A defiant speech

Published: April 5, 2012

Bilawal’s speech was perhaps the opening thrust in the election campaign. PHOTO: APP

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari’s speech at Garhi Khuda Bakhsh on the occasion of his grandfather Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s 33rd death anniversary had two purposes: to look back at the injustice meted out to Mr Bhutto by the Supreme Court in 1979, and to point out that the Court was targeting the PPP again. His fiery speech linked the two events to show that the PPP has always been the victim of the permanent establishment and has never really been allowed to govern freely. It was a speech that eschewed conciliation in favour of confrontation. But this is a fight that the PPP has not chosen; but rather been thrust upon by a judiciary that is exercising unprecedented power and an army that has never supported the PPP.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, lest we forget, was given the death penalty on false charges framed by military dictator Ziaul Haq simply because he feared the popularity of the country’s first popularly-elected leader. And while the current SC has opened a reference case into Bhutto’s judicial murder, it has pursued the case with far less enthusiasm than it has various cases against the sitting government. Bilawal pointed out in his speech that the PPP has partly suffered because it is not a Punjab-based party. Its Sindhi roots have always worked against it in the corridors of power — and there may be some takers of this thesis.

Bilawal’s speech can also be seen as the start of the PPP’s counteroffensive in the run-up to the next general elections. In the event that Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani is found guilty of contempt by the Supreme Court, the PPP may well use that to portray itself as the victim of an establishment conspiracy. Thus the party that is in power will be able to campaign as the gritty underdog foiling the machinations of those who truly rule the country. The strategy is a shrewd one as it will shore up the PPP’s vote in Sindh, a province it badly needs to sweep in order to be voted back into power. In the coming months, as the PPP’s leaders address the hustings, the memory of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto will be a powerful tool at their disposal, as a reminder that the PPP has never been allowed to govern. Bilawal’s speech was perhaps the opening thrust in the election campaign.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 5th, 2012.

on Twitter, become a fan on Facebook

Reader Comments (26)

  • Mirza
    Apr 5, 2012 - 2:32AM

    Bilawal said what many were afraid of saying. Instead of dumping on him, the critics must answer his concerns and the facts of history. On one hand they do not let PPP to rule even for a year in peace on the other they criticize them for not doing much. How can a govt always at war with judiciary/mullah/military alliance deliver for public? Yet it goes to the credit of coalition govt that judiciary, media and opposition is free and there is not a single political opponent in jail for the first time in Pakistani history. Even Dr. Khan and the detained judges were released by this govt.
    If SC does not want to die in the history books they should address the real imp and historic issus from Bughti’, BB, Tasser murders, M. Mai’s gang rape and likes.

    Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Apr 5, 2012 - 2:57AM

    Editor Sahib, the PPP government hasn’t been allowed to govern freely? Seriously? This is the most corrupt government ever by any standard in Pakistan, involving all of its coalition partners in corruption…. yet you still support them by saying they haven’t been allowed to govern freely. If this is how they govern when they aren’t free…… What shall we expect when they are ‘free’????

    Recommend

  • Raheem Bukhsh
    Apr 5, 2012 - 4:40AM

    It is disgusting to see that bilawal despite being foreign qualified and brought up of law based countries has the thinking of a corrupt fudel like most of PPP leaders. Only son of Zardari can be mentally so evil at such young age. Listen we Pakistanis are sick of this BHUTTO thing that he did this, he did that, he brought that, he was a philosopher etc. What that matters is the performance of current government and it is a disaster for Pakistan. It is proven that PPP lacks sense of a statesman and an administrator. PPP’s current regime is incompetent, corrupt, short sighted and selfish. For personnel benefits they dont hesitate to create hate among people. I wonder how long will a grave save their personnel defects? May Allah give us sense to recognize the difference between good and bad. We have moved back 40 years in these 4 years of PPP.

    Recommend

  • Sm
    Apr 5, 2012 - 5:49AM

    PPP always loots when they are in power – when have they ever governed. They play victim and keep looting in the name of the people.

    Recommend

  • Mr Khalid Pathan
    Apr 5, 2012 - 5:57AM

    Bilawal’s speech is the renewal of Sindh card with full force. PPP knows very well that this is vote winner tactics. Unfortunately in Sindh politics language plays the most important role. Because of this we do not find effective leadership emerging from the educated middle class of Sindhi’s. Political atmosphere charged with ethnicity will always favour the feudal class who present themselves as custodian of rights of Sindhi’s.Recommend

  • Attif abbas
    Apr 5, 2012 - 7:20AM

    Its nice to hear eventually from Mr Bilawal of Sindh card.

    Recommend

  • zehra
    Apr 5, 2012 - 10:13AM

    it isshameful that this speech is being lauded by all, ppp loves to play the victim, that is primarily why i wish they finsh the five year term so that then they dont cry about how they are not allowed ot complete a term. it is a known thing, pp govet comes and it is looting all over!! i am personally dissapointed to hear bilawal, so by his logic it is since sc hasnt really tried or judged other absconbders then why us??

    i really dont care if bhutto case gets opened or not, i would rather like to see the important cases like the pending cases of the millions of citizens get underway, i would liketo see ecnomic growth, education heralth, security, food for my country!! not a case of seventies being opened and judged again!!!

    Recommend

  • sidjeen
    Apr 5, 2012 - 10:35AM

    as a jiyala i almost convinced my self of the injustices against PPP and vowed to vote for them again during the speech of Bilawal but then the electricity went out and memories of the last five years came crashing back to mind and they lost my vote again.

    Recommend

  • Atif Aslam
    Apr 5, 2012 - 11:02AM

    Democratic Dictators!

    Recommend

  • Hasnain
    Apr 5, 2012 - 12:39PM

    This would go even worse , since they dont deserve leadership , they haven’t earned it rather leadership has fallen in their laps.Irony of fate , they are heir of BHUTTO , a genuine leader

    Recommend

  • Yasir Hameed
    Apr 5, 2012 - 2:00PM

    Bilawal’s speech was very disappointing. I was expecting it to be a speech from a young national leader. but, he very much proved himself a sindhi nationalist leader and tried to play sindh card. he also asked Supreme Court to apologize over the judicial murder of ZA Bhutto. Would he dare to ask for apology from army for violating the constitution again and again?

    Recommend

  • Deeeds
    Apr 5, 2012 - 2:23PM

    Z A Bhutto — the saviour of East Pakistan…
    Z A Bhutto — the leader to end Wadera Raj…
    Z A Bhutto — the one to provide jobs to Jiyalaas (PIA, Steel Mills etc… are colatteral Damage)…
    — The above is the PTV version of history (during PPP govts.), the author of this comment has nothing to do with it!

    Recommend

  • Ahmed
    Apr 5, 2012 - 2:51PM

    It’s unfortunately another attempt by PPP to cover up their last four years failures, corruption, selfishness, bad governess and twist the issues by flagging provincialism. In fact it’s time everyone should realize that it’s more of an issue between poor and rich/corrupt persons. It’s between the ordinary people who are being exploited and the rich (corrupt from all clans, provinices, race and religion).

    Recommend

  • Fundyar
    Apr 5, 2012 - 3:07PM

    No judge stopped them from solving the energy crisis!!

    Recommend

  • Yasir Hameed
    Apr 5, 2012 - 3:10PM

    Bilawal’s speech was very disappointing. I was expecting it to be a speech from a young national leader. but, he very much proved himself a sindhi nationalist leader and tried to play sindh card. he also asked Supreme Court to apologize over the judicial murder of ZA Bhutto. Would he dare to ask for apology from army for violating the constitution again and again?Recommend

  • HH
    Apr 5, 2012 - 4:44PM

    @Mirza:
    Mr. Mirza, the freedom that media is currently enjoying was given by Musharraf, a so-called dictator. And as far as the restoration of judiciary is concerned, everybody knows how reluctant the PPP government was at that time.

    I am not against PPP, or MQM/ANP/PML etc. But the fact is that a dictatorship that provides me prosperity is far better than a crippled democracy.

    Recommend

  • anticorruption
    Apr 5, 2012 - 5:03PM

    “But this is a fight that the PPP has not chosen; but rather been thrust upon by a judiciary that is exercising unprecedented power and an army that has never supported the PPP.”

    First, a factual inaccuracy here. The army and PPP fully supported each other during the 1971 crisis. The military also fully supported ZAB during most of his rule except for the end when Zia took over.

    Secondly, to say that this is a fight the PPP has not chosen is to suggest that it was the judiciary that forced the PPP to be so utterly corrupt.

    Lastly, this editorial proves beyond any doubt that express tribune has a clear pro-PPP bias. No wonder there is so much pro-PPP angling even in your news reporting, even though a widely accepted journalistic standard is not to mix opinions in news reporting and restrict opinions to op-ed pages.

    Recommend

  • Kanwal
    Apr 5, 2012 - 5:16PM

    Please Dear Bhuttos, leave us alone. Where were you when Lyari was burning? Was nt that supposed to be your seat as per announcement of your father and as per rules of monarchy? Pls go back. We dont need you. Recommend

  • Imran Mohammad
    Apr 5, 2012 - 6:20PM

    ET, keep ignoring my comments, my belief is getting stronger that you are PPP supporter !!! Shame on you. Your are black mark on objective journalism !!!

    Recommend

  • Adil
    Apr 5, 2012 - 7:28PM

    WHO IS HE?!

    Recommend

  • Get real
    Apr 5, 2012 - 8:19PM

    Such biased reporting, I really thought ET was better than this !
    “But this is a fight that the PPP has not chosen; but rather been thrust upon by a judiciary that is exercising unprecedented power and an army that has never supported the PPP.”

    Recommend

  • Apr 5, 2012 - 9:07PM

    Freedom of speech–let anyone speak anything he or she feels–everyone knows what is hapenning around–people are of sound mind though with half empty stomachs –they cannot speak and are too freak with everyday happenings and are living on hope –lets pray for the best- for the creator knows whos who?????

    Recommend

  • Billoo Bhaya
    Apr 5, 2012 - 9:09PM

    @Imran Mohammad:
    They are part of an American newspaper. It’s on the heading of the newspaper. Who else do you think they are going to support????

    Recommend

  • jackson
    Apr 6, 2012 - 12:06AM

    R u Zardari or Bhutto. Whatever u r, shame on you. U r living luxurious life in London & Dubai and only come here to talk non-sense. Once again sham on u. Should u live without electricity, clean water, you will com to know how Pakistanis are living in your Dads era. Shame on you.

    Recommend

  • akhroot
    Apr 6, 2012 - 8:18AM

    Jiey Bhutto, Raj key Lutooo.

    Recommend

  • Adi
    Apr 6, 2012 - 10:15AM

    Ok so we have a classification now

    Jang Group: Pro PML N
    Express Group: Pro PPP

    Lets watch Dunya news and read Dawn! :)

    Recommend

More in Editorial