Why Pakistan Army chief General Ziaul Haq hanged then prime minsiter Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
On April 4, 1979, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the first democratically elected Prime Minister of Pakistan, was hanged to death. He was sentenced to death by order of the military regime Zia-ul-Haq in the Rawalpindi jail. He was accused of getting his political rival killed. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was one of the most powerful leaders of Pakistan, but he was removed from the post by the army in a coup in 1977.
Lt Col Rafiuddin has written in his book ‘Bhutto’s Last 323 Days’ that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was convinced that Zia-ul-Haq would not hang him. But his belief was shattered on April 4. Rafiuddin was posted in Rawalpindi Jail at that time so that he could keep an eye on Bhutto. The person who got Bhutto out of the way by hanging was none other than Zia-ul-Haq, whom Bhutto had made the army chief.
But what happened that Jia killed the same person who had brought her to the summit. To understand this, one has to understand an incident of 1976. Then the Prime Minister of Pakistan Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had gone on a visit to Multan and Zia had made all preparations to welcome him. Late at night in Multan, Bhutto was doing some work in his room. Then he saw that someone’s shadow was visible outside the mirror. When he sent his ADC to investigate, it was found that Divisional Commander Zia-ul-Haq was standing outside.
Bhutto asked him what he was doing outside his room till late night. To this, Jia gave such an answer, immersed in the syrup of flattery, which directly affected Bhutto’s heart and mind. Zia had said, “I have heard that our President is engaged in the service of the country. As I was leaving your room, my eyes went on the light of the room and I was shocked to see that our President is working till so late in the night. This arrow of flattery hit his target and the clever Bhutto decided that this man would become the next army chief of Pakistan.
In the book ‘Pakistan at the Helm’ written on the rulers of Pakistan, author Tilak Deveshar has written, “Zia was very clever and used to present himself in front of everyone as if there would be no better and gentler in the world than him. His best habit was that he did not say no to anyone. He used to listen to everyone but did what he wanted. Even Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was considered very intelligent, could not even sense this trick of his.
Bhutto continued to believe that Zia would do what he said. Bhutto sometimes called Jia the ‘Monkey General’ in front of everyone. So that they can show that their army chief is in their grasp. Bhutto would sometimes ridicule his short stature, sometimes his face and teeth. While doing all this, Bhutto could never have imagined how soon his ‘General Bandar’ was going to harm him. Despite being the army chief, Zia continued to bear all this. As if he was writing everything down. He kept his every insult in his heart and when the opportunity came, he also took revenge for it. Perhaps this was the reason why he was determined to hang Bhutto.
Foundations of Destruction: When Bhutto decided that he would make Zia-ul-Haq the army chief, many people persuaded him not to do so. But he continued to believe that he would be loyal to Jiya by progressing outside the innings. But the exact opposite happened. Tilak Deveshar, quoting Ghulam Mustafa Khar, who was very close to Bhutto, has written that “I had warned Bhutto that he was making the biggest mistake of life by making Zia the army chief. Bhutto then stuck to his point by saying that neither Jiya is very influential, nor is he a down-to-earth man and he does not even speak good English. So what would be the danger from such a person?
Qur’an’s oath: To win Bhutto’s trust, once Zia presented him a Quran Sharif. At the same time, he swore by placing his hand on that Quran that he would always be loyal and honest to Bhutto. On this Bhutto felt that when he is rubbing his nose so much, it will not pose any danger to him.
Who was Zia ul Haq? Born on August 12, 1924 in Jalandhar, Zia-ul-Haq’s father was a clerk in the army. He did his schooling at St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University. Jia, who was average in studies, was very fond of reading Reader’s Digest. He always used to tell his friends that it gives him a lot of information about the world. After his studies, he also joined the army job.
After partition he went to Pakistan. After the retirement of General Tikka Khan here in 1976, at the pleasure of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, he acquired the post of Army Chief. Then came the night of July 4, 1977. When Zia-ul-Haq arrested and imprisoned all the top leaders of Pakistan Peoples Party including Bhutto under ‘Operation Fairplay’.
One grave, two people: Did Zia-ul-Haq get Bhutto killed to avenge his humiliation? It is not certain but it is certain that he had no other way to stay on the throne of Pakistan. If he had left Bhutto, then maybe Bhutto would have got him killed by getting a chance. Zia also knew that Bhutto would become more powerful after being released from jail. There will be pressure to hold elections and if victory is achieved, Zia-ul-Haq will be the first victim.
Jia’s death Zia-ul-Haq would rule Pakistan for many years. But he died under mysterious circumstances in an airplane crash near Bahawalpur on 17 August 1988. Along with Zia, US Ambassador to Pakistan Arnold Raphael, two generals, a lieutenant general, three major generals and five brigadiers were also killed in the accident.
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