Bhutto came into power when India intervened in December, defeating the Pakistani Army, and East Pakistan emerged as the state of Bangladesh. Yahya Khan resigned, and Bhutto was inaugurated as President and Chief Martial Law Administrator on December 20, 1971. He had been the first civilian Martial Law Administrator of Pakistan. For a brief period, Bhutto appointed General Gul Hassan as the Commander-in-chief of the then demoralized Pakistani Army. Bhutto’s era can be classified as “As president of Pakistan” and “As Prime minister of Pakistan”.
Bhutto as President:
Bhutto remained in president’s power from 1971 to 1973. during his presidency Bhutto undergone following activities.
Bhutto dismissed Gul Hassan in March 1972 and appointed General Tikka Khan as Chief of the Army Staff, who proved to be extremely loyal to Bhutto since he genuinely believed that the army should only perform its professional duties and not interfere in politics. Tikka Khan ensured that the army did not intrude in politics, which was greatly advantageous to Bhutto as it allowed him to enact his policies with the knowledge that the chances of a military coup had been eliminated.
Bhutto aimed to prevent further division of the country, by implementing socialist reforms. Nationalization of Pakistan’s major industries, life insurance companies, and private schools and colleges was the first step towards these reforms.
The Karachi Nuclear Power Plant was inaugurated by Bhutto during his role as President of Pakistan at the end of 1972. Long before, as Minister for Fuel, Power and National Resources, he has played a key role in setting up of the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission. The Kahuta facility was also established by the Bhutto Administration.
Bhutto as Prime minister of Pakistan:
Bhutto worked as prime minister of Pakistan from 1973 to 1977. His era is entitled with many developments including national solidarity. Following are the important achievements of Bhutto’s era.
Bhutto lifted the martial law and pushed through a new constitution in 1973, resolving the major dispute of the powers of president and prime minister (the powers were laid in the office of the prime minister).
Although Bhutto established a parliamentary system, his view of democracy was, however, controversial. In 1975, he banned the main Opposition party, the National Awami Party (Wali) and arrested the leader of the Opposition Wali Khan.
(His special personal paramilitary force the Federal Security Force was accused of widespread abuses, targetting opposition and critics within the party with equal abandon. He also reintroduced emergency powers after the passage of the Constitution, muzzled the press and emasculated the judiciary. )
Bhutto remained neutral on international arena by withdrawing Pakistan from the British Commonwealth of Nations and from the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO), sponsored by the United States. He also negotiated the Simla Agreement in July 1972, which confirmed a line of control dividing Kashmīr and prompted the withdrawal of Indian troops from Pakistani territory. In 1974, Bhutto hosted the second meeting of the Organization of the Islamic Conference in the city of Lahore. He used this forum to announce Pakistan’s official recognition of Bangladesh.
The Nagative Impact of Bhuto’s Nationalization Policy:
Bhutto integrated the national harmony, but on economic grounds his decision of socialist economic system had not been successful, even it placed some negative impact on the future economic progress. Bhutto’s nationalization broke some of the 22 families financially but several of them were also broken in body and spirit, with the result that they disposed off industaries that escaped nationalization or self-imposed a moratorium on new projects.
In fact Bhutto’s idea behind the nationalization of industries, banks and insurance companies etc was an effort to achieve full employment, but unluckily, Bhutto couldn’t maintain the circumstances in accordance with the requirements of the nationalized industries and thus the nationalized organiztions became less productive and more troubling.
Having a detailed look of Bhutto’s era I conclude that he was the only learned politician ever in the history of Pakistan, he knew the best way to lead people. He had extraordinary good qualities of a good leader. The drawback in Bhutto’s management which I feel is his weakness in Administring and managing his own decisions.
Pakistan Studies by Gul Shehzad Sarwar