THE EXECUTION OF BENAZIR BHUTTO'S FATHER, ZULFIKAR ALI BHUTTO,PAKISTAN'S FIRST PRIME MINISTER ON 4 APRIL 1979.
On 4 April 1979: Pakistan’s former Prime Minister was hanged for the murder of a political opponent following a trial which was widely condemned as unfair.He was deposed in a 1977 coup by Gen. Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq and executed in 1979. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, founder of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), served as president of Pakistan in the 1970s. By 1977, opposition against Bhutto and the PPP had grown due to incidents of repression, corruption, and alleged election fraud. Violence escalated across Pakistan, and Bhutto was overthrown by his army chief, General Zia-ul-Haq. Bhutto was put on trial for authorizing the murder of a political opponent, and executed on April 4, 1979. However, his party remains Pakistan’s largest national political party, and his daughter, Benazir Bhutto, served as Prime Minister before her assassination in a 2007 bombing. Benazir’s husband, Asif Ali Zardari, served as President from 2008-13.
Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto
The Bhutto family: Mother Nusrat, Shahnawaz, Zulfikar Ali, Benazir (above from the left), Murtaza and Sanam
After declaring Martial Law in the country on the 5th of July 1977, General Zia-ul-Haq addressed a press conference on the 14th of the same month and claimed: “We have no intentions of any witch-hunting.… The courts are still functioning and we have not stopped anyone going to the courts to take the politicians to task. Then why do they want me or the Military or the armed forces to hang a few politicians? Why should I? Isn’t it as much of a concern of the public as it is mine? It should be done by them, if it is to be done.”Who would know at that time that the General was working on a fixed agenda. The argument that the fear of Bhutto’s return to power had forced Zia-ul-Haq to take this extreme action becomes obsolete if a retrospective analysis is made of the chain of events taking place before the execution of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Elimination of the deposed Prime Minister and the country’s most popular leader Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was of utmost importance to the military junta and more importantly Zia ul Haq himself.An alive Bhutto was too dangerous. No chances could be taken. His strong roots in the people of Pakistan , his ability to turn foes into friends, his commanding stature in international politics made him a formidable figure in the complex polity of Pakistan . He was too strong to be tackled politically. The generals knew that Zulfikar AliBhutto could not be defeated politically. His presence would be of constant threat for them.For the accomplishment of this task, the General knew that the support of the judiciary was crucial. Capital punishment through the military courts against him would raise protests of injustice the world over and could potentially backfire. Therefore, on the assumption of power, he cleverly inducted the chief justices of all provincial High Courts as Acting Governors of their provinces.
Foreign Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto at the United Nations Security Council meeting in 1971.
Nusrat Bhutto (R) , widow of executed Prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto chats with her daughter Benazir Bhutto.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (Former Prime Minister of Pakistan - ) during his trial outside High Court - c. 1978-79
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (right) is remembered as the brightest star to have shone in Pakistan's political sky while Zia-ul-Haq is held responsible for its every vice.
April 4, 1979.Bhutto Is Hanged In Pakistan