Rise to National Prominence

Bhutto in the Ayub Regime

As much as Bhutto was involved in domestic policy early in the Ayub years, foreign policy remained his first interest and the Foreign Ministry the focus of his driving ambition for a future cabinet appointment. Bhutto was not inactive in foreign matters during these years. He led the Pakistan delegation to several sessions of the United Nations and represented his nation abroad on a number of important missions. His holding of the Kashmir portfolio regarded as a stepping-stone to the Foreign Ministership, put him in the centre of the most crucial issue where Pakistan’s domestic and foreign policies coincide. There is little question that Bhutto had a part in the inner foreign policy deliberations of the Pakistan Government long before he took over the Ministry of Foreign Affairs on the death of Muhammad Ali Bogra in January 1963. As he has written:

On my return from the famous General Assembly Session of 1960 which was attended by Premier Khruschev, Presidents Nasser and Sukarno, Mr. Macmillan, Pandit Nehru, Señor Fidel Castro, and many other eminent statesmen, I was convinced that the time had arrived for the Government of Pakistan to review and revise its foreign policy. I accordingly offered suggestions to my Government, all of which were finally accepted.

What these specific suggestions were we can only surmise from Bhutto’s speeches and later writings on foreign policy. Fitted under a broader notion of a historic struggle for equality, Bhutto’s foreign policy prescriptions begin from the assertion that the achievement by post-colonial nation-states is only a half-way house to the more untrammeled state of sovereign equality. As he wrote in The Myth of Independence:

Twenty years of independence have revealed to the people o Pakistan and India the sharp difference that really exists between independence and sovereign equality. The struggle to attain sovereign equality continues undiminished. Foreign domination has been replaced by foreign intervention, and the power to make decisions radically affecting the lives of our people’s had been curtailed by the cannons of neo-colonialism.

In an age when conflicts between ‘Global Powers’ set the conditions for world politics, the basic question for smaller nations like Pakistan was ‘how they should conduct their affairs in such a manner as to safeguard their basic interests; to retain their territorial integrity and to continue to exercise independence in their relationship with the Global Powers as well as with the smaller nations.’ Bhutto was a realist in that he recognized that states have no permanent enemies, only permanent interests. The Global Powers he noted are not activated in their foreign policies by the ‘rightness’ or ‘virtue’ of a cause, but only by their own ‘cold self interest.’ Further, because relations between the Global Powers and smaller nations are on an ‘unequal footing,’ it is the self- interest of the former that has a better chance of prevailing in ‘an endless and unequal confrontation’ between them. In the long run, a Global Power is not likely to be outwitted.’ In response to this situation, Bhutto advised the ‘small nation to take a realistic attitude and evolve both policy and strategy on rational rather than subjective lines.’ This emphatically does not mean giving in to the dictates of Global Powers in return of some material  gain, but rather, the implementing of ‘preventive diplomacy to avoid Global Power interventions which subject the weaker nations to suffer from punitive diplomacy.’ The crux of this notion of preventive diplomacy is that it is inexpedient, even dangerous, for the smaller nation to identify itself ‘completely with the total interests of one Global Power to the exclusion of the others.’  Granted, ‘common interest and the pattern of events may make it necessary for a small nation to be more closely associated with one Global Power than with another, but even so, it is not impossible for it to maintain normal relations with the others on the basis of honorable bilateral relations. Conflicts between small states and Global Power should be isolated and dealt with separately from the issues on which there can be cooperative and friendly relations. Thus, ‘a workable equilibrium should be sought independent of the point on which vital interests differ, provided of course, that the segregation of conflicts is not only possible but is scrupulously reciprocal. Implicit in Bhutto’s argument was the notion that preventive diplomacy can only work outside multilateral relationships. Bhutto also  advised that small powers should avoid, as much as possible, taking stands on conflicts between Global Powers, should unequivocally resist direct pressure from any Global Power, and should not be afraid to utilize the applications of indirect pressure exerted by the collective voice and solidarity of the smaller nations of Asia, Africa and Latin America ( now known as (‘the Third World’), together with diplomatic pressure from those Global Powers and quasi-Global Powers whose interests are in accord. By combining the support of such Powers as can give it with the support of the underdeveloped nations, the state concerned can bring about situations which make it imperative for the Global Power in question to modify its position in its own independent interest.
Given these perspectives and the actual conditions of Pakistan’s foreign policy, it is not surprising to find that Bhutto believed his nation, as a consequence of the United States-Pakistan Mutual Defense Agreement (1954) and the Baghdad Pact (1955), had tied its interests too closely to those of the United States and its allies. This had brought Pakistan unduly under American perspectives on world issues, had closed off potentially beneficial relations with other Global Powers, and had alienated important Third World states such as Egypt, that otherwise might have supported Pakistan on crucial issues like Kashmir. Those on the Pakistan side who had negotiated Pakistan’s adherence to the Western Bloc no doubt had done so because ‘those alliances offered a prospect of advancing her own standing and interests.’ Nor had the Western connection been unfruitful in bringing Pakistan badly- needed military and economic aid or allies who ‘reaffirmed Pakistan’s western frontier along the Durand Line and urged ‘an early settlement of the Kashmir question.’ Thus, Bhutto may not have counseled a dissolution of the western connection as much as its down-grading as the centrepiece of Pakistan’s foreign policy. Having spent some time at the United Nations, he was not unaware of major changes in world politics- of the ending of the coldest phase of the Cold War and the potential for super- power detente, of the growing assertion of the Third World Bloc and the rise of China, symbolically at least, as a world power. Certainly, then, Bhutto pressed for an opening up of more positive relations between Pakistan on the one hand, and China, the Soviet Union and Third World states on the other.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was not the only the supporter of these views. The alliance had never been accepted by important sections of opinion in Pakistan — the left ulama of the Jamiat-i-Ulema-i-Islam and much of the urban intelligentsia. Indeed, in the period preceding the coup, a reappraisal of Pakistan’s foreign policy was underway in government and political circles. The military leadership, however, was not immediately inclined to re-orient the nation’s foreign policy. ‘As one of the chief architects of friendship with America’  Ayub’s first effort was to ‘mend the deteriorating alliance.’ thus in 1959 the U.S. Pakistan Mutual Defence Agreement was renewed and CENTO erected on the ruins of the Baghdad Pact, while the decision to vote on the China question with the U.S. in the U.N. (1959), and U-2 incident(1960) carried Pakistan’s relations with communist powers to their lowest ebb. There is little question Ayub Khan would have preferred that Pakistan remains, as he told the U.S. Congress in 1961, ‘the most allied ally,’ and appeared somewhat bemused at the Kennedy Administration’s adoption of India as the pivotal nation of Asia. It was perhaps more out of necessity than inclination that Ayub, disturbed at the ‘uneven course’ of U.S. Pakistan relations, ‘agreed to explore the possibilities of more positive relations with two of the three major Asian states proximate to, or touching her borders. Tentative efforts in this direction were begun as early as 1959, when late in that year, Pakistan offered to begin negotiations to demarcate the Sinkiang-Azad Kashmir boundary; and a few months later opened talks with the Soviet Union on a joint oil exploration agreement. After the U-2 interlude, these talks led on the Pakistan side by Z.A. Bhutto (Minister for Fuel, Power and National Resources), resulted in the Pakistan-Soviet Agreement of 4 March 1961.
Pakistan’s reappraisal of its foreign policy gained much impetus from the growing conflict between China and India, played out against a background of shifting relationships between the great powers. As is well known, Sino-Indian relations, after reaching a euphoric high during Chou En-lai’s post Bandung visit to India, slowly began to founder on territorial and political issues associated with their common boundary along the Himalaya Mountains and in the high plateaus of Ladakh. After several years of sterile negotiations and increasingly serious border clashes, this dispute flared into a cross border war in October 1962. The Sino-Indian war was fundamentally altered international power relationships in South Asia as the Anglo-American powers moved to concert with India in what amounted to a tacit military alliance against China. Having correctly perceived the limited nature of China’s objectives in the border fighting and having noted the continued stationing of the bulk of India’s armed forces along her own borders, Pakistan vigorously protested the decision by her own allies to aid India with massive infusion of arms. In an emergency session in the National Assembly of Pakistan, Foreign Minister Muhammad Ali Bogra called the arms aid ‘a hostile act,’ and Z.A. Bhutto, Acting Foreign Minister at Bogra’s death, shortly thereafter declared:

The real purpose of India wanting to augment its forces recklessly is to build up an army for two fronts, to face the People’s Republic of China and to face Pakistan . . . the arms aid must inevitably pose a very serious threat to the entire subcontinent.

The linking of China and Pakistan as the objects of India’s hostility by Bhutto was no mistake and a portent of things to come. Not wishing to lose Pakistan, the Anglo-American powers pressed for a joint defence of the subcontinent. Aware that only movement on the Kashmir issue would make possible Pakistan’s adherence to such a plan, the Sandys–Harriman mission persuaded Nehru to open direct talks with Pakistan, which deadlocked almost immediately and remained so during six rounds in the late 1962 and early 1963. In these circumstances, it is not surprising that Pakistan’s China demarche prospered. Negotiations on the Sinkiang-Kashmir boundary went underway even before the China-Indian border war, and the agreement on the provisional boundary was signed by Foreign Minister Bhutto in Peking on 2 March 1963. After this important negotiation, a series of significant agreements followed on air, land and electronic communications, and on trade, aid and cultural exchange. By the middle of 1963, Sino-Pakistan relations had advanced to such a degree that speculation on the existence of a secret Sino-Pakistan alliance began to circulate. Bhutto did nothing to dispel these rumours when he told the National Assembly on 17 July 1963:

. . .if India were in her frustration to turn  her guns against Pakistan, the internal situation is such today that Pakistan would not be alone in that conflict. A conflict does not involve Pakistan alone. Attack from India on Pakistan today is no longer confined to the security and territorial integrity of Pakistan. An attack by India on Pakistan involves the territorial integrity and security of the largest state in Asia.

The emergence of Z.A, Bhutto as the spokesman for the China policy, his elevation to the Foreign Ministership, together with the interplay of events in South Asia, all combined to propel the young Sindhi into national prominence as the most visible advocate of an essentially nationalist and progressive foreign policy. Energetic, articulate, and able to mix the right proportion of fervour and anti-India nationalism, Bhutto gave voice to the sentiments of a new and assertive generation of Pakistanis. Inevitably, he began to acquire a political following of his own among students, lawyers, civil servants and intellectuals. Conscious of future political prospects, Bhutto nurtured these support groups and patronized their informal and formal associations, among the latter being the Pakistan Institute of International Affairs, the  Afro-Asian Society and the  Pakistan Thinkers’ Forum. Bhutto represented the cutting edge of Pakistan’s emerging policy of bilateral-ism, often speaking out in criticism of the Western allies when it would have been impolitic for Ayub, still intent on keeping up the aid and military relationship with the United States, to have done so. Beyond his roles as spokesman and lightning rod for the Ayub Regime, Bhutto was pressing for a more active confrontational policy towards India. He was Pakistan’s angry young man in a hurry, and on no issue was he in more of a hurry than on Kashmir.

By courtesy: The Pakistan People’s Party by Philip E. Jones, Oxford University Press, Oxford, New York 2003

The Making of a National Leader

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto

Politics in Pakistan has been much the politics of personalities. In one sense, this does not distinguish Pakistan from other nations, since all societies, representing every stage of development, have looked to men of ‘marked and enterprising vitality’ for their political leadership. Figures like Churchill, Roosevelt, De Gaulle, Gandhi, Mao Tse-tung, Tito, Nasser, immediately come to mind. These are men of heroic proportions and the mentioning of them raises the larger question of the heroic personality and his effect on history. We do not propose here to become entangled in this ageless and multi-faceted controversy, although it cannot be entirely avoided. This is so because, at the apogee of his popularity immediately after the 1970 elections, wide sections of Punjabi society saw Bhutto as a hero, a ‘redeemer’ of Pakistan’s national destiny, and, as expressed in the honorific title of Quaid-i-Awam, (Leader of the People), a fitting successor to the Quaid-i-Azam, Muhammad Ali Jinnah. This image of Bhutto will concern us more directly when we look at the elections of 1970.

The other sense in which the politics of personalities interests us does distinguish Pakistan, as well as most other developing countries from the developed world. In modern political systems leaders must operate within a highly defined arena of permanent institutions, organized interests and established forms of civic behavior. This is less the case in developing systems, where modern political institutions are in a rudimentary stage of development. Here the presence of a dominating figure is often more penetrating and stabilizing, while the absence of such leads to the scramble of ‘sell-out politics’– the result of a condition wherein institutional constraints and loyalties are minimal. Certainly, this is the case for Pakistan, where secular political leadership substantively partakes of feudal, tribal and post-colonial paternalism, and where political stability has been associated with the unquestioned dominance of a single individual. Two very different men who represented polar opposites in terms of their core constituencies have dominated Pakistani politics in such a manner: Muhammad Ali Jinnah who put together the nationalist coalition of political forces, and Muhammad Ayub Khan, whose political base was in the vice-regal institutions. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was among the young rising leaders who sought to emulate either or both of these men. Both men had a formative influence on Bhutto’s political career: Jinnah from afar, because his nationalism left an indelible print on the young Zulfikar, Ayub much more concretely, because he gave Bhutto his first political footing and enabled him to rise to a national prominence. This was a prominence from which Bhutto would turn to challenge Ayub on the issue of Tashkent, and go on to found his own national leadership on a revival of Jinnah’s coalition of nationalists and radical social elements.

Preludes to Leadership: Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was born on 5 January 1929 at Larkana, the district seat of the old Chanduka Pargana, one of the richest agricultural districts in Sindh. The second son of Sir Shah Nawaz Khan Bhutto, C.I.E., O.B.E., the young Bhutto grew up in a clan of wealthy Sindhi zamindars who were long conversant with the ways of political power in both the local and provincial arenas. The Bhuttos appear to be of Rajput Hindu origin and, though not part of the jagirdar elite of the Talpur era, were a notable family at the time of the British conquest of Sindh (1844). They were a far-sighted and energetic clan and extended their landholdings to take advantage of the canal systems rebuilt under the British administration. This effort paid enormous dividends after the Sukkur Barrage brought perennial irrigation to Upper Sindh (1932). According to one writer, at one time the Larkana Bhuttos owned some 250,000 acres of land in the three districts of Larkana, Jacobabad and Sukkur.

Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto stood out as a political figure during his era in the Bombay Presidency. He served on the Bombay cabinet and reached the pinnacle of his political career at the London Round Table Conferences (1931-1932), where he had a leading part in achieving the separation of Sindh from Bombay. Subsequent years found him in influential positions: Chief Advisor to the Governor of Sindh, Member of the Joint (Bombay and Sindh) Public Service Commission, etc., though his political career seems to have lost some of its momentum. In the 1937 elections to the new Sindh Legislative Assembly, he lost the Larkana seat to his old district rival, Muhammad Ayub Khuhro. Shortly before Partition, Sir Shah Nawaz accepted his last, and in many ways his most unhappy, public appointment, that of Dewan (Prime Minister) of the princely state of Junagadh in Kathiawar. A state with an unenlightened Muslim ruler and a Hindu majority population, the latter already deeply infected with pro-Congress sentiments (Gandhi was from the contiguous state of Porbandar), the new Dewan was soon caught in the violent cross-currents of Partition. He advised the ruler Sir Mahabatkhan Rasulkhanji, to accede to Pakistan and, after some delay, an Instrument of Accession was exchanged between Pakistan and Junagadh. Neither the Indian Government nor the local populace however, were willing to see Junagadh become a part of Pakistan and, in the face of unrest in the state and an imminent invasion by Indian force, Sir Shah Nawaz asked the Government of India to take control of Junagadh to avoid disorder and chaos. The action by the Dewan, taken without reference to the Government of Pakistan, was severely criticized in Pakistan. Though events had been clearly beyond his control, Sir Shah Nawaz Khan Bhutto never lost the stigma in the popular mind of having negotiated Junagadh away to India. He retired to his estates at Larkana and died in November. 1957.

The Early Years: Zulfikar Ali Bhutto grew up in an atmosphere of landed wealth, of feudal privilege in the Sindhi mould, and of drawing room politics of metropolitan centres like Karachi and Bombay. With his father, ‘an eccentric and colourful character,’ the young Zulfikar seems to have had a comfortable, if somewhat subservient relationship. In an interview with Altaf Husain Qureshi, Bhutto remembered with fondness that ‘during my holidays he would take me on tours and talk to me about political issues.’ In the same interview, he recalled his father’s advice on politics:

. . . when I was ten or eleven he called me and said that the road of politics is that of untold difficulties, but if you follow some principles then politics can give you pleasure as it is the best means of knowing man. He told me, ‘Son, I see in you the potential of a good leader, so I would like to give you three important principles of politics. First always maintain a balanced personality. Be a lover of realities. In life, greed deceives you at every step, success intoxicates and staggers you, and failure depresses and frustrates you. Remember, life has both of these in it, so do not be too cautious. Second, always have confidence in the people. Be aware of their desires and aspirations. Always remember that opposition to the popular wishes cannot last for long. And third, always be above family and circumstantial prejudices. Islam is a philosophy of universal brotherhood and we should stay above such prejudices.

There is little doubt, particularly as his elder son (Sikander Ali Khan Bhutto) proved to be a disappointment that Sir Shah Nawaz came to rest his hopes for a revival of Bhutto political fortunes in his only other son, Zulfikar Ali. Yet, the old gentleman also believed his son’s entry into politics should be properly timed, hence he kept a firm grip on a restless Zulfikar’s political ambitions. As would be expected in a Muslim household, Bhutto’s mother, Begum Khurshid Bhutto, was a more obscure figure. Some unsavory speculation persists in elite circles about her social circumstances and the form of marriage undertaken to Sir Shah Nawaz. She was evidently from a Bombay Hindu family of little means, though the marriage to Sir Shah Nawaz was a regular (nikah) one and seems to have been durable enough as she gave her husband two daughters as well as a son. Her origins and her station as a junior wife, appear to have placed Begum Khurshid Bhutto at a disadvantage in the zenana (women’s apartments) politics of the Bhutto clan, as well as in the elite social circles in which the Bhuttos moved. Some of those who must have known the Bhutto family suggest that the resultant insecurity of his mother’s position, having communicated itself to the young Zulfikar in his formative years, accounts for the rather major sense of insecurity which seems to underlie the darker side of Bhutto’s political leadership.

However this may be, it is clear that the young Bhutto grew up in the most comfortable surroundings. His schooling, though begun somewhat late, was among the best to be found in India and abroad. He attended the Cathedral and John Common School at Bombay, divided his undergraduate college years equally between the University of Southern California and the University of California at Berkeley, took his master’s in jurisprudence from Oxford and was admitted to the Bar from Lincoln’s Inn. His pre-college scholastic record showed little evidence of his later brilliance. Having begun formal schooling at the age of nine, the young Zulfikar was ‘always trying to make up for the lost time . . . and always trailing slightly behind in his classes.’ His pre-college years were also partly spent in pursuit of the ‘princely pleasures,’ a style of life that often attracted the sons of wealthy Muslim landholders in cities like Bombay, Lahore and Lucknow.

This is not to say the more serious aspects of life passed the young Zulfikar by. The momentous events taking shape in India could not fail to engage a so highly political family as the Bhuttos. Like much of the rest of the Bombay Muslim community, they placed themselves squarely behind Jinnah’s Muslim League and the demand for Pakistan. In these years of major turning points in history, the young Bhutto came to regard Muhammad Ali Jinnah as a heroic figure. Among his own friends, Zulfikar became a ‘great advocate for the two- nation theory.’ it is certainly significant that Bhutto’s political consciousness was formed in the intensely nationalistic atmosphere of the Pakistan Movement. This had a permanent effect on his perceptions, for an emotional Pakistani nationalism would come to be the touchstone of his political career.

The move to California was undoubtedly a maturing experience for the young Bhutto. His political senses, already galvanized by the creation of Pakistan, and his mind stimulated by the challenge of a new environment far from the paternal dictates of home, the California years unlocked the intellectual brilliance and studied flamboyance that have since become characteristic of the man. At Berkeley, Bhutto received the strong grounding in international law from Professor Hans Kelsen which would stand him in good stead when he later represented Pakistan before the United Nations. Bhutto’s academic performance at Berkeley was almost perfect and he graduated summa cum laude. Yet, he also had time to become the first Asian elected to the Student Union Council and to engage in a number of political and social activities. He. volunteered in the 1950 Senate campaign of Congresswoman Helen Gahagan Douglas, who ran against a Richard Milhous Nixon fresh from his triumphs on the House Un-American Activities Committee. He also acted as a publicist for the new state of Pakistan, organized an association of Pakistani students and wrote several pamphlets supporting the cause of Palestine and that of the Vietnamese against the French. During this period, Bhutto displayed an interest in socialism seeing in it the best means of pulling the emerging nations of Asia and Africa out of their deep poverty. Evidently, his mother’s influence–‘She taught me to love the poor and made me aware of their difficulties,’–and abysmal poverty he had encountered in rural Sindh as a youth, made a lasting impression on him and led to an early interest in socialism. In discussions with Piloo Mody at Bombay, the young Bhutto often expressed an admiration for Jawaharlal Nehru’s socialism, and later at the University of Southern California, he gave a lecture on ‘The Islamic Heritage’ in which he spoke of the need for socialism in Muslim countries. At both Berkeley and Oxford, Bhutto came under the influence of Harold Laski and, at Oxford, made the acquaintance of Bertrand Russell, who long remained a supporter of Z.A. Bhutto in the years to come. At Oxford too, Bhutto was greatly impressed by Verrier Elwin, a humanistic scholar with a deep knowledge of the hill tribes of northeastern India and an ex-ICS officer who had been Nehru’s constitutional adviser on the status of ethnic minorities. It was Elwin, Bhutto later wrote ‘who first made me realize the meaning of poverty.’ Yet, for all this, Bhutto’s socialism never lost its quality of abstract Fabianism, nor did it ever compete with his far stronger tendency to emotional nationalism, even when the latter required the methods of realpolitik which excluded socialism. Bhutto is one those leaders who has loved ‘The People’ in the abstract. There is no evidence, outside his political life, that he ever involved himself in activities or organizations dedicated to ameliorating the sufferings of actual individuals. A number of other lasting traits were visible in Bhutto during these years abroad. One of these was the meticulous care he took in his personal appearance. Others were his occasional ‘exuberant showmanship’ and his tendency to ‘revel in language and concentrate on effects and when necessary . . . exaggerate or overstate a proposition’ nor was Bhutto always an easy person to be with. Though generally charming, he could be vehement in argument and a times, showed an arrogant disdain for those he did not respect–an attribute he later perceived and criticized, in Nehru. How much he took to heart the lessons of history and politics learned in the academy or indeed how he perceived those lessons, was something of an enigma to his teachers and friends. Even his close friend Piloo Mody would write of Bhutto:

‘Only time can tell whether Zulfi’s reading of history and constitutional law will overcome the temptation o succumbing to arbitrariness and expediency.’

In November 1953 Zulfikar Ali Bhutto returned to his native Sindh and ‘felt as if my thirst for years had been quenched.’ in 1951 he married Nusrat ( née Ispahani), the daughter of a Poona ( now Karachi) commercial family that traced its recent past to Kermanshah in Iran. Begum Nusrat Bhutto would prove an invaluable aid in helping her husband launch his political career, and would later ably lead the Pakistan People’s Party during the two periods Z.A. Bhutto found himself in prison (1968 -1969 and 1977-1979). Of the four children of this marriage, two daughters and two sons, the eldest, Benazir Bhutto, showed the greatest inclination for politics. After her education at Radcliffe and Oxford, and an internship with the Foreign Ministry, she found herself deeply involved in attempting to reverse the political disaster that overtook her father after the coup d’état of July 1977.

Search for a Political Role: On his return to Pakistan, Bhutto took over the management of the family estates from his ailing father, introduced mechanization and other improvements, and replaced the old Larkana house with a more modern structure. He also began a law practice before the Sindh High Court and lectured intermittently on Constitutional Law at the Sindh Muslim College. Both these latter concerns, however, were tangential to his primary concern of entering upon the political role he had always projected for himself. But his first stab at politics came in the agitation against the One Unit Scheme. A vocal and energetic participant, the young Bhutto was soon elected President of the Sindh Youth Front, authored a pamphlet–Pakistan, A Federal or a Unitary State, made a name for himself as a public speaker and missed being arrested only out of consideration for the influence of his family. The agitation failed to prevent One Unit and thereafter declined. It had also failed to set Bhutto’s political career into sustained motion, although H.S. Suhrawardy was impressed enough to seek Bhutto’s membership in the Awami League–a proposal Sir Shah Nawaz refused to countenance.

Elite politics rather than popular politics would be Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s first route to political position. The relevant connection in this regard was the old friendship between the Bhutto and Mirza families. Begun when a member of both families was in Bombay Government, this relationship was renewed in the winter hunting trips which President Iskandar Mirza made to the Bhutto hunting preserves at Larkana. Mirza was impressed by the young Bhutto, particularly by his argument that Pakistan had unnecessarily restricted its foreign policy by tying itself too closely to the Anglo – American alliance. He thus helped Bhutto achieve one o his earliest ambitions: a place on the Pakistan delegation. In 1957, at the age of twenty-nine’ Z.A. Bhutto was named to the Pakistan U.N. delegation. In the following spring, he represented Pakistan at the U.N. Conference on the Law of the Sea. In both areas, Bhutto made outstanding contributions. Having proven himself at the U.N., dramatic events were soon to occur in Pakistan that would advance Bhutto’s political career even more rapidly than he might have foreseen. By 1958, the chronic instability of Pakistan’s domestic political institutions had become something of a farce, and President Mirza was increasingly disposed to drastic measures. The Army High Command was also watching the deteriorating situation. Though Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto had died in November 1957, the Bhuttos maintained their social connections with the Mirzas and it was during one of the shoots at Larkana also attended by the Army Commander- in-Chief, General Muhammad Ayub Khan, that some of the planning for the coup d’état of 7 October 1958 is said to have occurred. Bhutto’s role in planning the coup is obscure, but was probably at most peripheral. A glimmer of Bhutto’s later policy of ‘bilateralism’ is perhaps visible in the President’s Proclamation where it is said: ‘We desire to have friendly relations with all nations, but political adventurers try their best to create bad blood and misunderstandings between us and countries like the U.S.S.R., and the U.A.R. And the People’s Republic of China.’ Bhutto’s ‘big break came when he was included in the Cabinet constituted by President Mirza and sworn in on 27 October. The same evening Mirza was pressed to resign the Office of President to Ayub Khan, the man against whom he had begun to conspire and who was the real power behind the coup. Thus, at the early age of thirty, Zulfikar Ali  Bhutto took his place as a Minister in the Government of Pakistan and, at the same time, survived the first political crisis of the new Regime, which saw his mentor packed off to exile in London. He had played his cards extremely well.

By courtesy: The Pakistan People’s Party by Philip E. Jones, Oxford University Press 2003

An Overview, The PPP Years in Power

The assumption of power by the Pakistan People’s Party also marked the beginning of its organizational decline. As its Chairman told this writer, the problem of party organization had a much lower priority than the more pressing problems of organizing a government, instituting reforms and negotiating a post-war modus vivendi with a victorious India–while the latter held some 90,000 Pakistani civilians and military prisoners. The slide towards disorganization was enhanced by the absorption of the top PPP leadership into the central and provincial governments at the ministerial level and above, intra- party competition for patronage, and new waves of ‘lateral entrants’. Party affairs were either neglected or manipulated through client networks, leaving party units in disarray. Appointments to governorships, cabinets and parliamentary secretaryships in 1972 confirmed the dominance of the central cell in the party. Their virtual monopoly on patronage, together with their use of parallel party organizations, drained substantial strength away from the party cell. Some left socialists in the PPP were soon found to be accommodating with the new party bosses. Amanullah Khan, for example, emerged as Press Secretary to Governor Khar. The decline of the party cell did not, however, also lead to a decline in internal tensions in the party, but only shifted them into central cell grouping. Throughout 1972, cracks in the central cell became more visible, as vertical faction leaders maneuvered and competed for influence. The internal structure of the party shifted from one of a dominant central- cell party cell cleavage to one of fluid permutations of factional groups- the ‘Khar Group,’ the ‘Rashid Group,’ the ‘Ramay Group,’ the ‘Meer Group,’ etc. in the first six months of 1972 six major clashes occurred in Punjab between groups of PPP workers, in which party men were seriously injured or firearms were set off. All of these, including the stadium firing incident at Lahore in March and the clash at Shalimar in June, were traceable to interparty factional maneuverings. Inter-party clashes would become a regular feature of party affairs, particularly during periods when cabinet changes were made. This inability to resolve peacefully its own internal conflicts was an important indication of profound organizational weaknesses in the PPP.
The period between 20 December 1971 and 10 March 1974 was not a happy one for the Punjab PPP left wing. This period marked the ascendancy in Punjab of Ghulam Mustafa Khar, first as Governor and then as Chief Minister- the latter from 11 November 1973 to 10 March 1974. Under the direction of Bhutto, Khar fixed on Punjab a Regime that, in the areas of press and police controls and ghundagardi (‘goonism’), had much more in common with the Ayub/Kalabagh Regime than with the promises made in the PPP Manifesto. The police firing on striking workers at SITE in June 1972 and at Landhi/Korangi in October, and the wholesale arrest of left labour leaders in Punjab, ended the PPP alliance with the new left labour movement. It also severely undercut PPP leaders like Mairaj Muhammad Khan, whose position in the party became increasingly untenable-unless, of course they were willing to cut themselves off from their own social constituency. Sensing Mairaj’s weakness on this score, as well on his failure, as a Minister of State, to turn the Hashtnagar Peasant Movement in the NWFP into a pro-PPP battering ram against the NAP-W, the PPP right wing undertook a concerted press campaign to force Mairaj out of the party. Soon after this, Mairaj and other PPP left elements, including the PPP (Revolutionary Front)- representing Abdul Khaliq Khan (MNA from Mardan) and Mukhtar Rana- the Taj Langah Group and the Manifesto Group (Mian M.A. Kasuri), decided to boycott the All-Pakistan PPP Convention in Rawalpindi on 30 November and 1 December 1972. Even had the leaders wanted to attend, their supporters would have been excluded since delegate certification was in the hands of Bhutto loyalists–Khar in Punjab, Mumtaz Ali Bhutto (Sindh Chief Minister) in Sindh, Raisani in Balochistan and Sherpao in NWFP. In the end, Sheikh Rashid was able to ‘beg’ a few hundred delegate passes (out of 1,700 for Punjab) from Khar to give the left wing a small representation at the convention. Bhutto used the Rawalpindi PPP Convention to denounce the PPP left wing and the Mainfesto Group. Individuals like Mairaj, Rasul Baksh Ralpur, Sheikh Rashid and M.A. Kasuri- the latter had recently resigned as Minister for law and Parliamentary Affairs in protest at Bhutto’s attempt to bring in a presidential structure disguised in parliamentary clothing- came in for specific criticisms. The PPP Chairman re-emphasized that Islamic Socialism, not abstract socialism or communism, was the ideology of the PPP. His government, he insisted would follow a middling course of reform aimed at the establishment of social democracy and a mixed economy. Bhutto refused to discuss motions from the left on party organization, threatening to resign the PPP chairmanship if the left continued to demand the parliamentary and party offices be separated.

After the Rawalpindi convention, amid rumours of a Bhutto-Maududi meeting, the left prepared to go underground, anticipating a massive shift to the right by the PPP and a program against left cadres. In the end, although the PPP-JI contacts were crucial to finalizing a constitutional settlement in 1973, a PPP-JI alliance was out of the question. Not only were the enmities too deep, but PPP reforms went against the interests of Jama’at-I-Islami support groups. Nevertheless the apprehensions of the PPP left revealed how much had Bhutto come to be feared and distrusted within one wing of his own party. Many leftist cadres departed from the PPP at this time, pulling back into journalism, political groups like the Young People’s Front, and labour organizations like Muttahida Mazdur Mahaz. Mairaj Muhammad Khan shortly resigned his Ministership and stayed on the fringes of the party for another year until 13 December 1973 when he bade farewell to a party he now described as a ‘degenerated form of ‘Ayub’s Convention League’. Those who stayed on in the PPP retreated to the periphery or joined factional groupings around Sheikh Rashid, Taj Langah and K.H. Meer. But this was not the end of the line for party cell remnants. Factional shifts and the growing unpopularity of the Khar Regime in Punjab enabled them to play a ‘comeback’ role in the Muhasaba (‘Accountability’) committees that sprang up, on an ad hoc basis, in 1973 and 1974 in many district and city PPP organizations. These committees denounced the oppressive actions of the Khar Government, exposed widespread corruption among Khar-appointed party officeholders, and demanded the implementation of the party manifesto. They were an important element underlying the pressures that forced Khar from office in March 1974. The fall of Khar renewed the claims of the Punjab left and gave them something of a ‘junior role’ in the post-Khar factional permutation in the Punjab PPP, but a revival of their original dominance of the Punjab PPP was out of the question.
We have given considerable attention to the decline of the PPP leftwing for two important reasons. First, for what it was worth, the left, or party cell, group had carried the major grass roots organizing effort in the PPP and its decline had a concomitantly negative impact on the quality of party organization. Second, the weakness of the left gave Bhutto and the PPP ‘politicals’ their opening to the right in Punjabi politics, a factor that also had a major impact on party organization, particularly on the character of its social base. Undeniably, the left in Punjab (and Pakistan) had its own internal weaknesses. The ‘old left’ leadership, a collection of labour organizers and ‘drawing room’ socialists beset with doctrinal and personal conflicts had largely stayed out of PPP and remained potent foci for collections of disenchanted PPP cadres. The PPP left had shown itself to be primarily urban centered. Its rural support base, while real enough, was only fitfully organized. Where it was organized, its Kisan Committees and Kisan Forces proved unable to stem the quiet ‘counter revolution’ pursued after the elections by the rural notables, district bureaucrats and thanadars. After the transfer of power, the left was unable to press Bhutto to go beyond a minimal enactment of the PPP land reform proposals. In the cities, the social base of th left was largely confined to the transient student community, the new labour organizations whose leaders were harshly treated by the PPP Regime, and the poorest of the poor, the rural-to-urban migrants. But, beyond this, perhaps the greatest weakness of the PPP left was the unpreparedness of most Punjabis to accept the ideological ramifications of he PPP program. They wanted the implementation of the PPP program and voted for systemic change in the sense that the PPP promised to end elite monopoly of the levers of political power and economic opportunity. At the same, however, for many pro-PPP Punjabis it was the image of Bhutto, not ideological justifications, that carried the PPP program. Hence, even the far left in the PPP spectrum never directed its criticisms at Bhutto, only at those around him.
But having said this, it is also clear that the left, for all its inherent shortcomings, was further weakened by actions and policies supported by Bhutto from his singular position as PPP Chairman. Time after time, as we have seen in this study, Bhutto refused to implement schemes to strengthen party organization. This failure to ground the PPP on a permanent organizational base is one of the intriguing questions of recent Punjabi (and Pakistan) history. Possibly it was simply not perceived in the pre-power years as being crucial. These were heady times for Bhutto. His charisma was in full flower in Punjab and it may well be that he thought it always would be, that he could always ‘go back to the people,’ and that this was sufficient leverage with which to bargain with the established power groups and to pursue his ‘internal united front strategy’ of party organization. Further Bhutto always placed great emphasis on his genius for political maneuver. We would not expect him to incline towards the formation of an institution that would inevitably work to limit his power and his scope for action. Scope for maneuver was something Bhutto had always felt he needed- prior to the elections because he was skeptical of a PPP victory, after the elections because he knew he would receive power only at the hands of the military oligarchs and after gaining power because of the political and military consequences of the civil war and his unwilling,ingress to be pushed too far left by the forces he had helped to arouse.
The discomfiture of the party left was anything but assuaged by the new wave of elite entrants into the PPP. More than at any other time, the period after the transfer of power saw much honouring of that long established principle of Punjabi politics: ‘jera jita, oda nal’ (‘who wins, be with him,’ or, ‘if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em’). This trend was strongest in the rural areas, where notable and gentry zamindars continued to join the PPP. By end of 1974, the post-transfer of power entrants included the Legharis and Khosas of Dera Ghazi Khan; the Pirachas, the Tiwanas, Bandials and Qureshis of Sargodha; various of the Bukhari Sayyid lineages (Pir Mahal, Kuranga and Shah Jiwana); the Daultanas, the Khakwanis and Gilanis of Multan; the Kharrals of the Ravi river rain in Lyallpur; the Pirs of Makkhad, Manki Sharif and Taunsa Sharif; the Korejas of Liaquatpur (Rahim yar Khan); the Tammans and Jodhras of Campbellpore; as well as civil service moguls like Aziz Ahmad and Malik Khuda Baksh Bucha. The entry of the notables, and of lesser gentry and rassagiri elements, was undoubtedly a protective reaction, for access to the power system has always been crucial to the gaining and holding of land and wealth in Punjab. For the most part, in return for lip service to the PPP Manifesto and an expression of loyalty to Bhutto, they found easy entry into the PPP. Though their traditional authority has been challenged, often successfully, in the 1970 elections, the notable and gentry groups soon proved their residual authority to be remarkably resilient. They still had the best access to the district and provincial bureaucracies, often through personal connections with relatives and school chums in the upper bureaucracy, and could play the game of ‘brokerage’ far more effectively–as I witnessed on several occasions–than PPP office holders who had no social access to elite circles. They used those contacts to rebuild their influence, getting local petitioners jobs, transfers, promotions, more canal water, agricultural loans, fertilizer, tube well connections etc. Moreover biraderi and other parochial influences had begun to re-emerge as factors in party and cabinet making politics, as well as in by-election strategies (e.g., in the Narowal and Chak Jumra by-elections in 1973). Once this began to happen, the landed classes their skills honed by long experience in parochial politics, proved adept at expanding their influence. By 1974, the names of he old local notables had begun to emerge in the lists of local ( Tehsil) PPP officeholders, as well as on the District Councils of the People’s Works Program (PWP), the successor to the Rural Works Program and the major channel of development funds to the local level. By mid-1975, ashrafi notables held the Secretary-Generalship of the Punjab PPP (Sayyid Nasir Ali Shah), the Punjab Chief Ministership (Nawab Sadiq Hussain Qureshi) and the Punjab governorship (Sadiq Muhammad Khan, Amir of Bahawalpur). Finally, in late 1976, the notables virtually controlled the ticketing politics for the 1977 elections within the Punjab PPP. The list of PPP candidates reads like a ‘who’s who’ of the families that dominated electoral politics in Punjab from 1920 to 1958.
It is ironic that the hand of the notables first showed its strength inside the PPP in the fall of the Khar cabinet in March 1974. Himself from a gentry (Rajput, zaildari) family, Khar had been regarded as the representative in the PPP of the Punjab zamindariat. Indeed his office as the Punjab party’s Secretary-General ( held until September 1973) had been the door through which many landed families had entered the PPP. Yet by the beginning of 1974, Khar’s iron grip on Punjab had alienated important social groups, including the landed notables. Acting under Bhutto’s dictate to hold Punjab ‘in line’ the Khar Regime had slipped from authoritarianism into acts of terror. The latter, directed at opponents both within and without the PPP, included political killings, false cases, threats delivered to PPP legislators, kidnappings, the wreckage of property of opponents and violent attacks on the protest processions of Christians, students, workers, the High Court lawyers, and opposition parties. These acts together with a raging inflation- in part the result the PPP government’s attempts to satisfy its numerous constituencies- and the general decline in standards- moral, education, familial, institutional, and law and order,- rapidly ate away at the PPPs popularity in the urban areas. By mid-1973, based on my inquiries with a number of strategically-placed individuals in the old city of Lahore, including PPP officeholders, I would not have bet against Asghar Khan in a fair, head-to-head election with Bhutto.
It was not long before urban-based PPP politicians like Hanif Ramay, Meraj Khalid and Dr. Mubashar Hasan began to combine against Khar. They were aided in their intrigues by the landed notables in the PPP, such as M.K. Khakwanis, MPA, and Begum Fakhar Imam (Sayyida Abida Hussain), MPA. The former represented the Multan notables, who saw Khar as a country-bred upstart, resented the centralization of all the stings of patronage in his hands, an feared his attempts to turn the districts of Multan Muzaffargarh and Dera Ghazi Khan into his own politician base. After the new constitution came into force on 15 August 1973, the anti-Khar coalition attempted to invigorate the Punjab Chief Ministership as the centre of executive authority in the province and to relegate to Governship to its constitutionally-prescribed ceremonial status. Backed by Bhutto, Khar refused to relinquish executive authority, but under pressure from the Punjab Assembly he belatedly ‘stepped down’ to the Chief Ministership, a position which he held for four months(11 November 1973 to 10 March 1974). Khar was a complete failure as a parliamentary leader, his brand of thanadari was completely alien to legislative politics. The growing confusion in Punjab emboldened the anti-Khar coalition to present a document to Bhutto, which detailed Khar’s abuses of office and charged him with massive corruption. But, more than this, they understood that Khar held the Chief Ministership, not out of any intrinsic merit of his own, but solely because of his close personal friendship with Bhutto. It was in this relationship that they planted the seeds of distrust. They accused Khar of acting against Bhutto’s supporters in Punjab and of attempting to turn the province into his own power base, to be held against all comers.
Bhutto could afford to jettison Khar. The major reforms-land, administrative, military command structure and nationalizations-industries, banks, private colleges– had been accomplished, the new constitution was in force, and the Federal Security Force, along with a new set of internal intelligence bodies, was in place. The fall of Khar ended the first phase of the PPP government of Punjab. Bhutto turned away from the tactic of acting to control Punjab through a single cohort, to one of balancing off different factions. Khar was not completely finished, however, as the pro-One Unit speech at Lyallpur and the Rabwah incident showed. He would again hold the Punjab Governship (14 March 1975 to 31 July 1975), before leaving the party in August 1975. Hanif Ramay was th new Chief Minister(13 March 1974 to 11 July 1975). The most effective PPP parliamentarian to hold such a position, Ramay recovered for the PPP some the ground lost by Khar and produced some of the most important legislation of the PPP period. But, as Bhutto realized, Ramay’s primary weakness waa the narrowness of his urban political base. Possibly given some time, Ramay might have succeeded in his attempt to build himself up as th leader of the Punjab Arains and go down from there to reconstiute the old Mamdot coalition. As it were, Bhutto surrounded Ramay with notables, bureaucrats and police officers who had strong establishment loyalties. Nawab Sadiq Hussain Qureshi was Punjab governor, Fateh Khan Bandial was made Chief Secretary, M.A.K. Choudhury (ex- inspector-General of Police) became Additional Chief Secretary, Col.(Retd) Muhammad Sharif was made Ramay’s Special Assistant, and Sardar Hayat Muhammad Khan Tamman was appointed his Polical Adviser. Further, concomitantly with the cabinet change came the transfer of all the District Commissioners and Superintendants of Police of all the districts of Multan division. All the new D.Cs were men who had entered the bureaucracy as CSPs and who either came from rural notable families or were married into them.
In the end, th Ramay administration was a transitional one. The shift to a greater dependence on the bureaucracy was everywhere evident. Even before Ramay became Chief Minister, the bureaucracy had taken over the crucial functions of formulating policy and drafting legislation–if, indeed, it had even relinquished these functions. The failure of he PPP on this score was the result of the inexperience of the pP Punjab Assembly Party, their preoccupation with factional maneuverings, patronage and perquisites, and th failure of Khar as a parliamentary leader. Most of the original PPP legislation, as one PPP MPA remarked to this writer, was ‘sloppy, ill-conceived and poorly implemented.’ Certainly, part of Ramay’s success as a parliamentary leader stemmed from his willingness to work with the bureaucracy. There were, during the middle Bhutto years, any indications of the revival of bureaucratic authority. These included the bureaucracy’s tutelary role in the PWP, where district and tehsil level bureaucrats soon combined with PPP MNAs and MPAs to exclude party officeholders from any role in the program. But, more than this, the bureaucracy penetrated the party itself. They took over the responsibility for organizing Bhutto’s district tours and audiences (katcheries), leaving the party leaders responsible only for amassing large crowds, a function performed through a process resembling subinfeudation. More importantly, bureaucrats- cynically called ‘Bhuttocrats’- began to mediate disputes in the party and control the channels of patronage and communication between party groups and the Chairman. The latter functions were accomplished by employing OSDs-Officers on Special Duty,- a collection of young pro-Bhutto bureaucrats and lateral entrants attached to a party Affairs Office in the Prime Minister’s Secretariat.
Two other developments during 1974 require at least a mention. One of these was the removal of Dr. Mubashar Hasan from the powerful Central Ministry of Finance. This was seen as a gesture to the industrialists and an indication that even the ‘Third Worlders’ in the PPP were coming under pressure from the old establishment. The other development was the removal of J. A. Rahim from both his cabinet mand party positions in July. The circumstances of this removal shocked all who came to know of it. Believing himself to have been insulted by Rahim–feelings his years, Rahim had left the Prime Minister’s House before a delayed dinner for party leaders could be served,-Bhutto angrily ordered Rahim’s dismissal. The orders were served on Rahim by the FSF in the early hours of the morning and the old gentleman and his son were badly beaten during the process. The removal of Rahim marked a watershed for the PPP. Although not a great organizer, Rabim was a co founder, with Bhutto, of the PPP. He was one of the few men around Bhutto who were neither dazzled by the PPP leader nor corrupted by power. Anything but a sycophant, he had been a constant spokesman in the PPP for maintaining the ideological and organizational integrity of the party, hoping that it could oversee the major policy functions of the government. For his part, Ramay held onto his political position for a year after Rahim’s departure. In July 1975, he moved on to the Senate, leaving the Punjab Chief Ministership to Nawab Sadiq Hussain Qureshi, who held the post until the 1977 elections. Within weeks he was out of the party and joined in an alliance with Khar. The latter entered the Lahore-VI by -election (PP-76 Lahore VI)-Ramay’s old seat-against Sher Muhammad Bhatti, the official PPP candidate, this election, like virtually all the by-elections held during the PPP’s rule, showed the telltale signs of rigging. This does not mean that Khar would have won had the election been fair, but it made his defeat an ‘official’ certainty. Ramay soon joined a reconstituted Muslim League-virtually all of the various league MNAs and MPAs had joined the PPP after the constitutional settlement of the Ahmadiya question–and eventually went to prison, convicted on contrived charges.
His departure from the PPP removed another stone from the original foundation of a party that was rapidly moving to the right and, in the process changing its social make-up. In many ways, the progressive deterioration of the PPP, the dominant party in Punjab after 1971, produced the experience of the Muslim League after 1947. Both periods of decline followed periods of unity and electoral success produced by a mass movement strategy, which focused both on a dominant leader-who was an outsider to the province- and on a strategy that combined nationalism with a radical social program. Both the League and the PPP were essentially loose coalitions of diverse and competing interests and both parties had difficulties in maintaining their organizational boundaries or finding mechanisms to solve internal disputes For both parties, the accession to power corroded party organizations and ended any pretense of party unity. As particularistic cleavages began to re-emerge, so too did the pattern of playing off powerful interprovincial interests, one against the other, and in both cases this ultimately rebounded to the advantage of the rural notables and the bureaucracy.
Certainly, the example of the League’s decline after 1947 was not unknown to Bhutto. In mid-1974 he responded to this writer’s question about the weakness of PPP organization by saying that
The People’s Party must not be allowed to become a Muslim League. The social conditions are there, the society is there-I just can’t support it. The Muslim League was the organizer of Pakistan, but after 1947, it began to become disunited. I hope to build my own selfless cadre. The People’s Party must become a Muslim League. If it does, then I will have failed in that one aspect.
There were signs in late 1974 and early 1975 that Bhutto was giving greater attention to party matters. At Rawalpindi in 1972 the Party High Command had agreed to a complete reorganization of the PPP. In the following two years, party offices from the local to the provincial levels had changed hands at least twice. Though these appointments (not elections) were made under the guise of implementing the Tanzim-i-Nau (New Organization), they were more clearly linked to the shift in factional permutations at the cabinet level in Punjab. Finally, on 30 November 1974 the party published rules and a framework for the reorganization. On 17 January 1975, Dr. Mubashar Hasan was made the Secretary- General of the PPP(the post had been unfilled since the departure of Rahim), with explicit orders to reconstruct the party around a core of Bhutto loyalists.

Though this writer was not in Pakistan long enough to observe the maturation of these efforts, by the time he left in September 1975, there were signs that little had been accomplished. Factional and particularistic forces inside the PPP had become too strong to reverse, and one suspects that whatever organization eventually emerged was th result of bargaining among various power groups in the party, many of which had not been with the PPP until after it assumed power.
In the end, one must consider whether Bhutto failed to appreciate soon enough how critical the matter of party organization was in an era of mass participation. In the anti-Ayub Movement and the late 1970 elections campaign, the PPP had given both powerful voice and ideological focus to the soaring aspirations of the lower social classes. In so doing, the PPP had driven modern political consciousness right to the bottom of society ( at least in Punjab) and had imparted to a whole new generation of political leaders a knowledge of political- agitation techniques. Moreover, in an early period of reform the PPP Regime had given these groups a taste f their victory- though few of the PPP social and interest groups accepted these reforms as anything more than a start toward the implementation of the PPP Manifesto. But, rather pushing through to this end, Bhutto soon changed directions-away from social reform, democracy, from party government, and from the leaders and groups in the PPP that insisted on these things.. Although Bhutto’s commitment to a ‘mixed economy socialism” seems genuine, he was, more that anything else a nationalist, who believed his historic destiny was to complete the work of Jinnah and found Pakistani nationalism on a permanent political base. This led him to his rapprochement with the old establishment, to his efforts to strengthen the centre against regionalist pressures, to his break with Rahim and to a containment of demands for radical social reform. These purposes, and the power to implement them, became Bhutto’s primary concern. For him, the PPP, and the groups it represented, was only one element to be factored into the grander equation. As he told this writer in August 1975
I speak of balance not in terms of a cliche, . . . not in the sense of expediency, of opportunism or of the grand compromise. My concept is rather of an orchestration of power. I see balance as a political logic as precise as a mathematical equation. . .but you always have to seek the balance. Sometimes you have to have imbalance to restore balance if things have gotten out of control. We are in a transitional period. Pakistan is like the adolescent-a stage of ugliness-and ungainliness is inevitable and all part of the process.
For many in the Pakistan People’s Party, this kind of statement was only one more indication of Bhutto’s abandonment of party government and his intention that the PPP should be little more than an instrument with which to win elections. While there would always be a sizable constituency of Bhutto loyalists in Punjab, the charisma of the PPP Chairman had worn thin for many by the beginning of 1975. Convinced that there was no leader on the horizon who could. compete with him, Bhutto relied increasingly on political acrobatics, the calculated use of unpredictability, rewards and threats to keep the opposition off balance and his partymen ( and ex-partymen) in line. A few were willing to caution the PPP Chairman about too great a dependence on the rural notables, the bureaucracy and the military. None of these groups had come through Bhutto’s reforms unscathed. As one member of the Ramay circle wrote prophetically:

the anti-Bhutto elements have not changed but only adjusted themselves with the Chief Executive of Pakistan. It is their habit to adjust themselves with the prevalent power structure. But in their heart of hearts, they still hate Mr. Bhutto. They are waiting for the appearance of a ‘Suharto’ on the political scene of Pakistan an some might be lurking in a corner.

By courtesy: The Pakistan People’s Party by Philip E. Jones, Oxford University Press Oxford, New York 2003