Another urban legend that has also refused to die is Bhutto declaring at Karachi in a throwaway line directed at Shaikh Mujibur Rehman, “Udhar tum, idhar hum.” For the tenth time, I make another attempt to nail this one. Bhutto never said those words. If anyone is guilty of what Bhutto’s enemies have called his saying goodbye to East Pakistan, it is Abbas Athar, who as the enterprising and inventive news editor of daily Azad, Lahore, slapped this colourful headline on a news report of Bhutto’s speech at Nishtar Park, Karachi.
A charge against Bhutto that does not go away is that had he not declared at a Nishtar Park Karachi public meeting, addressing Mujibur Rehman, “Uddhar tum, iddhar hum.” (You stay there, we stay here), Pakistan would have remained united. These words are said to have set the seal on Pakistan’s dismemberment. The truth is that these words were never said by Bhutto. It was Abbas Athar, news editor of the Lahore Urdu daily Azad, who ran the Bhutto speech under this brilliant though misleading headline.
Abbas Athar was a past master at thinking up such startling headlines. This famous headline appeared in Azad on March 15, 1971. What Bhutto had said was, “If power is to be transferred to the people before a constitutional settlement, then it is only fair that in East Pakistan, it should go to the Awami League and in the West to the Pakistan People’s Party, because while the former is the majority party in that wing, we have been returned by the people of this side.”