Psllivecricket t20 world cup 2022 Another Bhutto at UNSC, 51 years ago – The Indian Express

Another Bhutto at UNSC, 51 years ago – The Indian Express

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The outburst by Pakistan Foreign Minister Bilawal Zardari Bhutto against Prime Minister Narendra Modi is in keeping with the country’s long tradition of treating foreign policy as grand theatre, with dialogues delivered for the benefit of the domestic gallery, regardless of their impact on the country’s international relations.
This was most recently evident in Imran Khan’s allegation soon after his ouster from the prime ministership in a no-confidence motion in Pakistan’s National Assembly, that the Biden Administration conspired with his political rivals to unseat him. Imran Khan’s accusation found favour across Pakistan, where a strong streak of anti-American resentment is the other side of having been a long-term US client.
But the true and original practitioner was the present foreign minister’s grandfather, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, so much so that earlier in the year, Imran Khan even riffed on a line apparently borrowed from the grandmaster as he lashed out at the Pakistan Army’s failure to keep him in power. Bilawal is merely making an attempt to fill his grandfather’s big stage shoes.
Zulfikar Bhutto’s biggest stage moment came exactly 51 years ago to the day at the UN Security Council, ironically hours before Pakistan’s darkest hour – the “fall” of Dhaka to the Indian Army and the surrender of 82,000 Pakistani troops, the liberation of East Pakistan and the birth of Bangladesh on December 16, 1971.
Perhaps the anniversary was not lost on his grandson when he held a press conference outside the same chamber last week on December 15, to lash out at Modi and India after External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar’s speech describing Pakistan as the “epicentre” of terrorism and the host of Osama Bin Laden, at the special briefing convened by India at the Council on a “Global Counterterrorism Approach”.
Five decades ago, Zulfikar Bhutto’s was a command performance on the Security Council stage. His speech is still remembered in Pakistan as “the one at which he tore up the ceasefire resolution”, storming out of the room after telling the Council that his 11-year-old son had told him not come back with a surrender document. All the time he was fully aware that the Pakistan Army was just hours away from losing East Pakistan, though the people of West Pakistan had no idea how bad the situation was due to military censorship. Dawn’s banner headline on December 16 was ‘War Till Victory’, with a double column report headlined “Fighting Ends in East Wing”, citing “latest reports” that local commanders had arrived at “an arrangement”.
Russia, which was then the Soviet Union, had used its veto against resolutions that called on India to withdraw troops. “Let us build a monument to the veto,” said Bhutto on that day, “let’s build a monument to impotence and incapacity”. France and Britain had abstained, and he railed against “Gallic logic and British experience, whatever that is”, assailing them for their “neutrality”. Imran Khan seemed to have borrowed the idea earlier this year for his jibe at the Pakistan Army for remaining “neutral”, except that Bhutto said “there is no such animal as a neutral animal”, while Khan said “only beasts are neutral”.
Zulfikar Bhutto carried a large white handkerchief into which he blew his nose periodically as he spoke. (News reports at the time said he was close to tears) He called the Indian Army a “Hindu army of occupation” and said the Security Council was “legalising aggression”.
Just before storming out, with the Pakistani delegation following behind, he said he found it “disgraceful to my person and my country to remain here a moment longer than necessary… Impose any decision, have a treaty worse than Versailles, legalise aggression, legalise occupation-I will not be a party to it. We will fight. My country harkens for me. Why should I waste my time here in the Security Council? I will not be a party to the ignominious surrender of part of my country,” he said. In one last act that day, he pushed back his chair saying, “You can take your Security Council”. Picking up a sheet of paper on his desk, he tore it up with the words: “Here you are, I am going.”
That speech cast Bhutto in heroic light, helping him distance himself from the defeat and its dismemberment, even though his stubborn refusal to accept the Awami League’s majority victory in the 1970 elections, played no small role in the break-up. He returned to Pakistan on December 18 and, two days later, took over from Gen Yahya Khan as the President and the first civilian chief martial law administrator.
In his first address to the nation, he made an emotional appeal: My dear countrymen, my dear friends, my dear students, labourers, peasants… those who fought for Pakistan… We are facing the worst crisis in our country’s life, a deadly crisis. We have to pick up the pieces, very small pieces, but we will make a new Pakistan, a prosperous and progressive Pakistan, a Pakistan free of exploitation, a Pakistan envisaged by the Quaid-e-Azam”.
He would go on to win the 1973 election, the first to be held after the country’s break-up, to become Prime Minister of Pakistan.
Drama aside, Zulfikar Bhutto was astute enough not to burn any bridges. At the Security Council for instance, he said he was leaving, but was careful to add that “I am not boycotting”. As he made his exit through the corridors, he reiterated to reporters that he was not breaking off ties with the UN.
Pointing to Pakistan’s permanent representative Agha Shahi who was by his side, he said; “Ambassador Shahi will be here”. In 1972, he arrived in Simla with his daughter Benazir for talks with Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. The two leaders signed the Simla Agreement, in which he negotiated the release of 82,000 Pakistani prisoners of war in India, and the Line of Control came into existence, and the two sides agreed to resolve their differences bilaterally through peaceful means.
Bilawal may believe that like his grandfather, who was Gen Ayub Khan’s foreign minister until 1966, his ministerial portfolio is a stepping stone to higher office. Some Pakistani observers believe that while Benazir Bhutto inherited the PPP and made it her own, Bilawal is trying to return the party to his grandfather. Elections are round the corner in Pakistan, and with his personal attack on Modi, he has shown that in this race, he can compete with Imran Khan, who said something similar about the Indian Prime Minister. But his words, like Imran Khan’s, have already cast a chilling effect on any chance of green shoots in India-Pakistan ties, which have now been in deep freeze for years.
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nirupama subramanian newNirupama SubramanianNirupama Subramanian is National Editor (Strategic Affairs). She write… read more


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