Sir Shahnawaz Bhutto

The Bhutto family migrated to Sindh during the reign of Mughuls when Kalhoras were ruling in Sindh under the suzerainty of Mughul Emperors. They settled and established themselves in Taluka Ratodero, District Larkana and owned vast tracts of fertile land in the District of Larkana, Jacobabad and Shikarpur, where rice, cotton and sugarcane were produced in plant. Thus the Bhutto family was biggest and wealthiest landlord in Sindh and their style of living and conducting themselves was totally different from rest of their class in Sindh; they could face any situation any adversary and dignity, and unlike many other landlords they finally believed in pomp, pageantry, dignity and authority. They never submitted or surrendered even before the fiercest of their enemies and fought their way to victory. Even the rulers of Sindh were some times apprehensive of their revolt, including the brave Talpurs; as such they were treated with honour and caution by the rulers of Sindh.

Pir Bakhsh Khan Bhutto was invited by His Highness Mir Ali Murad Khan Talpur to send his son Allah Bakhsh Khan Bhutto to Khairpur where he was kept an honorable hostage at the Talpur court for five years, “to ensure that my family did not revolt.” Such was the rebellion nature of Bhutto family that even the Talpurs to whom Pir Bakhsh Khan owed his allegiance and their ownership of vast areas was confirmed as a friendly gesture by the Talpur rulers, had to be vigilant about them.

The Britishers, who were entertaining the idea of grabbing India by force and fraud, would not spare the Talpurs of Sindh. Against all their promises of friendship and cooperation, they conquered Sindh shamelessly in March 1843 and it was confessed by the plunderer conqueror of Sindh, Charles Napier and the unscrupulous that he had committed a “sin” by invading Sindh. The Talpur rulers and their families were dispatched as prisoner to Calcutta. The Britishers had in fact conquered India by resorting to all means fair and foul atrocities and tyrannies, bricks and breach of solemn promises; Sindh was no exception to their policy of crusading the Indians, it was all done most unscrupulously with all audacity.

When the Talpurs were defeated, overthrown, imprisoned and replaced by the all-powerful Britishers, most of the landlords frightened and demoralized behaved like cringing cowards and professional flatters to please their new foreign masters. But credit goes to the Bhutto family as its self respecting and to an extent proud was not overawed by the powerful British rulers, and their attitude, ways and behaviors remained unchanged. Sir Shahnawaz Khan Bhutto was the scion of such an aristocratic and eminent family of Sindh. He was born on March 8, 1888 in Village Garhi Khuda Bakhsh Khan Bhutto, Taluka Ratodero, a village founded by his grandfather, Khuda Bakhsh Khan Bhutto. There is an awesome event about Khuda Bakhsh Khan Bhutto. He was going in his decently decorated carriage on the Naodero – Ratodero road, when the newly posted Mukhtiarkar of Ratodero, namely Keematrai, was coming in a tonga (horse-cart) from the opposite direction. The driver stopped the tonga, on seeing the carriage, whereupon the newly posted Mukhtiarkar of who had no previous acquaintance with Khuda Baksh Khan, harshly asked the driver why he had stopped the tonga. The driver explained the position, but the Mukhtiarkar, (who used to be very powerful officer in those days) was annoyed and ordered him to proceed. The tonga driver moved his cart and passed with his usual speed while crossing the carriage of Khuda Bakhsh Khan. On enquiry, he was informed that the new Mukhtiarkar was in the tonga. At night time, the Mukhtiarkar was murdered. The police arrested Khuda Bakhsh Khan, trying to implicate him in the case. The big land owners of upper Sindh approached the Commissioner Sindh, but he refused to order his release. Ultimately when two persons voluntarily gave their confession that they had committed the murder, police had to absolve and release Khuda Bakhsh Khan. The incident speaks eloquently about the family. Sir Bhutto’s father, Ghulam Murtaza Khan, who died at a young age of only 30 years by a nefarious conspiracy of poisoning, was jewel of a man, an extraordinarily handsome, courageous and physically strong prince. Col. Mayhew, the autocrat Deputy Commissioner of Upper Sindh (Shikarpur) was at draggers drawn with him on a matter involving Mayhew most personally. Like a bloodthirsty beast, he was terribly desperate against him. The Deputy Commissioners, (then called Collectors) in those early days of the British conquest were as strong as unquestionable monarchs in their respective areas. Here it was a most sensitive and ego-destroying episode of his venus like beautiful mistress, having fallen madly in love with Mir Murtaza Khan Bhutto. There was nothing more humiliating and insulting for the colonel, that a landlord of his area had become master of the heart and life of his beloved mistress. On finding Mir in the embracing arms of his mistress, he flared up, lost his senses and grappled with the Mir, but was overpowered and severally thrashed and thrown down like a dead dog on the grounds of his bungalow at Larkana. Though the act was most intolerable, challenging and damning for the British bureaucrat, he hushed up the scandal incident, for good reasons and started engineering serious false cases, including murder cases, against Mir Ghulam Murtaza Khan through the Waderas (landholders) who felt it a matter of pride and pleasure to be the agents of the Collector, and gain his favour.

There was now endless stream of cases initiated against Mir Ghulam Murtaza Khan and his self respecting father, Khuda Bakhsh Khan, had to pour money for defending his innocent son against the atrocities and conspiracies of Colonel Mayhew supported by the sycophant Waderas. Khuda Bakhsh Khan had to engage several lawyers for defending Mir Murtaza. In a murder case of some Hindu, he was falsely implicated and his father had to seek the service of two British Barristers, namely Mr. Anwerty of Bnuhey and Mr. Rottigin of Lahore whose daily fees were Rs.1000 and Rs.1500 respectively. This continuous and highly expensive litigation was not affordable by Khuda Bakhsh Khan, therefore Mir Murtaza Khan had to leave the soil of Sindh and find his asylum in Kabul: and he proved so pushing and influential he could cultivate friendship with Amir Abdul Rehman Khan, a very powerful ruler of Afghanistan.

But in Larkana, Mayhew had created a hell for Khuda Bakhsh Khan. His vendetta had crossed all limits of decency and justice. He was bent upon totally ruining the family of Khuda Bakhsh Khan and leaving no remnants of it to be remembered any more. On his instructions, the police hired some notorious criminals, who attached old Khuda Bakhsh Khan on his way, while returning from his lands. He fell from the horseback and was badly injured. He was then taken by his servants and peasants to Aminabad (District Jacobabad) in a state of unconsciousness; he could not survive and breathed his last after about a fortnight in 1896. But there was none to bear any thing against the murderer Mayhew. Mir Murtaza was the only child of his father, thus he inherited all the moveable and immoveable properties of Khuda Bakhsh Khan. Now the murder committed by Mayhew further emboldened him like a professional and cruel manner. Treating Mir Ghulam Murtaza Khan as an absconder, a fugitive from law and justice, he got golden opportunity to confiscate all his belongings including jewelry, gold, arms, rare valuables; his houses, furniture, carpets were set on fire by pouring kerosene oil over them. His infant eight years old son Shahnawaz, their peasants and villages were silent and helpless spectators of this disasters and cruel situation and according to him “We saw the fire ablaze at night…….. in the morning we saw the ashes”. And “that was 1896 when eight year old Shah Nawaz and his aged grandmother, mother and brother were forced by the Superintendent of Police to leave their once luxurious home in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh Bhutto village of Sindh Ratodero Taluka, with only clothes on their bodies. They took shelter with their poor haris and for the first time in his life, Shah Nawaz was obliged to walk barefoot in Sindh’s blazing heat some ten miles a day to the vernacular school at Naodero, taking his crust of the bread along for lunch, he who had always been served on “silver plates.”

Such were the vicissitudes of life for the family which was so highly placed in the society and respected all over the region of Sindh. In the words of renowned national poet Firdausi of Iran “Sometimes the back of rider is on the saddle, sometimes the saddle is on his back.”

The family was victim of incalculable misfortune and brutalities caused by the collector Colonel Mayhew, for healing his wounds of rivalry, but perhaps they could never be healed as moved by the subsequent events.

On hearing about the sad death of his father, confiscation of his properties, looting of the valuable, burning of the houses and costly furniture and the calamities befallen on his minor sons and inmates of the house, Mir Ghulam Murtaza was restless and made preparation to leave for Sindh without a minute’s delay. He was generously helped by the powerful Amir who gave all that he required to face the situation.

He now set forth for his native land, but the boat in which he was traveling through the mighty Indus was drowned due to strong storm. He lost everything and saved his life with great difficulty. He was not an unknown person, nor was his family an ordinary one; he was in a position to acquire funds, which he got from a personal friend of his; and proceeded to Karachi with a set programme in his mind.

On reaching Karachi, he met Rais Ghulam Mohammad Sheedi, but in such a perfect disguise of a labourer, that the Rais, who knew the family fully well, was simply surprised to know that he was none other than Mir Murtaza, the conqueror of Mayhew’s lovely and captivating mistress. To Ghulam Mohammad Khan Sheedi, he revealed his plan to meet the Commissioner Sir Avan James, but it was not so easy. One could meet the Prime Minister of Pakistan but it was much more difficult to see the Commissioner of Sindh in those early times of British rule. Anyway with the active assistance of Rais Sheedi, coupled with his own ways and wisdom, he was smuggled into the house of Commissioner as a labourer where construction work was in progress. Sir James used to visit the construction work and meet the labourers on every Saturday. Mir Murtaza was not a man to lag behind; he jumped over the opportunity that was afforded to him by the visit of the Commissioner. Boldly he came forward, disclosed his identity and addressed the most powerful bureaucrat of Sindh “I have a story to tell and I want you to do justice by hearing.” Without losing temper, the Commissioner heard him and ordered his aide-de-camp to fully hear the case and submit the report. The aide-de-camp after fully hearing Mir Murtaza, gave his honest report to the Commissioner. To be frank, the trained British officers, who had come from a cultured and democratic land, did posses some sense of justice and they did not support their subordinate officers in their brutal actions based on personal animosity. Sir James was not totally in dark about the misdeeds of Mayhew and did have some information about his romantic episode.

It was all reasonable when Mir Murtaza requested the Commissioner to try the case himself and not throw him at the mercy of the most biased Mayhew. On receiving the report, the Commissioner passed orders of Mayhew’s immediate transfer and “shook Mir Murtaza’s hand, before he left, sagely advising him to leave his office without bitterness”. When Sir Shah Nawaz Khan became Minister in Bombay Presidency, he read the following meaningful line written by Sir James about the influence of and caution against Bhuttos:

“They have to be watched”

I don’t think that any Commissioner of those days wrote such warnings in respect of a family that was enveloped in such adversities and calamities.

When Mir Murtaza was free from botherations, he proceeded to Larkana and on his way he stayed with his friend Ali Ahmed S/O Khan Bahadur Hassan Ali Effendi, where he was informed about the happy news of Colonel Mayhew’s imminent retirement from service. He then reached Larkana, where he was received with all warmth, honour pomp and pageantry. But the days of his life were numbered; the jealous Zamindars in collaboration with officials poisoned this promising and gallant young man to death in 1896.

Thus the eventful life of Mir Murtaza was very short, but hectic and heroic; and his descendants would rightly feel proud of such an ancestors who fought his way so heavily, survived honourably and died a tragic death of hero. His son Shah Nawaz, who made a mark in history after suffering the buffets of life in his childhood and boyhood, was then only eleven years of age.

On the academic side, Shah Nawaz Khan received his educational instructions, first in the Maderssa High School, Larkana, which was then a middle school; later on the joined Sindh-Madressa-tul-Islam, Karachi, where he was under the care of an English Principal Mr. Vines, but before matriculating, he paid farewell to his studies in 1908 and returned to his village. He was then under the kind care of his affectionate. Uncle Ilahi Bakhsh Khan, but this affectionate guardian also died suddenly and unexpectedly at an early age of 28 years; now the entire burden and responsibility of the eminent Bhutto family fell on immature and inexperienced Shah Nawaz Khan. It was now a stupendous task to look after such a big family, vast areas of lands spread in different Districts, faces the family opponents and the hostile administration. Shah Nawaz Khan was endowed with extraordinary qualities by nature for facing the pressing exigencies of his time; he rose equal to the occasion and brought the situation wisely under his control. He was highly cultured, cool minded, courageous, self respecting, far sighted with exhaustible fund of patience. He now opened a new chapter of life, he carved a different path to tread upon, he moulded his living in modern style, avoiding to annoy any one and befriending the official class. He abandoned the age old tradition of shikars, dancing and singing functions and the holding of katcheris (gossip gatherings) in order to save his precious time and not to squander away his wealth which he was determined to utilize beneficial for his political expeditions, conquests and social contacts and friendship with the dignities of his time. The ways and mean were alien to the other landlords of Sindh and they continued to indulge in the old hackneyed fashion, oblivious to the demand of the time. The Minto Morlay Reforms, that had been introduce were shortly going to usher in a new era of democratization of politics in India, therefore his eyes were now firmly set on the political field over which he had resolutely decided to have his hold and was least prepared to surrender it to the politically uneducated lot. The other individuals of his class were indifferent to the future politics because they were unaware of its consequences, but he was wide-awake. He entered the arena with all his resources, vigour and capacity and started taking big strides in politics, according to his plan. No doubt Rais Ghulam Muhammad Khan Bhurgri (1881-1924) was the first Muslim Barrister in Sindh and a very big landlord in lower Sindh was politically quite powerful but his politics was unpalatable to the British imperialism; the idea was however repulsive to the Sindhi Muslims as Hindus were quietly devouring the lands of Muslims and reducing them to paupers. But it seems that lady luck was also smiling on Shah Nawaz Khan Bhutto, as Ghulam Muhammad Khan Bhurgri died a young man at 43 years age. Now there was no powerful antagonist in Sindh to obstruct the path of Sir Bhutto to climb and reach the pinnacle of his political power.

RISE AND ACHIEVEMENTS

  • 1910 Member District Local Board Larkana
  • 1919 Elected to the Imperial Council of India
  • 1920 Nominated as First Class Special Honorary Magistrate
  • 1920-34 President of District Local Board Larkana
    (the District then extended upto Sehwan Taluka)
  • 1921-36 Member Bombay Legislative Council
  • 1921 Title of Khan Bahadur

The above events from 1919 to 1921 took place in a such quick succession that he seemed to gallop in the political field. All these powers and honours that he came to enjoy in such a short span of a time, would have ordinarily made a man heart headed and power drunk, but he was made of different metal; he became pragmatic, seasoned and most remarkable politician of Sindh. He writes “My Services were available to the common man from morning to night. I ran an open house at Garhi Khuda Baksh Bhutto without distinction and without motive. I tried to help people who came- I tried to give them good advice. I was courteous to the common man and rarely did I lose my temper. I spared no efforts to cultivate and befriend the masses”. In short this was Sir Shah Nawaz as he has described himself and his conduct without any iota of exaggeration and hypocrisy.

He had now all the opportunities available to traverse the boundaries of Sindh politics and enter high venues and vistas, and he accomplished all these by himself without joining any All India political party.

  • 1924-36 Appointed Minister in Bombay Presidency
  • 1925 Elected President of the Sindh Muhammadan Association
  • 1928 As President of the Association he invited Mr. M.A. Jinnah to Sindh for resolving disputes between the Muslim Zamindars (landlords) of Sindh Mr. Jinnah was his guest at Larkana. Thereafter he remained in constant touch with Mr. Jinnah
  • 1930 Knighthood
  • 1930-31 Delegate to Round Table Conference, London. It was the most important Conference for the political and Constitutional development of India. The vital question of Sindh’s separation was on the agenda of the Conference. In all 16 Muslims delegates were invited from India. Sir Shahnawaz Khan delivered a very forceful, memorable and convincing speech for Sindh’s separation. Mr. Jinnah strongly supported him in his inimitable style and non-rebuttal arguments. Thus Sir Bhutto succeeded in his mission of separating Sindh from Bombay. If Sindh had not been separated from Bombay, the achievement of Pakistan would have been doubtful
  • 1932 Chairman of the Sindh Azad Conference held at Hyderabad. It was presided over by Allama Yousuf Ali
  • 1934 Sindh People’s Party formed by Sir Shahnawaz Khan
  • 1936 Elected President of the Sindh United Party and Sir Abdullah Haroon as Vice President
  • 1936 Appointed Chief Advisor to the Governor of Sindh March

Sir Bhutto was a most influential Minister and a seasoned politician. It would be recalled that Sardar Wahid Bux Khan Bhutto was implicated in a false murder case. Ultimately, the case was withdrawn by the government as it was a weak case. The bigot editor Pimahia, of Daily Sindh Observer Karachi, wrote a very venomous, nasty and malicious editorial, with the caption”. A Scandal of the first magnitude; stating that the case was got withdrawn by Sir Shahnawaz Khan, through his tremendous political influence.

In general election held in early 1937, his party secured 24 out of 34 Muslim seats, thus it was the largest single party in the Sindh Assembly, but accidentally the Leader and the Deputy Leader of the party who were indeed patriotic, pragmatic and selfless leaders of Sindh were defeated in the election to the utter surprise of the political circles. In fact, the defeat of Sir Bhutto was a severe blow to the interests of Sindh, for the separation of which Mr. M. A. Jinnah and Sir Shahnawaz Khan Bhutto had fought battle in the first Round Table Conference held in London in 1930 – 1931 despite the tough opposition by the All India Hindu Leaders. The result was that in the entire decade from 1937 to 1947, no stable ministry which could serve the Province especially the downtrodden Muslim could be formed; every member was desirous of becoming Minister if not Chief Minister in the Government of Sindh. There was no elderly, selfless and non-purchasable politician who would unite the Muslim members of the Assembly to save the cause for which they had been elected.

Sir Shahnawaz Khan Bhutto was over-confident in his election and he came to his constituency from Karachi, hardly a week before the elections; even the Bhutto family was divided against itself and lamentably lacked inherent unity.

On the other hand, the opposition had firmly united, Sheikh Abdul Majid, the veteran Muslim leader was imported from Karachi, all his election expenses were borne by the opposition. They led a very organized campaign not only on political basis but in the name of religion too; fiery religious speakers were hired not only from Sindh, but even from Punjab; who convinced the Muslim voters that in case Sir Shahnawaz Khan came into power, he will tax the Muslim graves, their beards and their Mosques. On the other hand there was no body to contradict or refute this false and poisonous propaganda that was most effectively launched by his opponents. This election campaign was launched with all vigour by Mr. Kazi Fazlullah and there was no body s. oters that in case Sir Shahnawaz Khan came into power, he will tax the Muslim indh, but even from Punj Mr. M. A. Khuhro, who used to claim all credit for themselves in getting Sir Bhutto defeated in his home constituency, though later on when Khuhro’s biography was written, this glaring fact known to the whole world, had been denied. It will not be irrelevant to state that in 1923 Mr. Khuhro was elected, he was underage and the defeated candidate K. B. Ghulam Mohammad Khan Isran, was preparing to file election petition, for which he possessed unimpeachable documentary evidence. But it was Sir Shahnawaz Khan who as an elderly politician, came to Mr. Khuhro’s rescue when he took him to Khan Bahadur Isran and requested him emphatically to drop the idea of election petition, give chance to the young man to serve Sindh better as he was an educated person. Khan Bahadur Isran obliged Sir Bhutto, thus Mr. Khuhro continued as member. But in politics, moral obligations do not carry much weight and are forgotten very soon.

G. M. Sayed offered to resign to accommodate Sir Shahnawaz Khan Bhutto for Premiership of Sindh, but Sir Bhutto declined to accept this arrangement. Had he continued to stay in Sindh politics he would have conveniently made his return to power as Premier of Sindh. But this gentleman of self respect and scruples was not power hungry and felt so disgusted with the nasty politics of his opponents that he refused to participate in politics any more; though it was for the first time that he that he was defeated in any election. Perhaps he thought that he did not deserve this treatment as he had tremendously served Sindh. It was due to his strenuous efforts that the huge scheme of Sukkur Barrage was sanctioned by the Executive Council at Delhi and finally approved by the Government of India. The Barrage revolutionized Sindh agriculture. It transformed the desert areas of Sindh into a most fertile garden, resulting in vast economic prosperity to the people of Sindh. Any statesman or politician could legitimately feel proud of such a monumental performance.

In fact Sir Bhutto was the architect of modern Sindh and many were of the opinion that his exit from politics at an early age of 49 years was a bit emotional and premature. But he was the best judge of his times. He had seen ups and downs of life, he had witnessed the days of extreme adversity and immense prosperity: the wise Sir Bhutto was not only visionary, he was self educated through his vast experience. With his exit from Sindh politics the political power of Bhutto family started wanning all that they could achieve, one seat in the provincial Assembly and they did not carry much influence even in their own district. It was only after the entry of Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in politics that the name and fame of Bhutto family traveled far and wide beyond the borders of Pakistan.

In fact Bombay was the second home of Sir Bhutto as an important minister of the Bombay Presidency and he was living there from 1924. Now as a member of the joint Public Service Commission of Bombay and Sindh, he continued to remain in this cosmopolitan city as representative of Sindh Province from April 1937. Although no more involved in tumultuous politics, Sir Shahnawaz Khan continued to maintain his friendly relations with high political and social circles. He had his friendly terms with Mr. Jinnah, who was now the Quaid-e-Azam of Muslims and undisputed and an unchangeable leader of Muslim India; even his school going son Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had access to the leader on occasions. Thus Sir Bhutto was associated with the prominent personalities of Bombay in all walks of life and did not lead a secluded life.

Sir Shahnawaz Khan Bhutto believed in imparting highest possible education to his children according to their aptitude irrespective of their sex. He directed the best of his attention to the upbringing and training of his promising and dearest child Zulfikar Ali, who was born on 5-1-1928. Sir Bhutto understood better than anybody else that future of his family lay in education and his son Zulfikar Ali possessed all the qualities requisite for a brilliant and successful politician provided he was groomed well. He was therefore friend, philosopher and guide of his son and got him the best possible education that could be available in the United States of America and England. Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, as everybody knows, became the most outstanding Prime Minister of Pakistan with whom was linked not only destiny of his country but every future of the Muslim World; however, Sir Bhutto could not see the rise of his son to such a coveted climax as by this time he had passed away. But all these hopes that the nation had pinned in the personality of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto were shattered when General Zia ul Haq, the military dictator, martyred the saviour of Pakistan without halt or hesitation on 4-4-1979. If Mr. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had an adroit, sincere to the core and pragmatic adviser like Sir Bhutto, this tragedy could have been averted.

SIR BHUTTO’S DOMESTIC LIFE

Besides Zulfikar Ali, Sir Bhutto had two other elder sons, namely Imdad Ali and Sikander Ali, who possessed very congenial, very likeable personalities and generous minds but they passed away in 1950 and 1962 respectively when they had not yet attend 50 years of age.

The second marriage of Sir Bhutto was with a Hindu girl. It is said that intellect always surrenders, whenever it is at war with heart. Mr. Mohammad Ali Jinnah, who enjoyed the reputation of being very cold, most logical, quite unemotional and far from romantic life, at the age of 43 years fell in love with Ratan, the only daughter of a proud and aristocratic multi millionaire, Sir Dinshaw Petit of Bombay. She was mad for Jinnah, renounced her religion, her family, her society, embraced Islam and married with a Muslim Barrister when she was only 18 years of age. Sir Bhutto was no exception, he too was a helpless victim of cupid; intellect is always weather before love, consequently in 1925 at the age of 37 years, he married a pretty Hindu girl aged 18 years after she willingly accepted Islam. She chose Sir Shahnawaz as her life partner not because of his wealth, but the qualities of heed and heart that he possessed, as was the case with Ratan. As a Muslim, she was named Khursheed Begum and gave birth to the world renowned politician Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. She lived a very happy and harmonious life with Sir Bhutto and Zulfikar Ali never forget even for a moment that his mother came of humble origin and he was proud of it. The happy blend of a feudal lord and a girl of moderate means did have its effect and perhaps a salutary effect on Z. A. Bhutto’s personal as well as political life. At the time of Indian independence, Sir Shahnawaz Khan Bhutto was the Prime Minister (Diwan) of Junagadh State which was overwhelming populated by Hindus but its ruler was a Muslim Nawab. It was on his advice of far reaching political and diplomatic significance that the Nawab of Junagadh signed the instrument of accession in favour of Pakistan, which Sir Bhutto had personally presented to Quaid-e-Azam. It was such an act of statesmanship by Sir Shahnawaz Khan Bhutto that infuriated Lord Mountbatten, the then Viceboy of India, Pundit Jawahar Lal Nehru, the Prime Minister and Sardar Vallab Bhai Patel, Minister for States, over this unexpected annexation and they protested to the Government of Pakistan that it was an unfriendly act on their part to have accepted the accession of Junagadh. “The instrument of accession was drafted by Sir Bhutto, the shrewd Diwan of Junagadh” as stated by Stanley Wolpert. “The accession of Junagadh to Pakistan placed India in an acute dilemma for which any escape could be turned to the advantage of Pakistan” writes H.V. Hudson the learned author of “The Great Divide”. It was termed as a “Trap by Pakistan” by the outraged Lord Mountbatten. The State was not big but the implications were indeed big and the efficient and astute Indian diplomacy could not wriggle out of it. But who had masterminded this trap against high handed and power drunk rulers of India? He was none else but Sir Shahnawaz Khan Bhutto, the last Diwan of Junagadh who had said “goodbye to politics in 1937; but by his vision and wisdom he rendered an unforgettable service to his motherland. It was a preemptive step, Quaid-e-Azam also had foreseen the evil Indian designs to grab Kashmir, of which, the population was overwhelmingly Muslim and Maharaja was a Hindu. India, while refusing to recognize the accession of Junagadh by its rulers occupied the State by force, on 27-10-1947. India dispatched her strongest forces which invaded and occupied Kashmir on the plea that the Maharaja had signed the instrument of accession in favour of India. The dispute over Kashmir was referred by India to the Security Council on 1-1-1948, where it was hotly contested both by India and Pakistan. However India miserably failed to justify and reconcile its contradictory and self-destructive stand on Kashmir as it was contrary to her behaviour in Junagadh. How and why India accepted the accession of Kashmir through its Maharaja, when it had refused to recognize the accession of Junagadh with Pakistan, through its Nawab? The Security Council had no option but to pass the plebiscite resolution on Kashmir in spite of strong lobbying by Lord Mountbatten through the British Prime Minister Atlee. The political vision and far sightedness of Sir Bhutto requires no better proof than the wise, political and patriotic handling of Junagadh’s accession with Pakistan; thereby baffling and confusing the top leadership of India.

After independence, Sir Shahnawaz totally retired from public life but was held in great esteem by the people of Larkana. He gave the gift of his beloved son Zulfikar Ali Bhutto to Pakistan and breathed his last peacefully at Larkana on 19-11-1957, while his talented son was elegantly arguing the case of his country at U.N.O in New York. None including his honest adversaries can level any allegation of dishonesty, corruption, cruelty, crooked behaviours or brutally in his social and political life in spite of the fact that he was the most influential and powerful personality of Sindh continuously at least for one and half decades.

Mr. M. A. Khuro’s assessment of Sir Bhutto’s noble character and qualities was as under:

“Because of his close contacts with him in politics, I came to appreciate his extraordinary qualities as a leader. He was a very successful administrator, therefore the Administration of the District Local Board was best run under his Presidentship”.

“He was a good friend socially and he was prudent and sagacious, farsighted and straightforward in his dealings. He was a good conversationalist, had charming manners and very agreeable social personality. He had a knack of presenting his case in an effective and precise manner, with the result that he was usually successful in negotiations. He was consequently highly appreciated by the Zamindars of Sindh. He was very popular with agricultural class of Sindh in particulars.”

Though he belonged to the upper strata of the society, Sir Shahnawaz Khan had deep sympathy for the poor, he wanted to see them educated and advanced.

“Look after poor Sindhis. See to it that they become prosperous. They are backward, they are simple and they are deprived of opportunities of advancement. Make them literate give them education. Don’t ever let them down.”

This is what Mr. Yousuf. A. Haroon, a prominent Muslim League leader, stated about the valuable advice given to him by Sir Bhutto, when the former went to call on him at Larkana for seeking his guidance.

Sir Shahnawaz Bhutto left three sons and two daughters:

  • Imdad Ali Bhutto (1914 – 1950)
  • Sikandar Ali Bhutto (1921 – 1962)
  • Mohtarma Mumtaz Mahal Bhutto (1926 – 1974)
  • Mohtarma Munnawar (1927 – 1994)
  • Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (1928 – 1979)

Zulfikar Ali, the youngest child of Sir Bhutto was born on January 5, 1928 at Larkana. In those days Sir Bhutto was a Minister of the Bombay Presidency.

  Blow to the West Bhutto's foundation of the PPP was a setback for the reactionary forces in a country long dominated by the Right. The slogan of "Food, Shelter and Clothing" shifted the focus of Pakistan politics from theological to economic issues. This focus has never shifted back. Bhutto nationalised the commanding heights of the economy; another blow to the capitalist West. During his tenure there was a massive transfer of resources towards the dominant rural economy by setting higher prices for agricultural products.
Bhutto's Talents As a member of Pakistan's delegation to the United Nation in 1957, at the age of 29 years, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto addressed the Sixth Conference of the United Nations on "The Definition of Aggression", a speech which is still regarded as one of the best on the subject. As a participant at the International Conference in Geneva, Switzerland in March, 1958 Zulfikar Ali Bhutto spoke for mankind with the bold declaration: "The High Seas are free to all." He was the youngest Federal Cabinet member in the history of Pakistan, at the age of 30. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto held the key portfolios of Minister of Commerce, Minister of Information, Minister of National Reconstruction, Minister of Fuel, Power and Natural Resources before becoming the Foreign Minister.
Slideshow

Slideshow

Sign Our Guest Book