The News on Sunday: It has been 23 years since the assassination of Murtaza Bhutto. All the accused in the case were acquitted. Why have you not filed an appeal against the judgment?
Ghinwa Bhutto: There is no point. Our judiciary is too politicised and I don’t see any hope for justice. The judiciary acquitted the police officers and all those involved in the case.
When Benazir Bhutto constituted a Judicial Commission comprising credible judges to probe the murder, I was satisfied. They did an excellent job. But, what is the point if the deposition of 120 witnesses and Commission’s strong findings are not be used in the trial. I was shocked when I was told that these could not be used. I think a similar thing happened in the Model Town killings case.
TNS: Do you think the trial was delayed deliberately?
GB: Yes, delaying tactics often help in such cases. Perhaps, the accused asked their legal teams to use delaying tactics for two to three years. Asif Ali Zardari remained in jail for a long time. He is again in jail, but in Murtaza’s case he is a free man.
TNS: Why was Murtaza killed?
GB: There were several reasons. Politically speaking, he was the real Bhutto, and was seen as a threat. Secondly, he showed defiance against powerful people. It is a pity that he was killed when his sister was the prime minister. She enabled the system to kill her brother and she did not do much to rectify it. Years later, the same system killed her too. Had she taken those responsible to task and challenged the system, things could have been different. One has to look into her role or that of agencies which were after him.
TNS: What happened after Murtaza’s death and how do you see politics after him?
GB: I faced unprecedented pressure to leave the country after his murder. As for politics, I still want to carry on his legacy. After his murder, I was offered good positions in the next government, but I refused as I did not want to cash in on his death.
Mir had refused when Benazir asked him to come to Pakistan in 1986 when Gen Zia was still in power. He felt that it was a trap and he was not all that wrong. He was in tears when people congratulated him on the party’s victory in 1988. “What victory? It is a defeat. We have surrendered to those responsible for the killing of Bhutto,” she quoted him as saying to his comrades.
TNS: Did Murtaza know about the risk to his life when he decided to return in 1993?
GB: Yes, we had a long discussion about the possible consequences and the risks involved. But, Mir always wanted his children to grow up in Pakistan and live like common Pakistanis. He knew he could be killed and had been warned. Benazir had also advised him not to come. I have always admired and respected him for his courage and conviction.
The culture of resistance is gone and those who killed Bhuttos are winning. The biggest party in Pakistan today is ‘agencies’. Everyone knows how elections are held in this country and how prime ministers and presidents get elected. What happened in the Senate about a month ago? Those in the majority lost.
TNS: There are reports that Fatima Bhutto may join politics. Do you want your children to play their role in politics?
GB: She has 2.5 million followers on social media. Will she listen to me even if I want her to take up politics? By the way, she is already playing her role — both as an author and an activist. But, I doubt that she is interested in parliamentary politics. Zulfiqar is playing his role as a rights activist.