicians who have stolen billions from this country need to be treated worse than terrorists." Now I have a problem with that Umar. According to the common norms of justice, a thief (no matter how big) is definately judged in a different manner than a murderer. And Umar, by saying what you said, aren't you being equally extreme? I understand when you say that it is tough for a daughter to be objective about her father, especially if he is someone like Murtaza, but then she should have stayed clear of commenting on his dad's politics. What's worse, she tries to defend it at the expense of her aunt, BB. I think that bothers Paracha, and I think he is right to point this out loud and clear.
Bandaras Apr 12, 2010 02:28pm
Bilal, Raja Anwar is not the only source Paracha has used. He has used other books that he has mentioned and interviews with the families of Tipu and some other AZO men. Let's face it, Murtaza eventually did become a pawn in the hands of people like Jam Sadiq and Brig. Imtiaz.
Malik Apr 13, 2010 07:12am
Quite an informative article!!!! Whatever the case is, violence should not be treated with violence on to innocent people........if you have an agenda to remove a person who has done something unforgivable, innocent and poor people should not be involved or hurt during the process!!! We are in a need of a good leader who can lead the people with some conscious and good heart. and make our peoplw understand whats right and whats wrong.
Zakir Akbar Apr 12, 2010 04:37pm
Mr. Mughal, You have brought up some interesting facts/points. I think it would be useful for students of Pakistan Politics of post East pakistan era, for you to write a separate blog to open this discussion about Murtaza's murder. Perhaps we all get some idea what happened in his and other hugh profile cases. Thanks, Zakir
Zakir Akbar Apr 12, 2010 05:21pm
Another great article!.. One of the philosophy about life and politics I learned from BB was the violence is never a solution to any problem. I was a disgruntled teenager when Bhutto was murdered and that time AZO philosophy attracted me the most. Later, I realized that BB was on the right track and she proved it by showing peaceful struggle is the only way to make the most impact. Thanks god, Taliban are following AZO and their demise will not be much different. I believe, when we write obituary of AZO and Bhutto's brothers, we see that their fate was no different to any other violence loving persons. It is good that Violence does not prevail, otherwise our life would have been hell.
Mab Turan Apr 12, 2010 10:22pm
Military dictatorships breed war lords. The lesson to be drawn from our history is to stick to democratic peaceful struggles. These are more effective. To obviate future dictatorships power should be diffused widely. That would make military grabs more difficult. Pakistani mind did get rattled by the events of 1970. This should have been foreseen. It was on the walls for years. We never recognized the classic issue of nationalities. I doubt if we do it now. After break away of Bengalis the rest of Pakistan should have settled for something like Swiss Confederation. Bhutto bravely rallied everyone to the same old establishment with new songs. It worked for a short while. But they threw him out as soon as establishment was restored. Even the petite bourgeois used him. They took refuge behind mullah thinking he will help getting rid of all taxes except zakat. Zia almost fell for that but you cannot run an aggressive establishment on zakat. Yahya should have restored the 1956 constitution. That would have accommodated both Mujib and Bhutto. One unit could be reorganised into a federation and more power transferred to units, even powers from the Centre.
Mab Turan Apr 12, 2010 10:29pm
Bhutto's have remarkable propensity for being establishments trumps. ZA reassembled the establishment. BB carried it forward when going got bad after Zia. Murtaza fell into similar trap and then BB again. Pakistan need slow democratic struggle like the one Mandella organised.
hussain Apr 13, 2010 05:04am
I wonder what Pakistan politics would be if both brothers stayed at the political path.
RJ Apr 13, 2010 06:14am
After being brought up on a regimen of lies that serves as the history of this country, NFP is telling us what really happened. I feel I have learned more about the real Pakistan from Nadeem's articles than I have in my entire life. Thanks for your objective and truthful take on what actually happened. Keep it up.
Karim Javed Apr 13, 2010 12:27pm
Thanks Nadeem for Such a nice information.
Ali Apr 13, 2010 01:48pm
Insightful article but i don't understand how everyone calls ZAB a democratically elected leader. If one takes a look at the history of Pakistan, Mujib-ur-Rahman should have been the prime minister. Even though it was inevitable, we lost one half of our country because of ZAB's prejudice and lust for power. ZAB was an idealist, I agree with a lot of his political ideas but like any idealist he failed miserably in enforcing his ideas. Nothing personal but we have never really had a great leader in the last few decades. Only great orators.
Aamir Mughal Apr 13, 2010 09:43pm
Sir, Thanks for the compliment and I would request the Dawn Blog to accept your advice to discuss the post Fall of Dhaka period threadbare. Best Regards.
Aamir Mughal Apr 13, 2010 10:01pm
"QUOTE" Benazir showed respect when addressing her interior minister. She and the General Sahib liked to engage in intellectual dialogue. Unlike other cabinet ministers, I never saw Babar cringe before his young prime minister. He was in the centre of investigations when Benazirs two brothers were killed. I went to South of France when Shahnawaz died in July 1985. I know exactly what happened and who killed him. Why, then, has he not revealed the identity of Shahnawaz
RajRaj Apr 14, 2010 11:19am
Dear Paracha sahb, Article is very interesting and informative, i recall lot of stuff was mentioned in the book by Anwar Raja in shi book " The Terrorist Prince". I remember Ardeshir Cowasjee aslo wrote about the book several years back. Fatima's latest book offers nothing new than what PPP-SB has been issueing statements.
Raj Apr 14, 2010 11:15am
Very interesting comment, I am sure many folks, like me, would have been educated by this discourse.
ghazi Apr 15, 2010 04:58am
Ali I would suggest you study the Homud ur Rehman commission report before you blame Bhutto for the the Dhacca Debacle. The demand of PPP was that either you delay the assembly meeting for the two parties to work it out or remove the limit of 120 days to form a constitutional once the assembly met . PPP wanted Awami league to take out half of one of its six points. Either to have one central bank or same currency. Other than that PPP was willing to work with Awami league and also to sit in the opposition. Years of non representative rule had left Awami league and East Pakistanis with a feeling of being ruled and exploited by the west pakistan and thus they were not willing to budge an inch on the six points. And Mujib had openly said that ' my plan is to create Bangaladesh after i am in power i will rip apart the LFO. Who is going to stop me than'. There were only 10 majors and only one colonel and brigadier in the army. No general from east pakistan. While the army rule was the cause of the breakup and the sole people to blame, i am surprised why people tend to still believe the pathetic logic that polititians caused the breakup. Mujib knew what had happend to all the prime ministers from east pakistan who had been elected and were humiliated and sacked from the seat of power by the establishment in west pakistan. What guarrentees did he have such would not be his fate this time? Three prime ministers had been sent packing by the establishment . I would suggest you readup a bit of history and then write such silly comments. Ghazi
ghazi Apr 15, 2010 05:04am
I think you are a bit off here. There were other popularly elected people from east Pakistan who were sent home packing before mujib. Did you forget what happend in the 50s? While Mujib should have been PM of united Pakistan but then it was recklessness on the part of the army that was the last straw on the camels back. ghazi
Mohammad Salman Apr 15, 2010 08:23pm
NFP certainly writes from the perspective of being a staunch PPP and ZAB supporter and this is not a criticism, but is not dissimmilar to how he describes Fatima Bhutto's writing about her father, Murtaza. It is not uncommon for research to be restricted to the needs of the writer and the view being expressed. In this way, a specific view point is made, to assist any reader to make their own opinion, on the subject at hand. However, in the above article by NFP, he states that Tipu was executed by a firing squad in early 1984. In another article, see NFP states that Tipu was hanged by the Afghan government (on Murtaza
Aamir Mughal Apr 16, 2010 11:04am
Here is more for satisfaction
Ganesh Bhosle Apr 16, 2010 11:39am
Mohammad Salman ji, Good observation about TIPU's execution. Mr NFP, This is not acceptable mistake(if it is mistake) in your part.
Maria Apr 18, 2010 04:04am
Thanks for your explanation Ghazi. For a long time I too thought that the politicians were as much to blame as the Generals for the 1971 debacle. You have shown again that the dictators and generals are the ones who repeatedly let the country down when they try to take over illegaly. We need to have the military stick to its professional task of gaurding the nation (which they are good at) and stay out of politics ( which they are not good at) . Look at how much has been accomplished after the last dictator was forced out. Despite 8 years of dictatorship even 2 years of democracy accomplishes more for the nation.
medieval dresses Apr 29, 2010 11:25am