Tag Archives: Pakistan Army

Book Review: Jo Dekha, Jo Suna.. (2007)

WHY I CHOSE TO READ THIS BOOK?

A few months ago, I happened to read Tariq Ali’s “The Leopard and the Fox” which was a script for the show BBC commissioned him in 1985 to write about the final days of Pakistan’s former Prime Minister and the founder of Pakistan People Party (PPP), Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. The project was shelved for being anti-Zia-ul-Haq.

Bhutto’s leadership in Pakistan has always been a talking point whenever the country’s political history has been reflected. During the entire political fiasco the country has suffered, it is worth observing that Zulfikar’s political career was confronted with three of the four military phases. Under Ayub Khan, Bhutto was the Foreign Minister. Yahya Khan handed over his presidency and his government to Bhutto after the fall of East Pakistan. Zia-ul-Haq was Bhutto’s second Chief of Army Staff who later became the reason for his death.

Zulfikar’s political legacy and fresh memories of reading the previous book on Bhutto-Zia prompted me to read Qayyum Nizami’s political analysis of the PPP’s prime era and the memoir of Bhutto in the shape of almost a 500-page book, ‘Jo Dekha Jo Suna’ (What I Saw, What I Heard).


WRITING STYLE AND DETAILING

Although, a book with such lengthy detailing does not really buy me as a reader as I feel that the author has heavily sugar-coated Bhutto’s heroics and overpraised him. I adore Bhutto’s style of addressing and his leadership, the man had the courage to raise his voice against the military dictatorship and address eye-to-eye with the United States. But the flaw is in the style of writing that makes ‘Jo Dekha Jo Suna’ look like some propaganda project.

On page.192, there is a detailed chronological timeline of the Bhutto government’s activities. In these pages, I noticed that a lot of times Bhutto government got loans from Saudi Arabia, the United States, Russia, etc. Why the author doesn’t explain the reason for asking for loans? Pakistan in 2022 still continues the tradition of receiving loans from the IMF and other countries but this history book should have highlighted, why Pakistan was receiving loans fifty years ago.

Bhutto was, without a doubt, a great leader but the author being his disciple has glorified Bhutto and made me think if I was reading a biography of God but not Bhutto. Almost every turn of a page has dramatic praises for him. There is literally a line on page.176 where the author compares Bhutto’s martyrdom with Hussain’s by writing that “Pakistan and third world countries regret Bhutto’s martyrdom just like Islamic world regrets with Hussain’s.”

And then there are various incidents or statements that make you think if the authenticity compromises. The author writes on page.119 about one night during the times of Pakistan military and government officials’ humiliating surrender before the Indian Army, Bhutto’s daughter Benazir enters her father’s room and notices that he is lying on the floor instead of in bed. When she asks the reason then Bhutto replies, “How can I sleep on the bed when 90,000 soldiers sleep on the floor of Indian camps?” Maybe this reads very inspiring to the other readers but I feel as if this is a reel incident but not real.

On page.38, the author states that former Indian Prime Minister, Lal Bahadur Shastri, died of a heart attack. He didn’t bother to clarify that Shastri’s death is still a mystery despite the reason for his passing being announced to be a heart attack. But the author finds it more important to inform the readers that the-then Foreign Secretary Aziz Ahmed called Shastri a bastard.


INTERESTING HIGHLIGHTS

‘Jo Dekha Jo Suna’ is not really full of a disciple glossing his party and the leader in its entirety, there are many pages that are either of some critical significance or heartwarming. I really liked reading about the relationship between Bhutto and his wife, Nusrat. In the earliest pages, there is a chapter where Nusrat Bhutto gives details about how she and Zulfikar came to know each other and tied the knot. In the middle of the book, a chapter reflects on the entire meeting of Nusrat and Benazir with Bhutto in prison a day before he was hanged, and that was pretty heart-boiling to read, picturizing and imagining how things would have gone between these Bhuttos.

‘Jo Dekha Jo Suna’ also offers to read Bhutto’s memorable speeches that are stretched to around fifty pages. The book has documented a lot of letters that Bhutto father and daughter wrote to the author and vice versa. There, also, are letters by famous British philosopher Bertrand Russell to different global leaders of that time praising Bhutto and sharing his point of view about his political vision. There also are over a hundred rare pictures of Bhutto, Benazir, and Qayyum Nizami during various political events.

One of the last chapters of the book covers politicians, journalists, and people from other fields of work briefing their own ‘What they saw, What they heard’ to the readers. Some events and incidents are interesting.


LAHORE, PAKISTAN, APR 08: Punjab Assembly Opposition Leader, Hamza Shahbaz leaving
after court case hearing, at High Court in Lahore on Monday, April 08, 2019. The Lahore High
Court (LHC) granted Punjab Assembly Opposition Leader, Hamza Shahbaz pre-arrest bail till
April 17 and restrained the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) from arresting him in cases
pertaining to ownership of assets beyond means. (Babar Shah/PPI Images).

CLOSING REMARKS

Qayyum Nizami is a veteran politician and columnist who played an important role in Bhutto’s party. He had close political relations with both Bhutto and Benazir. ‘Jo Dekha Jo Suna’ is his extensive insider about the struggling times of his leader and the party.

The motive for reading the book is that the reader acquires knowledge. Bibliophiles cannot remember every word or page of the book they read but naturally, our brain has the obvious capacity to store at least one to twenty percent of the information that is collected from the book. By reading ‘Jo Dekha Jo Suna’, it doesn’t matter whether I liked reading this book or not, I get some clues and rough ideas about the existence of the party, the Bhutto administration, and the political conflicts of his time, and that is what is valuable for me.


The Green Downfall & Fish-Slapping Dance

Theory in existence, Corruption in persistence…

Muslims ruled the subcontinent for 1000 years… really?? I don’t know… Anyhow the Britishers came to teach you the difference between leadership and dictatorship with every fish caught and stored in their ship. You were ruled by them and by years oops I mean by decades to come, you successfully certified (dignified) yourself to be ruled in ages and generations to come and salute.

After major efforts of freedom fighters to Control-Alt-Delete the Britishers, you got inter-dependence in 1947. Later on, your father left the nation in higgledy-piggledy and there was a big ” :S ” over leadership to fall over someone’s shoulder. In the next 65 years, your political system and leadership become laughing stock (of exchange) in many regions of human globe of invest-meant. 

More to a mockery of a joke is that it was hard to find a human being to lead the country with green dignity. So the animals used the human brain and ruled you big time. The political world and state of monarchies (and anarchies) expected separation-demanding people to produce green merlins to justify their separate land’s existence. But instead of green merlin, you in fact produced green chaplin, sometimes green dublin, and even green goblin.

So the leadership was tossed between two kinds of rulers. The ones who are in the military (with all their military ranks embarked from Britishers) and the politicians who are greedy of chair to build their own monarchy and throne their generations by mimics, I mean gimmicks (excuse my heart).

The ruling of the country became unstable and it is all after the assassination at Company Bagh, Rawalpindi in 1951, when a heritage of ‘fish-slapping dance‘ begin. The first presidency was proved a vehicle without engine and after many coronary bypass surgeries, the patient chose to share his bed with another patient in 1958. In almost three weeks, both president and army chief played fish-slapping dance on each other. Soon after Mr.president finally drown in water with a heavy halibut-punch, your military began to rule for the next 13 years. So martial law was imposed on the country (three months after the inaugural Nigar Film Awards).

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The next two presidential elections in 1960 and 1965 witnessed the same army chief, so no challenge of defeating him in fish-slapping dance until in 1969, the guy of his same army rank punched him Halibut-fish. 1970 witnessed your inaugural gene-rall elections. In order to stabilize the heritage of dance, sardine-fish are distributed in Eastenders while halibut-fish in Westenders. A year later, ‘Finding Nemo‘ is released in December 1971.

The toss changed the fate as the man, who founded Pakistan Peoples Party in 1967, got the leadership as the Halibut-fish remained in his hands for the next 6 years. A warning Kiss over nuclear dilemma in 1976 was enough to pen his book in the prison cell. In 1977, nine political parties challenged him to win the fish-slapper over them. Then the introduction of rigga-rigga was rumored in general elections which controversially outraged the opponents of losing the contest without slapping him. The army interfered again and martial law was imposed for the third time with its leader serving the country for the longest term. 

After the plane crash in Bahawalpur in 1988, the leadership had enjoyed (suffered) almost 30 years of fish-slapping dance. But this time, the transfer of leadership suffered a dissolute passion in shape of disease which spread in all the political parties. That disease was Osgood–Schlatter, which broke all the political movement to knees.

Here comes the voice of anarchy, I mean monarchy (excuse my heart again) as the first lady on earth is historically appointed as PM of Muslim state, I repeat… ‘Muslim’ state!! She leads the country twice but with an incomplete period of time due to dismissal from the president. The reasons were simple, Osgood-Schlatter disease made the government unstable enough to not be able to stand on their feet. Surgeons had pre-informed the patient for knee surgery but she didn’t listen to him.

In the chair-winning race after the plane crash of 1988, further more animals were found in different regions. One city saw a revolution where a minor student organization transform to a major ethnic organization which gave birth to a major party based on their roots to be realized as rejected in many controversial events in the past. The other city came on major hold by a man jumping into politics only to get his family property back snatched by the past government. He expanded his business and political roots stabilized in his region but the disease had no limits.

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Finally in 1999, a fish-slapping dance contest was fought between the-then leader and the mercenary. The incidents matched tribute of first ever dance put to formal in 1958, as the army kicked the man the same way and 4th Martial Law was imposed on the country. Next eight years, the man in army boots never let anyone dance with sardine-fish on him. Big names left the country. Years later, they came back. Even the ‘justice league’ of Pakistan (coughs) were put to test the patience. The mercenary stepped down after the 2008 general elections and the country witnessed a real animal winning the presidential election. The country witnessed no-holds-barred in the most corrupted and shameless government ever came to run a 5-year term. Osgood-Schlatter was on it’s Everest-peak and all the fish had committed suicide just at the announcement of the new president being a dog.

In near future, there is a chance that finally the fish will not be tortured, voters won’t bother fingering when the thumb is gifted to mark on hope, international cricket may resume, international-begging may stop, minorities may not suffer, Baluchistan may not be forgotten. Because in these 5 testing years, a major voice became a nationwide revolution of change and call for unity in the development phase. The youth get inspired from all corners and patriotism level got exposure to height after a long time and lanky wait. Recent elections shook the momentum as the evidence caught, proved the general elections one of worst rigga-rigga displays of all time. The old gimmicks had applied to subjugate the land but the harsh truth for all fish-slapping dancers is that change has changed the change.

“A revolution can be neither made nor stopped. The only thing that can be done is for one of several of its children to give it a direction by dint of victories.” Napolean Bonaparte