The wrongs of history

The spokesman for the president has said the main aim is to correct a “historic wrong”.


Editorial April 02, 2011

The formal reopening of the ‘judicial murder’ case of former prime minister and PPP founder Zulfikar Ali Bhutto — 32 years after he was hanged on April 4, 1979, after being found guilty in a murder case clouded in dubious detail — opens up some rather tantalising questions. President Asif Ali Zardari, who has formally approved the reopening of the case under constitutional powers bestowed on him under Article 186, is said to have reached the decision to move the petition before the Supreme Court after several rounds of discussions with aides. There is some doubt as to what purpose will be served by this move, or quite why the unusual action of seeking a review in the case has been taken now. Even today, anger runs high against the manner in which the case was conducted, the actual execution and how it took place and, of course, against the late General Ziaul Haq, the man seen as the chief actor in the downfall of the man who had appointed him COAS.

The spokesman for the president has said the main aim is to correct a “historic wrong”. It is in some ways hard to believe that this is the full story. There are, after all, other ‘wrongs’ in our history that deserve ‘correction’. These include many terrible events that took place in former East Pakistan during 1970; they also include much of what happened in Balochistan just a few years later. We still know too little about them and sufficient effort has not been made to make amends.

In these, as in the Bhutto case, what has happened cannot be reversed. ZAB is dead; his legacy lives on. There is conjecture that the reopening of the case is intended as some kind of ‘test’ of the courts; other reports suggest it is a part of a political game, the details of which will emerge later. There is no real way of saying for now — but in the days to come, we can expect the ghosts of history to look out at us once again, reviving memories of all that happened so long ago.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 03rd, 2011.

COMMENTS (6)

Asmat Jamal | 10 years ago | Reply Judiciary must and should provide justice Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. The wrong must be corrected. It is so important in the life of the nation.
R. Khan | 10 years ago | Reply I agree with Ani!
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