Lahore/Islamabad, 19 December 2023: Chairman Pakistan Peoples Party, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari attended an event in connection with the Golden Jubilee celebrations of the 1973 Constitution of Pakistan at the Lahore High Court Bar. In his address, he thanked the Bar for giving him the opportunity to speak to the lawyers’ fraternity. He said that the Lahore High Court and the Supreme Court are the crime scenes of the murder of Quaid-e-Awam Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Two generations have repeatedly come here to ask for justice. The murderer was Zia ul Haq, the judges of the Lahore High Court and the Supreme Court along with the lawyers, politicians and bureaucrats who played the role of the facilitators.
Chairman Bilawal said that he is grateful to Chief Justice Qazi Faez Isa and his brother judges for conducting a hearing of the Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Presidential Reference that had been sent by President Zardari twelve years ago. When our judges wash the stains that colour their own institutions, not only will they provide justice to us and our Jiyalas but also write in stone that no other Prime Minister is treated in such a way in the future, be it of the PML-N or the PTI. This is the only way the country can prosper. We are the fifth-largest population in the world and our people are extremely hardworking and have shown that despite the destitute resources, we can compete with the rest of the world. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had united the Muslim Ummah and conducted a meeting of the OIC in this very city, Lahore. Today, we are witnessing the barbaric treatment of our Palestinian brothers and sisters. The same treatment had been meted out to them earlier, but we had ‘leaders’ at the time. He made them realise the significance of oil, since he possessed the farsightedness of a true visionary. As per the efforts of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the Palestinian cause was clubbed with the providence of oil, and an embargo was set. Then, would we consider each and every leader involved in this decision, not dying a natural death, a mere coincidence? Pakistan was the first atomic power of the Muslim world. It was said that it is an ‘Islamic Bomb’. However, this could not deter Shaheed Quaid-e-Awam and make him compromise on his beliefs and principles.
We expect our courts to set history right, and apprise the country of their leader’s murderer. It is said that the case is never cited, but the precedent, of the very manner in which the decision was reached, is still ongoing. If we are provided justice, not just the precedent of this specific case, but that of dictation, manipulation and victimisation should be buried forever. There is currently a hyper-polarisation and bipartisanship in the country. We have never considered politics a means of exacting personal revenge. We would not want people to raise the slogan of ‘Jiye Bhutto’ by force, but at least accept each other’s patriotism and not question their loyalty to the country.
Chairman Bilawal said that he may have conflicts with the leadership of political parties, but not their political workers as he respects all of them. The culture of name-calling, sending opponents to jail and harbouring personal vendetta against each other is considered politics these days, but it is our loss. We would have to accept that Imran Khan brought this sort of politics back himself, even when we stressed on not letting politics resort to this. We had expressed that the ideal situation to engage in politics would be one in which the institutions work within their domains. We face unprecedented economic, geopolitical and security challenges. If our politicians are to engage in the same, traditional skirmishes, we will not be able to tackle these issues. If politicians work within their own boundaries, then we can compel the rest of the institutions to do the same. However, till the time we do not reach this decision collectively, we cannot help the country emerge from this plethora of crises. The Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Case is an opportunity to improve our history, law as well as history.
It is hoped that our traditional politicians do not only remember democracy and the Constitution when it is convenient for them, that is only during the opposition. While one wants to portray himself as the Ameer-ul-Momineen, the other wants to build a Tiger Force. Seventy percent of the country’s population consists of the youngsters, and we would like to ask them what they want. We cannot proudly celebrate the Golden Jubilee of the Constitution yet, but we would like to in the next fifty years. The future of the country is in the hand of the youngsters. We have to snatch our rights, and make our own decisions, because that is the only way to save this country from the poverty, unemployment and inflation. It is unfortunate that the politicians of the country were not able to help victims of the catastrophic floods because of their internal conflicts. If we are to adopt the same traditional approach, when it comes to our politics, economy or society, then we cannot progress.
Chairman Bilawal said that we do not wish to disappoint our youth, especially those that are hopeful. If not today then tomorrow, but we will surely complete the incomplete mission of Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Chairman Bilawal appealed to the legal community of the country to support the Constitution and justice, and wash the stain on our history. A murder is a murder, and it is not bound by any length or duration when it comes to attaining justice. Chairman Bilawal said that those questioning the case and its relevance, as well as the ‘question of law’, should introspect and consider where the ‘question of law’ was when the Supreme Court was collecting donations to build dams, demolishing houses of poor people and Shaheed Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was judicially murdered.
Chairman Bilawal appreciated the work of the Bar Associations of the country, and said that the manner in which they are working across the political spectrum is something to be proud of for the legal community