The ‘Osiris’ Of Hope – Ammar Akbar and Saria Benazir

4 Apr

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Five decades ago, a political party took birth in the blood and torment of the commoners of the land. From its heart, it oozed countrywide to suffuse life in an ailing nation. The promise of food, clothing and housing appealed to the dispossession of masses who in 1947 had only achieved freedom from the British Raj and not exclusion and bondage. The mesmeric and riveting Zulfi Bhutto was their messiah whose love affair with his soil is sentimental fiction. Brought up in manors and clad in silk, he declassified himself to take power to the mud-spattered sheds. Throngs gathered in millions in his support to depose an excessive dictatorial regime and reinstate the peoples’ rule in Pakistan that was theoretically designed to be a democratic state at inception but soon fell to the politics of narcissism and the khaki that led to the dismemberment of the federation. Hope was conked out in the home painstakingly founded by Jinnah, the Quaid-e-Azam. The road between survival and disintegration was captured by the Quaid-e-Awam who adroitly put together the trampled pieces of it and built a new Pakistan.

April 4, 1979 was the assassination of the Pakistani heartthrob and liberation of its civilians. Dimness of the night jostled the country into years of extreme viciousness and denial inflicting on it inerasable abrasions that our nation continues to bleed until this day. Pakistan’s first popularly elected Prime Minister was crucified ahead of schedule at three past two, contrary to the prison codes and his nearest deprived of his final sight and last rites. The stillness of grave was broken by hailstorm on the deserts of Sindh. ‘Finish it’ was the lion’s roar. ‘The bastard’s dead’ relief to zia was short-lived. The carcass of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto became the compass for the masses and a shrine to worship. He was an element of the folklore now, celebrated and undying.

Conspiracy to murder burgeoning social equality and say of the people was performed under the shroud of ‘conspiracy to murder’ a political adversary. The ‘booklet with ten or twelve pages’ dictating the law of the land was slit apart by zia ul haq whose longing for the Bhutto blood was no secreted detail. The seizure of government in a military coup on July 5, 1977 from the Prime Minister who capably bargained the honorable homecoming of 90,000 soldiers taken prisoners in the 1971 War by India verbalizes the ethical deficit of the general who abhorred the reputation of the ‘‘leader’ of the people’ Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the man who picked him for the position of the Chief, thus inviting his own demise. The trial was a charade. Personal ire prevailed over legal conventions. Courtroom comments emanating revulsion for the accused and rationale to put him to gibbet took no notice of law. The conjured offence in itself was not meriting of the death sentence which was acquired by a tinkered four – three ruling of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. Justice was explicitly slaughtered at too grave a price. Clemency appeals from worldwide were discarded; Bhutto’s neck was the dictator’s diktat and he was unready to conciliation on this.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto saved his score on the leafs of history. He was murdered for the murder he did not commit. His family was locked up and his favorite child was also not allowed to hug him goodbye. ‘Keeping the head high’ in face of desolation was the legendary father’s lesson. Bhutto’s darling daughter, Benazir, who was in her early twenties, took the father’s fight for his people. She was the nightmarish renaissance zia had not envisaged. Sweltering prison cells and toxin bottles could not break Pakistan’s Joan of Arc. Fate has its own paybacks. The tormentor’s remains were scalded in the skies, a tooth manufactured for entombment and the Prime Minister House fell to Benazir’s feet.

The incongruity however is thunderous. Justice is the killer. The state’s history narrations are half truth. Fictitious corruption charges robbed Asif Ali Zardari of his freedom for eleven and half years and Benazir Bhutto of family. Images of a mother seated on a brick in the jails with adolescent children to meet with her besieged husband faint the tenor. Twenty-eight years later, on her return to her fatherland to battle zia ul haq’s scourge, the destiny’s daughter ornamented in her peoples’ love lost her life to a terrorist’s bullet and twinkled the books of eternity. As April 4 looms in 2016, her murderer’s cigar stays lit.

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