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English rendering of
Last speech of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto in Rawalpindi

December 27, 2007


 

 

 

Shaheed Benazir Bhutto was a true student of her illustrious father Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Shaheed. While he taught and trained his meritorious daughter in politics, he was also her teacher in the art of speaking at public rallies. Her  style and the way she sent the message home, motivating and mobilizing the people to action touching their heart, all has been a true copy of Shaheed Bhutto. Shaheed Benazir Bhutto must have rendered hundreds of public speeches and the last she delivered was at the Liaquat Bagh, Rawalpindi, as part of her election campaign soon after which she fell to the assassin’s bullet on the unfortunate evening of December 27, 2007.

 

Wrapped in the traditional Sindhi ‘ajrak’, when she rose to speak to a massive gathering of enthusiastic party workers and the people carrying the national and tri-colour Pakistan People’s Party flags raising slogans that shook the vast park and its neighbourhood, she raised her hands above her head clapping the spirited gathering. She raised catchphrases and the huge number of people responded with great spirit. “Nara-i-Takbeer, Allah O Akbar”, Nara-i-Haidri, Ya Ali”, Nara-i-Bhutto, Jiye Bhutto”, and Awam Hero Hero, Baqi Sab Zero Zero”, were some of the slogans before Shaheed Benazir started her address. Pakistan People’s Party workers have raised Bhutto slogans even when they gather bodies of their fellows. They ask the dictator’ “Tum Kitne Bhutto Maro Gay, Har Gali Se Bhutto Nikle Ga” (How many Bhuttos you will kill, Bhutto will emerge from every street).   

 

 

The following is the text of the last speech of her meritorious career and life:

 

“These are the slogans a I have come to Rawalpindi today, I understand this is the city of brave and sacrificing people; I consider Rawalpindi as my second home. When Bhutto Sahib was a minister, I used to live here, I used to go to a school at Rawalpindi. I have seen moments of joy and gloomy times in Rawalpindi. I must say that the brave people of Rawalpindi have been with me in moments of happiness; brave sisters and brethren of this city stood by me in hours of our sadness; they have never let me alone.

 

“This is the same city which saw that when Yahya Khan was not leaving, they thronged to the Liaquat Bagh to hold a huge and powerful rally and that forced dictator Yahya step down; it was after that the government of the Pakistan People’s Party was established. Rawalpindi is the same city from where Zulfikar Ali Bhutto started his struggle against the dictatorship of General Ayub Khan and young Abdul Hameed sacrificed his life for democracy. This is the city which has defeated all dictators and Inshallah its people will once again inflict a crushing defeat on another dictator and usher in an era of democracy; the sun of democracy will again rise on the horizon of Rawalpindi.

 

“The people of this city love democracy and have never bowed their head before autocratic regimes. Gen Ziaul Haq came and let the rein of terror loose; young people were persecuted and sent to jail; young Abdul Hameed burnt himself to death and Idrees Tooti was hanged. Thousands of workers were flogged and made to face brutal treatment at Lahore’s Shahi Fort. Yet, they did not leave their sister and the Pakistan People’s Party.       

 

“Quaid-i-Awam Shaheed Bhutto established the Pakistan People’s Party for the poor, hapless and the oppressed people. He worked for the welfare of the down trodden in his government. He made the defence of Pakistan inviolable and the comity of nations held our country in esteem and respect. When you voted Bhutto into power, you did not merely elevate him to the office of the prime minister; you also chose the chairman of the Islamic Summit Conference which Shaheed Bhutto held in Lahore and gathered leaders of the entire Muslim world. He chose Lahore (for the conference) because Lahore is the heart of Punjab and Punjab is the heart of Pakistan. The people of Punjab have always put up a courageous struggle for the unity and integrity of Pakistan. Even when Pakistan was yet to be established, the people of Punjab stood behind the Quaid-i-Azam. The emergence of Pakistan in 1947 has been through a bloodbath and no-one can forget that great sacrifice of the people of Punjab. They have always been in the forefront of democratic struggle and offered every sacrifice for this cause. The people of Punjab have not only offered unforgettable sacrifices for the establishment of Pakistan but also demonstrated audacity and valour for its survival, progress and development. Who can forget the bravery and steadfastness of the people of Punjab when they saved Lahore and Pakistan during the war in Gen Ayub Khan’s period. They tied bombs to their bellies so that Indian tanks overrun their body and Lahore does not fall nor does Pakistan. I pay my compliments to the sons and daughters of these brave people.

 

“My dear sisters and brethren, you are the real power; if Pakistan is a big country of the world and the world holds Pakistan in respect, it is because of your strong will and sacrifices. Your sister feels confident that they way you stood by the Quaid-i-Azam, the Quaid-i-Awam and the Pakistan People’s Party for the development and well being of Pakistan, you will lend your strength to the daughter of the Qaid-i-Awam to achieve the cherished goal of a glorious, strong and prosperous Pakistan where they live in peace and an environment of dignity and honour.

 

“Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was a great leader, he gave the country the Constitution in 1973; the people and he brave workers of Pakistan People’s Party  safeguarded the constitution in all odds; you remember the days when dictator Ziul Haq attempted to undermine the constitution, hey stood against him in saving the country’s basic law. They used to gather at Liaquat Bagh vowing to protect the constitution and when they came out they were meted out the worst coercion. They were flogged and maltreated but after every lash they received on their body, they yelled the slogan of restoring the constitution and the release of Bhutto; they always said they stand for justice and will not yield before tyranny. This was the leadership of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto which turned Pakistan into a nuclear power. When India detonated its nuclear device, fretfulness spread all over Pakistan. India first broke Pakistan during the Yahya Khan regime and then exploded atomic bomb. This was the time that a fear crept across the country about the security and unity of Pakistan. It was at this point of the time when Shaheed Bhutto said that we will eat grass but make nuclear bomb as a deterrence and ensure that no-one cast an evil eye on our country. And the world saw Pakistan joining the nuclear nations and this secured our country from the danger of another dismemberment. Thus Bhutto made Pakistan’s defence strong.

 

“When the daughter of the Quaid-i-Awam came to power, army generals came to me saying that Indians have a missile technology that we do not have. This technology enables Indians to hit Pakistan with bombs; Pakistan will not be able to respond in making sure of our defence similarly secured. If they (Indians) know that Pakistan has the missile capability to give a befitting reply to their assault, they will not be able to attack Pakistan. Brethren and sisters, I provided the Pakistan armed forces the required missile technology as a deterrent and made the country’s defence strong so that no aggression can be done against Pakistan and its people are able to live with dignity.

 

“Brethren and sisters, the Pakistan People’s Party has always made hectic efforts to make Pakistan strong. And when you elected your sister you did not only elect a prime minister but also the first woman head of government in the whole of the Muslim world. This raised the image of Islam and Pakistan as an enlightened society. The Pakistan People’s Party firmly believes in the well being of the people which alone is the greatest of the powers. We have a firm conviction in the thinking that strong army lone does not make countries strong, the real strength of a country lies in the empowerment, development and well being of its people. That is whenever the Pakistan People’s Party came into power, it has held progress, development and improving the economic lot of the people in the highest priority. You may have nuclear power or missile technology but if you are poor and deprived of basic necessities, non-one can ensure the strength of the any government or the people to make that the country’s defence is secured. The Pakistan People’s Party has written in its manifesto that if the poor is living below the human standards, if the stomach of an industrial worker or a child is empty, if a good number of the people are living in abject poverty, if the educated youth and skilled and semi-skilled workforce is unemployed, if the salaries class is unable to keep the relation of heart and soul together and if an elderly pensioner is unable to live within his own means, the country can not be said to be strong in defence and security no matter if it has nuclear power or missile technology. Such a country is always vulnerable to the dangers and conspiracies of the elements who are unsavory in approach and attitude towards the country; they will exploit the situation to their benefit. 

 

“The Pakistan People’s Party has always enjoyed the support, love and cooperation of the people. We have made strong governments and this strength was bestowed upon our governments by the people. No-one dared in the Pakistan People’s Party governments to undermine our country; no-one ventured to impose war on us during our government; no-one was emboldened to resort to terrorism in our government. All these wars, whether in 1965 or in 1971, began in undemocratic regimes. Pakistan had to abdicate unilaterally during the Kargil episode and left our army men in lurch. This unfortunate incident did also not take place during the People’s Party government because we hold the honour of this country as our own honour and we all can offer sacrifice for the country.

 

“Comrades, People’s Party governments established peace in the region. Our country was facing the threat that it will be declared as a terrorist state. When the People’s Party came into power it got the country rid of the menace of terrorism and the threat of being declared as a terrorist state. The country is once again is in the danger. Balochistan is our largest province and army operation is in progress there; the result is that a wave of despondency is current across the province. Our borders present a strange situation because the people have not been organized and there is a lack of cooperation with the administration. The circumstances have so deteriorated that our police say that terrorists are about to attack and they want reinforcement.

 

“How the Quaid-i-Awam saved the country; he organized and mobilized the power of the people to retrieve the country out of every crises. Today our motherland is calling us that I am in danger, see Balochistan, see northern areas, see our mosques; this land, our land, is asking you, asking me for help. That is why I have come to you, I have come to this Liaquat Bagh at this historic moment; I have come to ask you to fix your seal on the arrow; arrow is the symbol of this country; arrow is the image of the pride and splendid future of the country. Inshallah, when the government of People’s Party will be in place, we will implement a five-point programme. Our five-point programme promises jobs. How many of you know that there are around two million educated youth who have no jobs. When a leader criticizes this state of affairs, the answer in reply is that the economy is shaping well; why you say it is in bad shape; the exchequer is robust. But I say their personal exchequer is going from strength to strength ad not that of the people and their country. They privatized industries but the exchequer is still in lean health; and they left two million people jobless.

 

“Comrades, if we say that there is acute unemployment, people can not live within the means of their salaries and pensioners can not lead a respectable life; they say the economy is good and improving. They are not prepared to listen to anyone. Governments are under an obligation to pay heed to all grievances and solve the problems of the people. The People’s Party has devised a comprehensive manifesto to salvage the country and its people out of crisis and removing unemployment is on the top of our agenda.

 

“We will also spread the light of education to every nook and corner of Pakistan. Your sister will give you a university at this Potohar region so that your children can get better and quality higher education and secure good jobs. Our third point is energy; neither an industry nor a tube well is run without energy or illuminate any household. Our fourth point is better environment and improved health facilities for 160 million people. I say that when the age of your parents reaches an advanced stage, can they go to a hospital and get quality health facilities; Our hospitals need good machines, abundant medicines and dedicated doctors to give best possible treatment to the sick. This is the duty of a genuinely Islamic and democratic society; it must take care of the weaker classes; this is what humanity exactly demands. Humanity means that all classes should be enabled to live a life they want and society as a whole should benefit from its fruits. This also includes the will of the people to establish a government according to their aspirations. We will solve the problems of teachers and we will solve the problems of doctors. The People’s Party government employed one lakh teachers and also trained them how to impart learning; this shows our resolve of making education popular and within the reach of all. We also recruited lady health visitors with the objective f reaching our mothers to apprise themselves of the heath of their children.

 

“Our fifth point is equality; and jobs, education, environment, energy and equality complete our five-point programme. We understand that with this programme in practice, we will be able to fulfill the promise of the Quaid-i-Awam and the People’s Party”. Benazir Shaheed then raised the slogan --  roti, kapra and makan, mang raha haid har insaan (bread, clothing and home for all) and the people responded with the full throat slogans, “Zinda Hai Bhutto Zinda Hai,  Kal Bhi Bhutto Zinda Tha Aaj Bhi Bhutto Zinda Hai, Nara-i-Bhutto, Jiye Bhutto, Jiye Bhutto”.

 

“My sisters, brethren, elders, we will raise the level of education and give the teacher respect and a quality life. We will set up industries in the public and private sectors so that the people get employment. Pakistan is an agricultural country and we will promote agriculture on the modern lines. We will review the oppressive IRO (Industrial Relations Ordinance) of 2002; will provide the mill hand with the opportunity of organizing trade unions. Never in any of the People’s Party governments downsizing took place and we will not do so in the future either. The Pakistan People’s Party has always stood by the people; the history of the People’s Party is replete with democratic struggle for (the rights of) the people.

 

“The Quaid-i-Awam was put to gallows, my two brothers were assassinated, my mother had her head injured with stave attack, your brother Asif Ali Zardari was put in jail, he was kept in Pindi and Attock prisons and I too was placed in prison and incarcerated several times. Yet we did not parted ways with the people and the people also remained steadfast and kept on supporting us; they are still with us and together we will realize the cherished goal of justice and a welfare society. Non-one of us left each other because ours is the way of truth, ours is the way of justice, ours is the way of legitimacy; non-one can separate us from pursuing this path.

 

“My brethren, this is a year of high importance; several incidents took place this year; the Chief Justice of Pakistan was sacked twice; our judges were arrested; Islamabad witnessed the incident of the Lal Masjid during which more than one hundred people were killed and everybody was became suspicious after these troublesome events if the elections will be held. When I returned home to fulfill my promise to you and bring about a change in the country, to restore democracy and dispense with dictatorship, elements inimical to this change and democracy convulsed the city of Karachi with a massive bomb explosion. The attempt was aimed at removing the entire People’s Party leadership from the scene; disrupt the process of elections and pave the way for undemocratic elements to prolong and perpetuate in power unlawfully. But the saviour is bigger than the killer and this conspiracy failed. I pay my tribute to the martyrs who offered their lives to save the people’s party leadership.

 

“When political orphans saw that elections are approaching and their era is ending, they once again conspired to get emergency imposed. They beseeched Gen Musharraf to remain the Chief of Army Staff for another five years. These political orphans wanted the use the shoulders of our armed forces to resort to political firing; these political orphans wanted to flee from elections. Recent surveys indicate that the people have rejected these political orphans and the victory of the People’s Party and the N League was imminent and no-one will be able to thwart this victory nor will they be able to rig these elections because no patriot can accept slavery and damage the country. They, however, continued their efforts to get the state of emergency enforced and secure another five years for Musharraf. I pay you tributes for responding to the call of the People’s Party to agitate and the people of Rawalpindi demonstrated that they succeeded in holding protest. Your sister was stopped from coming to Rawalpindi; but you faced tear gassing and baton charge for several hours in the streets of this city. You have proved that you are a nation, a vibrant nation, and you are the heroes, heroes and political orphans are zero, zero.

 

“Comrades, your protest ignited political agitation throughout the country; long march was also held; this is because of the popular pressure that the conspiracy of political orphans has failed. These political orphans used to mislead and confuse the people by false claims that Mohtarma will not return; Mian Nawaz Sharif will not return. I want to ask these political orphans why did they tell a lie; Mohtarma returned home and Mian Sahib also came back and your falsehood stood exposed. These political orphans also tried their best to get emergency enforced. But my compliments to you brethren that you made them to flee and emergency rule came to an end. These political orphans also claimed that elections will not be held for two years; my compliments to you brethren that you have made them run away and now elections are being held on 8th of January.

 

“These political orphans also claimed that Gen Musharraf will remain as the Chief of Army Staff for another five years. But they again failed Gen Musharraf stepped down and appointed a new Chief of the Army Staff. This is strong indicator for political orphans who should now realize that their end round the corner. All their false claims have stood exposed one by one; their claim of emergency, postponing of elections, uniform, and rigging of elections, all have proved to hollow claims; their period is ending; the people of Pakistan have given their verdict. The voice of the people from Karachi to Khyber is resounding, welcome, welcome Benazir. Voice of people from Karachi to Khyber is resounding, farewell, farewell political orphans.

 

“My sisters and brethren, you have given a great honour to your sister. Twice you elected me as the prime minister; it is no longer important if I become the prime minister for the third time; what is important is that I have risked my life while coming back; but I had to return because my country is in danger. I feel that the people feel concerned about the country’s circumstances. That is why I have returned home; I have come to you to say that your sister needs those who are brave; who are courageous and who are faithful to the national flag; the flag of our motherland and the flag of the Pakistan People’s Party. I need your support in the work for the security and integrity of Pakistan; let us join hands to steer the country out of the crisis and rid the country from those who have endangered its security”.

 

Benazir Bhutto Shaheed then named the party candidates for elections and they included Dr Israr Shah, Nayyar Bokhari, Ghulam Murtaza Satti, Raja Shafqat Abbasi, Col Shabbir Awan, Raja Pervez Ashraf, Raja Tariq Kiyani, Brig Mohammad Hasan Awan, Khurram Pervez Raja, Dr Zafar Iqbal, Syed Jafar Shah, Sardar Shoaib Ahmad, Hasan Syed, Syed Zamurrud Khan,  Chaudhry Waris, Chaudhry Safdar, Aamer Fida Pasha, Khalid Nawaz Bobby, Zulfiquar Malik, Sardar Shaukat, Ishtiaq Mirza, Rashed Naseem, Azmat Bokhari and Dr Naseem Awan. She also announced the party candidates from Rawalpindi division. Later, she asked from candidates on behalf of the people if they reach parliament, they will serve the masses. She then got a promise from candidates that they would not forget their brethren and sisters in the party and among the people. “Raise your hands and make a pledge”; and they did so raising their hands and held out their commitment to the people. Benazir Bhutto Shaheed then said that she had earlier given a Rs6 billion package for Rawalpindi; she then directed candidates to build a flyover and make Rawalpindi the most beautiful city of the world. She then asked them if they will give employments from a quota on merit to the people not care for your relatives. All of them made a solemn pledge that they will only serve the people and have no other consideration.

 

Benazir Bhutto Shaheed then turned to the people in the public rally saying: “You have seen they (candidates) have made a commitment; they are your servants, not masters; they are not lotas (political turncoats). Go and spread my message that I have returned to serve masses and the country. The People’s Party candidates will serve the people. Now my brethren you also raise your hands and hold out a promise with me that you vote for your sister, the symbol of arrow, defeat political orphans”. The entire gathering raised their voice “Yes, yes, yes”. “What is Pindi’s symbol; what is workers symbol; what is labourer’s symbol; what is masses symbol; it is only and only arrow. Thank you very much. Victory will soon bow before you.

 

Jiye Bhutto, Pakistan Zindabad”.

 

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