‘Unceremonial exit’, ZA Bhutto’s 40th death anniversary
Sindh government has declared April 4 (Thursday) as public holiday across province on account of 40th martyrdom anniversary of former Prime Minister, founder leader Pakistan Peoples’ Party, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.
A notification has also been issued by Sindh government in this regard. According to notification, all offices, autonomous, semi-autonomous bodies, corporate and local councils under administrative control of Sindh government will remain closed on April 4.
ZA Bhutto was hanged on April 4, 1979 in Rawalpindi Jail and it was end of a chapter in Pakistan’s history.
Jail Superintendent Yar Muhammad, Magistrate Bashir Ahmad Khan, Jail doctor, Sagheer Hussain Shah and Security Battalion Commander and Security Officer, Lieutenant-Colonel Rafiuddin had all arrived to carry out court orders.
As narrated by Col Rafiuddin in his book Bhutto Kay Aakhri 323 Din (The last 323 days of Bhutto), jail superintendent visited Bhutto at 6.30pm in his cell, along with a witness. He found Bhutto lying on floor. He first called Bhutto’s name to draw his attention and then read out execution order.
“According to March 18, 1978 order of Lahore High Court, you, Mr Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, are to be hanged for murder of Nawab Muhammad Ahmad Khan,” read order. “Your appeal in Supreme Court was rejected on February 6, 1979 and review petition was turned down on March 24, 1979. The President of Pakistan has decided not to interfere in this matter. So it has been decided to hang you.”
“I did not see any sign of panic on Mr Bhutto’s face while jail superintendent was reading out order. Instead, I could see that he was quite calm, relaxed and had a smile on his face,” observed Colonel.
After listening to jail superintendent, Bhutto retorted that he should have been informed about execution 24 hours before but that had not been done. On contrary, he argued, when his daughter and wife met him at 11.30am, they were not sure about day or time either. Bhutto was told that required order for execution was with jailer.
Without any hesitation, jail superintendent then asked Bhutto whether he would like to write his will, since he was to be hanged in a few hours. Bhutto nodded and asked for some writing materials. He also asked jailer to show him black warrants, to which jailer replied that as per law, that could not be done.
At 8.00pm, Bhutto drank a cup of coffee. He also called for Abdur Rahman, his jail attendant and asked Abdur Rahman to forgive him. Around 10.00pm, he asked Rahman to bring some warm water so that he could shave.