Most meaningful gift for Shaheed Benazir’s birthday
KARACHI: Today, we are celebrating the 70th birthday of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto. It has been 15 years since her passing on December 27, 2007, we are commemorating without her. When she left us, she was only 54 years old. Shaheed Benazir sacrificed her life for her country and its people. On her birthday, let us offer her the gift of dedicating our lives to our nation and our people.
Today, June 21, 2023, marks the 45th anniversary of Shaheed Benazir’s 25th birthday in 1978. On that day, her esteemed father, Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, wrote her a letter from Central Jail Rawalpindi. At that time, Shaheed Bibi was also imprisoned. This profound letter was later published under the title “My Dearest Daughter.” In this heartfelt letter, Shaheed Bhutto expressed his deep emotions and reflected on the complexities of their situation. He wrote, “How can a convicted prisoner and father write a letter congratulating his beautiful and intelligent daughter on her birthday when both the father and daughter are in prison?” This letter held more significance than mere communication. It conveyed love and compassion across prison walls and chains.
Allow me to share with you one message, a message that encapsulates the essence of the present day and the lessons of history: believe in the people and work for their salvation and equality. This is the message of Almighty Allah, to believe in the people. The paradise of Allah lies beneath the feet of your mother, and the paradise of politics lies beneath the feet of the people.
The letter continued, “What gift can I offer you from within the confines of this prison cell, where even the simple act of extending my hand is denied? I bestow upon you the gift of the collective hand of the people. What event can I arrange for you? I present you with the gift of a renowned reputation and a memorial service that resonates throughout history.” You are the inheritor of the ancient Indus Valley civilization, the oldest known civilization. Play your integral role in advancing and empowering this ancient civilization to its fullest potential.
On June 21, 1978, the esteemed Bhutto-The Great bestowed his beloved daughter upon the people, and Shaheed Bibi not only stood by the people until her demise but also made the ultimate sacrifice, giving her life to uphold her bond with the people.
A few years after her father’s martyrdom, Shaheed Bibi expressed in an interview with the renowned Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci, “In the realm of Pakistani politics, there are numerous trials, sorrows, and sufferings.” Several individuals in my family advised me to abandon politics and seek a life of luxury in a Western country, considering that I have everything. However, how could I possibly derive enjoyment from such a life when it requires severing ties with my country and my people?”
The world then witnessed how Shaheed Bibi upheld this profound connection with her homeland and its people. Despite being born into a royal family and enjoying a privileged upbringing, she possessed a compassionate and empathetic nature that couldn’t bear to witness the suffering of others.
In the same letter from the death cell, Shaheed Bhutto recounted an incident from Shaheed Bibi’s childhood. Addressing his daughter, he said, “During the winter of 1957, when you were four years old, we sat on the terrace of Al-Murtaza.
The weather was very pleasant in the morning. I had a double-barreled gun in my hand, and without thinking, I shot and killed a wild parrot. You screamed when the parrot came close to the terrace and fell. You buried him in your presence. However, you continued to cry and refused to eat anything.
The girl who shed tears over the death of a bird not only battled against two military dictatorships in history but also confronted gun-wielding terrorists who were patronized by internal and external forces.