The Bhutto Dynasty: The Struggle for Power in Pakistan

Osama Siddiqui

This book ‘The Bhutto Dynasty: The Struggle for Power in Pakistan’ describes the early lives of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto. The times they spent at Harvard and Oxford are briefly discussed. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had some complexes which are also mentioned there. Being born to a rich feudal father and a poor mother, he always had carried the pain and feelings for the poor people in his heart as his mother belonged to a poor family.

The Bhuttos are actually those who are most followed and respected in Pakistan despite the fact that there are also a number of political families in the country. It is because they carried the burden of the problems of the homeland on their shoulders through the most charismatic leader Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. This book is an attempt to show how Zulfiqar Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto’s characters were huge in the Pakistani politics. It also shows that how much they suffered due to the firmness of their decisions and stances.

The publication also throws light on the relationship and understanding of Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari in detail. It tells about an incident which happens when Benazir and Asif Zardari go to a party in London, while leaving Benazir, Mr Zardari writes the Prime Minister of Pakistan for her whereas he writes his name with the caption, ‘Nobody’.

The tussle of power between Murtaza Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto is also explained in the book that created a rift in the family. There was enough support to show how the US President John F. Kennedy once told Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto while he was accompanied by Murtaza Bhutto on his trip to the US that he might be the future Prime Minister of Pakistan. This is an answer to those who believe that Zulfiqar Bhutto had chosen Benazir over Murtaza. This may be true, however, their father provided them with equal opportunities. Both of them were sent to Harvard and Oxford and their ways might be different but they were highly interested in politics.

However, the struggle of Benazir Bhutto will always be remembered. It was against the cruel dictatorships and is written by many authors and columnists, and this book is no different. It clearly mentions that how Benazir faced a tough life whereas she could have lived abroad and enjoyed the perks of life but she was the daughter of Mr Bhutto so how she could leave the country in an abnormal situation.

Courageous and bold at heart, Benazir struggled against the dictatorship of General Zia-ul-Haq in a democratic way which further boosted her image in the eyes of the workers of the party whom Zulfiqar Bhutto used to call Jiyalas. It is mentioned in the book that the Benazir’s governments faced a lot of accusations due to many reasons while she was unable to make good relations with the establishment of that times which resulted in toppling of her governments.

When she returned to Pakistan in 2007, the whole country danced and greeted her in joy, because, it was the only Benazir whom they looked up to against the dictatorship of General Pervez Musharraf. Actually, she had fought General Zia so the people believed that she would also take on Musharraf unlike to her opponent Mian Nawaz Sharif who was brought up by General Zia and later when he was ousted by Musharraf he left for Saudi Arabia. However, she was assassinated and the country was in chaos that when Mr Zardari and Bilawal Bhutto would take the reins of the party.

In 2008, PPP came into power but its government had been controversial as the Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani refused to write to Swiss banks regarding the accounts of Asif Ali Zardari so he was disqualified by the Supreme Court of Pakistan. The party’s popularity shrunk a lot during his tenure and PPP lost the general elections in 2013, however, Asif Ali Zardari completed his five years as the President of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and handed over the government to Mian Nawaz Sharif peacefully.

It can be concluded that it is up to Bilawal Bhutto Zardari that how he wants to be remembered and how he inspires the youth and appeals them so that he may not be rejected but accepted in the coming times. But he should remember that he is the grandson of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and the son of Benazir Bhutto that’s why he has a lot of responsibility on his shoulders. Those who are interested in reading the history of the Bhutto family should definitely go through this amazing and wonderful publication.

The writer is a student of M.Sc Business and Management at the Cardiff University, Wales, United Kingdom. He has keen interest in the modern South Asian history, cricket, films and the history of Subcontinent. He may be reached at:

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