Old Wine in New Bottle

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In the kingdom of the blind men, those who are blessed with one eye are kings.

Bilawal launched his political career on Benazir’s fifth death anniversary. Hundreds of thousands of people, including Pakistan Peoples’ Party’s (PPP) workers, supporters and the party’s top leadership had congregated at the Bhutto family mausoleum near Larkana in Sindh to pay their respects to the slain leader and witnessed what many have termed as the launch of  son’s  political career.

Unfortunately Pakistan is always ruled by rich families and dictators. In the name of democracy, these few families always share power inside their families.

We –Awam- are only their tenants and waiting for their notice that states “our lease has expired.”

The Great Grand Father of Bilawal, Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto, was a politician hailing from Larkana in Sindh province of British India, which is now part of Pakistan. Bhutto was the first cousin of Wahid Baksh Bhutto, a Sardar who was elected to the Imperial Legislative Assembly from Sindh in 1926 becoming the first member of the Bhuttho family to be elected to public office.

Bhutto was married to Khursheed Begum, formerly Lakhi Bai, who was of a modest Hindu family. She converted from Hinduism to Islam before her marriage. Their children included Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the first elected Prime Minister of Pakistan, and a daughter called Mumtaz.

Bhutto was a good friend of Governor General (later President) Iskander Mirza, who was a regular guest for the annual hunt in Larkana, staying at the Bhutto family home, Al-Murtaza. Mirza was usually accompanied by Ayub Khan for the hunt.

President Field Marshal Ayub Khan, who had seized power through martial law appointed ZA Bhutto to the Ministry of Power and Water, making him the youngest Pakistani cabinet minister. In 1960, he was advanced to the position of Minister of Commerce, the Minister of Communications, and the Minister of Industry.

His family ties made him a close and trusted political advisor to Field Marshal Ayub Khan. Bhutto ascended in influence and power despite his youth and relative inexperience in politics. As the old saying goes “a kingdom founded on injustice never lasts.” Unfortunately later we lost East Pakistan.

It was Bhutto, not Mujib, who broke Pakistan. Bhutto’s stance in 1971 and his stubbornness harmed Pakistan’s solidarity much more than Sheikh Mujib’s six-point demand. It was Zulfiqar’s high ambitions and rigid stance that led to rebellion in East Pakistan. He riled up the Bengalis and brought an end to Pakistan’s solidarity. Sadly, East Pakistan became Bangladesh.

His family remained active and influential in politics, first with his wife and then his daughter becoming leader of the PPP political party. His eldest daughter, Benazir Bhutto, was twice Prime minister of Pakistan, and was assassinated on 27 December 2007, while campaigning for 2008 elections. His son, Murtaza Bhutto, also served as the Member of Parliament, Pakistan.

After assassination of Benazir Bhutto, her husband Asif Ali Zardari took over PPP as granted. Now he is the president of Pakistan. His son Bilawal is ready to take over his Family Kingdom.

Where is the democracy here?

Bhutto family is one of the few families who enjoy political privileges in Pakistan. There are many others who are equally responsible for these family kingdoms.

Moreover, the political infrastructure in Pakistan is designed to cater the needs of influential people. These families across Pakistan are in national and provincial assemblies controlling both property and people. Current democracy system provides landlords the opportunity to practice feudal values in a broader field.

In these circumstances we are not seeing any change in upcoming election. We have already lost half Pakistan due to incompetence of our leaders. We cannot afford to hurt Pakistan more.

I urge “AWAM” to reject all traditional politicians and their families. If same families will run the show in the upcoming election, it’s better to have no election otherwise results would not be different than 1971.

Old Wine in New Bottle
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