Saba Naqvi
The People of Pakistan have not had time to contemplate the mysterious deaths of their prime ministers!

A brief history of Pakistan

The story begins in 1947 when Mohammad Ali Jinnah apparently got what he wanted, that is a nation for Muslims only, but once he got his “Land of the Pure”, he said he wanted to protect all people. It was confusing for The People who had just witnessed a bloody Partition but Jinnah died a year after so they just decided to call him Quaid-e-Azam (Great Leader) and put his pictures up everywhere. 

Pakistan’s first prime minister (and to date its longest serving) Liaquat Ali Khan was assassinated in 1951 in Rawalpindi’s Company Bagh while making a public speech. His assassin was immediately shot dead but a JFKesque mystery persisted over who ordered the killing.

In a twist to the tale, 55 years later, Benazir Bhutto would be assassinated in the same garden now named Liaquat garden but we will get to that later although it is also not known who killed Benazir.(The People of Pakistan have not had time to contemplate the mysterious deaths of their prime ministers as during a critical phase of their history, they were engaged in the historic mission to end communism by producing Islamic jehad. They did so at the behest of great world powers whose leaders say that they stand for liberty and freedom across the world). 

The People of Pakistan have at times also been fooled to believe that they lived in a democracy, but the Generals always knew better. The first general to take charge of the promised land through a bloodless coup was Ayub Khan in 1958 and he continued in power till 1969, when he gave up and handed over to the Commander in Chief of the army Yahya Khan who immediately imposed martial law in the face of the revolt of the ungrateful people of East Pakistan who failed to understand the virtues of being ruled by people who were taller, fairer and born to rule. 

Ayub Khan was a product of the British Sandhurst Military College and therefore a good chap with an impressive moustache that no future Pakistani general could ever match (years later it would actually be an Indian major general GD Bakshi who would out-mustache him). Ayub Khan was the first Commander in Chief of the Pakistani army, appointed in 1951, (by the same chap Liaquat Ali Khan who would be Pakistan’s first murdered prime minister).

By 1958, Ayub Khan knew he must become Commander in Chief of the entire country and therefore made himself President. He set a fine precedent.There was a troubling interruption in uninterrupted military rule after East Pakistan was lost in 1971. A charismatic demagogue called Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was given charge of the country and he set about trying to create a new Pakistan. By 1977 his party actually won an election giving him legitimacy to rule.This was understandably a most destabilizing factor in Pakistan, therefore the chief of army staff with an unimpressive moustache decided to set things right. General Zia ul Haq got rid of Bhutto in a coup, sent him to prison and by 1979, had manipulated the judiciary to have him executed. (In the unnatural death of Bhutto the only silver lining is that The People at least know who killed him). General Zia then set about helping

Pakistan realize its true destiny by giving up half-baked ideas of liberalism and secularism that were not going to work anyway in a land built on such pure ideals. He promoted the creation of schools that produced holy warriors, who were sent off to fight in the Afghan Jehad but when they began to return to Pakistan, they were often diverted to Kashmir just as a motivational exercise.

In 1988 Zia died in a plane crash about which there are many conspiracy theories but no hard facts and Pakistan again descended into chaos as democratically elected leaders like Benazir Bhutto came to power on the strength of her father’s charisma and another fellow called Nawaz Sharif who loved Hindi movies also got several chances to be prime minister. They took turns in holding office and being dismissed from office. But good sense prevailed and another general came forth to rescue Pakistan. From 2001 to 2008  Parvez Musharraf kept Pakistan on the right track for some time, including having a short war with India, but then he got bogged down in so many controversies and had to quit after which he was charged with high treason and escaped the noose by the skin of his teeth.

It was during the Musharraf period that Benazir was bumped off (in 2007) and Nawaz charged with treason. He almost met the fate of Zulfikar Bhutto but due to international pressure was sent into exile in Saudi Arabia instead, a period during which he is reported to have watched a lot of Hindi movies and had a hair transplant. Now Nawaz is back in Pakistan and is reported to have told close advisors that how can India expect me to know about who killed their soldiers when the people of Pakistan have no clue about who assassinates their prime ministers and presidents. He is said to be losing his sleep and hair and has banned himself from watching Hindi movies. (This is a satirical version of history)