Member Central Executive Committee (CEC) of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Sardar Wahid Bakhsh Bhayo has said Shaheed Benazir Bhutto (BB) always believed in the policy of reconciliation and forgiveness.
President and PPP Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari is a realistic person, who is pursuing BB’s unfinished mission of developing the country and providing employment opportunities to youths, he expressed these views in an exclusive interview with Daily Times at the State Guest House, Karachi.
He said that following the incarceration and hanging of father at the hands of a military dictator, BB experienced an unstable period, which was further aggravated by the untimely death of her brother Shahnawaz Bhutto, a murder that still remain shrouded in mystery.
Bhayo further said that for 11 years of the dictator’s regime, BB lived away from her people and motherland. “Despite living abroad for all this time, she still had complete acquaintance with her party’s affairs at central, provincial and district level. If any party leader ever expressed reservations against the other, her decision remained acceptable to all concerned”, he said.
Bhayo said it was her vision to accommodate the party workers and their families, who dedicated their lives for the democracy and party, adding, “It was her utmost desire and aspiration to compensate them commensurate to their sacrifices.”
Responding to a question regarding the no-confidence move against PPP government in 1993, Bhayo said that after the martyrdom of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (ZAB), the country witnessed the grim era of Zia’s Martial Law spanning over 11 years during which PPP’s leadership and workers were subjected to hardships and state repression.
As PPP took over the government in 1988, it failed to fulfil the pledges made with the masses and the fate of this term remained not different from the previous one, he added.
Every member of national & provincial assemblies, senators and party leaders had their own agenda to follow, which resulted in the dissolution of the government at the hands of their own nominated President Farooq Ahmad Khan Leghari in a short span of two and half years.
To a query, Bhayo said BB changed her mindset just after the removal of PPP’s second government in 1996. “She decided to sit in the opposition and regularly attended the National Assembly sessions. Being an opposition leader, she fought against a heavy mandate holding government,” he said.
“She was distressed after the removal of her second government, especially when her husband Asif Ali Zardari was put behind bars. BB herself faced several fake corruption cases and her family’s life went into total disarray, when she remained away from her children,” he said.
Bhayo said BB realising the ground realities and political culture of the country, decided to settle for a reconciliation process with her archrival Nawaz Sharif to foil conspiracies of establishment against democracy.
According to Bhayo’s observation, when BB returned to Pakistan on Oct 27, 2007, she had a completely changed mindset. Her attitude and speeches depicted a determination on her part for a fight against the anti-state, anti-people and anti-democratic forces through democracy,
The forces inimical to the people and democracy realising the changed attitude of BB decided to eliminate her through a well-hatched conspiracy, he added.
Commenting over the failure of present PPP government to end miseries of poor and downtrodden masses, he said it was a mere misperception of party’s rivals.
The present government inherited most of the problems from global crises and the financial crisis that not only affected this part of the world but also developed countries like United Stated and United Kingdom, he said.
Bhayo pointed out that the PPP government did not terminate services of ordinary workers and instead provided further employment opportunities to the needy, reducing the unemployment rate. Thousand of people rendered unemployed by the previous governments were reinstated during the current PPP government, he added.
He said that the government had been establishing new powerhouses along with several other projects so as to curtail the power shortage issue being faced by the country.
Commenting over the long debated honour killings (Karo-Kari) issue, he said it was a hype-up created by so-called human rights & non-governmental organisations and civil society, adding, they were merely interested in generating revenue by raising this issue.
He said, the issue was entirely Islamic and its salvation lies within ‘Qazi Courts’ which could be constituted to resolve the issue. If the courts had been constituted to provide swift justice, Karo-Kari issue would have been buried, he added.
Replying to a question, he said the people of Balochistan and Sindh, especially upper Sindh, had confidence in ‘Jirgas’ because they provided swift justice at their doorsteps without any hurdles and advocacy expenses.
Ironically, our prevailing judicial system had been very sluggish and people had been compelled to seek justice from ‘Sardars’ or ‘Waderas’.
Recollecting his first meeting with ZAB, Bhayo remained silent for a moment and then said it was in 1972 when he and Mir Murtaza Bhutto were studying at the Aitchison College Lahore. “It was dusk when I and Murtaza returned from the playground. He sat in the lawn and I was walking towards the hostel block when I saw a man in full-suit. He asked, “Hi young man do you know Murtaza and where is he now?”
I replied, “We were playing together but he is now having a nap, but I will soon bring him. After that ZAB, Murtaza and I went to a shop for a tea”, he added.
When ZAB was the prime minister, Bhayo invited him for a meeting with the student union of Maryland University on his visit to US, which was accepted and that was the first time he met BB.
Sardar Wahid Bakhsh Bhayo was born on Oct 15, 1954 in the home of Sardar Muhammad Jagan Khan Bhayo situated in a small village of district Shikarpur. He was enrolled in his village’s primary school but soon his father passed away and he got himself enrolled in the Grammar School, Quetta where he passed his primary level education. In 1973-74 Bhayo completed his High School studies from the Aitchison College Lahore. He then went to the University of Maryland, US to complete his Graduation in Business Administration.