45 years of the PPP: “We did not come this far to fail” – by Saria Benazir

Carving the legendary parable of the Pakistan Peoples Party is a heart jerking job – the Jiyala in me cannot resist crying out the catchwords of “Zinda Hai Bhutto, Zinda Hai”; eyes smog to read an allegory of anguishes – an account printed in the prison cells, banishments and the buck shots and the very blood of the martyrs discernible in the red of its pennon. The soil of Garhi Khuda Bux persists to magnetize the masses, for there inhabits an undying valor, and the voice of the browbeaten and marginalized fragments of the society. Bhutto lives and rules the hearts of the people – that is the sacrosanct reality.

The Pakistan Peoples Party came into being on the November 30th, 1967 at a conclave held in Lahore, wherein the entrancing “Quaid-e-Awam” (The leader of the people) Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto surfaced as the first Chairperson of the burgeoning political party, which deliberated to grant“Bread, Clothing and Shelter” to the people of Pakistan, which, irrespective of being the nuts and bolts of subsistence were not accessible to a huge segment of the populace. The canon of the party was: “Islam is our religion. Democracy is our politics. Socialism is our economy. All power to the people.” The PPP embarked on its struggle to unshackle the people of Pakistan from the military dictatorship of General Ayub Khan, and also to release the impecunious from the suppression of the landholders and the capitalists to form an egalitarian society, where everyone had the benefit of their constitutional rights, not considering their class, color, or creed. A regal cause it was – it was not a mere political party, but a mass movement!

“We have to gather pieces – very small pieces & make a new Pakistan- A prosperous Pakistan”. The PPP was the only tangible anticipation of the poor, and when it ascended to power in December, 1971, the Pakistan Peoples’ Party’s government made momentous social and economic modifications to bring about an optimistic transformation in the lives of the indigent people of the country. It gave the country a new and a unanimous constitution: the lasting heritage of the Pakistan Peoples’ Party to Pakistan. It was an epoch of expansion and rehabilitation. 90,000 hostages of the 1971 War were brought home after the Simla Agreement with India.  Bhutto architected Pakistan’s first Steel Mill, a second Port and commissioned Pakistan’s first hydro electric dam on the mighty Indus at Tarbela. The 1972 Land Reforms lacerated the individual holding to 150 acres of irrigated or 300 acres of un-irrigated land. In 1977 the ceiling was further reduced to 100 acres of irrigated and 200 acres of un-irrigated land. Education was made free till Matric, and allowances were granted to the unemployed graduates. The Second Islamic Summit Conference, held in Lahore was attended by the heads of all the Muslim countries, thus, making Pakistan a centre of the Muslim unity. Bhutto was the pioneer of the Electrical Mechanical Complex at Wah, The Aeronautic Complex at Kamrah, and The Kahuta Project for Nuclear Bomb.

The imperialistic nations made Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto a “worst” exemplar for declining to give up the nuclear power project, and thereby, following the dreadful military coup that brought Zia ul Haq to power, he was “judicially” murdered for a murder that he did not commit. However, Bhutto’s philosophy survives, and he dispensed his gleaming idea to his daughter, Shaheed Mohtarmah Benazir Bhutto, who persisted to fight for the restoration of a democratic system in Pakistan and emancipation of her people, following into her father’s footprints, who wrote to her from the prison cell: “To you, my darling daughter, I give only one message. It is the message of the morrow, the message of history. Believe only in the people, work only for their emancipation and equality. The paradise of God lies under the feet of your mother. The paradise of politics lies under the feet of the people.”  The tie ups and penitentiaries of Zia ul Haq could not wane the doggedness of the flag bearers of the Pakistan Peoples’ Party, and instead created men of the dynamism of Jehangir Bader, who whittled “Jeay Bhutto” at every lash and confinement. Despite incomprehensible despotism, the PPP survived and indeed, gained strength under the inexorable, fearless and alluring leadership of the Daughter of East, Shaheed Mohtarmah Benazir Bhutto.

Shaheed Mohtarmah Benazir Bhutto’s celebrated return to Lahore on April 10, 1986 was the turn of the surge, and owing to the ostentatious public support in the general elections held in 1988, she took expletive as the first ever female to head a Muslim country. Though, her governments was placed to an end first in 1990, and later in 1996 on counterfeit corruption charges, and was also shorn of mandate in 1990, because the elections were manipulated. However, during her terms in the government, Benazir Bhutto concerned for women’s social and health issues, including the issue of bias against women. For the first time in the history of Pakistan, in the budget of 1989 – 90, the amount allocated for education was augmented. 80 thousand new literacy centres were set up throughout the country, 50 thousands new teachers were employed, education was made obligatory till grade eight and prominence was placed on scientific and technical education. For the very first time, a separate Ministry for Women’s affairs was instituted to solve their setbacks and women were given loans to begin their own businesses. The Women’s Bank was also established. Country wide polio vaccination programme was launched, and nearly 100% children under the age of 5 were vaccinated in three years. 33,000 lady health workers were recruited to place an end to the infant mortality. During her first term, electricity was provided to four thousand villages in twenty months, which is a record, and in the second term, the PPP electrified over 18000 villages. Benazir Bhutto’s government placed a conclusion to load shedding by enlisting the private sector in the power development through a uniform policy of tariffs and concessions, hailed by the World Bank as a sculpt for the developing countries. Missile capability was extended, and new sophisticated radar system began operation.

Under Benazir’s government, Pakistan was budding into a modern state. It was the PPP government which had heralded the information age by introducing fax machines, digital pagers, optic fiber communications, cellular telephones, satellite dishes, computers, Internet, e-mail and even BBC and CNN into Pakistan. PPP had the highest rate of employment for the people of Pakistan because under its government, Pakistan integrated into the global economy to become one of the ten emerging capital markets of the world. The billions of dollars in foreign investment that came into Pakistan during the PPP tenure was a vote of confidence in the stability of the country under the PPP as well as an endorsement that there was justice and harmony in the country. Shaheed Mohtarmah Benazir Bhutto brought Pakistan into the modern era as a model to all Muslims of what moderate, enlightened Islam could accomplish for its people.

Shaheed Mohtarmah Benazir Bhutto was strained to live in exile for eight years, and her husband, treated in the most abysmal manner for eleven and a half years in internment. On October 18, 2007, she returned to Pakistan despite intimidations of death, for the people of Pakistan and to advance their living conditions; however, she was viciously assassinated by the fanatics on December 27, 2007 to silence democracy and the forces of moderation.

After Shaheed Mohtarmah Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, President Asif Ali Zardari carried towering the crest of the peoples’ power – the red, green and the black flag which posed the utmost hazard to the despots and their mean ends, thus, saving Pakistan from mayhem and sliding doors. Zardari attested to be the true successor to the celebrated heritage of Quaid e Awam Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and after routing a totalitarian – his wife’s murderer, led the Pakistan Peoples Party to victory in the general elections to serve the people of Pakistan, and materialize Shaheed Benazir Bhutto’s vision of a progressive and egalitarian Pakistan – Pakistan that was too precious to her heart.

No one was primed to escort the country in those muddled situations, but it was Asif Ali Zardari who did not relinquish, and after becoming the President of Pakistan, President Asif Ali Zardari immediately relocated the powers to the chosen representatives of the people, and willingly handed over the authority to the Prime Minister by terminating the Article 58 – 2 (b) to the constitution of Pakistan. The NFC awards gave sovereignty to the provinces, and the Benazir Bhutto Shaheed Income Support Programme was commenced to back the dearth stricken masses. Women were authorized through legislation, and the rights of the minorities guaranteed – Successful military operations were accomplished in Swat and the northern areas to blotch off the terrorists, who created a peril to the country’s security, solidity and economy. The setback of the internally displaced people was unraveled within a year, and the areas hit by the calamitous floods were rehabilitated. Poor friendly schemes were initiated, and the government ensured the freedom of press and judiciary. The strategy of reconciliation remains the hallmark of the current PPP regime, and enormous attempts were made to prevent this democratic system from being wrecked.

Pakistan waits for its leaders, the third generation of the Bhuttos – the very compelling and courageous Bilawal, Bakhtawar and Aseefa Bhutto Zardari – the children, who gave up everything for an autonomous Pakistan, most importantly, their mother, but still preserve their devotion to this soil, and will indeed; make Pakistan a prosperous state, envisaged by Quaid e Awam and Shaheed Mohtarmah Benazir Bhutto. Benazir’s children will make a “Benazir Pakistan” In sha Allah. Concluding it on myself, blood is the least that I owe to the Pakistan Peoples’ Party and the Bhutto- Zardari’s!

When it comes to democracy, the Pakistan Peoples’ Party is the paramount preference of the people of Pakistan – I do not enclose its record, it’s written in the blood of hundreds of the PPP workers, and its leadership: a martyr’s blood, which is bound to never lose color.

A move, my party and I are resisting vigorously,

We did not come this far to be silent,

We did not come this far to fail. – Shaheed Mohtarmah Benazir Bhutto

From gallows to the bullets, Salute to the Bhuttos! What a party they have made…

 JEAY BHUTTO!

DILA TEER BIJA! Vote for PPP, Vote for Pakistan!

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