Zulifqar Ali Bhutto was the founder of Pakistan’s nuclear programme when he was a federal minister for fuel, power and natural resources during Ayub Khan’s government. He continued the nuclear programme as President and then Prime Minister of Pakistan and signed an agreement with France in 1974 for its further processing.
Benazir Bhutto said in March 2005 that her father as the former prime minister of Pakistan told her from prison bars
“I expect Pakistan to have its first nuclear test in August 1977. I was his conduit to the person who was actually running the nuclear program who is no longer alive now. His name was Mr. Munir and he was chairman of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. He told us that the nuclear test had been delayed to December 1977, and then he told us the nuclear test had been indefinitely delayed.”
The arrival of Dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan during 1975 enriched our nuclear arsenals; however, the increasing American pressure forced France to withdraw its technical assistance in 1976. The next year 1977 was the year of coup by an army General, Zia-ul-Haq, who took over democracy in the state of Pakistan.
Pakistan Army and the intelligence agencies completely controlled Pakistan after killing ZA Bhutto in 1978 and deliberately invited non-professional politicians on the basis of various ethnicities, sects and castes. At that time the role of America was acceptable to all religious powers in the world and overwhelmingly in Pakistan.
The Pakistani army and intelligence agencies became powerful supporters of political wings who were against the liberal paradigm and in favour of incursion of USA forces in Afghanistan. NATO forces invested heavily in Pakistan and Afghanistan to crush liberals with the help of local religious groups and non-professional individual politicians in this new political frame. Some could argue that Bhutto was not killed because he favoured liberal and secular states in the world but because of his inclination towards secularization of 25 Islamic states as the third power against extremist communist and religious fundamentalist states.
The political atmosphere and democratic approach of a large number of politicians from various political parties however could not change the inherited doctrine of a few politicians. Pakistan Muslim League by its name is a party of Muslims but in fact many of its factions were able to understand the global atmosphere and also universal politics of democracy, peace and harmony.
Historically, people of Pakistan are more liberal and democratic than the establishment of the state of Pakistan. People of Pakistan are better politicians than the non-professional politicians, anchors and opinion makers.
Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan on 18th October with a mission, which was against terrorism and to rebuild Pakistan as a prosperous democratic state. But on 19th October, her procession for democracy was welcomed with blasts and bullets.
On 18th October 2007 a massive influx of people came from all over Pakistan including Kashmir and they welcomed Benazir Bhutto to Pakistan after her 8 years of self exile. That welcoming party tormented non-professional, neo-liberal, fundamentalists and politicians grown under the shadow of the army.
Our neo-liberal intellectuals who want a rapid economic growth at any cost without any social changes in our country were also nervous. The core anti-democracy groups were not able to gather hundreds of thousands of people so there remained little option except to respond to Bhutto’s politics with bullets and blasts.
Benazir Bhutto’s statements about sharing information with NATO forces about the suspected presence of terrorist groups in Pakistan and her daring offer to IAEA for verification of past and future leakages in atomic energy had actually caused panic among the close allies of terrorists.
But she in actual fact wanted to protect Pakistan from any type of external incursion through a process of democratization in the state. Her welcome in all four provinces of Pakistan and especially in various districts of NWFP was a political challenge to militants, military agencies and their partner politicians. IAEA’s director general Mohamed ELBaradi in his communiqué said that Al-Qaida is preparing to attack western countries and Al-Qaida would use nuclear weapons.
Benazir Bhutto had called the 1990 coup an “atomic coup” because Benazir Bhutto openly declared her nuclear doctrine in April 1989, which was, not to put together different components of nuclear device, and that doctrine was not tolerated. The establishment had to remove Pakistan Peoples’ Party’s government.
A suspected meeting of Al-Qaida leaders with Pakistani nuclear experts in Afghanistan before 9/11 and the statement of ELBradi in the first week of 2008 after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto does not mean that Pakistan will remain a safe state. Benazir Bhutto wanted to save Pakistan at any cost and gave her life for this cause to protect the new generation. She never wanted to see Pakistan as a fragile state like Afghanistan and Iraq.
Political leaders and military generals-cum-politicians never could win the trust of poor and socially marginalized people in Pakistan so they always had to lie to the people. Those political leaders and military generals-cum-politicians have given us a new definition of a politician, ie some one who can cleverly hide or cover issues before the nation may be assumed as a good politician.
Benazir Bhutto came to Pakistan and went to the poor and gave them a clear explanation about national and international politics during her less than 45 days’ stay here. She spent more time with common and marginalized sections of population.
Musharaf had accused Shaheed Mohataram Benazir Bhutto for her own death and the same time he had directly and indirectly observed appealing to people of other ethnicities to fight with Pashtuns and bearded people in Pakistan.
Each general-cum-politician in Pakistan had always ignited ethnic riots and divided people on a linguistic basis. Zia’s non-party basis of election aroused ethnic and caste divides in Pakistan and then Musharaf’s core team had tried to isolate Sindhi speaking people in Sindh and trying to limit the ambit of Pakistan Peoples’ Party as an ethnic Sindhi party only.
The core team of any establishment in Pakistan always stuck to the same objectives and now the judiciary and media which had hard time during Musharraf time have completely forgiven or forgotten Musharraf and his core team. The establishment with help of some anchors and high profile law firms and judiciary is trying to isolate the elected president of Pakistan because of his policy statement regarding use of nuclear arsenals that “his country will not be the first to use nuclear weapons against India”.
The recent verdict of supreme judiciary of Pakistan on NRO is full of Islamic sprit and this final decision has refueled and encouraged General Zia model of establishment in Pakistan. The newly formed establishment against a democratic government of Pakistan is rich comparatively to Zia’s and Musharraf’s because it has support of supreme judiciary, media, civil society and lawyer’s business firms.
The establishment is confident to demoralize the elected president of Pakistan and his democratic, liberal, non-violent and anti-terrorism political party. But the marginalized and poor voters of PPP believe that “democracy is the best revenge” and hopefully they will not allow their leaders for more life scarifications but come forward to save their brave leadership.
Hussain Bux Mallah