Chandigarh, Monday, January 24,1972

Democracy—Bhutto Style

THE Bhutto brand of democracy is in essence an echo of the ill-fated scheme President Ayub Khan designed as a sop to liberal thought. In his first broadcast as President of Pakistan, Mr. Bhutto made out a strong case for restoration of democracy in his country. But the plan he has just revealed for a limited form of parliamentary government reflects his mental contradictions. While keeping his promise to make an early announcement, he has offered only the shadow while taking good care to retain the substance. During his years of political wilderness, he had consistently criticised the steps towards “democracy” which President Ayub Khan and later Gen. Yahya Khan disclosed with much fanfare. Gen. Yahya Khan’s politics, Mr. Bhutto said, were a “fraud...they were treacherous.” Yahya Khan wanted “seven or eight parties to come to power so that he could stand on top.” But Mr. Bhutto’s own plan conforms to the same pattern. Like his predecessors, he too distrusts other politicians and hence proceeds warily. Like them he has declined to lift martial law even while professing democratic intentions. Martial law and democracy stand poles apart. Elections to the newly christened local bodies in Pakistan are unlikely to be fair and free under the heels of the army. If anti-Bhutto forces capture the majority in these committees, Mr. Bhutto might quash them and repeat the Yahya Khan treachery practised in Dacca in March 1971. Yahya Khan had at any rate fixed the deadline for restoring various phases of popular rule. But Mr. Bhutto seems unwilling to take such risks. He has not indicated when he would discard the powers he assumed as President and Chief Martial Law Administrator on December 20. Nor is it known when the National Assembly, shorn of its dominant eastern quota, would meet.

Tribune Shorts


Top News

Survey under way at Gyanvapi Masjid complex for third day amid tight security

‘Shivling found in Gyanvapi Masjid complex’: Court orders sealing of spot, mosque panel disputes claim

Advocate commissioners will submit their report to court on ...

China building infrastructure near Arunachal border, says Army

China building infrastructure near Arunachal border, says Army

We are also upgrading our infrastructure and capabilities as...

Hundreds of complainants from across Punjab attend AAP Govt’s Lok Milni event to redress grievances

Hundreds of complainants from across Punjab attend AAP Govt’s Lok Milni event to redress grievances

Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann had invited people to the event...

PM Modi holds bilateral talks with his Nepalese counterpart Deuba; 6 pacts signed

India and Nepal's ever-strengthening friendship will benefit entire humanity: PM Modi

Compares ties between the two neighbours as unshakeable like...

Targeted killings of KPs, non-locals aimed to keep terrorism alive in Kashmir: Army commander

Targeted killings of KPs, non-locals aimed to keep terrorism alive in Kashmir: Army commander

'Pakistan has created a facade of proxy outfits to give an i...

Cities

View All