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The Judicial Hanging and Murder of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan

Updated on December 23, 2017

A Foul Deed in Pakistan

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was a firebrand politician of Pakistan. He was a junior minister during the term of General Ayub Khan and later became foreign minister of Pakistan under General Yahiya Khan. Bhutto was in some respects a megalomaniac and his role in the breakup of Pakistan was not minimal.

Ali Bhutto

Bhutto was the man who egged on General Yahiya Khan not to honor the verdict of the 1969 elections that would have put Sheikh Mujibar Rehman in the Prime minister's chair. On the contrary, he further advised the General to launch a crackdown in Pakistan. Sheikh Mujibar was arrested and tried for treason. The rest is history as India under Indira Gandhi took advantage of a fluid situation and freed East Pakistan. Now we know that Bhutto was the catalyst that broke Pakistan with his own dream of being the prime minister of Pakistan.

Bhutto as PM

After the break up of Pakistan Bhutto became the Prime minister, but here again, he was at loggerheads with the opposition who accused him of rigging the election. Bhutto now committed a fatal mistake. He promoted General Zia ul Haq a junior general by superseding 5 other generals as the Chief of Army staff. General Zia showed his loyalty to Bhutto by ousting him from power in military coup. Bhutto was lodged in jail.

Now a diabolical plan was hatched by Zia and his generals to eliminate Bhutto. ZA Bhutto was charged with the murder of a political opponent’s father. The evidence to say the least was flimsy and to expiate matters the case was straightaway heard in the high court.

Death Sentence

Despite the flimsy evidence, Bhutto was sentenced to death by hanging. An appeal was made to the Pakistan Supreme court. Unfortunately, Pakistan has no tradition of an independent judiciary and the Supreme Court by a 4-3 verdict upheld the death sentence. The Pakistan judges thus stood dammed before the world and Zia could now put his diabolical plan in action.

Zia disregarded all appeals from world leaders and got Bhutto hanged. It was a travesty of justice. The Indian government at that time headed by Morarji Desia failed to condemn the hanging. I wonder how a Gandhian leader like Morarji could do this. It was a shameful act and the Janta government paid the price by being trounced in the 1980 general elections.


Bhutto was a maverick. For all his faults he did not deserve to be hanged as a common criminal. Yet it was done. It will be correct to say that Bhutto was murdered with the connivance of the Pakistan judiciary. One wonders how these judges who upheld the hanging of Bhutto could sleep in bed after such a terrible decision.


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    • fpherj48 profile image


      6 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      MG....Of course I am aware enough to know as with anything "political" there are many sides and many different views and opinions. Also, "Reconcilliation" was written by Benazir herself, and I would expect it to be favorable....but it was not clear within the pages of this book that her husband was anything but100% supportive of her beliefs and goals.

      I will look forward to the hub you plan to write in detail. I am an open-minded individual and always want to be advised of others views. As for her seems that "gossip" may be the culprit?

      Please let me know when you have wrtten about Benazir!

    • MG Singh profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Dear fpherj48, Thank you for your comment. I am afraid Benazir squandered a great opportunity to lead Pakistan forward. She was hemmed by the activities of her husband Ali Zardari ( now President of Pak) who was known as Mr. 10%. She failed on many fronts and above all there are tales that she knew of the killing of her brother. Corruption rode on a horse under her stewardship. I shall write in detail about it, but thank you for sparing your precious time to comment.

    • fpherj48 profile image


      6 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      MG....I wanted to comment on this hub, to say that this man's daughter, "Benazir," became a respected heroine to me, after I read her powerful book, "Reconcilliation." I still remember, feeling the need to read many pages over and over, so that I could fully comprehend the political atmosphere and activities of a country I knew very little about.

      Benazir's courage and her devotion to the people of her beloved country, Pakistan, was beyond any I had known of any other woman in history. She stood up, unafraid and outspoken for her core beliefs, enduring incredible hardships and sacrifice.

      I couldn't help but embrace this woman as though I knew her personally and fully supported her heroic mission. I literally cried tears when she was assassinated.

      What is your own opinion of Benazir?

    • MG Singh profile imageAUTHOR

      MG Singh 

      6 years ago from Singapore

      Thank you for your appreciative comment Hubert

    • profile image

      Hubert Williams 

      6 years ago

      Very good article. Judges every day make bad decisions. I suppose that after so many they simply walk through the procedure ignoring the facts, collecting whatever gratuity available saying to Hell with the human condition. You handled the telling of this story very well, I feel.

    • Deborah Brooks profile image

      Deborah Brooks Langford 

      6 years ago from Brownsville,TX

      This is still going on.. unfortunately..great write

      I voted up


    • DFiduccia profile image


      6 years ago from Las Vegas

      The wheels of the world’s various political machines continue to grind life into death for the purpose of personal gain for those in charge. Voted up for interesting.


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