Thursday, 22 December 2011

Selective Beyghairati

Isn’t Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto an oxymoron? Bhutto is Pakistan’s most revered democrat and Zulfiqar was a product of the Ayub Khan dictatorship. He is also the biggest champion of the people here, or what’s left of “here” but he didn’t listen to the people over there, or what’s now “there”.

Bhutto lost the elections in 1970. The massive rallies, the enthralling speeches and the diehard jiyalas came to nought as Sheik Mujeeb-ur-Rehman routed him, winning a simple majority in Pakistan.

What followed was an utter disgrace of a stance by Shaheed Bhutto as he refused to accept the result of the election. An election held under the Yahya administration that hated Mujeeb and despised the Bengals right from the start.

Bhutto wouldn’t let a session of the National Assembly be called and told anyone who wanted to participate in the democratic process that he would “break their legs”. This gave Yahya the opportunity to launch a military crackdown against the “traitorous” Bengalis while ZAB tore apart a UN cease fire resolution to rapturous applause.

Over the last week or so, everyone would have read about shameful acts our military carried out in what is now Bangladesh, but not many wrote to point out the role Bhutto played in that fiasco.

Why is that?

People do know this happened. There’s plenty of inflammatory Bhutto rhetoric against the Bengalis out on the web. If you go to East Pakistan go on a one way ticket, anyone? Oh, I “lost” the Hamoodur Rahman Report!

So why didn’t our many outspoken critics take him to task? Surely the press has enough guts to take on Bhutto if they can take on the mighty army? Didn’t they owe Bengalis the complete truth on the 40th anniversary of what we did to them?

The thing is, our media scene today is dominated by liberals or leftists or whatever. I don’t know how the labels work, but these folk are basically a reactionary entity to the high handedness of our esteemed military establishment, and they don’t take lightly to religious extremism or rightist tendencies.

That’s all well and good. However, in their attempts to offset the damage done by the Ghairat Brigade, the Beyghairats are fast becoming, or have become, what they set out to oppose.

Today the perspective they put forward is often biased, and almost never highlights the complete truth. Just as the Ghairat Brigade plays up rhetoric that suits their agenda, the beyghairats ignore anything that might compromise theirs.

The lesson learnt from the East Pakistan tragedy was that using our military against our own people is the worst possible course of action. Therefore, we are today engaged in two military campaigns, one in Balochistan and another in Khyber Pakhtunkhuwa.

The Ghairat lot gives some muffled justifications for the use of force in Balochistan, while the Beyghairats will hunt you down if you appose war in Afghanistan, or our tribal areas.

Lennon said “Give peace a chance”, we say “Give peace a chance, just not in this case”.

I am all for beyghairati, but if we are to be beyghairat we should do it wholeheartedly. When you pick and chose things to be beyghairat about, you end up being ghairati half the time. Make sense?

How about telling the whole story and letting people draw a conclusion on their own?


  1. I think I can answer some of these questions for you. When Bhutto was elected to government he came via elections, Ayub Khan (who was still CMLA) had defeated Fatimah Jinnah (very dubiously) in the general elections and was elected president.

    Secondly the 'idhar hum udhar tum' speech you are referring too is being misquoted. That line was a headline from the newspaper the next day that was wrongly attributed to Bhutto. There is a clip of the journalist admitting it on youtube somewhere.

    Bhutto lost the general elections and said he would refuse to be part of a parliament that would accept Mujibs six points. That does not mean he stopped the parliament from being called. That was Yahyas call not Bhuttos. And he didnt say 'I will break their legs', he said "They will have no legs to stand on' which you might know is a metaphor.

    Also that speech you refer to online was actually Bhutto getting Pakistan to recognise the state of Bangladesh. Call it reverse psychology or whatever but Bhutto did recognise Bangladesh as a country and made sure that the people were on board with the decision by campaigning for it. 'Iran, Iraq, Maghrib, sab musalmaanon ke saath achay taaluqaat chahtay hain, tau woh musalmaan jinhon ne humaray saath jadojehad ki thi...' you get the point.

    Also the Hamood ur Rahman Commission Report wasnt lost. It was sealed. Just like democracies around the world seal reports. I disagree with him for sealing it but that was his prerogative.

  2. I don't know if you are referring to the 1970 elections, but Bhutto first came into government as the Ayub Khan's handpicked Energy minister in 1958 and was very much on his side when he dubiously defeated Fatimah Jinnah. Bhutto then lost the elections and became CMLA, taking over from Ayub Khan after he resigned and subsequently crowned himself president.
    I havn't actually heard him myself, but i was told he said "tangain to do ga", which is a metaphor of a different kind.
    In any case, Mujeeb didnt have a two third he would have needed to put his 6 points into the constitution, you give Bhutto too much credit despite his history upto that point had been that of a power monger.
    What he did in the UN wasnt even at the direction of Ayub Khan and he didnt release the report because it spoke of the atrocities that had taken place. In my view all this does make him guilty, and not only by association.
    Of course there are many reasons why Bhutto did what he did, when someone enjoys the level of cult love he does, their always are reasons for shortcomings.
    The point i wanted to make in the article was that not many in the print media today wrote the whole facts over the last week of so called mourning about the fall of Dhaka.
    What should have been a genuine look back at ,and acceptance of, those horrors has turned into opportunistic bashing of just one of the parties involved and no lessons have been learned by anyone.

  3. Having visited Bangladesh, I have to say, they are better off without us. They are in a much better position than they would have been had they still been part of Pakistan. It is supremely saddening to hear of the atrocities we committed against them, and tbh, they are justified in their resentment against us. The power hungry 'leaders' we had at that time are definitely to be blamed for what happened, and it is proof of the innate stupidity of our nation that we still revere those individuals, and even their families.