They don’t have to die young!

Published: April 19, 2011
The writer is executive director of Ajoka Theatre and was awarded the President’s Pride of Performance Award in 2009.

The writer is executive director of Ajoka Theatre and was awarded the President’s Pride of Performance Award in 2009.

When Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was nominated in the Nawab Ahmad Khan murder case, he told his aides, “I am not afraid of being hanged. Bhuttos always die young.” They all laughed at Mr Bhutto’s audaciousness, but they had no idea how prophetic his remark would turn out to be. A power-hungry general and a revengeful judge joined hands to make a mockery of the judicial system and commit what the whole world calls a judicial murder. But the hurt and anger associated with the murder of Pakistan’s most charismatic leader may be released by the revisiting of the case, and the presently independent judiciary may be able to cleanse its tarnished face.

I have always wondered why a powerful and popular leader like Mr Bhutto would order the elimination of a petty political opponent. And why would he go about it in such a clumsy and inept manner, as reflected in the judgment?

The chief justice’s initial remarks have given hope that the case will be given the due importance and attention it deserves. One hopes that the lordships will take into account new evidence, as well as that which was ignored or suppressed by Ziaul Haq’s judicial collaborators. I have recently come to know of two new ‘clues’. A friend told me that a Federal Security Force (FSF) Inspector confided in him about the ‘real’ motive of Nawab Ahmad Khan’s murder. This man was in charge of the ammunition store at the FSF camp in Icchra. A few days before the murder, Sub-Inspector Arshad Iqbal’s brother was murdered as a result of a personal feud. Arshad decided to settle the score with the help of his colleagues. The person in charge of ammunitions issued the weapons to Arshad and others who left in an FSF vehicle.

One party located the car of the killers and informed the other party to intercept and attack. But there was some mix up and Ahmad Raza Kasuri’s car of the same colour appeared and was shot at, resulting in his father’s death.

Another possible new witness is an ex-official of the National Assembly whose office phone was used by Ahmad Raza. He says Ahmad Raza talked to some people a couple of weeks after the incident, and they were apparently pressurising him to implicate Bhutto. He later called Lahore to dictate the writing of the FIR accusing Mr Bhutto of the murder. The relatives of the accused have always maintained that they were given assurances that if they cooperate, they will be pardoned after Mr Bhutto was executed, but they were suddenly and secretly executed. There may be many other witnesses holding missing pieces of the jigsaw.

Yes your lordships, this is a case of great historical and political importance. It might heal a long festering wound and open possibilities of real reconciliation. Bhuttos don’t have keep on dying young!

Published in The Express Tribune, April 20th, 2011.

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Reader Comments (12)

  • Apr 20, 2011 - 12:18AM

    Dear Shahid Nadeem Sahib,

    The judicial murder of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was condemned by the law fraternity across the world. No one was there who was not shocked to hear the news of Bhutto’s hang. But question is that is it possible to reopen the murder case of Bhutto and give verdict on this issue by the apex court when after giving verdict, if the court agrees on it, a Pandora box of unlimited cases of the hang prisoners would be opened. Furthermore, the Zardari led government which is consisted of those who were not the part of the Pakistan Peoples Party at the time of Bhutto’s hang could be sincere enough to exert their energies on this less important issue than ignoring the horrible murder of Benazir Bhutto. If they are sincere to the party and the people, why the present PPP government discloses those faces who were behind the murder of Benazir. Even Babar Awan, at this time enthusiastic to reopen the Bhutto’s hang case, reportedly was among of those who distributed sweets at hearing the news of this great man’s hanging. Recommend

  • mussarat Hussain
    Apr 20, 2011 - 2:35AM

    My Dear Shahid Nadeem can be such a good writer I had never thought of while in Pakistan
    when being cultural, that has now turned “agriculutre” reporter APP Lahore we used to discuss and ” share so many things while sitting in his office when he was GM Lahore TV for the “TimeBeing”, as most of the , like me, Nadeem too remained under “clouds” for progressive and liberal ideology.

    Go ahead Nadeem, I have all the respect and regard and prays for you.

    Mussarat Hussain
    Washington DC.Recommend

  • Amjad Cheema
    Apr 20, 2011 - 4:14AM

    Well written Shahid NadimRecommend

  • FA patriot
    Apr 20, 2011 - 7:32AM

    Simply Amazing!Recommend

  • Syed Ali
    Apr 20, 2011 - 10:52AM

    Thanks to the free media and writers like you that we can now openly talk about the follies of the military-court alliance.
    I grew up during Zia ul Haq’s time and in those day, our social studies book had only one sentence about the most popular person after Quid-e-azam in Pakistan. No body could write or talk about Bhutto openly. Thanks to Jamat Islami and their dark politics, Bhutto was widely painted as anti islamic, alcoholic maniac who liked torture and was solely responsible for break up of Pakistan.
    I am so glad to see the things changed in my country. Whether supreme court exenorates him or not, History and masses around muslim world have already done so.
    One more thing, every famous person leaves a legacy in history. For Pakistanis, Henry Kissinger, Zia -ul- Haq, Justic Mustaq and Justice Anwarul haq will be remembered as murderers of Bhutto.Recommend

  • Abbottonian
    Apr 20, 2011 - 1:09PM

    I wonder, why was not there a popular movement against the military take over in 1977 and again in 1979 when Bhutto was hanged. I think Bhutto had lost his peoples love in the five years rule of the country in which he failed to deliver Roti, Kapra and Makaan. His charisma unraveled on people. In Pakistan, all the popular governments become popular at the time of their departure ……… for their (mis)deeds while in power. Recommend

  • Noble Tufail
    Apr 20, 2011 - 1:42PM

    Nice write up Mr.shahid Nadeem. A job well done as being a writer and a pakistani. Recommend

  • Shahid
    Apr 20, 2011 - 5:22PM


    Perhaps you were born late, otherwise you might bot asking why there was no popular movement for Bhutto. In history books that is perhaps the most powerful and selfless resistance against dictatorship in world. Recommend

  • Wasil Arain
    Apr 20, 2011 - 6:28PM

    As there is not enough important and contemporary problems for the courts to address, it is good to keep them engaged in revisiting the cases of the distant past. Mr. Nadeem has every right to be a faithful Jeyala, but for many other Pakistanis his hero was a protege of the first military dictator who was responsible for so many missteps which proved to be injurious for the country.

    I believe this is going to be a much ado about nothing and third rate circus show.Recommend

  • Munir Saami
    Apr 21, 2011 - 12:27AM

    Shahid Sahib,
    I have been sending comments in favor of the review of the ZAB cases. However you being in Pakistan and may be closer to some of the aggrieved parties, should advise them to rise to the occasion and present a robust case to SC.
    SC has indicated their willingness to take up this matter in all seriousness, however it seems that PPP folks are squandering the opportunity.
    The CJ even suggested to Awan that he should study curative petitions before Indian Supreme Court which in several cases decided that it had the authority to review its own previous decision.
    While Pak constitution article 186 gives the authority of a reference to the president, the article 188 gives revision authority to SC that was not available in Indian constitution.
    I am surprised that PPP did not use its best legal minds like Aitizaz, Raza Rabbabni and others in this case.
    If the president and his cronies are playing games on this case then they are playing with fire. I will lament the moment when the opportunity will be lost due to PPP’s own incompetency in this case. I wish that such a time does not come.Recommend

  • Sirius Warren
    Apr 21, 2011 - 5:50PM

    Bhutto was murdered because US wanted it. He became to “hot” for US to handle. So 20 yrs ltr they killed Zia who deserved death as he invited ex-con’s from the MENA region called the “taliban’s” to inflict much damage to Pakistan.The turnip heads are still there!


  • shahid Nadeem
    May 26, 2011 - 1:36AM

    @Muzaffar Ali:
    Dear Muzaffar Ali

    Sorry did not respond earlier. I agree with you that the Zardari-led PPP is not the party for which we suffered. The likes of Babar Awan and Rehman Malik rule the roost, any one with commitment and dignity has no place. I also fear that Babar Awan will spoil the case deliberately or due to his incompetence. Hope you are well.

    Shahid NadeemRecommend

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