by Khurshid Anwer
On the subject of Bhutto having made a study of world leaders, I missed out Emperor Babar. Bhutto had learned from the Mughals that no ordinary mortal dare approach the monarch unannounced. Dr Mubashar Hasan writes that when he first went to meet the president and CMLA, the liveried person at the entrance asked him to wait while he was announced to the president. Mubashar however kept walking wondering whether his close comrade of a whole year’s struggle had already forgotten his name. When he reached Bhutto, the latter said, “aap ko intezar karna chaheay tha”.
No wonder people thus treated did not stay with him for long. Can any good have been expected from a megalomaniac who steam-rollered over all who stood in his way – political rivals, industrialists, factory owners, bankers, even his own comrades.
Pakistan is like a sewer which has been collecting muck from successive deluges – the Bhutto deluge, the two of Benazir and the one ongoing. Benazir embraced and carried forward all the muck left over by Bhutto, and Zardari is embracing and carrying forward all that of Bhutto and Benazir. Layer upon layer of muck. Unless the Bhutto and Benazir layers are not dredged out the sewer will remain a sewer, hence the continuing attack on those two.
The muck: The same squandering of national resources on the poor for immediate political gains. The same unproductive employment of Jialas in thousands upon thousands. The same indiscipline in industry, education and public sector. The same lack of development of industry or agriculture, the only thing developing is the PPP vote bank.
Let me end with Bhutto’s ‘Unkindest cut of all’. Some political analysts insist that all Pakistan’s problems stem from the population explosion – poverty, unemployment, lack of education, lack of housing, lack of power, lack of water, you name it and the cause is the same, even the increase in terrorism.
Ayub Khan had taken on the Mullahs, made salutary changes in the Family Laws and installed Family Planning Clinics all over the country. A brake was being put upon the exploding population. Bhutto in his megalomaniac opposition to Ayub Khan and to gain the support of the orthodox elements in the society, did not spare even the family planning clinics which were all trashed and the staff scared into running away.
I myself witnessed this happening in Rawalpindi. Obviously having shut them down he was not going to reopen them during his seven years. Add to this 11 years of Zia’s rule who was a religious fundamentalist himself. Hence 18 years were lost before any government could take corrective measures.
It is also doubtful whether Benazir in her two years would have undone what her father had done. In these 20 years the population increased from 6.5 crore to over 11 crore, an increase of nearly 5 crore. By this time the Mullahs had made a come back making it difficult for any subsequent government to rectify the damage. The result is 17 crore people to feed today. Can any Bhutto aficionado defend this ‘Unkindest cut of all’ of his.