Original Articles

The Blame Bhutto Syndrome – by Riaz Malik

A social media friend and mentor, #PejaMistry coined one of the best terminologies to understand the thinking of Pakistan’s urban chattering class. The Term is ALPS – Acute Lack of Proportion Syndrome.

This term makes so much sense in understanding the disproportional and exaggerated vitriol against #Bhutto. In Pakistan, the upper middle class elite and its connected affiliates of boutique leftists and commercial liberals share the same distaste for Bhutto as their Jamaati and bureaucrat counterparts. Listening to their critique of Bhutto, one gets the cartoon version of history that has not just doomed Pakistan in the past but continued to poison its future.

As per this version of history, Bhutto and his family reigned Supreme and no one else is to blame for anything that happened in Pakistan from the early 1950s to present.

1965 War – Blame Bhutto
1971 Break up – Blame Bhutto
2nd Amendment – Blame Bhutto

It is this disproportional and grossly simplistic view of Pakistan’s history that not only poisons the youth making their political choices. It also absolves EVERY other stakeholder – many of whom have played a far more harmful role. The tactic of disproportionately heaping the blame on Bhutto serves the purpose of diluting critique against the actual perpetrators.

However, in any discourse that is allowed, Bhutto and his family are cursed and abused while others are gently and mildly discussed. And dismissed.

A decade ago, in a discussion on Bangladesh, a heated and poorly informed respondent simultaneously cursed Bhutto for solely “breaking up Pakistan” while applauding the outcome of the breakup! “I am glad we got rid of the Bengalis; they were holding us down” !!

This is an absurd statement but completely the norm for PML N/MQM and now PTI/MQM supporters.

Interestingly, much of this vitriol against Bhutto comes from two backstabbing gossip mongers who eventually played in the laps of Jamaat e Islami.

Dr Mubashir Hassan has frequently trashed both Bhutto and Nusrat Bhutto – easy to go after the dead. This is the same Mubashir Hassan who teamed up with Jamaat e Islami against the 2008 PPP government.

As for Meraj Mohammad Khan, he ended up with ISI chief General Hamid Gul and the Jamaat e Islami PASBAN wing as the Secretary General of PTI in 1997.

When I pointed this out, member of Lahore’s “academic circles” told me to not speak “ill of the dead”. This silly bourgeoisie prescription aside, the irony was that the same “academic” was trashing Bhutto.