The 40th death anniversary of Pakistan People Party (PPP) founder late Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto is being observed today (April 4). Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was a prominent politician, who brought about numerous reforms and changes in the governance of Pakistan, thereby taking it from a presidentially-led country to a parliamentary-led one. He was president of Pakistan 1971–1973 and prime minister 1973–1977. On April 4, 1979, he was executed in Punjab, Pakistan, after being overthrown by General Zia’s military coup.
He was born on January 5, 1928, in Larkana. He studied at Cathedral and John Connon School in Bombay (present day Mumbai). Growing in a prominent political family, politics ran in the blood of this young lad. As such, while at school, he became a student activist and made valuable contribution in the social movement and nationalistic league.
His political career was started in 1957 when he became the youngest member of Pakistan’s delegation to the United Nations. Following year, he led Pakistan delegation to the inaugural United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea. His political career met with a breakthrough when he was appointed as a cabinet minister in the Ministry of Water and Power in 1958 by Field Marshal Ayub Khan. In 1960, he was given the charge of the Ministry of Commerce, Communications and Industry. In 1963, he was appointed Foreign Minister of the country.
In 1967, he established Pakistan People’s Party, along with Dr. Mubashir Hassan, J.A. Rahim and Basit Jehangir Sheikh. The party became a part of the pro-democratic movement and denounced Ayub Khan’s regime as a dictatorship, demanding his resignation. He formed a new Constitution for the country, changing it from a presidential system to a parliamentary one.
He worked for the improvement of workers’ rights and nationalized several key industries including banking sector. He made revolutionary effort to expand education during his rule. A large number of schools and colleges were built. The establishment of world-class Quaid-e-Azam University and Gomal University have been credited to him.
He brought about several land reforms empowering the small scale farmer. He aimed to make the country self-sufficient. He established Federal Flood Commission, which was tasked to prepare national flood protection plans, and flood forecasting and research to harness floodwater.
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