Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto – Pakistan’s undisputed leader


Almost four decades have passed since the prosecuting authorities arbitrarily sealed fate of the people of Pakistan with a verdict against Pakistan’s most celebrated leader, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Yet the millions of his followers continue to march towards an egalitarian society jingling his mantras of democracy.

Bhutto with his charisma had filled the leadership void created after Jinnah – a void that remained unfilled till several years of political vulnerability eventually resulting in a martial rule, followed by the split of Pakistan in 1971. Today, he is idolized by every aspiring leader. Even by the competitors of his party.

It was his charisma that not only inspired his followers but also the foes.  A former dictator, in a recent TV interview, recalled how he cried out of hopelessness after the embarrassing Dacca surrender while a civilian leader ZA Bhutto appeared as the only hope for the country which was bearing the brunt of defeat. He motivated the military as well as the public. He saved his homeland from disintegration, united the shattered nation, established real democracy and took Pakistan to the heights it never touched before.

A colossus in diplomatic jockeying, Bhutto gracefully grabbed peace from the jaws of discomfiture post Dacca surrender. He brought home 90,000 of our soldiers and recovered 6000 square miles of our territory through the remarkable Simla Accord. Like his principled stand on Tashkent Agreement, he stood up to the Indian aggression in Kashmir at every international forum. He endeavored to unify the third world countries, conducted the first grand Islamic Summit in Pakistan, and stood up for Pakistan’s right to nuclear deterrence in defiance of the West and all odds at the cost of his life – successfully enhanced the prestige of Pakistan, built a better image while erasing the preceding humiliating one.

In pursuit of a society devoid of lawlessness, inequity and destitution, the people’s darling moved the heaven and earth to eliminate the deprivation prevailing among the masses. He gave the abandoned the sense of identity, enlightened them about their right to question.

Bhutto was all about people. He left everlasting imprints on the minds of the people of Pakistan, making them a powerful force against usurpers. Constitutional supremacy, social reforms, nuclear technology, industrial structures contribute to the actualization of his vision for the economic and social well-being of the masses.

His quest for people’s emancipation enabled him to conquer the hearts and minds that he rules till the day. His name still reverberates as a hope where there is despair. For the people, loss of a leader who embraced struggle for the marginalized and dispossessed was a fate worse than death, but he was larger than life. He breathed life into them even with his blood, aroused their conscience to fight back. He empowered them to break the shackles of tyranny and reclaim what belonged to them.

His sacrifices stand as monuments of his commitment to the country, to the flag, to the people. They imprisoned him, hanged him but could not eliminate him. The divine love affair between him and the masses has been strengthening each day after he left the world. With the courage he embedded in his people, he still haunts the suppressing powers that be. People have resisted up to the hilt all the attempts aimed at halting the struggle he started. They have been sacrificing their lives in his name, for his cause. Such romance is too uncanny to find in rest of the political world.

To quote Former President of France Valéry Giscard d’Estaing: “Dead Bhutto governs the living.”

He is governing the hearts of the people for whom he accepted the gallows. He leads from the grave. If he was allowed to live, he would have been a giant at any age.

Today’s Pakistan needs a Bhutto-style figure to lead the country, who could intrude into the lives of the poor speaking in the vernacular to reach their hearts; who considers service to humanity above everything, at all costs. We are fortunate to have been bestowed with the heritage of democracy and the heroic legacy to follow; we must glance into his life and do justice to his legacy by our actions not empty rhetoric – for he lived by his acts; by deliverance of his promises.

Defiant in death, as in life, Bhutto shall always be Pakistan’s undisputed leader. Nothing would suffice as homage to a leader larger than life, except reverting back to the politics of and for the people – that would indeed be the best tribute to him. We must give back to him.

Time to fix the justice system

a68aab10-89a5-42ac-86f8-ca883e510c95‘Let us move on…’ Comes from a grandson standing in the hall of Lahore High Court that ordered his grandfather’s extra-judicial murder who gave this country its first unanimous constitution.

They say he is too young to understand politics, but this 27-year-old outstrips the seasoned and experienced people relishing in the corridors of power when he bids to move on. He shuns the politics of vengeance when those older than half his age are either busy doing entire politics on sit-ins or dragging country back to the 90s. Even on the existential threat like terrorism, he turns out to be the most intrepid while the rest are still kicking the can down the road.

On 11th January 2016, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari addressed the Lahore High Court Bar dragging the heed towards ground realities that surround the country. The speech encompassed nearly all the pivotal affairs being discussed but what should allure much the attention is our judicial system – that never gets media firestorm.

Unnecessary suo-motos, selective justice, establishment of military courts to trial terrorists and then execution of juveniles and ordinary criminals instead – doesn’t it all render accusation of serious crimes on the judiciary? Keeping it concise, these are merely the recent acts; a single write-up would not suffice if we stretch back to the most heinous crime of executing an elected Prime Minister whose reference case is still in abeyance. But let us move on…

A system of accountability is an indispensable criterion for the independence of judiciary. But our judicial system lacks any and hence the absence of judicial accountability has further deteriorated the institution. There are annals of irregularities in the judicial system that are deliberately kept unrevealed. Here the clear-headed PPP Chairman weighs in: ‘it is in the nature of power to crave more power, judges are also humans and honorable judges as human beings cannot be exempt from this human frailty.’

Except him, how many voices do we hear demanding the accountability of judges? Individuals are rather hailed, by political leaders, as heroes for their unconstitutional acts serving mutual political interests. The accountability of the judges is necessary indeed as it will not only help safeguard the independence and integrity of the judges but also build the trust of masses.

The current judicial system does not meet the local conditions either and is in no way effective for the people. With thousands of cases pending till ages in the courts, lower judiciary, constitutionally bound to serve the commoners, has miserably failed to provide justice. For the majority, it is more of a penance to file a case due to high expenses and idle procedure. Hence it is the need of the hour to revise the system.

Though several such discussions have been conducted intermittently on different forums as how our judicial system is not up to par – the traditional politicians do not even pay heed to this serious issue – however, the one who appears to be looking at it through the prism of constitutionalism comes up with the solution as well. Manifesting his vision to strengthen democracy, Bilawal calls for the improvement of this organ of the state and recommends:

  • Proper role of the President, the Prime Minister, the Parliament and the Bar Council in the appointment of judges.
  • No unconstitutional interference of the Supreme Court in the government affairs.
  • No consultation to be sought from the Chief Justice while appointing government officials as it is unconstitutional.
  • Establishment of constitutional courts.
  • Judicial accountability.
  • Regulation of suo-moto powers.
  • Improvement of the process of the civil courts and magisterial forums to provide justice to the downtrodden.

Had the above recommendations been made earlier by those responsible and taken into account, perhaps the political and judicial failure would not have resulted in the formation of military courts. But we have this custom of waking up at the tail end as we did in the case of terrorism. His cries were made irrelevant by initiating talks with the mass murderers, demanding offices for them, and eventually we came on his page after devastating more than hundred innocent lives of APS.

Right after a week of his address highlighting the pitfalls as well as the solutions to improve the justice system, today on 18th January, the former dictator Musharraf gets the acquittal in the murder case of Akbar Bugti delineating that, unlike politicians, Generals cannot be tried – that the ‘independent’ judiciary is not so independent to take on a former dictator. This clearly prophesies the utter failure of the judiciary and in its aftermath, the democracy will suffer.

So wake up before it is too late again. Before any constitutional subversion is validated, before another elected Prime Minister is dismissed, before more judicial crimes are committed, wake up! Fix the system so the public has confidence in both the administrative as well as the executive organs of the state.

Bilawal Bhutto carrying forward the legacy of martyrs


Judiciary is one of the pillars of the state that acts as an arm of the government. Especially for the trembling governments, it is imperative for the judiciary to be independent and powerful to help the political systems even out. Unfortunately, despite more than sixty years to the creation, the judiciary of Pakistan has been destabilized by the anti-democratic elements ever and anon. But in the fight for the independent judiciary, one party that has been on the forefront to enforce the supremacy of the constitution and the rule of law is Pakistan Peoples Party. This party never hesitated in struggling for the independent judiciary while its rivals sometimes worked against it or sometimes supported the cause having their own ill intentions behind that were pretty much evident during the last governmental tenure when a single individual, mainstream political parties had fought for, almost turned into a vigilante and worked tirelessly with the support of opposition to oust the democratic government which came into existence after an elongated martial law.

PPP is the only political party to have worked as per its manifesto to safeguard the law. In this regard, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto endeavored with the lawyers to ensure strong and impartial judiciary. But exploring the judicial history of Pakistan, one court that holds the major significance in shaping political dynamics of the country is the Lahore High Court. Pakistan Peoples Party stands as the biggest victim that fell prey to the unchallenged atrocities committed in hallowed halls of this court since it awarded death sentence to the populist leader ZA Bhutto. This court being one of the oldest courts in the country has been so powerful that its verdict was upheld by the Supreme Court resulting in the execution of the first democratically elected prime Minister of Pakistan. In the same Lahore High Court, many times political revenge was sought by judiciary on behest of ruling authorities from Benazir Bhutto as well as Asif Ali Zardari through abuse of judicial process. However, connected to this court is its bar association, the professional body of Lahore High Court Lawyers, that has its own glorious chronicles of shielding the democratic values defined in the constitution throughout dictatorial regimes. LHCBA had not only recorded protests against the judicial murder of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto but also hailed his daughter being the most prominent flag-bearer of democracy, officially declaring 2007 as “Year of Struggle of Benazir for Democracy”.

Today at the time when Pakistan is in urgent need of implementation of actual democratic principles in accordance with the law, the youngest politician Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, during his brief trip to Lahore, chooses to address the Lahore High Court Bar Association that has played great role in the administration of justice. This effort to strengthen ties between the judicial power and national politics by the young vibrant leadership of the PPP is of noteworthiness and manifests his vision. Although the corridors of Lahore High Court are not new for the family that has paid several visits fighting the baseless cases, but following in the footsteps of the mother and the father, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari has shunned any grievances and is taking a step ahead.

It takes strong political will to enhance support for the judiciary that made his family suffer the most, and he has proved to be having the prudence and insight that can steer institutions out of madness and ensure real supremacy of the constitution. The future leader taking interest in the judiciary is a good omen especially when the country is at war against the menace of terrorism as heavy responsibility lies both on the judiciary as well as the political parties. More cooperation between both the pillars would result in effective outcomes.

Moreover, addressing the Lahore High Court Bar Association at the outset of his political career is very substantive especially on the account of its historical worth as ‘The Thinker of Pakistan’ Allama Iqbal had also been its member. The same high court has also had the honor to be braced by the appearance of the founder of Pakistan Mohammad Ali Jinnah on an occasion. Hope other political leaders will follow the suit as such rendezvous with the judicial institutions will be fruitful for the democracy in Pakistan.

Another October 18; The growing concerns and fears


For the PPP supporters, the dreadful day was to be a day of rejoice. The PPP leader was coming home after a long exile. Millions were out thronging the streets of Karachi to welcome her, however, it turned into a tragedy when the caravan reached Karsaz and the entire world witnessed one of the deadliest terror attacks ever carried out in South Asia. I hold that day very close to my heart. The scattered human flesh on the road, the screams of the injured… It all established a fact that the fight between the forces of extremism and those who want a progressive Pakistan had breached the wall of politics and reached the homes of common people – for it resulted in the deaths of more than two hundred Pakistanis who had joined the struggle for a peaceful Pakistan.

18th October is symbolic in a way that the war between the forces of extremism versus forces of modernity signified its entrance into the political parameters of Pakistan. The tragedy and its aftermath shaped the future political dynamics of the region. The Pakistan Peoples Party has always taken a tough stance against terrorism and its ways are tried and tested unlike some. We saw what the Swat agreement resulted in, the Taliban imposed a rule which has become obsolete and has been rejected by the people of Pakistan, yet Pakistan gave them a chance. After the atrocities committed by terrorists within that small time period, it was yet again the PPP to entrust the army to get rid of this menace like it is currently doing in the dangerous terrain of Waziristan.

Although immense support of the masses paved the way for Pakistan Peoples Party to the ruling corridors but unfortunately the tragedy had great impact on the party itself. The only political party that was deep-rooted among the masses had to deviate a little from its masses-oriented politics due to the security risks faced by the leadership. Due to the continued disconnection with the masses and political vulnerabilities, party lost its major stake in the general elections of 2013.

To me, losing an election was not at all a point to be concerned at. I do believe that electoral success and defeat is a democratic process. The nucleus of my concern is the forceful replacement of PPP with an extremely conservative force. My concerns even grow when I critically analyze this replacement by stating a hypothesis that, a leftist party being replaced by the rightist forces. The result appears to be a horrifying caricature of future political dynamics of the country where intolerant and religiously motivated ideologies are strengthening their grips in the political arena of Pakistan whereas a progressive and a liberal political force has been sidelined by some unanimous forces.

The demographic and geographical sophistication of this country requires a moderate, liberal and progressive ideology but, on the ground, things are turning out to be adverse. The impact of the political vacuum vacated by the progressive forces in Pakistan may end up with a disastrous political and security nightmare. One must not forget the point that in politics, the consequence of a political vacuum is always unintended and unprecedented. This point can better be illustrated by looking back at the history of the formation of Nazi Germany which paved the way towards World War 2.

Not only for political arena but for Pakistan, it is needed to restore the left. Now the core responsibility lies on the shoulders of the ideologues to revive the party that was once the chain of federation. Instead of pointlessly criticizing the party by sidelining themselves, must the ideologues pitch in all their ideas to bring back its lost charm – for mere criticism and rants can never lead to the solution. PPP has a great strength which other political parties can only dream of and that strength is the diehard supporters like the martyrs of 18th October 2007 who preferred to surrender their lives than kneeling down before the dictator. Every PPP supporter holds the martyrs of the 18th October in reverence. They were well aware of the threats they were facing and also the forces which were in action to stop the only hope, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, at all costs – yet they came out in huge numbers defying the threats, risking their lives.

So rather than being used by channel owners for mere TRP, must all contribute in reorganizing the party and strengthen it in order to counter the right wing forces who are triggering clash on religious, sectarian and racial bases. This is only way we can pay tribute to those martyrs who died fighting for our better future.

Democracy and Lord of the Flies

Big-Flag-PPP-hd-wallpaperThe results of May Elections 2013 were widely celebrated for witnessing the first ever democratic transition of power rather than for the clean-sweep of a particular political party that currently holds the biggest public office. It was believed to have finally come to the point from which the journey towards mature politics and strengthened democracy had to commence. But observing the current scenario when mere 14 months of an elected government have brought some of the political forces to streets, should the validity and potency of democracy be questioned?

For the on-going political tension that has put a question mark on the very future of democracy, responsibility lies on the two most apparent characters of today’s drama – Dr. Tahir-ul-Qadri and Imran Khan. It is quite strange that despite the shift of power, Dr. Qadri clings to the same complaints he had against Pakistan Peoples Party (not very long ago) which were addressed by the then government and Qadri was satisfied after ‘Islamabad Long March Declaration’ was signed. The same Dr. Qadri is yet again in action giving his infamous ultimatums to another elected government who, despite having wished to bring reforms to the whole system, avoided to contest elections – preferring to stay at some luxurious villa in Canada whose nationality he possesses while revolutionizing the country he rarely visits. Does this revolutionary owns any right to object on a system he refused to be a part of by keeping himself thousands miles away during its constitutional transform on May 11? Moreover, if the corrupt system dug such a big hole in his heart, what made him take a whole year to realize the need to jump into political realm and hold common people hostage with the help of few hundreds of his brainwashed workers?

Dr. Qadri needs to understand that Pakistan is not merely a handful number of his mureeds (devotees) sitting in Minhaj-ul-Quran offices of Model Town Lahore and some other cities of Punjab but the ‘people’ from Sindh, Balochistan and KhyberPakhtunkhwa as well come within its territory. People who have never supported Qadri for pressurizing the governments they elect. Even to bring about a revolution, a few towns of Punjab have been the focus of Dr. Qadri. Ignoring the opinion of other units of federation has already resulted in Pakistan’s split in 1971. Alas. Learning nothing from the past, the non-democratic mindset continues to prevail. Without the consent of small provinces, the revolutionary doctor’s desire to impose his agendas on the common people would bring no revolution but further break this country into pieces.

Balochistan is the foremost example that has been a victim of political leadership’s negligence and cowardice. On one hand, international forces have kept their eyes on it and on the other, its people’s prolonged sense of deprivation has not been eliminated yet – neither process of throwing mutilated bodies of young Balochs has ceased. Meanwhile, considering Sindh in a normal position would be a big political blunder. Qadri’s demand of making new provinces is what hurts people the most. Sindh’s residents cannot even tolerate listening to any discussion on this sensitive issue so Qadri’s division formula can never be acceptable to Sindh as it’s a ‘kill or die’ matter. Hence for Sindh, outcome of accepting Qadri’s demands can be foreseen.

In all this predicament, Imran Khan’s stance does not seem to be any different from Dr. Qadri’s. His party’s policy regarding the sensitive issues of small provinces is ambiguous. Little he knows that if anything happens without the consensus obtained by small provinces, before any political party it would be the federation to be damaged. Like Sindh, people of KP oppose the construction of Kalabagh Dam. For several times in Punjab, Imran Khan has spoken in favor of KBD. Can he dare advocating this project at KP’s land? Isn’t it hypocrisy to not mention KBD in KhyberPakhtunkhwa but in Punjab? This hypocrisy can only divide the nations. Moreover, more appalling is the fact that his long-march over rigging in elections indicates derailment of democracy, that recently brought his party into parliament, and demands Prime Minister’s resignation. Rigging was highlighted by other parties as well. Important to mention that Pakistan Peoples Party also had reservations on the results of Elections 2013 but playing its due democratic role it accepted the results in the interest of democracy and political stability. PPP also supports Imran Khan’s stance over rigging – but not on the cost of democracy – for it had sacrificed the most for democracy’s revival as well as for its survival.

On the mode of self-destruction, role of the ruling party is also not appreciable. Committing suicide itself, PMLN government’s non-pragmatic handling of events has made a crisis out of nothing. The list of blunders committed by PMLN would go long, though the prominent ones that led to current chaos are worth mentioning. First, the use of force against PAT workers that killed 14 of their devotees at Model Town Lahore and then restraining PAT from lodging FIR against those government officials responsible for Model Town Tragedy. Second, the reluctance to show political maturity to counter Imran Khan and evoke of Article 245 along with putting blockades on the roads towards Islamabad ignited the PTI and PAT followers. Moreover, its willingness to countenance the use of force against the marchers further deteriorated the situation. The unrelenting attitude of Govt representatives towards the other party leaders who have backed the government for the cause of democracy has also spared no effort to add fuel to fire. During the last democratic tenure, PPP government survived all kinds of sit-ins, rallies and long marches; its crisis management has set a benchmark for the upcoming governments. From current situation, which is no less than a calamity, Pakistan Peoples Party outshines rest of the parties.

Ignoring the fact that the same PMLN had violated Charter of Democracy occasionally. In accordance with constitution as well as democratic norms, PPP disregarded any previous conflicts and conspiracies hatched by PMLN to dismiss an elected Prime Minister and to thicken plot against President Zardari through Swiss cases, memogate and several other issues. Two of the PPP’s Prime Ministers were dragged to courts while against the President, a petition was filed on behalf of Nawaz Sharif for regular hearing of the memogate case by Supreme Court.

On the contrary, Asif Ali Zardari’s role despite heading the largest opposition party has not been less than of a savior. Upholding Charter of Democracy, he has stood with what his slain leader gave up on her life for – the democracy. When Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto returned in 2007 to contest elections, she was aware of the expected pre and post election rigging, but had she boycotted the elections, democracy would not have been restored. Nawaz Sharif had boycotted the elections then, and Shaheed Mohtarma asked him to run for elections. After her assassination, it was again a PPP leader, Asif Ali Zardari, to convince him to withdraw his decision of boycotting 2008 polls, in order to oust a dictator through democratic means. PPP has its history of siding with democracy against the worst of the dictatorships and their beneficiaries. At such a critical juncture when a few thousands have captivated the Capital to achieve their unjust demands, Zardari has stood beside Nawaz Sharif who occasionally plotted nests of intrigue during PPP regime. Despite Nawaz Sharif having said that ‘Pakistan and Zardari could not co-exist’, he turned to the same Zardari for rescue who did not disappoint him rather guided him with political acumen.

It is very important for the political parties to reassert their commitment to democracy during the current mess, and PPP with its unmitigated loyalty to democracy has emerged as the strongest to defend the state and constitution. Political maturity among the segments of PPP survives and throws its weight behind the elected government. The morale of the defensive government recovered after it called on the joint sessions of Parliament on the advice of PPP’s Aitzaz Ahsan and Khursheed Shah, and the house echoed with PPP leaders chanting slogans for democracy. In this scenario, imagine if PPP had also demanded government’s resignation then what the situation would have been? But apparently, in every decade, it takes one Pakistan Peoples Party to save and run democracy.

As in Chairman PPP Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s words, “Overcome the hate before it devours us all.”

Asif Ali Zardari: an anecdote of glory

540538_245205508920039_1041000786_nSome people have such a persona that amazes you every time you are acquainted with them – persona that captivates all the admiration for its varying aspects. Asif Ali Zardari is one of those people who have amazed the world with their brilliance from time to time.

Fumblingly moving towards democracy, Pakistan untimely got deprived of the leader who could get it out of the state of oblivion. However, as out of every crisis emerges a leader, it was the time when first spark of leadership was discerned in Asif Ali Zardari as he chanted ‘Pakistan Khappay’ (We want Pakistan). He amazed everyone by not opting for the most powerful position, the premiership, rather the presidency so that no other force could weaken the institutions and no Farooq Leghari appears to derail democracy.  Having the distinction to be the only civilian president to complete the term, he ensured the first ever smooth democratic transition of power while ruling over the Presidency that invariably used to pass orders for dissolution of assemblies. But for ensuring this smooth transition, his journey as the President was never smooth.

Many years old false allegations charged on him, that could never be proven right, were yet again brought into prominence to halt him from running the public office. The champion of democracy Nawaz Sharif who is now afraid of the expected long march in August, held a long march to pressurize Zardari over PCO judges despite the democracy being nascent to afford any latest crisis. Moreover, Memo scandal, Abottabad operation, Raymond Davis issue, Iran-Pak gas pipeline, all these being the major external challenges with thousands of onerous other challenges like terrorism, extremism, political rivalry, unstable economy, natural disasters challenged him to run a state and nurture the very democracy. For the democratic process to flourish, he made hard compromises but not his fault if his farsightedness made him opt for some unfavorable policies in order to gain long term convenient results – which ensued in today’s democratic Pakistan with its constitution in its real form.

With policy of reconciliation, tolerance, political adroitness, he changed the whole political dynamics of the country. History would record his name in golden chapters changing the primitive politics of vengeance into politics of forbearance. Notwithstanding his wondrous achievements as the President,as he moved on despite all odds losing one of his Prime Ministers, never did criticism for the sake of criticism stop. His role as the chairperson of PPP is lambasted even more. But, to denounce their gross distortion of truth, critics need to be reminded of history to envisage party’s future.

When Benazir Bhutto was martyred, the very next minute ears buzzed with ‘Pakistan Peoples Party is over’ – that PPP would cease to exist the same way and will rive apart into different factions like Muslim League did due to internal clashes. As PPP continued to eke out an existence, the credit goes to Asif Zardari, who held the whole party together, as much as it goes to Bibi – for binding these branches of the tree called Bhuttoism with such wisdom that they could not be weaken and fell apart even after the foes attempted to cut its very roots by assassinating Bhutto’s daughter.

Criticizing Zardari has been so trendy throughout that not a single stone is left unturned to denounce the current PPP and term the party led by Asif Zardari as completely different one from Bibi’s.

To the critics who believe a political party fades away from the political realm of a country after it loses the elections, history itself is the answer making their claims invalid. In 1997 general elections, Pakistan Peoples Party, under Bibi’s leadership, could sit on opposition benches with 17 seats only. Did not the party revive and claim back the lost charm? It did. The same PPP won the 2002 general elections – it was not allowed to form the government though! Not even in Sindh. First Ali Mohammad Mahar and then Arbab Ghulam Rahim was appointed as the Chief Minister of Sindh. Nonetheless, at that time, many members left PPP – yet it did not split.  For not a few individuals, but the ideology and its true believers run a party of masses.

History also chronicles in its darkest chapters how Zia tried to pulverize PPP. All state power was used to eliminate it. But he failed. Must critics understand that society, political organizations and movements never go in straight line – rather move with ebbs and flows. Not the ideological, but establishment oriented parties always fade away. From Sindh, Balochistan to Seraiki belt, nationalist parties do exist and play a role in fueling political agitation, but those formed by establishment like Qayoom League, Convention League, Junejo League have no future. Now where is the so-called ‘patriots’ group that once claimed PPP’s downfall? It vanished away but Peoples Party survives.

Whether in power or not –  the split of PPP is nothing but a wishful thinking of that very mindset which killed PPP leaders when Pakistan needed them the most. Till the day, Zardari’s performance in handling party affairs has been astounding. By losing a wife he lost the dearest one he had but he grasped what was the dearest to her – her PPP; her people. His brilliance is what makes him Zardari. One cannot hate him for he did all that a real champ of democracy could. And 2018 is not far when under his leadership, PPP will once again claim back its charm, prove the detractors wrong and yet again amaze the world.

“No matter what, I would always be back”

BqqjOlgIgAApSeUHemmed in by roses beneath the soil lie the very heroes of the soil. Within the hearts of masses they exist immortally… Puzzled by the unimaginable reality of her being taken away, my heart is jolted each time I commence to think if she no more exists. Emotions are suddenly burst into tears – thoughts are shattered, as with a violent blow, when I am recalled that the glimmer of hope, the gleam of ecstasy is no more among us. Nature could not be that savage, my heart wails. Life is not that meaningless, the soul cries. However, William Penn’s words, ‘Death cannot kill what never dies’ holds true for the persona of the enigmatic Benazir who chose not her life, rather a bullet – for the people’s sake.

Nevertheless, the anecdote of her valor is chronicled in the chapters of history extolling the valiance of my leader who gazed into the eyes of dictators and terrorists to rend them from the origins of her soil that has the essence of young blood of its soldiers and innocent citizens in it. Manifestation of her gallantry is such matchless that she continues to remain the strongest to hold millions of the people spellbound. Her true mettle, which at many times brought the nation out of obscurity and still continues to lead through her vision, is what signifies her existence till the day. Despite being physically departed to the other world, she could not leave forever. For she had pledged to return – return for her people and return to achieve what her father envisaged.

“With me coming and going, I always worried they were fearful I wouldn’t return, like their father didn’t return one day. I told them no matter what, I would always be back.”

For her own children, world was turned upside down when the streets of Pindi were reddened with her blood and for her people, every hope was shattered. Nevertheless, when roars the real lion, her son Bilawal, from Garhi Khuda Buksh chanting ‘Zindah hai Bibi zindah hai’ – pledging to uphold the legacy of her martyred mother – life is yet again breathed into the dead souls whose world ceased to exist after the fatal evening of December 27. She reemerges in her older daughter Bakhtawar who comes into prominence upholding the hopes of thousands of the destitutes through her non-profit organization. My Benazir yet again leaves an everlasting impact on the entire world through her little one Aseefa, who leads the fight aganist polio saving the future of Pakistan from being crippled. Her children’s utterances as well as accomplishments explicit the existence of the vision of my Bibi Shaheed – vision that Bhutto articulated, Benazir passionately owned and is now being incessantly driven to realization by her children.

Never intimidated by death, she never perceived it as an end to Bhuttoism. Neither did her people let her imaginations for an ideal Pakistan fade away. Even after December, directing all not to give up, her vivid motto continued to save Quaid’s Pakistan. The pang of loss got converted into the spirit of enthusiasm and momentum, as the masses assembled to defeat the mindset behind the monstrosity that has been costing every sane voice. The disciples of Benazir marched on to mold her dreams into actualities. What all committed to carry forward is the paramount she left behind – the Bhutto legacy. This legacy is the cause she died fighting for and the evil mindset is still frightened of…

I find no doubt in stating that People’s Benazir exists. Not only through her own children, but in each of us who resists to the right wing forces of our system. For someone like me who never even met her, she is no less than a massiah. She is the spirit that keeps the fire burning in me. She has taught the millions how to live and how to die. “Life and death is in the hands of Allah, so Live and die, not for yourself but, for others.” This is what I have learnt from a leader who was never terrified of the hardships. A leader who lived for the masses and died fighting for them. After her father, she has been the best leader Pakistan ever had – because was not made one, but was born so.

Her sacrifices for a Benazir Pakistan can never go in vain. And soon there will be the day when the sun would rise flickering with anticipation.

Happy Birthday Bibi. You persist to exist. For us, you never died.

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