4 April 1979

Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan is executed.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
ذوالفقار علي ڀٽو  (Sindhi)
ذوالفقار علی بھٹو  (Urdu)
Zulfiqar ali bhutto.jpg
9th Prime Minister of Pakistan
In office
14 August 1973 – 5 July 1977
PresidentFazal Ilahi Chaudhry
Preceded byNurul Amin
Succeeded byMuhammad Khan Junejo
4th President of Pakistan
In office
20 December 1971 – 13 August 1973
Vice PresidentNurul Amin (1971–72)
None (1972–73)
Preceded byYahya Khan
Succeeded byFazal Ilahi Chaudhry
7th Speaker of the National Assembly
In office
14 April 1972 – 15 August 1972
DeputyMuhammad Hanif Khan
Preceded byAbdul Jabbar Khan
Succeeded byFazal Ilahi Chaudhry
8th and 12th Minister of Foreign Affairs
In office
15 June 1963 – 31 August 1966
PresidentAyub Khan
Preceded byMuhammad Ali Bogra
Succeeded bySharifuddin Pirzada
In office
20 December 1971 – 28 March 1977
PresidentFazal Ilahi Chaudhry
Preceded byYahya Khan
Succeeded byAziz Ahmed
Personal details
Born(1928-01-05)5 January 1928
Ratodero Taluka, Bombay Presidency, British India (present-day Sindh, Pakistan)
Died4 April 1979(1979-04-04) (aged 51)
Central Jail Rawalpindi, Rawalpindi, Punjab, Pakistan
Cause of deathExecution by hanging
Resting placeBhutto family mausoleum, Garhi Khuda Bakhsh, Sindh, Pakistan
NationalityBritish Indian (1928–1947)
Pakistani (1947–1979)
Political partyPakistan People's Party
Shireen Amir Begum (m. 1943)
Nusrat Ispahani (m. 1951)
RelationsBhutto family
Zardari family
FatherShah Nawaz Bhutto
Alma materUniversity of California, Berkeley, (BA)
Christ Church, Oxford, (LLB), (LLM), (M.S.)
ProfessionLawyer, politician

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto (Sindhi: ذوالفقار علي ڀٽو‎; Urdu: ذوالفقار علی بھٹو‎‎; 5 January 1928 – 4 April 1979) was a Pakistani barrister and politician who served as the 9th Prime Minister of Pakistan from 1973 to 1977, and prior to that as the fourth President of Pakistan from 1971 to 1973. He was also the founder of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) and served as its chairman until his execution in 1979.[3]

Born in modern-day Sindh and educated at the University of California, Berkeley and the University of Oxford, Bhutto trained as a barrister at Lincoln's Inn, before entering politics as one of President Iskander Mirza's cabinet members, and was assigned several ministries during President Ayub Khan's military rule from 1958. Appointed Foreign Minister in 1963, Bhutto was a proponent of Operation Gibraltar in Kashmir, leading to war with India in 1965. After the Tashkent Agreement ended hostilities, Bhutto fell out with Ayub Khan and was sacked from government.

Bhutto founded the PPP in 1967 on a socialist platform, and contested general elections held by President Yahya Khan in 1970. While the Awami League won a majority of seats overall, the PPP won a majority of seats in West Pakistan; the two parties were unable to agree on a new constitution in particular on the issue of Six Point Movement which many in West Pakistan saw as a way to break up the country.[4] Subsequent uprisings led to the secession of Bangladesh, and Pakistan losing the war against Bangladesh-allied India in 1971. Bhutto was handed over the presidency in December 1971 and emergency rule was imposed. When Bhutto set about rebuilding Pakistan, he stated his intention was to "rebuild confidence and rebuild hope for the future".[5]

By July 1972, Bhutto recovered 43,600 prisoners of war and 5,000 sq mi of Indian-held territory after signing the Simla Agreement.[6][7] He strengthened ties with China and Saudi Arabia, recognised Bangladesh, and hosted the second Organisation of the Islamic Conference in Lahore in 1974.[6] Domestically, Bhutto's reign saw parliament unanimously approve a new constitution in 1973, upon which he appointed Fazal Ilahi Chaudhry President and switched to the newly empowered office of Prime Minister. He also played an integral role in initiating the country's nuclear programme.[8] However, Bhutto's nationalisation of much of Pakistan's fledgling industries, healthcare, and educational institutions led to economic stagnation. After dissolving provincial feudal governments in Balochistan was met with unrest, Bhutto also ordered an army operation in the province in 1973, causing thousands of civilian casualties.[9]

Despite civil disorder, the PPP won parliamentary elections in 1977 by a wide margin. However, the opposition alleged widespread vote rigging, and violence escalated across the country. On 5 July that same year, Bhutto was deposed in a military coup by his appointed army chief Zia-ul-Haq, before being controversially tried and executed by the Supreme Court of Pakistan in 1979 for authorising the murder of a political opponent.[7][10][11]

Bhutto remains a contentious figure, being hailed for his nationalism and secular internationalist agenda, yet, is criticized for intimidating his political opponents and for human rights violations. He is often considered one of Pakistan's greatest leaders,[12] and his party, the PPP, remains among Pakistan's largest, with his daughter Benazir Bhutto being twice elected Prime Minister,[3] while his son-in-law and Benazir's husband, Asif Ali Zardari, served as President.

Early life

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto belonged to a Sindhi Bhutto Muslim Rajput family, he was born to Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto and Khursheed Begum near Larkana. Zulfikar was their third child—their first one, Sikandar Ali, had died from pneumonia at age seven in 1914, and the second, Imdad Ali, died of cirrhosis at age 39 in 1953.[13][failed verification] His father was the dewan of the princely state of Junagadh, and enjoyed an influential relationship with the officials of the British Raj. As a young boy, Bhutto moved to Worli Seaface in Bombay to study at the Cathedral and John Connon School. He then also became an activist in the Pakistan Movement. In 1943, his marriage was arranged with Shireen Amir Begum.[2] In 1947, Bhutto was admitted to the University of Southern California to study political science.[14]

In 1949, as a sophomore, Bhutto transferred to the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned a B.A. (honours) degree in political science in 1950.[3] There, Bhutto became interested in the theories of socialism, delivering a series of lectures on their feasibility in Islamic countries. During this time, Bhutto's father played a controversial role in the affairs of Junagadh. Coming to power in a palace coup, he secured the accession of his state to Pakistan, which was ultimately negated by Indian intervention in December 1947.[15] In June 1950, Bhutto travelled to the United Kingdom to study law at Christ Church, Oxford and received an LLB, followed by an LLM degree in law and an M.Sc. (honours) degree in political science.[3] Upon finishing his studies, he was called to the bar at Lincoln's Inn in 1953.[3] He was fellow of Barrister Ijaz Hussain Batalvi who later appeared in his case as prosecutor.

Bhutto married his second wife, Nusrat Ispahani, an Iranian-Kurdish woman,[16] in Karachi on 8 September 1951. Their first child, Benazir, was born in 1953. She was followed by Murtaza in 1954, Sanam in 1957 and Shahnawaz in 1958.

Political career

In 1957, Bhutto became the youngest member of Pakistan's delegation to the United Nations. He addressed the UN Sixth Committee on Aggression that October and led Pakistan's delegation to the first UN Conference on the Law of the Sea in 1958. That year, Bhutto became Pakistan's youngest cabinet minister, taking up the reins of the Ministry of Commerce by President Iskander Mirza, pre-coup d'état government.[3] In 1960, he was promoted to Minister of Water and Power, Communications and Industry. Bhutto became trusted ally and advisor of Ayub Khan, rising in influence and power despite his youth and relative inexperience. Bhutto aided his president in negotiating the Indus Water Treaty in India in 1960 and next year negotiated an oil-exploration agreement with the Soviet Union, which agreed to provide economic and technical aid to Pakistan.[citation needed]

Foreign Minister

Foreign Minister Bhutto meets West German officials in Bonn, 1965.
Meeting between Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and John F. Kennedy.

Bhutto was a Pakistani nationalist and socialist,[17] with particular views on the type of democracy needed in Pakistan. On becoming foreign minister in 1963, his socialist viewpoint influenced him to embark on a close relationship with neighbouring China. At the time, many other countries accepted Taiwan as the legitimate single government of China, at a time when two governments each claimed to be "China".[18] In 1964, the Soviet Union and its satellite states broke off relations with Beijing over ideological differences, and only Albania and Pakistan supported the People's Republic of China. Bhutto staunchly supported Beijing in the UN, and in the UNSC, while also continuing to build bridges to the United States.[19] Bhutto's strong advocacy of developing ties with China came under criticism from the United States. President Lyndon B. Johnson wrote to Bhutto, warning him that further overtures to China would jeopardize congressional support for aid to Pakistan.[20] Bhutto addressed his speeches in a demagogic style and headed the foreign ministry aggressively. His leadership style and his swift rise to power brought him national prominence and popularity. Bhutto and his staff visited Beijing and were warmly received by the Chinese, and Bhutto greeted Mao Zedong with great respect.[21] There, Bhutto helped Ayub negotiate trade and military agreements with the Chinese regime, which agreed to help Pakistan in several military and industrial projects.[21]

Bhutto signed the Sino-Pakistan Boundary Agreement on 2 March 1963 that transferred 750 square kilometres of territory from Pakistan-administered Kashmir to Chinese control. Bhutto asserted his belief in non-alignment, making Pakistan an influential member in non-aligned organisations. Believing in pan-Islamic unity, Bhutto developed closer relations with the likes of Indonesia and Saudi Arabia. Bhutto significantly transformed Pakistan's hitherto pro-West foreign policy. While maintaining a prominent role for Pakistan within the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization and the Central Treaty Organization, Bhutto began asserting a foreign policy course for Pakistan that was independent of U.S. influence. Meanwhile, Bhutto visited both East and West Germany and established a strong link between two countries. Bhutto proceeded economical, technological, industrial and military agreements with Germany. Bhutto strengthened Pakistan's strategic alliance with Germany. Bhutto addressed a farewell speech at the University of Munich, where he cited the importance of Pakistan and German relations.[citation needed] Bhutto then visited Poland and established diplomatic relations in 1962.[22] Bhutto used Pakistan Air Force's Brigadier-General Władysław Turowicz to establish the military and economical link between Pakistan and Poland.[23] Bhutto sought and reached to the Polish community in Pakistan and made a tremendous effort for a fresh avenues for mutual cooperation.

In 1962, as territorial differences increased between India and China, Beijing was planning to stage an invasion in northern territories of India. Premier Zhou Enlai and Mao invited Pakistan to join the raid to illegally rest the Indian State of Jammu and Kashmir from India. Bhutto advocated for the plan, but Ayub opposed the plan: he was afraid of retaliation by Indian troops.[18] Instead Ayub proposed a "joint defence union" with India. Bhutto was shocked by such statements and felt Ayub Khan was unlettered in international affairs. Bhutto was conscious that despite Pakistan's membership of anti-communist western alliances, China had refrained from criticising Pakistan. In 1962, the U.S. assured Pakistan that “Kashmir issues” will be resolved according to the wishes of Pakistanis and the “Kashmiris”. Therefore, Ayub did not participate in the Chinese plans.[18] Bhutto criticised the U.S. for providing military aid to India during and after the 1962 Sino-Indian War, which was seen as an abrogation of Pakistan's alliance with the United States.[24]

Meanwhile, Ayub Khan, on Bhutto's counsel, launched Operation Gibraltar in a bid to "liberate" Kashmir. It ended in a fiasco and the Indian Armed Forces launched a successful counter-attack on West Pakistan (Indo-Pakistani War of 1965).[18] This war was an aftermath of brief skirmishes that took place between March and August 1965 on the international boundaries in the Rann of Kutch, Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab. Bhutto joined Ayub in Uzbekistan to negotiate a peace treaty with the Indian Prime Minister Lal Bahadur Shastri. Ayub and Shastri agreed to exchange prisoners of war and withdraw respective forces to pre-war boundaries. This agreement was deeply unpopular in Pakistan, causing major political unrest against Ayub's regime. Bhutto's criticism of the final agreement caused a major rift between him and Ayub. Initially denying the rumours, Bhutto resigned in June 1966 and expressed strong opposition to Ayub's regime.[24]

During his term, Bhutto was known to be formulating aggressive geostrategic and foreign policies against India.[25] In 1965, Bhutto's friend Munir Ahmad Khan informed him of the status of India's nuclear programme. Bhutto reportedly said, "Pakistan will fight, fight for a thousand years. If.. India builds the (atom) bomb.... (Pakistan) will eat grass or (leaves), even go hungry, but we (Pakistan) will get one of our own (atom bomb).... We (Pakistan) have no other Choice!". In his 1969 book The Myth of Independence Bhutto argued that it was the “necessity” for Pakistan to acquire the fission weapon, and start a so-called deterrence programme to be able to stand up to the industrialised states, and against a nuclear armed India. Bhutto obtained a manifesto and made a future policy on how the programme would be developed and which individual scientists would start the program. Bhutto selected Munir Ahmad Khan and Abdus Salam (a Nobel laureate and Ahmadi Muslim and despite Bhutto's constitutional designation in Pakistan of Ahmadis as "non-Muslim") that Ahmaan Ahmadiyuaas the first and main basis of the programme.[25][26]

Pakistan Peoples Party

Following his resignation as foreign minister, large crowds gathered to listen to Bhutto's speech upon his arrival in Lahore on 21 June 1967. Tapping a wave of anger against Ayub, Bhutto traveled across Pakistan to deliver political speeches. In October 1966 Bhutto made explicit the beliefs of his new party, "Islam is our faith, democracy is our policy, socialism is our economy. All power to the people."[27] On 30 November 1967, at the Lahore residence of Mubashir Hassan, a gathering that included Bhutto, Bengali communist J. A. Rahim and Basit Jehangir Sheikh founded the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), establishing a strong base in Punjab, Sindh and amongst the Muhajirs.[28]

Mubashir Hassan, an engineering professor at UET Lahore, was the main brain and hidden hand behind the success and the rise of Bhutto. Under Hassan's guidance and Bhutto's leadership, the PPP became a part of the pro-democracy movement involving diverse political parties from all across Pakistan. The PPP activists staged large protests and strikes in different parts of the country, increasing pressure on Ayub to resign. Dr. Hassan and Bhutto's arrest on 12 November 1969, sparked greater political unrest. After his release, Bhutto, joined by key leaders of PPP, attended the Round Table Conference called by Ayub Khan in Rawalpindi, but refused to accept Ayub's continuation in office and the East-Pakistani politician Sheikh Mujibur Rahman's Six point movement for regional autonomy.[28]

Following Ayub's resignation, his successor, General Yahya Khan promised to hold parliamentary elections on 7 December 1970. Under Bhutto's leadership the democratic socialists, leftists, and marxist-communists gathered and united into one party platform for the first time in Pakistan's history. The Socialist-Communist bloc, under Bhutto's leadership, intensified its support in Muhajir and poor farming communities in West Pakistan, working through educating people to cast their vote for their better future.[28] Gathering and uniting the scattered socialist-communist groups in one single center was considered Bhutto's greatest political achievement and as a result, Bhutto's party and other leftists won a large number of seats from constituencies in West-Pakistan.[27] However, Sheikh Mujib's Awami League won an absolute majority in the legislature, receiving more than twice as many votes as Bhutto's PPP. Bhutto refused to accept an Awami League government and famously promised to "break the legs" of any elected PPP member who dared to attend the inaugural session of the National Assembly. Capitalising on West Pakistani fears of East Pakistani separatism, Bhutto demanded that Sheikh Mujib form a coalition with the PPP. Amidst popular outrage in East Pakistan, Sheikh Mujib declared the independence of "Bangladesh". According to historical references and a report published by leading Pakistani newspaper The Nation, "Mujib no longer believed in Pakistan and is determined to make Bangladesh".[29]

Bhutto in 1971.

On 26 March 1971, just after he declared independence, Sheikh Mujib was arrested by the Pakistan Army, which had been ordered by Yahya Khan to suppress political activities.[30] While supportive of the army's actions and working to rally international support, Bhutto distanced himself from the Yahya Khan regime and began to criticise Yahya Khan for mishandling the situation.[31] He refused to accept Yahya Khan's scheme to appoint Bengali politician Nurul Amin as Prime Minister, with Bhutto as deputy prime minister.[31] Soon after Bhutto's refusal and continuous resentment toward General Yahya Khan's mishandling of situation, Khan ordered Military Police to arrest Bhutto on charges of treason, quite similar to Mujib.[31] Bhutto was imprisoned in the Adiala Jail along with Mujib, where he was set to face the charges.[31] The Indian intervention in East Pakistan led to the very bitter defeat of Pakistani forces, who surrendered on 16 December 1971. Bhutto and others condemned Yahya Khan for failing to protect Pakistan's unity.[31] Isolated, Yahya Khan resigned on 20 December and transferred power to Bhutto, who became president, commander-in-chief and the first civilian chief martial law administrator.[27]

Bhutto was the country's first civilian chief martial law administrator since 1958, as well as the country's first civilian president.[27] With Bhutto assuming the control, the leftists and democratic socialists entered the country's politics, and later emerged as power players in the country's politics. And, for the first time in the country's history, the leftists and democratic socialists had a chance to administer the country with the popular vote and widely approved exclusive mandate, given to them by the West's population in the 1970s elections.[27]

In a reference written by Kuldip Nayar in his book "Scoop! Inside Stories from the Partition to the Present", Nayar noted that "Bhutto's releasing of Mujib did not mean anything to Pakistan's policy as in if there was no liberation war.[32] Bhutto's policy, and even as of today, the policy of Pakistan continues to state that "she will continue to fight for the honor and integrity of Pakistan. East Pakistan is an inseparable and unseverable part of Pakistan".[32]

President of Pakistan

A Pakistan International Airlines flight was sent to fetch Bhutto from New York, who at that time was presenting Pakistan's case before the United Nations Security Council on the East Pakistan Crises. Bhutto returned home on 18 December 1971. On 20 December, he was taken to the President House in Rawalpindi, where he took over two positions from Yahya Khan, one as president and the other as first civilian Chief Martial Law Administrator. Thus, he was the first civilian Chief Martial Law Administrator of the dismembered Pakistan. By the time Bhutto had assumed control of what remained of Pakistan, the nation was completely isolated, angered, and demoralized.[citation needed]

President Bhutto addressing the nation via radio and television saying 'My dear countrymen, my dear friends, my dear students, labourers, peasants... those who fought for Pakistan... We are facing the worst crisis in our country's life, a deadly crisis. We have to pick up the pieces, very small pieces, but we will make a new Pakistan, a prosperous and progressive Pakistan, a Pakistan free of exploitation, a Pakistan envisaged by the Quaid-e-Azam'.

— Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, 1971[33]

Richard Nixon and Bhutto in 1973

As president, Bhutto faced mounting challenges on both internal and foreign fronts. The trauma was severe in Pakistan, a psychological setback and emotional breakdown for Pakistan. The two-nation theory—the theoretical basis for the creation of Pakistan—lay discredited, and Pakistan's foreign policy collapsed when no moral support was found anywhere, including long-standing allies such as the U.S. and China. Since her creation, the physical and moral existence of Pakistan was in great danger. On the internal front, Baloch, Sindhi, Punjabi, and Pashtun nationalisms were at their peak, calling for their independence from Pakistan. Finding it difficult to keep Pakistan united, Bhutto launched full-fledged intelligence and military operations to stamp out any separatist movements. By the end of 1978, these nationalist organizations were brutally quelled by Pakistan Armed Forces.[34]

Bhutto immediately placed Yahya Khan under house arrest, brokered a ceasefire and ordered the release of Sheikh Mujib, who was held prisoner by the Pakistan Army. To implement this, Bhutto reversed the verdict of Mujib's earlier court-martial trial, in which Brigadier-General Rahimuddin Khan had sentenced Mujib to death. Appointing a new cabinet, Bhutto appointed Lieutenant-General Gul Hasan as Chief of Army Staff. On 2 January 1972 Bhutto announced the nationalisation of all major industries, including iron and steel, heavy engineering, heavy electricals, petrochemicals, cement and public utilities.[35] A new labour policy was announced increasing workers' rights and the power of trade unions. Although he came from a feudal background himself, Bhutto announced reforms limiting land ownership and a government take-over of over a million acres to distribute to landless peasants. More than 2,000 civil servants were dismissed on charges of corruption.[35] Bhutto also dismissed the military chiefs on 3 March after they refused orders to suppress a major police strike in Punjab. He appointed General Tikka Khan as the new Chief of the Army Staff in March 1972 as he felt the general would not interfere in political matters and would concentrate on rehabilitating the Pakistan Army. Bhutto convened the National Assembly on 14 April, rescinded martial law on 21 April and charged the legislators with writing a new constitution.[citation needed]

Bhutto visited India to meet Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and negotiated a formal peace agreement and the release of 93,000 Pakistani prisoners of war. The two leaders signed the Simla Agreement, which committed both nations to establish a new-yet-temporary Line of Control in Kashmir and obligated them to resolve disputes peacefully through bilateral talks.[35] Bhutto also promised to hold a future summit for the peaceful resolution of the Kashmir dispute and pledged to recognise Bangladesh. Although he secured the release of Pakistani soldiers held by India, Bhutto was criticised by many in Pakistan for allegedly making too many concessions to India. It is theorised that Bhutto feared his downfall if he could not secure the release of Pakistani soldiers and the return of territory occupied by Indian forces.[36] Bhutto established an atomic power development programme and inaugurated the first Pakistani atomic reactor, built in collaboration with Canada in Karachi on 28 November. On 30 March 59 military officers were arrested by army troops for allegedly plotting a coup against Bhutto, who appointed then-Brigadier Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq to head a military tribunal to investigate and try the suspects. The National Assembly approved the new 1973 Constitution, which Bhutto signed into effect on 12 April. The constitution proclaimed an "Islamic Republic" in Pakistan with a parliamentary form of government.[37] On 10 August, Bhutto turned over the post of president to Fazal Ilahi Chaudhry, assuming the office of prime minister instead.[35]

Nuclear weapons program

Bhutto meeting with Iranian Empress Farah Pahlavi, 1972

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was the founder of Pakistan's atomic bomb programme, and due to his administrative and aggressive leadership to lead this nuclear deterrence programme, Bhutto is often known as Father of Nuclear deterrence programme.[34][38][39] Bhutto's interest in nuclear technology was said to have begun during his college years in the United States when Bhutto attended a course in political science, discussing political impact of U.S.'s first nuclear test, Trinity, on Global politics.[40] While at Berkeley, Bhutto witnessed the public panic when the Soviet Union first exploded the bomb, codename First Lightning in 1949, prompting the U.S. government to famously launch the research on Hydrogen bombs.[40] However, in 1958 when long before as Minister for Fuel, Power, and National Resources, Bhutto played a key role in setting up the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) administrative research bodies and institutes.[41] Soon, Bhutto offered a technical post to Munir Ahmad Khan in PAEC in 1958, and lobbied for Abdus Salam as being appointed as Science Adviser in 1960.[41] Before being elevated as Foreign minister, Bhutto directed the funds for key research in nuclear weapons and related science.[41]

In October 1965, as Foreign Minister, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto visited Vienna, where nuclear engineer Munir Ahmad Khan working at a senior technical post at the IAEA, informed him of the status of Indian nuclear programme and the options Pakistan had to develop its own nuclear capability.[citation needed] Both agreed on the need for Pakistan to develop a nuclear deterrent to meet India's nuclear capacity.[citation needed] While, Munir Ahmad Khan had failed to convince Ayub Khan, Bhutto had said to Munir Ahmad Khan: Don't worry, our turn will come.[citation needed] Shortly, after the 1965 war, Bhutto in a press conference, famously declared that "even if we have to eat grass, we will make nuclear bomb. We have no other choice." as he saw India was making its way to develop the bomb.[25] In 1965, Bhutto lobbied for Salam and succeeded to appoint Salam as the head of Pakistan's delegation at IAEA, and helped Salam to lobby for acquiring of the nuclear power plants.[41] In November 1972, Bhutto advised Salam to travel to United States to evade the war, and advised him to return with the key literature on nuclear history. By the end week of December 1972, Salam returned to Pakistan, loaded with literature on the Manhattan Project, in his huge suitcases. In 1974, Bhutto launched a more aggressive and serious diplomatic offensive on the United States and the Western world over the nuclear issues. Writing to the world and Western leaders, Bhutto made it clear and maintained:

Pakistan was exposed to a kind of "nuclear threat and blackmail" unparalleled elsewhere.... If the world's community failed to provide political insurance to Pakistan and other countries against the nuclear blackmail, these countries would be constraint to launch atomic bomb programs of their own!... [A]ssurances provided by the United Nations were not "Enough!"...

— Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, statement written in Eating Grass, source[42]

Shortly, roughly two weeks past after experiencing the 1971 winter war, on 20 January 1972, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto rallied a conference of nuclear scientists and at Multan.[citation needed] While at the Multan meeting, arranged by Bhutto's Science Advisor Abdus Salam, scientists were wondering why the President who had so much on his hands in those trying days was paying so much attention to the scientists and engineers in the nuclear field.[citation needed] At the meeting Bhutto slowly talked about the recent war and country's future, pointing out the existence of the country was in great moral danger.[citation needed] While the academicians listened to Bhutto carefully, Bhutto said: "Look, we're going to have the bomb". Bhutto asked them: "Can you give it to me? And how long will it take it to make a bomb?".[citation needed] Many of senior scientists had witnessed the war, and were emotionally and psychologically disturbed, therefore, the response was positive when the senior academic scientists replied: "Oh...Yes.. Yes... You can have it."[citation needed] There was a lively debate on the time needed to make the bomb, and finally one scientist dared to say that maybe it could be done in five years.[citation needed] Prime Minister Bhutto smiled, lifted his hand, and dramatically thrust forward three fingers and said: "Three years, I want it in three years". The atmosphere suddenly became electric.[citation needed] It was then that one of the junior scientist Siddique Ahmad Butt (a theoretical physicist), who under Munir Ahmad Khan's guiding hand would come to play a major role in making the fission weapon possible – jumped to his feet and clamoured for his leader's attention.[citation needed] Siddique Ahmad Butt replied: "It can be done in three years". When Bhutto heard Butt's reply, Bhutto was very much amused and said: "Well.... Much as I appreciate your enthusiasm, this is a very serious political decision, which Pakistan must make, and perhaps all Third World countries must make one day, because it is coming. So can you boys do it?". Nearly all senior scientists replied in one tone: Yes... We can do it, given the resources and given the facilities". Bhutto ended the meeting by simply saying: "I shall find you the resources and I shall find you the facilities".[citation needed]

Before the 1970s, the nuclear deterrence was long established under the government of Suhrawardy, but was completely peaceful and devoted for civil power. Bhutto, in his book The Myth of Independence in 1969 wrote that:

If Pakistan restricts or suspends her nuclear deterrence, it would not only enable India to blackmail Pakistan with her nuclear advantage, but would impose a crippling limitation on the development of Pakistan's science and technology.... Our problem in its essence, is how to obtain such a weapon in time before the crisis begin...

— Zulfikar Ali Bhutto[43]

After India's nuclear test – codename Smiling Buddha—in May 1974, Bhutto sensed and saw this test as final anticipation for Pakistan's death.[34] In a press conference, held shortly after India's nuclear test, Bhutto said, "India's nuclear program is designed to intimidate Pakistan and establish "hegemony in the subcontinent".[44] Despite Pakistan limited financial resources, Bhutto was so enthusiastic about Pakistan nuclear energy project, that he is reported to have said "Pakistanis will eat grass but make a nuclear bomb."[45]

Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission's militarisation was initiated on 20 January 1972 and, in its initial years, was implemented by Pakistan Army's Chief of Army Staff General Tikka Khan. The Karachi Nuclear Power Plant (KANUPP-I) was inaugurated by Bhutto during his role as President of Pakistan at the end of 1972.[41] The nuclear weapons programme was set up loosely based on Manhattan Project of the 1940s under the administrative control of Bhutto.[40] And, senior academic scientists had a direct access to Bhutto, who kept him informed about every inch of the development. Bhutto's Science Advisor, Abdus Salam's office was also sat up in Bhutto's Prime minister Secretariat.[40] On Bhutto's request, Salam had established and led the Theoretical Physics Group (TPG) that marked the beginning of the nuclear deterrent programme. The TPG designed and developed the nuclear weapons as well as the entire programme.[40] Later, Munir Ahmad Khan had him personally approved the budget for the development of the programme.[40]

Wanting a capable administrator, Bhutto sought Lieutenant-General Rahimuddin Khan to chair the commission, which Rahimuddin declined, in 1971.[46] Instead, in January 1972, Bhutto chose a U.S.-trained nuclear engineer, Munir Ahmad Khan, as chairman of Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission (PAEC) as Bhutto realised that he wanted an administrator who understood the scientific and economical needs of this such technologically giant and ambitious programme. Since 1965, Khan had developed an extremely close and trusted relationship with Bhutto, and even after his death, Benazir and Murtaza Bhutto were instructed by their father to keep in touch with Munir Ahmad Khan. In spring of 1976, Kahuta Research Facility, then known as Engineering Research Laboratories (ERL), as part of codename Project-706, was also established by Bhutto, and brought under nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan and the Pakistan Army Corps of Engineers' Lieutenant-General Zahid Ali Akbar.[40]

Because Pakistan, under Bhutto, was not a signatory or party of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), the Nuclear Suppliers Group (NSG), Commissariat à l'énergie atomique (CEA), and British Nuclear Fuels (BNFL) had immediately cancelled fuel reprocessing plant projects with PAEC. And, according to Causar Nyäzie, the Pakistan Atomic Energy Commission officials had misled Bhutto and he sought on a long journey to try to get nuclear fuel reprocessing plant from France.[47] It was on the advice of A. Q. Khan that no fuel existed to reprocess and urged Bhutto to follow his pursuit of uranium enrichment.[47] Bhutto tried to show he was still interested in that expensive route and was relieved when Kissinger persuaded the French to cancel the deal.[47] Bhutto had trusted Munir Ahmad Khan's plans to develop the programme ingeniously, and the mainstream goal of showing such interest in French reprocessing plant was to give time to PAEC scientists to gain expertise in building its own reprocessing plants. By the time France's CEA cancelled the project, the PAEC had acquired 95% of the detailed plans of the plant and materials.[34]

Munir Ahmad Khan and Ishfaq Ahmad believed that since PAEC had acquired most of the detailed plans, work, plans, and materials, the PAEC, based on that 95% work, could build the plutonium reprocessing reactors on its own, Pakistan should stick to its original plan, the plutonium route.[34] Bhutto did not disagree but saw an advantage in establishing another parallel programme, the uranium enrichment programme under Abdul Qadeer Khan.[34] Both Munir Khan and Ahmed had shown their concern over on Abdul Qadeer Khan's suspected activities but Bhutto backed Khan when Bhutto maintained that: "No less than any other nation did what Abdul Qadeer Khan (is) doing; the Soviets and Chinese; the British and the French; the Indians and the Israelis; stole the nuclear weapons designs previously in the past and no one questioned them but rather tend to be quiet. We are not stealing what they (illegally) stole in the past (as referring the nuclear weapon designs) but we're taking a small machine which is not useful for making the atomic bomb but for a fuel".[40] International pressure was difficult to counter at that time, and Bhutto, with the help of Munir Ahmad Khan and Aziz Ahmed, tackled the intense heated criticism and diplomatic war with the United States at numerous fronts—while the progress on nuclear weapons remained highly classified.[40][48] During this pressure, Aziz Ahmed played a significant role by convincing the consortium industries to sell and export sensitive electronic components before the United States could approach to them and try and prevent the consortium industries to export such equipments and components.[40] Bhutto slowly reversed and thwarted United States' any attempt to infiltrate the programme as he had expelled many of the American diplomatic officials in the country, under Operation Sun Rise, authorised by Bhutto under ISI.[40] On the other hand, Bhutto intensified his staunch support and eye-blindly backed Abdul Qadeer Khan to quietly bring the Urenco's weapon-grade technology to Pakistan, keeping the Kahuta Laboratories hidden from the outside world.[40] Regional rivals such as India and Soviet Union, had no basic intelligence on Pakistan's nuclear energy project during the 1970s, and Bhutto's intensified clandestine efforts seemed to be paid off in 1978 when the programme was fully matured.[40]

In a thesis written in The Myth of Independence, Bhutto argued that nuclear weapons would allow India to use its Air Force warplanes that with the use of small battlefield nuclear devices against the Pakistan Army cantonments, armoured and infantry columns and PAF bases and nuclear and military industrial facilities.[49] The Indian Air Force would not meet with an adverse reaction from the world community as long as civilian casualties could be kept to a minimum.[49] This way, India would defeat Pakistan, force its armed forces into a humiliating surrender and occupy and annexe the Northern Areas of Pakistan and Azad Kashmir. India would then carve up Pakistan into tiny states based on ethnic divisions and that would be the end of the "Pakistan problem" once and for all.[49]

By the time Bhutto was ousted, this crash programme had fully matured in terms of technical development as well as scientific efforts.[40] By the 1977, PAEC and KRL had built their uranium enrichment and plutonium reprocessing plants, and selection for test sites, at Chagai Hills, was done by the PAEC.[9] The feasibility reports were submitted by both organisations on their works.[9] In 1977, the PAEC's Theoretical Physics Group had finished the designing of the first fission weapon, and KRL scientists succeeded in electromagnetic isotope separation of Uranium fissile isotopes.[9] In spite of this, still little had been done in the development of weapons, and Pakistan's nuclear arsenal were actually made by General Zia-ul-Haq's military regime, under the watchful eyes of several Naval admirals, Army and Air Force's generals including Ghulam Ishaq Khan.[47] In 1983, Bhutto's decision later proved to be right, when PAEC had conducted a cold test, near Kirana Hills, evidently made from non-fissioned plutonium. It has been speculated recently in the press that Dr. Khan's uranium enrichment designs were used by the Chinese in exchange for (UF6) and some highly enriched weapons grade uranium.[47] Later on this weapons grade uranium was offered back to the Chinese as the Pakistanis used their own materials.[47] In all, Bhutto knew that Pakistan had become a nuclear weapon state in 1978 when his friend Munir Ahmad Khan paid a visit to him in his jail cell.[citation needed] There, Munir Ahmad Khan told Bhutto that the process of weapon designing is finished and a milestone in the complex and difficult enrichment of weapon-grade fuel has been achieved by the PAEC and dr. Abdul Qadeer Khan of ERL.[citation needed] Bhutto called for an immediate nuclear test to be conducted, no response was issued by General Zia or any member of his government.[citation needed]

We (Pakistan)...know that (Israel) and (South Africa) have full nuclear capability—a Christian, Jewish and Hindu civilization have this [nuclear] capability ... the Islamic civilization is without it, but the situation (is) about to change!...

— Zulfikar Ali Bhutto—called for a test from his jail cell, 1978[50]

Prime Minister of Pakistan

Bhutto was sworn in as the prime minister of the country on 14 August 1973, after he had secured 108 votes in a house of 146 members. Fazal Ilahi Chaudhry was elected as the president under the new constitution.[51] During his five years of government, the Bhutto government made extensive reforms at every level of government.[52] Pakistan's capital and Western reforms that were begun and built in 1947 throughout the 1970s, were transformed and replaced with Socialist system.[52] His policies were seen people friendly, but it did not produce long-lasting effects as the civil disorder against Bhutto began to take place in 1977.[52]

Constitutional reforms

Bhutto is considered the main architect of 1973 constitution as part of his vision to put Pakistan to road to parliamentary democracy.[53] One of the major achievements in Bhutto's life was drafting of Pakistan's first ever consensus constitution to the country.[53] Bhutto supervised the promulgation of 1973 constitution that triggered an unstoppable constitutional revolution through his politics wedded to the emancipation of the downtrodden masses, by first giving people a voice in the Parliament, and introducing radical changes in the economic sphere for their benefit .[53]

During his period in office the government carried out seven major amendments to the 1973 Constitution.[54] The First Amendment led to Pakistan's recognition of and diplomatic ties with Bangladesh.[51] The Second Amendment in the constitution declared the Ahmadis as non-Muslims, and defined the term non-Muslim.[51][55] The rights of the detained were limited under the Third Amendment while the powers and jurisdiction of the courts for providing relief to political opponents were curtailed under the Fourth Amendment.[51] The Fifth Amendment passed on 15 September 1976, focused on curtailing the power and jurisdiction of the Judiciary.[51] This amendment was highly criticised by lawyers and political leaders.[51] The main provision of the Sixth Amendment extended the term of the Chief Justices of the Supreme Court and the High Courts beyond the age of retirement.[51] This Amendment was made in the Constitution to favour the then Chief Justice of the Supreme Court who was supposed to be a friend of Bhutto.[51]

Industrial reforms

The Bhutto government carried out a number of reforms in the industrial sector. His reforms were twofold: nationalization, and the improvement of workers' rights.[56] In the first phase, basic industries like steel, chemical and cement were nationalized. This was done in 1972.[56] The next major step in nationalization took place on 1 January 1974, when Bhutto nationalised all banks.[56] The last step in the series was the nationalization of all flour, rice and cotton mills throughout the country.[56] This nationalisation process was not as successful as Bhutto expected.[56] Most of the nationalized units were small businesses that could not be described as industrial units, hence making no sense for the step that was taken.[56] Consequently, a considerable number of small businessmen and traders were ruined, displaced or rendered unemployed. In the concluding analysis, nationalisation caused colossal loss not only to the national treasury but also to the people of Pakistan.[56]

The Bhutto government established a large number of rural and urban schools, including around 6,500 elementary schools, 900 middle schools, 407 high schools, 51 intermediate colleges and 21 junior colleges.[52] Bhutto also abandoned the Western education system and most of the literature was sent back to Western world; instead his government encouraged the local academicians to publish books on their respected fields. Though the local books were made cheaper to the public, these reforms came with controversy. His government made Islamic and Pakistan studies compulsory in schools. Book banks were created in most institutions and over 400,000 copies of text-books were supplied to students.[57]

Bhutto is credited for establishing the world class Quaid-e-Azam University and Allama Iqbal Open University in Islamabad in 1974, as well as establishing Gomal University Dera Ismail Khan in 1973. In his role as Foreign Minister, and in 1967 with the help of Abdus Salam, established the Institute of Theoretical Physics. As Prime Minister, Bhutto made revolutionary efforts to expand the web of education. Bhutto established the Allama Iqbal Medical College in 1975.[58] In 1974, with the help of Abdus Salam, Bhutto gave authorisation of the International Nathiagali Summer College on Contemporary Physics (INSC) at the Nathiagali and as even as of today, INSC conference is still held on Pakistan, where thousands of scientists from all over the world are delegated to Pakistan to interact with Pakistan's academic scientists. In 1976, Bhutto established the Engineering Council, Institute of Theoretical Physics, Pakistan Academy of Letters and Cadet college Razmak in North Waziristan. A further four new Universities which have been established at Multan, Bahawalpur, and Khairpur. The People's Open University is another innovative venture which has started functioning from Islamabad. The Government's Education Policy provides for the remission of fees and the grant of a number of scholarships for higher education to the children of low-paid employees[57]

Seven thousand new hostel seats were planned to be added to the existing accommodation after the 1977 election. Bhutto said in 1975 he was aware "of the difficulties and deficiencies faced by college students in many of the existing hostels. Directions have, therefore, been issued that fans, water-coolers and pay-telephones must be provided in each and every hostel in as short a time as physically possible."[57]

Land, flood and agriculture reforms

During his period as prime minister, a number of land reforms were also introduced.[56] The important land reforms included the reduction of land ceilings and introducing the security of tenancy to tenant farmers.[56] The land ceiling was fixed to 150 acres (0.61 km2) of irrigated land and 300 acres (1.2 km2) of non-irrigated land. Another step that Bhutto took was to democratise Pakistan's Civil Service.[56] In Balochistan, the pernicious practice of Shishak and Sardari System was abolished. In 1976, the Bhutto government carried out the establishment of Federal Flood Commission (FFC), and was tasked to prepare national flood protection plans, and flood forecasting and research to harness floodwater.[59][60] Bhutto later went on to upgrade a number of dams and barrages built in Sindh Province.

Bhutto was a strong advocate of empowering small farmers. He argued that if farmers were weak and demoralised then Pakistan's agricultural strength would be fragile, believing that farmers would not feel psychologically safe unless the country achieved self-sufficiency in food.[61] Therefore, the Bhutto government launched programs to put the country on road to self-sufficiency in rice hulling, sugar-milling and wheat husking industries.[61] Bhutto's government intensified the control of rice hulling, sugar and wheat husking factories, initially believing that public sector involvement would reduce the influence of multi-national corporations creating monopolies.[61] The Government initiated schemes for combating water logging and salinity.[61] Tax exceptions were also introduced for small landowners to encourage the growth of agriculture.[61] His nationalisation of Sindh-based industries heavily benefited the poor, but badly upset the influential feudal lords.

Economic policy

Bhutto introduced socialist economics policies while working to prevent any further division of the country. Major heavy mechanical, chemical, and electrical engineering industries were immediately nationalised by Bhutto, and all of the industries came under direct control of government. Industries, such as KESC were under complete government control with no private influence in KESC decision. Bhutto abandoned Ayub Khan's state capitalism policies, and introduced socialist policies in a move to reduce the rich get richer and poor get poorer ratio. Bhutto also established the Port Qasim, Pakistan Steel Mills, the Heavy Mechanical Complex (HMC) and several cement factories.[56][62] However, the growth rate of economy relative to that of the 1960s when East Pakistan was still part of Pakistan and large generous aid from the United States declined, after the global oil crises in 1973, which also had a negative impact on the economy.[63] Despite the initiatives undertaken by Bhutto's government to boost the country's economy, the economical growth remained at equilibrium level.[56] But Bhutto's policy largely benefited the poor and working class when the level of absolute poverty was sharply reduced, with the percentage of the population estimated to be living in absolute poverty falling from 46.50% by the end of 1979–80, under the General Zia-ul-Haq's military rule, to 30.78%.[56][64] The land reform programme provided increased economic support to landless tenants, and development spending was substantially increased, particularly on health and education, in both rural and urban areas, and provided "material support" to rural wage workers, landless peasants, and urban wage workers.[56][65]

Bhutto's nationalisation policies were initiated with an aim to put workers in control of the tools of production and to protect workers and small businesses.[66] However, economical historians argued that the nationalisation program initially effected the small industries and had devastating effects on Pakistan's economy shrunk Bhutto's credibility.[66] Conservative critics believed the nationalisation policies had damaged investor's confidence and government corruption in nationalised industries grew, although no serious corruption cases were ever proved against Bhutto by the military junta.[66] In 1974, Bhutto maintained that foreign companies and industries in Pakistan were except from nationalisation policies and his government would be willing to receive foreign investment to put up factories.[67] While commenting on his policies in 1973, Bhutto told the group of investors that belonged to the Lahore Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) that "activity of public sector or state sector prevents the concentration of economic power in few hands, and protects the small and medium entrepreneurs from the clutches of giant enterprises and vested interests".[63]

Bhutto's shift away from some socialist policies badly upset his democratic socialist alliance and many in the Pakistan Peoples Party, many of his colleagues, most notable Malik Mirage left Bhutto and departed to Soviet Union after resigning from Law Minister.[68] Continuous disagreement led the government's socialist alliance to collapse and further uniting with secular Independence Movement led by Asghar Khan.[68]

As part of his investment policies, Bhutto founded the National Development Finance Corporation (NDFC). In July 1973, this financial institute began operation with an initial government investment of 100 million PRs. It aim was finance public sector industrial enterprises but, later on, its charter was modified to provide finance to the private sector as well. The NDFC is currently the largest development finance institution of Pakistan performing diversified activities in the field of industrial financing and investment banking. 42 projects financed by NDFC have contributed Rs. 10,761 million to Pakistan's GDP and generated Rs. 690 million after-tax profits and 40,465 jobs. By the mid-1990s NDFC had a pool of resources amounting to US$878 million The Bhutto government increased the level of investment, private and public, in the economy from less than Rs. 7,000 million in 1971–72 to more than Rs. 17,000 million in 1974–75.

Banking and Export expansion

Banking reforms were introduced to provide more opportunities to small farmers and business such as forcing banks to ensure 70% of institutional lending should be for small land holders of 12.5 acres or less, which was a revolutionary idea at a time when banks only clients were the privileged classes.[63] The number of bank branches rose by 75% from December 1971 to November 1976, from 3,295 to 5,727.[62] It was one of the most radical move made by Bhutto, and the Bank infrastructure was expanded covering all towns and villages with a population of 5,000 in accordance with targets set after the nationalisation of banks.[62]

By end of the Bhutto government concentration of wealth had declined compared to height of the Ayub Khan era when 22 families owned 66% of industrial capital, and also controlled banking and 97% of insurance.[63]

Measures taken in the first few months of 1972 set a new framework for the revival of the economy. The diversion of trade from East Pakistan to international markets was completed within a short period. By 1974, exports exceeded one billion dollars, showing a 60% increase over the combined exports of East and West Pakistan before separation, it was achieved and benefited with world was in the midst of the major 1973 oil crisis and in the middle of global recession the national income of Pakistan increased by 15% and industrial production by as much as 20% in four years. [57]


Military operation

Following the secession of East Pakistan, calls for the independence of Balochistan by Baloch nationalists grew immensely. Surveying the political instability, Bhutto's central government sacked two provincial governments within six months, arrested the two chief ministers, two governors and forty-four MNAs and MPAs, obtained an order from the Supreme Court banning the National People's Party on the recommendation of Akbar Bugti, and charged everyone with high treason to be tried by a specially constituted Hyderabad tribunal of hand-picked judges.

In January 1973, Bhutto ordered the Pakistan Armed Forces to suppress a rising insurgency in the province of Balochistan. He dismissed the governments in Balochistan and the North-West Frontier Province once more.[35] Following the alleged discovery of Iraqi arms in Islamabad in February 1973, Bhutto dissolved the Provincial Assembly of Balochistan. The operation, under General Tikka Khan, soon took shape in a five-year conflict with the Baloch separatists. The sporadic fighting between the insurgency and the army started in 1973 with the largest confrontation taking place in September 1974. Later on, Pakistan Navy, under Vice-Admiral Patrick Julius Simpson, also jumped in the conflict as it had applied naval blockades to Balochistan's port. The Navy began its separate operations to seized the shipments sent to aid Baloch separatists. Pakistan Air Force also launched air operations, and with the support of navy and army, the air force had pounded the mountainous hidden heavens of the Separatists. The Iranian military, also fearing a spread of the greater Baloch resistance in Iran, aided the Pakistani military as well.[69] Among Iran's contribution were 30 Huey cobra attack helicopters and $200 million in aid.[70]

Iraqi intervention

Iraq under Sunni President Saddam Hussein sent Iraqi made weapons to Pakistan's warm water ports.[71] Pakistan's navy mounted an effective blockade.[72] Saddam's government provided support for Baluchi separatists in Pakistan, hoping their conflict would spread to rival Iran.[71] In 1973, Iraq provided the Baluchis with conventional arms, and it opened an office for the Baluchistan Liberation Front (BLF) in Baghdad. This operation was supposed to be covert, but in 1973, the operation was exposed by M.I. when senior separatist leader Akbar Bugti defected to Bhutto, revealing a series of arms stored in the Iraqi Embassy.[71] On the midnight of 9 February 1973, Bhutto launched an operation to seize control of the Iraqi Embassy, and preparation for siege was hastily prepared. The operation was highly risky and a wrong step could have started a war between the two countries. The operation was carefully analysed and at 0:00hrs (12:00 am), the SSG Division accompanied by Army Rangers stormed the Embassy. Military Police arrested the Iraqi Ambassador, the military attaché, and Iraq's diplomatic staff.[71] Following the incident, authorities discovered 300 Soviet sub-machine guns with 50,000 rounds of ammunition and a large amount of money that was to be distributed amongst Baluchi separatist groups.[71] Bhutto was angered and frustrated. Without demanding an explanation, he ordered the Military Police to immediately expel the Iraqi Ambassador and his staff as persona non grata on the first available flight.[71]

The government announced the Iraqi plan to further dismember the country, and Bhutto's successful diplomatic offensive against Iraq isolated Saddam internationally with global condemnation.[71] This incident caused Pakistan to support Iran during the Iran–Iraq War in the 1980s and the U.S. invasion of Iraq against Saddam Hussein in 2003.[71]


In order to avoid a replay of the East-Pakistan war, Bhutto launched economic and political reforms in the midst of the conflict. Bhutto government abolished the feudal system, the feudal lords continued to appropriate to themselves a generous share of government developmental funds whilst at the same time, they opposed and blackmailed the government whenever they could.[9] Gradually the tribesmen started coming out of the Sardars' quarantine.[9] Modern amenities, for instance medical aid, automobiles for passenger transport and schooling of children became available in the interior of Baluchistan for the first time, since 1947.[9] The Bhutto government also constructed 564 miles of new roads, including the key link between Sibi and Maiwand creating new trade and commerce centres.[9]

Passport reforms

Bhutto government gave the right of a passport to every citizen of Pakistan and facilitated millions of skilled and non-skilled Pakistanis to seek employment in the Middle Eastern countries through a signing a number combination of bilateral agreements.[73] From Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, alone 35,000 workers were given the opportunity to work in the United Arab Emirates and Saudi Arabia.[53] Bhutto used the Pakistani community of London to lobby and influence European governments to improve the rights of expatriate Pakistani communities in Europe.[74] The remittances from overseas Pakistanis, which now total around $US25 billion per annum, constitute a dependable source of foreign exchange for Pakistan.[53]

Labour policy and social security

The labour policy was among one of the most important cornerstone of Bhutto's government and a comprehensive labour reforms initiated by the Bhutto government.[52] Shortly after assuming control, Bhutto's government imposed some conditions on the dismissal of workers. In 1973, the government instituted Labour Courts for the speedy redress of workers' grievances and the government also introduced a scheme for workers' participation in management, through the nationalisation policy.[52] This scheme provided for 20% participation by workers in management committees set up at factory level. The Government abolished the workers' contribution to the Social Security Fund; instead, the employers were made to increase their contribution from 4 to 6%. The government enhanced compensation rates under the Worker's Compensation Act.[52]

In 1972 the Bhutto government initially provided for some old age benefits for workers through group insurance, increased rates of compensation and higher rates of gratuity.[52] However, the policy did not benefited immediately, therefore, the government introduced a pension scheme of old age benefits which would provide a payment of Rs.75 a month to workers after retirement at the age of 55 for men and 50 for women, on condition that the worker had completed a minimum of 15 years insurable employment.[52] This applied to all factories, industries, and establishments employing ten or more workers drawing monthly wages up to Rs. 1,000.[52] Skilled workers who become invalid after five years of insurable employment were also made entitled to benefits under this scheme.[52]

Bhutto did not want to go for the western model where workers generally contribute along with the employers towards their old age benefits.[52] In view of Pakistan's conditions, Bhutto's government did not wish the financial burden of this scheme to fall even partly on the worker.[52] It was decided that the scheme be founded through a contribution from employers to the extent of 5% of the wage bill.[52]

Foreign policy

After assuming power, Bhutto sought to diversify Pakistan's relations away from the United States and, soon Pakistan left CENTO and SEATO. Bhutto developed close and strengthened the Arab relations, and Sino-Pak relations.[75] Bhutto in believed an independent Foreign Policy which had hitherto been the hand maiden of the Western Power, particularly independent from the United States' sphere of influence.[76] With Bhutto as Foreign minister, and Prime minister, Pakistan and Iran had cemented a special relationship, as Iran had provided military assistance to Pakistan.[76] The Sino-Pak relations were immensely improved, and Pakistan, under Bhutto, had built a strategic relationship with People's Republic of China, when PRC was isolated.[75] In 1974, Bhutto hosted the second Organisation of the Islamic Conference (OIC) in 1974 where he delegated and invited leaders from the Muslim world to Lahore, Punjab Province of Pakistan.[6] Bhutto was a strong advocate of Afro-Asian Solidarity and had cemented ties with Afro-Asian and Islamic countries and by 1976 had emerged as the Leader of the Third World .[77]

Bhutto with Nixon in the Oval Office, 1971.

Bhutto sought a peace agreement—Simla Agreement—with Indira Gandhi, Premier of India, and brought back 93,000 P.O.Ws to Pakistan and secured 5,000 sq mi (13,000 km2) held by India without compromising on Kashmir stance or recognising Bangladesh which were the key Indian demands.[6] Negotiating with a power that has dismembered the country was an open-challenge to Bhutto who smoothly convinced India to return the territory and the POWs back to Pakistan.[78] Before this conference, Bhutto and his colleagues did the comprehensive homework as Bhutto had realised that Arabs had still not succeeded in regaining territory lost in the 1967 war with Israel.[78] Therefore, capturing of land does not cry out for international attention the same way as the prisoners do.[78] According to Benazir Bhutto, Bhutto demanded the control of the territory in the first stage of the Agreement which surprised and shocked the Indian delegation.[78] In Bhutto's point of view, the POW problem was more of a humanitarian problem that could be tackled at any time, but the territorial problem was something that could be integrated in India as time elapses.[78] Indian Premier Gandhi was stunned and astonished at Bhutto's demand and reacted immediately by refusing Bhutto's demand.[78] However, Bhutto calmed her and negotiated with economic packages dealt with Gandhi.[78] Bhutto's knowledge and his intellectualism impressed Gandhi personally that Gandhi agreed to give the territory back to Bhutto in a first stage of the agreement. Signing of this agreement with Pakistan paying small price is still considered Bhutto's one of the huge diplomatic success.[78]

His vast knowledge, intelligence, and keen awareness of post-World War II, and the nuclear history, enabled him to craft the foreign policy which brought unmatched undivideds in Pakistan's foreign policy history.[79] Elements of his policy were continued by the successive governments to play a vital role in world's politics.[79] In 1974, Bhutto and his Foreign minister Aziz Ahmed brought a U.N. resolution, recommending and calling for the establishment of nuclear-weapon free zone in South Asia, whilst he and Aziz Ahmed aggressively attacked the Indian nuclear programme.[79] While Abdul Qadeer Khan was tasked with bringing the gas-centrifuge technology through the means of atomic proliferation, the goal of the resolution was achieved when Bhutto put India on the defensive position and promoted Pakistan as a non-proliferationist.[79]

East Asia

Since the 1960s, Bhutto had been an anti-SEATO and preferred a non-aligned policy.[80] Soon after assuming the office, Bhutto took a lengthy foreign trip to South East Asia, seeking closer and tighter relations with Vietnam, Thailand, Laos, Burma, and North Korea.[80] His policy largely followed a tight and closer relations with China, normalised relationships with Soviet Union, built an Islamic bloc, and advocated a creation of new economical alliance largely benefiting the third and second world countries.[80]

All of these initiations and implications had disastrous effects on Japan, prompting Japan to oppose Bhutto, although Bhutto was a great admirer of Japan even though Japan was not a constituent part of Bhutto's foreign policy.[80] In the 1970s, Japan made several attempts to get close to Bhutto, sending its military officials, scientists, and parliamentary delegations to Pakistan.[80] Hence Japan went far by condemning India for carrying out a nuclear test, Smiling Buddha, in 1974, and publicly supported Pakistan's non-nuclear weapon policy and pledged to build several new nuclear power plants.[80] In 1970, Bhutto advised Japan not to be party of NPT, but Japan signed it but later regretted for not being properly progressed.[81]

In Bhutto's view, Japan had been under the United States' influence, and much bigger role of Japan in Asia would only benefit American interests in the region.[80] By the 1970s, Japan completely lost its momentum in Pakistan as Pakistan followed a strict independent policy.[80] Bhutto envisioned Pakistan's new policy as benefiting the economic relations rather than the military alliance which also affected Japan's impact on Pakistan.[80] However, much of the foreign policy efforts were reverted by General Zia-ul-Haq and ties were finally restored after Bhutto's execution.[80]

Arab world and Israel

Bhutto sought to improve Pakistan's ties with the Arab world, and sided with the Arab world during the Arab-Israeli conflict.[79] Colonel Gaddafi of former Socialist Libya considered Bhutto as one of his greatest inspirations and was said to be very fond of Bhutto's intellectualism.[79] In 1973, during the Yom Kippur War, Pakistan's relations with the Arab world represented a watershed.[79] In both Pakistan and the Arab world, Pakistan's swift, unconditional and forthright offer of assistance to the Arab states was deeply appreciated.[79] In 1974, pressured by other Muslim nations, Pakistan eventually recognised Bangladesh as Mujib stated he would only go to the OIC conference in Lahore if Pakistan recognised Bangladesh.[79][82] Pakistan established full diplomatic relations with Bangladesh on 18 January 1976 and relations improved in the following decades.[76] Bhutto aided the Syrian and Egyptian Air Force by sending the Pakistan Air Force and Navy's top fighter pilots where they flew combat missions against Israel. However, Iraq was not benefited with Bhutto policies.

In early 1977, Bhutto decided to use ISI to provide the credible intelligence on Iraqi nuclear program that Pakistan and the ISI had secretly gained.[71] The government passed intel that identified Iraqi nuclear program and the Osirak Nuclear Reactor at Osirak to Israel's Mossad.[71] Helping Israel to infiltrate Iraqi nuclear program was also continued by General Zia-ul-Haq as their policy to teach Iraq and Saddam Hussein a lesson for supporting the Baloch liberation fronts and movements.[71]

United States and Soviet Union

In 1974, India carried out a nuclear test, codenamed Smiling Buddha, near Pakistan's eastern border. Bhutto unsuccessfully lobbied for the United States to impose economic sanctions on India.[83] However, at the request of Bhutto, Pakistan's Ambassador to the United States convened a meeting with Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Kissinger told Pakistan's ambassador to Washington that the test is "a fait accompli and that Pakistan would have to learn to live with it," although he was aware this was a "little rough" on the Pakistanis.[83] In 1976, the ties were further severed with Bhutto as Bhutto had continued to administer the research on weapons, and in 1976, in a meeting with Bhutto and Kissinger, Kissinger had told to Bhutto, "that if you [Bhutto] do not cancel, modify or postpone the Reprocessing Plant Agreement, we will make a horrible example from you".[84] The meeting was ended by Bhutto as he had replied: For my country's sake, for the sake of people of Pakistan, I did not succumb to that black-mailing and threats.[84]

After this meeting, Bhutto intensified Pakistan's foreign policy towards more onto Movement of Non-Aligned Countries, and sought to developed relations with both Soviet Union and the United States. Bhutto was keenly aware of Great Britain's policy of "divide and rule", and American policy of "unite and rule".[75] In 1974, Bhutto, as Prime minister, visited Soviet Union.[85] Prime Minister Bhutto deliberately undertook to improve relations with the Soviet Union and the Communist bloc.[85] Bhutto sought to developed and alleviated the Soviet–Pakistani relations, with Soviet Union established Pakistan Steel Mills in 1972.[86][clarification needed] The foundation stone for this gigantic project was laid on 30 December 1973 by Bhutto. Facing inexperience for the erection work of the integrated steel mill, Bhutto requested Soviet Union to send its experts.[86] Soviet Union sends dozens of advisors and experts, under Russian scientist Mikhail Koltokof, who supervised the construction of this integrated Steel Mills, with a number of industrial and consortium companies financing this mega-project.[86][failed verification]

The relationship with United States was at low point and severed as United States was opposing Pakistan's nuclear detterrence programme.[75] Although, Richard Nixon enjoyed firmly strong relations with Bhutto and was a close friend of Bhutto, the graph of relation significantly went down under the Presidency of Jimmy Carter.[87] Carter tightened the embargo placed on Pakistan and placed a pressure through the United States Ambassador to Pakistan, Brigadier-General Henry Byroade.[87] The socialist orientation, and Bhutto's proposed left-wing theories, had badly upset the United States, further ringing bells of alarm in the United States as fearing Pakistan's loss as an ally in the Cold war.[87] The leftists and Bhutto's policy towards Soviet Union was seen sympathetic and had built a bridge for Soviet Union to have gain access in Pakistan's warm water ports, that something both United States and Soviet Union had lacked.[87] During the course of 1976 presidential election, Carter was elected as U.S. President, and his very inaugural speech Carter announced the determination to seek the ban of nuclear weapons.[87] With Carter's election, Bhutto lost all links to United States administration he had through President Nixon.[87] Bhutto had to face the embargo and pressure from the American President who was totally against the political objectives which Bhutto had set forth for his upcoming future plans. Carter indirectly announced his opposition to Bhutto, his ambition and the elections.[87]

Although, Carter placed an embargo on Pakistan, Bhutto under the technical guidance and diplomatic though Aziz Ahmed, succeeded to buy sensitive equipments, common metal materials, and electronic components, marked as "common items", hide the true nature of the intentions, greatly enhance the atomic bomb project, though a complete failure for Carter's embargo.[87] In a thesis written by historian Abdul Ghafoor Buhgari, Carter keenly sabotaged Bhutto credibility, but did not wanted favoured his execution as Carter made a call to General Zia-ul-Haq to stop the act.[87] Therefore, senior leadership of Pakistan Peoples Party reached out to different country's ambassadors and high commissioners but did not meet with the U.S. ambassador, as the leadership knew the "noble" part played by Carter and his administration.[87] When Carter administration discovered Bhutto's act, the programme was reached to a well advanced level, and furthermore, had disastrous effect on SALT I Treaty which was soon collapse, a failure of President Carter to stop the atomic proliferation and arm race between Soviet Union and United States heightened.[87]

Afghanistan and Central Asia

Zulfiqar with Afghan King Zahir Shah

In 1972, Bhutto initially tried to build friendly ties with Afghanistan but such attempts where rebuffed in 1973.[88] In 1974, Afghanistan began covert involvement in Pakistan's Khyber Pakhtunkhwa which became increasingly disturbing for Bhutto's government.[89] Afghan President Dawood Khan's controversial Pashtunisation policies resulted in Pakistan with gruesome violence and civil disturbances.[89] The ISI quickly pointed out that President Daud was providing safe havens and training camps to anti-Pakistan militants and its intelligence agency had been a main arm of supporting the actions inside Pakistan, including providing support to Baloch separatists.[90] Therefore, Bhutto's government decided to retaliate, and Bhutto launched a covert counter-operation in 1974 under the command of Major-General Naseerullah Babar, who was then Director-General of the M.I. Directorate-General for Western Fronts (DGWI).[89] According to General Baber, it was an excellent idea and it had hard-hitting impact on Afghanistan.[89] The aim of this operation was to arm the Islamic fundamentalists and to instigate an attack in different parts of Afghanistan.[89] In 1974, Bhutto authorised a covert operation in Kabul and the Pakistan Air Force and the members of AI and the ISI successfully extradited Burhanuddin Rabbani, Jan Mohammad Khan, Gulbadin Hekmatyar, and Ahmad Shah Massoud to Peshawar, amid fear that Rabbani may be assassinated.[91] By the end of 1974, Bhutto gave final authorisation of covert operation to train Afghan mujaheddin to take on Daoud Khan's government. This operation was an ultimate success.[92]

By 1976 Daud had become concerned about his country's over dependence on the Soviet Union and the rising insurgency. On 7 June 1976, Bhutto paid a three-day state visit to Afghanistan, followed by a five-day visit of Daud Khan to Pakistan in August 1976. On 2 March 1977, an agreement on the resumption of air communications between Afghanistan and Pakistan was reached, as relations continued to improve.[93] Bhutto and Daud made an exchange of official visits to force Afghanistan to accept the Durand Line as the permanent border.[88][90] However, these developments were interrupted as Bhutto was removed and Daud Khan was also overthrown in a military coup shortly after.[88] Western experts viewed Bhutto's policy as "astute policy" in regards to the border question, as it increased pressure on Afghanistan and very likely helped stimulate Afghan government's move towards accommodation. The Deputy Afghan Foreign Minister Abdul Samad Ghaus also admitted that before the compromise Afghanistan had been heavily involved inside Pakistan.[88]


Popular unrest

Bhutto began facing considerable criticism and increasing unpopularity as his term progressed. Initially targeting the opposition leader Abdul Wali Khan and his National Awami Party (NAP), a democratic socialist party, the socialist and communist mass who gathered under Bhutto's leadership began to disintegrate, thus dividing and allying with secular fronts. Despite the ideological similarity of the two parties, clashes between them became increasingly fierce. This started with the federal government's ousting of the NAP provincial government in Balochistan for alleged secessionist activities,[94] and ended with the ban on the NAP. Subsequently, much of the NAP top leadership was arrested, after Bhutto's confidant Hyatt Scherpaoi was killed in a Peshawar bomb blast. Another notable figure, Chief Justice Hamoodur Rahman died due to a cardiac arrest while in the office. Between the 1974 and 1976, many of Bhutto's original members had left Bhutto due to political differences or natural death causes. In 1974, Bhutto's trusted Science Advisor Abdus Salam also left Pakistan when Parliament declared Ahmadiyyah Muslims as non-Muslims. With Salam's departure, the research on nuclear weapons slowed down the progress as Dr. Mubashir Hassan, now Bhutto's appointed Science Advisor, would focus on politics more than the science research. Many civil bureaucrats and military officers loyal to Bhutto were replaced by new faces. Bhutto found himself with new advisers and collaborators.[95]

Dissidence also increased within the PPP and the murder of dissident leader Ahmad Raza Casuri's father led to public outrage and intra-party hostility as Bhutto was accused of masterminding the crime. Powerful PPP leaders such as Ghulam Mustafa Khar, former Governor of Punjab, openly condemned Bhutto and called for protests against his regime.[95] The political crisis in the North-West Frontier Province and Balochistan intensified as civil liberties remained suspended and an estimated 100,000 troops deployed there were accused of human rights abuses and killing large numbers of civilians.[35]

On 8 January 1977, the opposition organized into the Pakistan National Alliance (PNA).,[35] a nine-party coalition against the government of Bhutto and his allies. Bhutto called fresh elections, but the PNA did not obtain a clear majority. The PNA faced defeat but did not accept the results, accusing their opponents of rigging the election. The dissidents ultimately claimed that 40 seats in the national assembly were rigged, and boycotted the provincial elections. In the face of the resulting low voter turnout, the PNA declared the newly elected Bhutto government as illegitimate. Hard-line Islamist leaders such as Maulana Maududi called for the overthrow of Bhutto's regime.[95] Mubashir Hassan, Science Advisor of Bhutto, feared a possible coup against Bhutto.[96] Hassan entered the dispute and made an unsuccessful attempt to reach an agreement with PNA. Most Islamists refused to meet with Hassan as they saw him as the architect of Bhutto's success. The same year, an intensive crackdown was initiated on the Pakistan Muslim League, a conservative front.[97] The People's National Party's President and former Leader of the Opposition Khan Vali Khan saw Bhutto's actions as his last stand against PNA, the Armed Forces and Bhutto, including his colleagues, were isolated.[98][failed verification] In an open public seminar, Vali Khan quoted that "There is one possible grave for two people ... let us see who gets in first".[98] The Federal Security Force allegedly either arrested or extrajudicially killed members of the Muslim League.[97] Following this, amid protest and civil distress felt in Lahore, and People's Party lost the administrative control over the city.[97]

Military coup

On 3 July 1977, then-Major-General K.M. Arif secretly met Bhutto, revealing that the planning of a coup had been taking place in the General Combatant Headquarters (GHQ).[68] At this secret meeting, General Arif encouraged Bhutto to "rush the negotiation with the PNA, before its too late".[68] Intensifying political and civil disorder prompted Bhutto to hold talks with PNA leaders, which culminated in an agreement for the dissolution of the assemblies and fresh elections under a government of national unity.[99] However, on 5 July 1977 Bhutto and members of his cabinet were arrested by troops under the order of General Zia.[35] It is generally believed that the coup took place on the pretext of unrest despite Bhutto having reached an agreement with the opposition.[97]

Bhutto had good intelligence within the Army, and officers such as Major-General Tajamül Hussain Malik were loyal to him until the end.[97] However, General Zia-ul-Haq ordered a training programme with the officers from Special Air Service (SAS).[97] General Zia-ul-Haq ordered many of Bhutto's loyal officers to attend the first course.[97] However, classes for senior officers were delayed until the midnight.[97] None of the officers were allowed to leave until late in the evening before the coup. During this time, arrangements for the coup was made.[97]

General Zia announced that martial law had been imposed, the constitution suspended and all assemblies dissolved and promised elections within ninety days. Zia also ordered the arrest of senior PPP and PNA leaders but promised elections in October. Bhutto was released on 29 July and was received by a large crowd of supporters in his hometown of Larkana. He immediately began touring across Pakistan, delivering speeches to very large crowds and planning his political comeback. Bhutto was arrested again on 3 September before being released on bail on 13 September. Fearing yet another arrest, Bhutto named his wife, Nusrat, president of the Pakistan People's Party. Bhutto was imprisoned on 16 September and a large number of PPP leaders, notably Dr. Mubashir Hassan and activists were arrested and disqualified from contesting the elections. Observers noted that when Bhutto was removed from power in July 1977, thousands of Pakistanis cheered and were delighted.[100]

Arrests and trial

On 5 July 1977 the military, led by General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq, staged a coup. Zia relieved prime minister Bhutto of power, holding him in detention for a month. Zia pledged that new elections would be held in 90 days. He kept postponing the elections and publicly retorted during successive press conferences that if the elections were held in the presence of Bhutto his party would not return to power again.

Upon his release, Bhutto travelled around the country amid adulatory crowds of PPP supporters. He used to take the train from the south to the north, and en route would address public meetings at different stations. Several of these trains were late, some by days, in reaching their respective destinations and as a result Bhutto was banned from traveling by train. The last visit he made to the city of Multan in the province of Punjab marked the turning point in Bhutto's political career and ultimately, his life. In spite of the administration's efforts to block the gathering, the crowd was so large that it became disorderly, providing an opportunity for the administration to declare that Bhutto, along with Dr. Hassan, had been taken into custody because the people were against him and it had become necessary to protect him from the masses for his own safety.

On 3 September, the Army arrested Bhutto again on charges of authorising the murder of a political opponent in March 1974.[101] A 35-year-old politician Ahmed Raza Kasuri and his family had been ambushed, leaving Kasuri's father, Nawab Muhammad Ahmad Khan Kasuri, dead. Kasuri claimed that he was the actual target, accusing Bhutto of orchestrating the attack. Kasuri later claimed that he had been the target of 15 assassination attempts. Bhutto's wife Nusrat Bhutto assembled a team of top Pakistani lawyers for Bhutto's defence, led by Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim, Yahya Bakhtiar and Abdulhafiz Pirzada. Bhutto was released 10 days after his arrest after a judge, Justice KMA Samdani, found the evidence to be "contradictory and incomplete." As a result, Justice Samdani was immediately removed from the bench and placed at the disposal of the law ministry. Three days later Zia arrested Bhutto again on the same charges, this time under "martial law." When the PPP organised demonstrations among Bhutto's supporters, Zia cancelled the upcoming elections.

Bhutto was arraigned before the High Court of Lahore instead of in a lower court, thus depriving him of one level of appeal. The judge who had granted him bail had been removed. Five new judges were appointed, headed by Chief Justice of Lahore High Court Maulvi Mushtaq Hussain.[102] Hussain had previously served as Bhutto's Foreign secretary in 1965, and was alleged to have strongly disliked and distrusted Bhutto.[102] Hussain was a not only a Zia appointee but hailed from his home Jullundur district.[103]

The trial lasted five months, and Bhutto appeared in court in a dock specially built for the trial. Proceedings began on 24 October 1977. Masood Mahmood, the director general of the Federal Security Force (since renamed the Federal Investigation Agency), testified against Bhutto. Mahmood had been arrested immediately after Zia's coup and had been imprisoned for two months prior to taking the stand. In his testimony, he claimed Bhutto had ordered Kasuri's assassination and that four members of the Federal Security Force had organised the ambush on Bhutto's orders. The four alleged assassins were arrested and later confessed. They were brought into court as "co-accused" but one of them recanted his testimony, declaring that it had been extracted from him under torture. The following day, the witness was not present in court and the prosecution claimed that he had suddenly "fallen ill".

Bhutto's defence team fought the case efficiently and challenged the prosecution with evidence from an army logbook the prosecution had submitted.[citation needed] It showed that the jeep allegedly driven during the attack on Kasuri was not even in Lahore at the time. The prosecution had the logbook disregarded as "incorrect". During the cross-examination by the defence of witnesses, the bench often interrupted questioning. The 706-page official transcript contained none of the objections or inconsistencies in the evidence pointed out by the defence.[citation needed] Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark called it a mock trial fought in a Kangaroo court.[citation needed] Having witnessed the trial, Clark later wrote:

The prosecution's case was based entirely on several witnesses who were detained until they confessed, who changed and expanded their confessions and testimony with each reiteration, who contradicted themselves and each other, who, except for Masood Mahmood... were relating what others said, whose testimony led to four different theories of what happened, absolutely uncorroborated by an eyewitness, direct evidence, or physical evidence.[104]

When Bhutto began his testimony on 25 January 1978, Chief Justice Maulvi Mushtaq closed the courtroom to all observers. Bhutto responded by refusing to say any more. Bhutto demanded a retrial, accusing the Chief Justice of bias, after Mushtaq allegedly insulted Bhutto's home province. The court refused his demand.[102]

Death sentence and appeal

Mausoleum of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and other Bhutto family members in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh, Sindh

On 18 March 1978, Bhutto was declared not guilty of murder, but was sentenced to death.[105][106] On 12 March 1978, Bhutto's former Legal Minister, Abdul Hafiz Pirzada petitioned the Supreme Court for the release of Bhutto's Science Adviser, Mubashir Hassan, and to review Bhutto's death sentence based on the split decision.[106] The Supreme Court denied Hassan's release because he was held by Military Police, but the court agreed to hear the arguments.[106] After 12 days of proceedings, the Supreme Court concluded that the President of Pakistan can change a death sentence into life imprisonment.[106] Pirzada filed an application to then-Chief Martial Law Administrator.[106] However, General Zia-ul-Haq did not act immediately and claimed that the application had gone missing.[106]

Emotionally shattered, Pirzada informed Bhutto about the development and General Zia-ul-Haq's intention.[106] Therefore, Bhutto did not seek an appeal.[106] While he was transferred to a cell in Rawalpindi central jail, his family appealed on his behalf, and a hearing before the Supreme Court commenced in May. Bhutto was given one week to prepare. Bhutto issued a thorough rejoinder to the charges, although Zia blocked its publication. Chief Justice S. Anwarul Haq adjourned the court until the end of July 1978, supposedly because five of the nine appeal court judges were willing to overrule the Lahore verdict. One of the pro-Bhutto judges was due to retire in July.

Chief Justice S. Anwarul Haq presided over the trial, despite being close to Zia, even serving as Acting President when Zia was out of the country. Bhutto's lawyers managed to secure Bhutto the right to conduct his own defence before the Supreme Court. On 18 December 1978, Bhutto made his appearance in public before a packed courtroom in Rawalpindi. By this time he had been on death row for 9 months and had gone without fresh water for the previous 25 days.[citation needed] He addressed the court for four days, speaking without notes.

I did not kill that man. My God is aware of it. I am big enough to admit if I had done it, that admission would have been less of an ordeal and humiliation than this barbarous trial which no self respecting man can endure. I am a Muslim. A Muslim's fate is in the hands of God Almighty. I can face Him with a clear conscience and tell Him that I rebuilt His Islamic State of Pakistan from ashes into a respectable Nation. I am entirely at peace with my conscience in this black hole of Kot Lakhpat. I am not afraid of death. You have seen what fires I have passed through.

— Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, My Dearest Daughter: A letter from Death Cell., [107]

The appeal was completed on 23 December 1978. On 6 February 1979, the Supreme Court issued a guilty verdict,[108] a decision reached by a bare 4-to-3 majority. The Bhutto family had seven days in which to appeal. The court granted a stay of execution while it studied the petition. By 24 February 1979 when the next court hearing began, appeals for clemency arrived from many heads of state. Zia said that the appeals amounted to "trade union activity" among politicians.

On 24 March 1979 the Supreme Court dismissed the appeal. Zia upheld the death sentence. Bhutto was hanged at Central Jail Rawalpindi, on 4 April 1979, and was buried in Village Cemetery at Garhi Khuda Baksh.[109]

During his imprisonment, Bhutto's children Murtaza and Benazir worked on rallying the international support for the release of their father.[110] Libya's Colonel Gaddafi sent his Prime Minister Abdus Salam Jalloud on an emergency trip to Pakistan to hold talks with Pakistan's military establishment for the release of Bhutto.[110] In a press conference, Jalloud told the journalists that Gaddafi had offered General Zia to exile him to Libya, and Prime Minister Jalloud stayed in the Islamabad International Airport where the specially designated Presidential aircraft waited for Bhutto.[110] However, after a week of staying at the airport, General Zia rejected Prime Minister Jalloud's request and upheld the death sentence.[110] Much of the Muslim world was shocked at Bhutto's execution.[110] Before being hanged, Bhutto made a final speech and his last words were: "Oh Lord, help me for... I am innocent."[111]

Re-opening of the Bhutto trial

On 2 April 2011, 32 years after Bhutto's trial and execution, the PPP (the ruling party at that time) filed a petition at the Supreme Court to reopen Bhutto's trial. At the Geo News, senior journalist Iftikhar Ahmad aired a series of televised interviews with those who played a major and often controversial role in Bhutto's death. A legal team was organized by the Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani's cabinet seeking to reopen the trial.[112] President Asif Ali Zardari gave his consent to the resulting presidential order named Article 186 of the Constitution, the Supreme Court taking up the petition on 13 April 2011.[113] Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry eventually presided the three-judge-bench (although it was expanded with law experts from four provinces of Pakistan), while Minister of Law Babar Awan counseled Bhutto's case.[114]

With immediate effect, Babar Awan resigned as Law Minister, even leaving the Justice Ministry entirely in order to legally counsel Bhutto's case completely independently. In his noting remarks, Chief Justice Chaudhry praised and appreciated the move by the senior PPP leadership and remarked the gesture as "historic".[115] In a crucial advancement, the Supreme Court ordered the decision on the legal status of Bhutto's execution to a to-be-formed larger bench.[116]

After a series of hearings at the Supreme Court, the case was adjourned and dismissed after the PPP approved the suspension of Babar Awan on 2 May 2012.[117]

Personal life

Bhutto was a Shia Muslim[118] who married three times. His first marriage took place in 1943, when he married his cousin and first wife Shireen Amir Begum. In 1951, he married Begum Nusrat Ispahani on 8 September 1951. The couple had four children: Benazir, Murtaza, Sanam, and Shahnawaz. His third marriage was to Husna Sheikh, whose divorce from her husband was forced by Bhutto.[citation needed] Husna has one son, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Jr. They both live in Dubai.


The foundation stone is built by the Gomal University in the honour of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto of Pakistan.

Bhutto remains a controversial and largely discussed figure in Pakistan. While he was hailed for his nationalism, Bhutto was roundly criticized for intimidating his political opponents. By the time Bhutto was given the control of his country in 1971, Pakistan was torn apart, isolated, demoralized, and emotionally shattered after a psychological and bitter defeat at the hands of its bitter rival India.[119] His political rivals had blamed his socialist policies for slowing down Pakistan's economic progress, as they caused poor productivity and high costs. However Bhutto and co[who?] countered that they were merely addressing the massive inequality built up over the Ayub Khan years.[28]

Bhutto is blamed by some quarters for causing the Bangladesh Liberation War. In 1977, General Zia-ul-Haq released former general Yahya Khan from prison and his Lieutenant-General Fazle Haq gave him the honorary guard of honor when the former general died in 1980.[28] After being released from house arrest after the 1977 coup Yahya said, "It was Bhutto, not Mujib, who broke Pakistan. Bhutto's stance in 1971 and his stubbornness harmed Pakistan's solidarity much more than Sheikh Mujib's six-point demand. It was his high ambitions and rigid stance that led to rebellion in East Pakistan. He riled up the Bengalis and brought an end to Pakistan's solidarity. East Pakistan broke away."[120] Other army men who lay blame for 1971 on Bhutto include future President Pervez Musharraf and East Pakistan's former Martial Law Administrator Syed Mohammad Ahsan.[121] Bhutto is also often criticised for human-rights abuses in Baluchistan by hardline Islamists as well as conservatives.[35] Bhutto's actions during the 1970s operation in Balochistan are also criticised for failing to bring about a lasting peace in the region.[citation needed]

Bhutto's international image is more positive, casting him as a secular internationalist. Domestically, despite the criticism, Bhutto still remains Pakistan's most popular leader.[35] During his premiership, Bhutto succeeded in uniting all the parties in getting the 1973 constitution enacted.[119] His determined and aggressive embrace of nuclear weapons for Pakistan has made him regarded as the father of Pakistan's nuclear-deterrence programme, which he pursued in spite of Pakistan's limited financial resources and strong opposition from the United States.[38][41][119] In 2006, The Atlantic described Bhutto as demagogic and extremely populist, but still Pakistan's greatest civilian leader.[34] Even though Henry Kissinger developed differences with Bhutto, in his 1979 memoir White House Years he conceded that Bhutto was "brilliant, charming, of global stature in his perception, a man of extraordinary abilities, capable of drawing close to any country that served Pakistan`s national interests".[122]

While, Bhutto's former Law Minister Mairaj Muhammad Khan described Bhutto as "a great man but cruel".[123] His family remained active and influential in politics, with first his wife[citation needed] and then his daughter becoming leader of the PPP political party.[124] His eldest daughter, Benazir Bhutto, was twice Prime Minister of Pakistan, and was assassinated on 27 December 2007, while campaigning for 2008 elections.[124][failed verification] While his son, Murtaza Bhutto, served as the Member Parliament of Pakistan, and was also assassinated in a controversial police encounter.[124][failed verification]

Roedad Khan, former statesman who served under Bhutto, further wrote in his book, Pakistan—A dream gone sour, that after 1971, Bhutto started extremely well, bringing the isolated, angered, apprehended, and dismembered nation back into her feet and gave the respectable place in the world, in a shortest period... With a gift of giving the nation a parliamentary system and furthermore the ambitious successful development of atomic bomb programme in a record time, are his greatest achievements in his life, for Pakistan and her people, but sadly deteriorated at the end".[125] Bhutto remains highly influential in country's public, scientific, and political circles; his name yet continues to resonate in Pakistan's collective memory.[100]

With all the criticism and opposition, Bhutto remained highly influential and respected figure even after his death. Bhutto is widely regarded as being among the most influential men in the history of Pakistan.[12] His supporters gave him the title Quaid-e-Awam (Leader of the people).[124][failed verification]



  • Peace-Keeping by the United Nations, Pakistan Publishing House, Karachi, 1967
  • Political Situation in Pakistan, Veshasher Prakashan, New Delhi, 1968
  • The Myth of Independence, Oxford University Press, Karachi and Lahore, 1969
  • The Great Tragedy, Pakistan People's Party, Karachi, 1971
  • Marching Towards Democracy, (collections of speeches), 1972
  • Politics of the People (speeches, statements and articles), 1948–1971
  • The Third World: New Directions, Quartet Books, London, 1977
  • My Pakistan, Biswin Sadi Publications, New Delhi, 1979
  • If I am Assassinated, Vikas, New Delhi, 1979 on-line
  • My Execution, Musawaat Weekly International, London, 1980
  • New Directions, Narmara Publishers, London, 1980

See also


  1. ^ Shirin Amir Begum, the widow of former prime minister late Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, died of cardiac arrest here on Sunday-DAWN
  2. ^ a b Chitkara, M.G. (1996). Benazir – a profile. New Delhi: APH Publ. Corp. p. 69. ISBN 978-8170247524. Retrieved 8 July 2015.
  3. ^ a b c d e f Pakistan Peoples Party (2011). "Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)". PPP. PPP medial Cell. Archived from the original on 28 October 2013. Retrieved 15 April 2001. .
  4. ^ http://en.banglapedia.org/index.php?title=Six-point_Programme
  5. ^ Jalal, Ayesha (16 September 2014). The Struggle for Pakistan: A Muslim Homeland and Global Politics. ISBN 9780674744998.
  6. ^ a b c d Sharmila Farooqi, Member of PAS (2011). "ZA Bhutto – architect of a new Pakistan". Sharmila Farooqi, member of Sindh Provincial Assembly of Pakistan. Sharmila Faruqui. Retrieved 15 April 2001. Muhammad Ali Jinnah was the maker of Pakistan, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was the architect of Pakistan.
  7. ^ a b "Deposed Pakistani PM is executed". BBC On This Day. British Broadcasting Corporation. 4 April 1979. Retrieved 28 December 2007. sentenced to death for the murder of a political opponent
  8. ^ Hoodbhoy, Pervez Amerali (23 January 2011). "Pakistan's nuclear bayonet". The Herald. Dawn Group of Newspapers. Retrieved 9 September 2011.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h Global Security.org (2011). "Balochistan Insurgency – Fourth conflict 1973–77". Global Security.org. Global Security.org. Retrieved 15 April 2011.
  10. ^ Pakistan, Zia and after. Abhinav Publications. 1989. pp. 20–35. ISBN 978-81-7017-253-6.
  11. ^ Blood, Peter (1994). "Pakistan – Zia-ul-Haq". Pakistan: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress. Retrieved 28 December 2007. ... hanging ... Bhutto for complicity in the murder of a political opponent...
  12. ^ a b Hassan, Nadir (14 April 2011). "In memorian: Zulfikar Ali Bhutto". The Dawn News Group. The Dawn Media Group. Retrieved 8 August 2011. The one person in Pakistan's recent history whose death transcends symbolism is Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Bhutto gave the country its last and best constitution and by inspiring millions through force of rhetoric....Dawn
  13. ^ "Bhutto, Zulfikar Ali". Retrieved 7 November 2006.
  14. ^ "Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP)". Pakistan Peoples Party. 2011. Archived from the original on 28 October 2013.
  15. ^ Gandhi, Rajmohan (1991). Patel: A Life. India: Navajivan. pp. 291–93. ASIN B0006EYQ0A.
  16. ^ "Interview with Vali Nasr". Resetdoc.org. Archived from the original on 23 January 2008. Retrieved 9 December 2012.
  17. ^ Willey, Fay & Jenkins, Loren (16 April 1979). "The Ghost of Bhutto".
  18. ^ a b c d Suraiya, Jug (14 May 2011). "Dealing with a Superpower by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto". Bombay Times. The Times Group of India. Retrieved 29 July 2011.
  19. ^ Government Officials (1962). Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto speaks in support of China for membership of United Nations (Television Production). Beijing, People's Republic of China: Government of China and Pakistan Government.
  20. ^ H. W. Brands, The Foreign Policies of Lyndon Johnson: Beyond Vietnam, Texas A&M University Press (1999), p.171 ISBN 089096873X
  21. ^ a b Government Officials (1962). Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's historic visit to China (Television Production). Beijing, People's Republic of China: Government of China and Pakistan.
  22. ^ Hancock, Ewa (21 March 2007). "Friendly Relations: Pakistan and Poland" (JPG). Eva Hancock. Warsaw Voice. Retrieved 25 June 2011.
  23. ^ "Pakistan in Europe" (JPG). Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 21 March 2007. Retrieved 25 June 2011.
  24. ^ a b US Country Studies. "Ayub Khan" (PHP). Retrieved 7 November 2006.
  25. ^ a b c Sublettle, Carey (15 October 1965). "Historical Background: Zulfikar Ali Bhutto". Nuclear weapons archives. Federation of American Scientists (FAS). Retrieved 25 June 2011.
  26. ^ Bhutto, pp. 196–399
  27. ^ a b c d e US Country Studies. "Yahya Khan and Bangladesh" (PHP). Retrieved 7 November 2006.
  28. ^ a b c d e Hassan, Mubashir (2000). The Mirage of Power: An Inquiry into the Bhutto Years, 1971–1977. Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-579300-5.
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  • Bhutto, Zulfikar Ali (1969). The Myth of Independence. Oxford University Press.
  • Raza, Syed Rasul (2008). Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto; The Architect of New Pakistan. Karachi, Sindh Province, Pakistan: Printwise publication. ISBN 978-969-8500-00-9.

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3 April 1997

The Thalit massacre begins in Algeria; all but one of the 53 inhabitants of Thalit are killed by guerrillas.

Thalit massacre

Algerian massacres in 1997
Massacres in which over 50 people were killed:
Thalit massacre 3–4 April
Haouch Khemisti massacre 21 April
Daïat Labguer (M'sila) Massacre 16 June
Si-Zerrouk massacre 27 July
Oued El-Had and Mezouara massacre 3 August
Souhane massacre 20–21 August
Beni-Ali massacre 26 August
Rais massacre 29 August
Beni-Messous massacre 5–6 September
Guelb El-Kebir massacre 19 September
Bentalha massacre 22 September
Sid El-Antri massacre 23–24 December
Wilaya of Relizane massacres 30 December
1998 →

The Thalit massacre took place in Thalit village (Médéa, near ),[1] some 70 km from Algiers, on April 3–4, 1997. Fifty-two out of the 53 inhabitants were killed by having their throats cut. The homes of the villagers were burned down afterward. The attack was attributed to Islamist guerrillas.[2]

Location of massacres in Algeria 1997-1998 showing Thalit near the centre of the map.

See also


  1. ^ Ksar el Boukhari, Algeria Page, retrieved 11 February 2010
  2. ^ "More than 80 Algerians killed in weekend massacres", CNN, 6 April 1997, retrieved 11 February 2010

2 April 2014

A spree shooting occurs at the Fort Hood army base in Texas, with four dead, including the gunman, and 16 others injured.

2014 Fort Hood shooting

2014 Fort Hood shooting
Bell FortHood.svg
Location of the main cantonment of Fort Hood in Bell County
LocationFort Hood, Texas, U.S.
Coordinates31°8′33″N 97°47′47″W / 31.14250°N 97.79639°W / 31.14250; -97.79639
DateApril 2, 2014 (2014-04-02)
c. 4:00 p.m. – c. 4:08 p.m.[1] (CDT)
Attack type
Spree shooting, shooting, murder-suicide
Weapons.45-caliber Smith & Wesson M&P semi-automatic pistol[2]
Deaths4 (including the perpetrator)[3][4][5]
Injured14 (12 by gunfire)[6]
PerpetratorIvan Lopez[7]

On April 2, 2014, a shooting spree was perpetrated at several locations on the Fort Hood military base near Killeen, Texas. Four people, including the gunman, were killed while 14 additional people were injured; 12 by gunshot wounds.[6][8][9] The shooter, 34-year-old Army Specialist Ivan Lopez, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound.


Immediately prior to the shooting, Lopez went to the 49th Transportation Battalion administrative office where he tried to seek a ten-day leave form so he could attend to "family matters". However, he was informed that he would have to come back later to retrieve it, sparking a verbal altercation between him and several other soldiers. The request was ultimately denied because Lopez had already secured housing in an apartment in Killeen.[6][10][11]

Lopez then went outside to smoke a cigarette, at approximately 4:00 p.m., he returned and opened fire with a .45-caliber Smith & Wesson M&P pistol inside the same building. He injured two soldiers: Sgt. Jonathan Westbrook, one of the soldiers involved in the altercation with Lopez, who was hit four times; and Maj. Patrick Miller, who sheltered other soldiers in his office despite being shot in the stomach.[6][12] Lopez also killed Sgt. First Class Daniel Ferguson, another soldier involved in the altercation, while the latter was barricading a conference room door[6] that couldn't be locked.

He then got into his car and drove slowly to a motor pool building to which he had been assigned, firing at two soldiers and wounding one of them along the way on 73rd Street. Upon reaching the building, Lopez fired at a soldier inside the office, but missed her and grazed the head of another soldier. He then killed Sgt. Timothy Owens when he approached him and tried to talk him down, and wounded another soldier.[6][13] He then moved on to the building's vehicle bay area, where he injured two soldiers, after which his weapon misfired.[6] Lopez then proceeded to the 1st Medical Brigade headquarters in his car.[citation needed]

Along the way, he fired a round into a car occupied by two soldiers, wounding the passenger. Reaching the intersection of 73rd Street and Motorpool Road, Lopez shot at two other soldiers, but missed both of them. Reaching the medical building, Lopez shot and wounded 1st Lt. John Arroyo Jr., in the throat as he was walking outside in the western parking lot.[6][12] He then entered the building and fatally shot a soldier at the main entrance desk, Staff Sgt. Carlos Lazaney-Rodriguez; he also wounded two other soldiers inside. Then, Lopez walked down the main hallway, wounded another soldier, and exited through a doorway.[6]

Approximately eight minutes after the shooting first started, Lopez drove to the parking lot of another building, Building 39002, where he was confronted by an unidentified military police officer, with whom he had a verbal exchange. When he brandished his weapon, the officer fired a shot at him that missed. Lopez responded by committing suicide, shooting himself in the right side of the head with his own pistol. A total of 34 rounds were fired during the shooting spree: eleven at the administrative office, nine at the motor pool building, five at the medical building, and nine from inside his car.[6] It was later revealed that Lopez, who was in uniform at the time of the shooting, wasn't authorized to carry a concealed firearm.[1][9][14][15][16]


Three people were killed in the shooting, excluding the gunman. They were identified as:[17][18]

Name Age Hometown Rank/occupation Notes
Daniel M. Ferguson 39 Mulberry, Florida, U.S. Sergeant First Class Died while barricading a door
Timothy W. Owens 37 Effingham, Illinois, U.S. Sergeant Died while trying to talk down Lopez
Carlos A. Lazaney-Rodriguez 38 Aguadilla, Puerto Rico Staff Sergeant Died at his post


During the shooting, the Bell County Communications Center dispatched deputies and troopers from the Texas Department of Public Safety to the nearby post after receiving reports of an "active shooter", sheriff's Lt. Donnie Adams said. Federal Bureau of Investigation spokeswoman Michelle Lee said its agents were also headed to the scene. The base confirmed the shooting in a brief statement posted online on April 2, 2014. On its Twitter feed and Facebook page, Fort Hood officials ordered everyone on base to "shelter in place" during the shooting.[19][20][21]

All of the injured victims were taken to Carl R. Darnall Army Medical Center,[22] for initial treatment and stabilization. Once they were stabilized they were then transferred to Scott & White Memorial Hospital where they received further care. As of April 10, twelve of the sixteen wounded have been released from the hospitals and returned to duty, while the other four remain hospitalized in stable condition.[13]

Reacting to the incident, President Barack Obama said at a fundraiser in Chicago that he was left "heartbroken" and assured that the events would be investigated.[23] The base was previously the scene of a mass shooting in 2009, in which 13 people were killed and more than 30 wounded. One week after the shooting, Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama traveled to Fort Hood to attend a ceremony honoring the victims.[13]

On April 16, discussion was renewed over if soldiers should be allowed to carry concealed firearms on military bases in Texas and other states.[24]

On January 23, 2015, the Army concluded from an investigation into the shooting that there was no indication of a possibility of violent behavior from Lopez through his medical and personnel records. A report on the investigation cited that Lopez's commanders knew very little of his personal difficulties and would have provided him with help had he disclosed these difficulties. It also highlighted gaps in information sharing, as Lopez's supervisors believed they were unable to obtain his personal information due to federal medical privacy laws. Previously, in the wake of the aforementioned 2009 Fort Hood shooting, information sharing regarding medical history was among 78 recommendations suggested to identify the risk of violent behavior. However, this recommendation was not implemented due to "constraints on exchanging information between military and civilian behavioral health care providers". The 2015 report recommended improvements with the level of contact between commanders and their newly assigned soldiers, and that soldiers should register personally owned weapons with their commanders.[10][25][26]


Ivan A. Lopez-Lopez
Ivan Lopez Fort Hood 2014 - from Commons.jpeg
Ivan A. Lopez-Lopez

(1979-10-23)October 23, 1979
DiedApril 2, 2014(2014-04-02) (aged 34)
Cause of deathSelf-inflicted gunshot wound to the head
OccupationArmy Specialist
MotiveDepression, anxiety, anger over being denied leave[9]

Ivan A. Lopez-Lopez[10][25] (October 23, 1979 – April 2, 2014) was an Iraq War veteran who was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico. He enlisted in the Puerto Rico National Guard on January 4, 1999, but was unable to pass a required English language course and was subsequently discharged on November 30 of the same year. Lopez reenlisted on April 30, 2003, as an infantryman and served until 2010. He served on active duty in the United States Army in June 2008. He was married and had four children, two of them from a previous marriage.[6][10][15][16][27][28]

Service in the U.S. Army

Lopez was a specialist, and at the time of the shooting, he was assigned to the 13th Sustainment Command, a logistics and support unit at Fort Hood. He was previously assigned in Fort Bliss, but was transferred to another base for four months, then moved to Fort Hood two months prior to the shooting.[26] Lopez previously reported at Fort Hood in 2006 during his time in the Puerto Rico National Guard, where he was given orders to deploy to Egypt from February 15, 2007, to February 10, 2008.

From August 6 to December 18, 2011, Lopez served a tour in Iraq, participating in Operation New Dawn as security detail. On or about December 12, his convoy was involved in a roadside bombing.[6] Though Lopez would allege that he had experiences in direct combat in Iraq and cited the bombing of his convoy, investigators determined he was not within the blast radius of the bomb used.[11]

On November 29, 2013, he began receiving MOS reclassification training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, graduating three months later. During his time there, he attempted to purchase a weapon on two separate occasions. On the second occasion, Lopez was persuaded by a classmate to reconsider the purchase.[6]

Motives for the shooting

Lopez was allegedly distraught over financial issues and the deaths of his grandfather and then his mother during a two-month period five months prior to the shooting. He was also undergoing regular psychiatric treatment for depression, anxiety, and posttraumatic stress disorder.[10][25][29] He tried to take leave in order to attend his mother's funeral in Puerto Rico. It took five days for the leave to be approved, but he was only allowed to be absent for 24 hours, which allegedly upset him. The leave was eventually extended to two days.[16][26][27] More recently, Lopez had asked for a transfer, claiming that he was "being taunted and picked on" by other soldiers in his unit.[29]

During a press conference on the day of the shooting, Fort Hood Commander Mark A. Milley stated that Lopez died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound. On March 1, 2014, over one month prior to the shooting, Lopez purchased the weapon used in the shooting from Guns Galore, the same store where Nidal Malik Hasan, the convicted perpetrator of the Fort Hood shooting in 2009, originally purchased his own weapon. Lopez's weapon was not registered with the installation.[6][17][26][27] He had previously purchased a firearm of the same model, unregistered with the installation, on February 23, although he reported it stolen on March 1, the same day he bought a replacement.[30] During that same month, he had seen a psychologist and was prescribed Ambien for a sleeping problem.[15]

In his Facebook account, Lopez made posts in which he alleged that he was robbed by two men and also criticized Adam Lanza, the perpetrator of the Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting in 2012. Lopez also described his experiences in direct combat during his tour in Iraq,[11] although military officials confirmed that Lopez did not experience any direct combat.[31][32] A Facebook page created by Lopez claimed that he was a sniper who had been to the Central African Republic.[26]

On March 24, Lopez's battalion began tracking a ten-day permissive temporary duty (PTDY) request he made immediately after arriving to Fort Hood so he could help his family relocate to an apartment in Killeen, as his current one was burglarized. He was given a four-day pass by his acting sergeant, who informed him that he would receive PTDY after his return. Lopez took the pass from March 27 to March 30. He returned to Fort Hood on March 31, though when he received the PTDY form, it was filled with errors and Lopez had to resubmit it with corrections. Though the corrected form was signed, it did not have a control number, which is reported to have led to the conflict in the 49th Transportation Battalion office that sparked the shooting.[6]

See also


  1. ^ a b Welch, William M. (April 7, 2014). "Fort Hood gunman fired 35 shots, including from car". USA Today. Retrieved April 12, 2014.
  2. ^ Chandrasekaran, Rajiv; Goldman, Adam; Horwitz, Sari (April 3, 2014). "Gunman in Fort Hood shooting had behavioral issues, authorities say". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  3. ^ "Shooter reported dead at Fort Hood, 14 others injured". KVUE. April 2, 2014. Archived from the original on April 5, 2014. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  4. ^ Berman, Mark (April 2, 2014). "Fort Hood locked down after shooting; at least one dead multiple injuries". The Washington Post. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  5. ^ Cooper, Mex (April 2, 2014). "Fort Hood shooter reportedly dead". Sydney Morning Herald. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o "2014 Fort Hood shooting report of investigation". Department of the Army. January 23, 2015. Archived from the original on July 21, 2015. Retrieved June 3, 2015.
  7. ^ Stableford, Dylan; Pfeiffer, Eric (April 3, 2014). "Fort Hood shooting leaves 4 dead, including gunman; 16 injured". Yahoo News. Yahoo!. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  8. ^ Herskovitz, Jon (April 2014). "Shooter at Fort Hood Army base in Texas, injuries reported – police". Reuters. Retrieved April 2, 2014.
  9. ^ a b c "Fort Hood shooter snapped over denial of request for leave, Army confirms". Fox News Channel. April 7, 2014. Retrieved April 12, 2014.
  10. ^ a b c d e Martinez, Luis (January 23, 2015). "Army Report Finds No Warning Signs That Triggered 2014 Fort Hood Shooting". ABC News. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
  11. ^ a b c Fernandez, Manny (January 23, 2015). "Fort Hood Could Not Have Foreseen 2014 Gun Attack, Army Says". The New York Times. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
  12. ^ a b "Remembering the April 2, 2014, Fort Hood shooting". Killeen Daily Herald. April 2, 2015. Retrieved May 27, 2015.
  13. ^ a b c Baker, Peter; Fernandez, Manny (April 9, 2014). "Again, Obama Offers Comfort at Fort Hood After Soldiers Are Killed". The New York Times. Retrieved April 12, 2014.
  14. ^ Fernandez, Manny; Blinder, Alan (April 7, 2014). "The New York Times". The New York Times. Retrieved April 12, 2014.
  15. ^ a b c "Fort Hood Shooting: What We Know About Ivan Lopez". The Huffington Post. April 3, 2014. Retrieved April 12, 2014.
  16. ^ a b c Sanchez, Ray; Brumfield, Ben (April 3, 2014). "Fort Hood shooter was Iraq vet being treated for mental health issues". CNN. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  17. ^ a b Garza, Lisa Maria; O'Grady, Eileen (April 4, 2014). "'Verbal altercation' may have led to Fort Hood rampage: Army". Reuters. Retrieved April 12, 2014.
  18. ^ Ellis, Ralph (April 9, 2014). "Three soldiers slain at Fort Hood identified". CNN. Retrieved April 12, 2014.
  19. ^ "Fort Hood". Fort Hood. Twitter. Retrieved April 2, 2014. All personnel on post are asked to shelter in place.
  20. ^ Weissert, Will; Weber, Paul J. (April 2, 2014). "Fort Hood shooter was being assessed for PTSD: Attack leaves four dead and 16 wounded". National Post. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  21. ^ McLaughlin, Michael (April 2, 2014). "Fort Hood Shooting: Multiple Injuries, Death Reported". Huffington Post. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  22. ^ "Scott & White press conference". April 2, 2014.
  23. ^ "Obama heartbroken over Shooting at US Army Base in Fort Hood". Indo-Asian News Service. Bihar Prabha. April 3, 2014. Retrieved April 3, 2014.
  24. ^ Langford, Terri (April 16, 2014). "Fort Hood shooting sparks debate on concealed guns". The Texas Tribune. Houston Chronicle.
  25. ^ a b c Alexander, David (January 23, 2015). "Fort Hood shooter showed no clear warning signs: report". Yahoo! News. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
  26. ^ a b c d e Schmall, Emily (January 23, 2015). "Army: Fort Hood lacked system to ID threat of 2014 rampage". Yahoo! News. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
  27. ^ a b c Corbin, Cristina (April 3, 2014). "Fort Hood gunman may have had angry words with fellow soldiers before rampage, Army says". Fox News Channel. Retrieved April 12, 2014.
  28. ^ Martinez, Luis (April 3, 2014). "Fort Hood Shooter Had Lengthy but Unremarkable Military Career". ABC News. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
  29. ^ a b Starr, Barbara; Brown, Pamela (April 7, 2014). "Official: Fort Hood gunman claimed he was picked on by fellow soldiers". CNN.
  30. ^ "Report: No Single Factor Led To Fort Hood Shooting Rampage". KWTX-TV. January 23, 2015. Archived from the original on January 26, 2015. Retrieved January 23, 2015.
  31. ^ Coscarelli, Joe (April 4, 2014). "Fort Hood Shooter Ivan Lopez Never Saw Combat". New York. Retrieved April 12, 2014.
  32. ^ Sanchez, Ray (April 5, 2014). "Fort Hood gunman vented on Facebook about Sandy Hook shooter, Iraq". CNN. Retrieved April 12, 2014.

1 April 2004

Google announces Gmail to the public.


Gmail Icon.svg
Gmail screenshot.png
A screenshot of a Gmail inbox and compose box
Type of site
Available in105 languages
OwnerGoogle LLC (subsidiary of Alphabet Inc.)
Created byPaul Buchheit
URLmail.google.com Edit this at Wikidata
Users1.5 billion (October 2018)[1]
LaunchedApril 1, 2004; 16 years ago (2004-04-01)
Current statusActive
Content license
Written inJava (back-end), JavaScript/Ajax (UI)[2]

Gmail is a free email service developed by Google. Users can access Gmail on the web and using third-party programs that synchronize email content through POP or IMAP protocols. Gmail started as a limited beta release on April 1, 2004 and ended its testing phase on July 7, 2009.

At launch, Gmail had an initial storage capacity offer of one gigabyte per user, a significantly higher amount than competitors offered at the time. Today, the service comes with 15 gigabytes of storage. Users can receive emails up to 50 megabytes in size, including attachments, while they can send emails up to 25 megabytes. In order to send larger files, users can insert files from Google Drive into the message. Gmail has a search-oriented interface and a "conversation view" similar to an Internet forum. The service is notable among website developers for its early adoption of Ajax.

Google's mail servers automatically scan emails for multiple purposes, including to filter spam and malware, and to add context-sensitive advertisements next to emails. This advertising practice has been significantly criticized by privacy advocates due to concerns over unlimited data retention, ease of monitoring by third parties, users of other email providers not having agreed to the policy upon sending emails to Gmail addresses, and the potential for Google to change its policies to further decrease privacy by combining information with other Google data usage. The company has been the subject of lawsuits concerning the issues. Google has stated that email users must "necessarily expect" their emails to be subject to automated processing and claims that the service refrains from displaying ads next to potentially sensitive messages, such as those mentioning race, religion, sexual orientation, health, or financial statements. In June 2017, Google announced the end to the use of contextual Gmail content for advertising purposes, relying instead on data gathered from the use of its other services.[3]

By 2018, Gmail had 1.5 billion active users worldwide.[1]



The Gmail webmail interface as it originally appeared
  1. On April 1, 2004, Gmail was launched with one gigabyte (GB) of storage space, a significantly higher amount than competitors offered at the time.[4]
  2. On April 1, 2005, the first anniversary of Gmail, the limit was doubled to two gigabytes of storage. Georges Harik, the product management director for Gmail, stated that Google would "keep giving people more space forever."[5]
  3. On April 24, 2012, Google announced the increase of storage included in Gmail from 7.5 to 10 gigabytes ("and counting") as part of the launch of Google Drive.[6]
  4. On May 13, 2013, Google announced the overall merge of storage across Gmail, Google Drive, and Google+ Photos, allowing users 15 gigabytes of included storage among three services.[7][8]
  5. Users can buy additional storage, shared among Gmail, Google Drive and Google Photos, through a monthly subscription plan from Google One. As of 2018, storage of up to 15 gigabytes is included, and paid plans are available for up to 30 terabytes for personal use.[9]

There are also storage limits to individual Gmail messages. Initially, one message, including all attachments, could not be larger than 25 megabytes.[10] This was changed in March 2017 to allow receiving an email of up to 50 megabytes, while the limit for sending an email stayed at 25 megabytes.[11][12] In order to send larger files, users can insert files from Google Drive into the message.[13]


The Gmail user interface initially differed from other web-mail systems with its focus on search and conversation threading of emails, grouping several messages between two or more people onto a single page, an approach that was later copied by its competitors. Gmail's user interface designer, Kevin Fox, intended users to feel as if they were always on one page and just changing things on that page, rather than having to navigate to other places.[14]

Gmail's interface also makes use of 'labels' (tags) – that replace the conventional folders and provide a more flexible method of organizing emails; filters for automatically organizing, deleting or forwarding incoming emails to other addresses; and importance markers for automatically marking messages as 'important'.

2011 redesign

In November 2011, Google began rolling out a redesign of its interface that "simplified" the look of Gmail into a more minimalist design to provide a more consistent look throughout its products and services as part of an overall Google design change. Majorly redesigned elements included a streamlined conversation view, configurable density of information, new higher-quality themes, a resizable navigation bar with always-visible labels and contacts, and better search.[15][16] Users were able to preview the new interface design for months prior to the official release, as well as revert to the old interface, until March 2012, when Google discontinued the ability to revert and completed the transition to the new design for all users.[17]

Tabbed inbox

In May 2013, Google updated the Gmail inbox with tabs which allow the application to categorize the user's emails. The five tabs are: Primary, Social, Promotions, Updates, and Forums. In addition to customization options, the entire update can be disabled, allowing users to return to the traditional inbox structure.[18][19]

2018 redesign

In April 2018, Google introduced a new web UI for Gmail. The new redesign follows Google's Material Design, and changes in the user interface include the use of Google's Product Sans font. Other updates include a Confidential mode, which allows the sender to set an expiration date for a sensitive message or to revoke it entirely, integrated rights management and two-factor authentication.[20]

2019 update

In October 2019, Gmail was scheduled to get a dark mode for iOS and Android apps though the spokesperson said it was a limited roll out for Android 10 and iOS 11 users.[21]

Spam filter

Gmail's spam filtering features a community-driven system: when any user marks an email as spam, this provides information to help the system identify similar future messages for all Gmail users.[22]

In the April 2018 update, the spam filtering banners got a redesign, with bigger and bolder lettering.

Gmail Labs

The Gmail Labs feature, introduced on June 5, 2008, allows users to test new or experimental features of Gmail. Users can enable or disable Labs features selectively and provide feedback about each of them. This allows Gmail engineers to obtain user input about new features to improve them and also to assess their popularity.[23]

Popular features, like the "Undo Send" option, often "graduate" from Gmail Labs to become a formal setting in Gmail.[24]

All Labs features are experimental and are subject to termination at any time.[25]


Gmail incorporates a search bar for searching emails. The search bar can also search contacts, files stored in Google Drive, events from Google Calendar, and Google Sites.[26][27][28]

In May 2012, Gmail improved the search functionality to include auto-complete predictions from the user's emails.[29]

Gmail's search functionality does not support searching for word fragments (also known as 'substring search' or partial word search). Workarounds exist.[29]

Language support

Gmail supports multiple languages, including the Japanese interface shown here

As of March 2015, the Gmail interface supports 72 languages, including: Arabic, Basque, Bulgarian, Catalan, Chinese (simplified), Chinese (traditional), Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, English (UK), English (US), Estonian, Finnish, French, German, Greek, Gujarati, Hebrew, Hindi, Hungarian, Icelandic, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Kannada, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malay, Malayalam, Marathi, Norwegian (Bokmål), Odia, Polish, Punjabi, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Romanian, Russian, Serbian, Sinhala, Slovak, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Tagalog (Filipino), Tamil, Telugu, Thai, Turkish, Ukrainian, Urdu, Vietnamese, Welsh and Zulu.[30]

Language input styles

In October 2012, Google added over 100 virtual keyboards, transliterations, and input method editors to Gmail, enabling users different types of input styles for different languages in an effort to help users write in languages that aren't "limited by the language of your keyboard.”[31][32]

In October 2013, Google added handwriting input support to Gmail.[33]

In August 2014, Gmail became the first major email provider to let users send and receive emails from addresses with accent marks and letters from outside the Latin alphabet.[34][35]


Web browsers

Gmail's "basic HTML" version works on almost all browsers. The modern AJAX version is officially supported in the current and previous major releases of Google Chrome, Firefox, Internet Explorer, Microsoft Edge and Safari web browsers on a rolling basis.[36][37]

In August 2011, Google introduced Gmail Offline, an HTML5-powered app for providing access to the service while offline. Gmail Offline runs on the Google Chrome browser and can be downloaded from the Chrome Web Store.[38][39][40]

In addition to the native apps on iOS and Android, users can access Gmail through the web browser on a mobile device.[41]


Gmail running on Android

Gmail has native applications for iOS devices[42] (including iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch) and for Android devices.[43]

In November 2014, Google introduced functionality in the Gmail Android app that enabled sending and receiving emails from non-Gmail addresses (such as Yahoo! Mail and Outlook.com) through POP or IMAP.[44]

In November 2016, Google redesigned the Gmail app for the iOS platform, bringing the first complete visual overhaul in "nearly four years". The update added much more use of colors, sleeker transitions, and the addition of several "highly-requested" features, including Undo Send, faster search with instant results and spelling suggestions, and Swipe to Archive/Delete.[45][46]

In May 2017, Google updated Gmail on Android to feature protection from phishing attacks.[47][48][49] Media outlets noticed that the new protection was announced amid a widespread phishing attack on a combination of Gmail and Google's Docs document service that occurred on the same day.[48][49]

Later in May, Google announced the addition of "Smart Reply" to Gmail on Android and iOS. "Smart Reply", a feature originally launched for Google's Inbox by Gmail service, scans a message for information and uses machine intelligence to offer three responses the user can optionally edit and send. The feature is limited to the English language at launch, with additional support for Spanish, followed by other languages arriving later.[50][51]

Inbox by Gmail, another app from the Gmail team, is also available for iOS[52] and Android[53] devices.

Third-party programs can be used to access Gmail, using the POP or IMAP protocols.[54] In 2019, Google rolled out dark mode for its mobile apps in Android and iOS.[55]

Inbox by Gmail

In October 2014, Google introduced Inbox by Gmail on an invitation-only basis. Developed by the Gmail team, but serving as a "completely different type of inbox", the service is made to help users deal with the challenges of an active email. Citing issues such as distractions, difficulty in finding important information buried in messages, and receiving more emails than ever, Inbox by Gmail has several important differences from Gmail, including bundles that automatically sort emails of the same topic together, highlights that surface key information from messages, and reminders, assists, and snooze, that help the user in handling incoming emails at appropriate times.[56][57][58]

Inbox by Gmail became publicly available in May 2015.[59] In September 2018, Google announced it would end the service at the end of March 2019, most of its key features having been incorporated into the standard Gmail service.[60] The service was discontinued on April 2, 2019.[61]

Integration with Google products

In August 2010, Google released a plugin that provides integrated telephone service within Gmail's Google Chat interface. The feature initially lacked an official name, with Google referring to it as both "Google Voice in Gmail chat" and "Call Phones in Gmail".[62][63][64] The service logged over one million calls in 24 hours.[64][65] In March 2014, Google Voice was discontinued, and replaced with functionality from Google Hangouts, another communication platform from Google.[66][67]

On February 9, 2010, Google commenced its new social networking tool, Google Buzz, which integrated with Gmail, allowing users to share links and media, as well as status updates.[68] Google Buzz was discontinued in October 2011, replaced with new functionality in Google+, Google's then-new social networking platform.[69][70]

Gmail was integrated with Google+ in December 2011, as part of an effort to have all Google information across one Google account, with a centralized Google+ user profile.[71] Backlash from the move caused Google to step back and remove the requirement of a Google+ user account, keeping only a private Google account without a public-facing profile, starting in July 2015.[72]

In May 2013, Google announced the integration between Google Wallet and Gmail, which would allow Gmail users to send money as email attachments. Although the sender must use a Gmail account, the recipient does not need to be using a Gmail address.[73][74] The feature has no transaction fees, but there are limits to the amount of money that can be sent.[75] Initially only available on the web, the feature was expanded to the Android app in March 2017, for people living in the United States.[76][77]

In September 2016, Google released Google Trips, an app that, based on information from a user's Gmail messages, automatically generates travel cards. A travel card contains itinerary details, such as plane tickets and car rentals, and recommends activities, food and drinks, and attractions based on location, time, and interests. The app also has offline functionality.[78][79] In April 2017, Google Trips received an update adding several significant features. The app now also scans Gmail for bus and train tickets, and allows users to manually input trip reservations. Users can send trip details to other users' email, and if the recipient also has Google Trips, the information will be automatically available in their apps as well.[80][81]



Google has supported the secure HTTPS since the day it launched. In the beginning, it was only default on the login page, a reason that Google engineer Ariel Rideout stated was because HTTPS made "your mail slower". However, users could manually switch to secure HTTPS mode inside the inbox after logging in. In July 2008, Google simplified the ability to manually enable secure mode, with a toggle in the settings menu.[82]

In 2007, Google fixed a cross-site scripting security issue that could let attackers collect information from Gmail contact lists.[83]

In January 2010, Google began rolling out HTTPS as the default for all users.[84]

In June 2012, a new security feature was introduced to protect users from state-sponsored attacks. A banner will appear at the top of the page that warns users of an unauthorized account compromise.[85][86]

In March 2014, Google announced that an encrypted HTTPS connection would be used for the sending and receiving of all Gmail emails, and "every single email message you send or receive —100% of them —is encrypted while moving internally" through the company's systems.[87]

Whenever possible, Gmail uses transport layer security (TLS) to automatically encrypt emails sent and received. On the web and on Android devices, users can check if a message is encrypted by checking if the message has a closed or open red padlock.[88]

Gmail automatically scans all incoming and outgoing e-mails for viruses in email attachments. For security reasons, some file types, including executables, are not allowed to be sent in emails.[89]

At the end of May 2017, Google announced that it had applied machine learning technology to identify emails with phishing and spam, having a 99.9% detection accuracy. The company also announced that Gmail would selectively delay some messages, approximately 0.05% of all, to perform more detailed analysis and aggregate details to improve its algorithms.[90][91]

Third-party encryption in transit

Gmail Transport Encryption by Country
Gmail transport encryption by country

In Google's Transparency Report under the Safer email section, it provides information on the percentage of emails encrypted in transit between Gmail and third-party email providers.[92]

Two-step verification

Gmail supports two-step verification, an optional additional measure for users to protect their accounts when logging in.[93]

Once enabled, users are required to verify their identity using a second method after entering their username and password when logging in on a new device. Common methods include entering a code sent to a user's mobile phone through a text message, entering a code using the Google Authenticator smartphone app, or by inserting a physical security key into the computer's USB port.[94]

Using a security key for two-step verification was made available as an option in October 2014.[95][96]

24-hour lockdowns

If an algorithm detects what Google calls "abnormal usage that may indicate that your account has been compromised", the account can be automatically locked down for between one minute and 24 hours, depending on the type of activity detected. Listed reasons for a lock-down include:[97]

  • "Receiving, deleting, or downloading large amounts of mail via POP or IMAP in a short period of time. If you're getting the error message, 'Lockdown in Sector 4,' you should be able to access Gmail again after waiting 24 hours."
  • "Sending a large number of undeliverable messages (messages that bounce back)."
  • "Using file-sharing or file-storage software, browser extensions, or third-party software that automatically logs into your account."
  • "Leaving multiple instances of Gmail open."
  • "Browser-related issues. Please note that if you find your browser continually reloading while attempting to access your Inbox, it's probably a browser issue, and it may be necessary to clear your browser's cache and cookies."

Anti-child pornography policy

Google combats child pornography through Gmail's servers in conjunction with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC) to find children suffering abuse around the world. In collaboration with the NCMEC, Google creates a database of child pornography pictures. Each one of the images is given a unique numerical number known as a hash. Google then scans Gmail looking for the unique hashes. When suspicious images are located Google reports the incident to the appropriate national authorities.[98]


The idea for Gmail was developed by Paul Buchheit several years before it was announced to the public. The project was known by the code name Caribou. During early development, the project was kept secret from most of Google's own engineers. This changed once the project improved, and by early 2004, most employees were using it to access the company's internal email system.[99]

Gmail was announced to the public by Google on April 1, 2004 as a limited beta release.[100]

In November 2006, Google began offering a Java-based application of Gmail for mobile phones.[101]

In October 2007, Google began a process of rewriting parts of the code that Gmail used, which would make the service faster and add new features, such as custom keyboard shortcuts and the ability to bookmark specific messages and email searches.[102] Gmail also added IMAP support in October 2007.[103]

An update around January 2008 changed elements of Gmail's use of JavaScript, and resulted in the failure of a third-party script some users had been using. Google acknowledged the issue and helped users with workarounds.[104]

Gmail exited the beta status on July 7, 2009.[105]

Prior to December 2013, users had to approve to see images in emails, which acted as a security measure. This changed in December 2013, when Google, citing improved image handling, enabled images to be visible without user approval. Images are now routed through Google's secure proxy servers rather than the original external host servers.[106] MarketingLand noted that the change to image handling means email marketers will no longer be able to track the recipient's IP address or information about what kind of device the recipient is using.[107] However, Wired stated that the new change means senders can track the time when an email is first opened, as the initial loading of the images requires the system to make a "callback" to the original server.[108]


In June 2012, Google announced that Gmail had 425 million active users globally.[109] In May 2015, Google announced that Gmail had 900 million active users, 75% of whom were using the service on mobile devices.[110] In February 2016, Google announced that Gmail had passed 1 billion active users.[111][112] In July 2017, Google announced that Gmail had passed 1.2 billion active users.[113][114]

In the business sector, Quartz reported in August 2014 that, among 150 companies checked in three major categories in the United States (Fortune 50 largest companies, mid-size tech and media companies, and startup companies from the last Y Combinator incubator class), only one Fortune 50 company used Gmail – Google itself – while 60% of mid-sized companies and 92% of startup companies were using Gmail.[115]

In May 2014, Gmail became the first app on the Google Play Store to hit one billion installations on Android devices.[116]

G Suite

As part of G Suite, Google's business-focused offering, Gmail comes with additional features, including:[117]

  • Email addresses with the customer's domain name (@yourcompany.com)
  • 99.9% guaranteed uptime with zero scheduled downtime for maintenance[118]
  • Either 30 GB or unlimited storage shared with Google Drive, depending on the plan
  • 24/7 phone and email support
  • Synchronization compatibility with Microsoft Outlook and other email providers
  • Support for add-ons that integrate third-party apps purchased from the G Suite Marketplace with Gmail[119][120][121]


Gmail is noted by web developers for its early adoption of Ajax.[122]


Gmail was ranked second in PC World's "100 Best Products of 2005", behind Firefox. Gmail also won 'Honorable Mention' in the Bottom Line Design Awards 2005.[123][124] In September 2006, Forbes declared Gmail to be the best webmail application for small businesses.[125] In November 2006, Gmail received PC World's 4-star rating.[126]



Google has one privacy policy that covers all of its services.[127]

Google claims that Gmail refrains from displaying ads next to potentially sensitive messages, such as those that mention race, religion, sexual orientation, health, or financial statements.[128]

Automated scanning of email content

Google's mail servers automatically scan emails for multiple purposes, including to add context-sensitive advertisements next to emails, and to filter spam and malware.[129][130][131]

Privacy advocates raised concerns about this practice; concerns included that allowing email content to be read by a machine (as opposed to a person) can allow Google to keep unlimited amounts of information forever; the automated background scanning of data raises the risk that the expectation of privacy in email usage will be reduced or eroded; information collected from emails could be retained by Google for years after its current relevancy to build complete profiles on users; emails sent by users from other email providers get scanned despite never having agreed to Google's privacy policy or terms of service; Google can change its privacy policy unilaterally, and for minor changes to the policy it can do so without informing users; in court cases, governments and organizations can potentially find it easier to legally monitor email communications; at any time, Google can change its current company policies to allow combining information from emails with data gathered from use of its other services; and any internal security problem on Google's systems can potentially expose many – or all – of its users.[129][131][130][132][133]

In 2004, thirty-one privacy and civil liberties organizations wrote a letter calling upon Google to suspend its Gmail service until the privacy issues were adequately addressed. The letter also called upon Google to clarify its written information policies regarding data retention and data sharing among its business units. The organizations also voiced their concerns about Google's plan to scan the text of all incoming messages for the purposes of ad placement, noting that the scanning of confidential email for inserting third-party ad content violates the implicit trust of an email service provider.[131]

On June 23, 2017, Google announced that, later in 2017, it would phase out the scanning of email content to generate contextual advertising, relying on personal data collected through other Google services instead. The company stated that this change was meant to clarify its practices and quell concerns among enterprise G Suite customers who felt an ambiguous distinction between the free consumer and paid professional variants, the latter being advertising-free.[3][134]


In March 2011, a former Gmail user in Texas sued Google, claiming that its Gmail service violates users' privacy by scanning e-mail messages to serve relevant ads.[135]

In July 2012, some California residents filed two class action lawsuits against Google and Yahoo!, claiming that they illegally intercept emails sent by individual non-Gmail or non-Yahoo! email users to Gmail and Yahoo! recipients without the senders' knowledge, consent or permission.[136] A motion filed by Google's attorneys in the case concedes that Gmail users have "no expectation of privacy".[137]

A court filing uncovered by advocacy group Consumer Watchdog in August 2013 revealed that Google stated in a court filing that no "reasonable expectation" exists among Gmail users in regard to the assured confidentiality of their emails.[138] In response to a lawsuit filed in May 2013, Google explained:

"... all users of email must necessarily expect that their emails will be subject to automated processing ...  Just as a sender of a letter to a business colleague cannot be surprised that the recipient's assistant opens the letter, people who use web-based email today cannot be surprised if their communications are processed by the recipient's ECS [electronic communications service] provider in the course of delivery.[138]

A Google spokesperson stated to the media on August 15, 2013 that the corporation takes the privacy and security concerns of Gmail users "very seriously."[138]

April 2014 Terms of service update

Google updated its terms of service for Gmail in April 2014 to create full transparency for its users in regard to the scanning of email content. The relevant revision states: "Our automated systems analyse your content (including emails) to provide you personally relevant product features, such as customised search results, tailored advertising, and spam and malware detection. This analysis occurs as the content is sent, received, and when it is stored." A Google spokesperson explained that the corporation wishes for its policies "to be simple and easy for users to understand."

In response to the update, Jim Killock, executive director of the Open Rights Group, stated: "The really dangerous things that Google is doing are things like the information held in Analytics, cookies in advertising and the profiling that it is able to do on individual accounts".[130]

Microsoft ad campaign against Google

In 2013, Microsoft launched an advertising campaign to attack Google for scanning email messages, arguing that most consumers are not aware that Google monitors their personal messages to deliver targeted ads. Microsoft claims that its email service Outlook does not scan the contents of messages and a Microsoft spokesperson called the issue of privacy "Google's kryptonite." In response, Google stated; "We work hard to make sure that ads are safe, unobtrusive and relevant ... No humans read your e-mail or Google Account information in order to show you advertisements or related information. An automated algorithm — similar to that used for features like Priority Inbox or spam filtering — determines which ads are shown.” The New York Times cites "Google supporters", who say that "Microsoft's ads are distasteful, the last resort of a company that has been unsuccessful at competing against Google on the more noble battleground of products".[139]

Other privacy issues

2010 attack from China

In January 2010, Google detected a "highly sophisticated" cyberattack on its infrastructure that originated from China. The targets of the attack were Chinese human rights activists, but Google discovered that accounts belonging to European, American and Chinese activists for human rights in China had been "routinely accessed by third parties". Additionally, Google stated that their investigation revealed that "at least" 20 other large companies from a "wide range of businesses" - including the Internet, finance, technology, media and chemical sectors – had been similarly targeted. Google was in the process of notifying those companies and it had also worked with relevant US authorities. In light of the attacks, Google enhanced the security and architecture of its infrastructure, and advised individual users to install anti-virus and anti-spyware on their computers, update their operating systems and web browsers, and be cautious when clicking on Internet links or when sharing personal information in instant messages and emails.[140][141]

Social network integration

The February 2010 launch of Google Buzz, a former social network that was linked to Gmail, immediately drew criticism for publicly sharing details of users' contacts unless the default settings were changed.[142][143] A new Gmail feature was launched in January 2014, whereby users can email people with Google+ accounts even though they do not know the email address of the recipient. Marc Rotenberg, President of the Electronic Privacy Information Center, called the feature "troubling", and compared it to the Google Buzz initial launch privacy flaw.[144]

Update to DoubleClick privacy policy

In June 2016, Julia Angwin of ProPublica wrote about Google's updated privacy policy, which deleted a clause that had stated Google would not combine DoubleClick web browsing cookie information with personally identifiable information from its other services. This change has allowed Google to merge users' personally identifiable information from different Google services to create one unified ad profile for each user. After publication of the article, Google reached out to ProPublica to say that the merge would not include Gmail keywords in ad targeting.[145]


Gmail suffered at least seven outages in 2009 alone, causing doubts about the reliability of its service.[146][147] It suffered a new outage on February 28, 2011, in which a bug caused Gmail accounts to be empty. Google stated in a blog post that "email was never lost" and restoration was in progress.[148] Another outage occurred on April 17, 2012,[149] September 24, 2013,[150] January 24, 2014,[151] and January 29, 2019.[152]

Google has stated that "Gmail remains more than 99.9% available to all users, and we're committed to keeping events like today's notable for their rarity."[153]

"On behalf of" tag

In May 2009, Farhad Manjoo wrote on The New York Times blog about Gmail's "on behalf of" tag. Manjoo explained: "The problems is, when you try to send outbound mail from your Gmail universal inbox, Gmail adds a tag telling your recipients that you're actually using Gmail and not your office e-mail. If your recipient is using Microsoft Outlook, he'll see a message like, 'From youroffice@domain.com on behalf of yourgmail@gmail.com.'" Manjoo further wrote that "Google explains that it adds the tag in order to prevent your e-mail from being considered spam by your recipient; the theory is that if the e-mail is honest about its origins, it shouldn't arouse suspicion by spam checking software".[154] The following July, Google announced a new option that would remove the "On behalf of" tag, by sending the email from the server of the other email address instead of using Gmail's servers.[155]

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External links

31 March 1990

Approximately 200,000 protesters take to the streets of London to protest against the newly introduced Poll Tax.

Poll tax riots

Poll tax riots
Poll Tax Riot 31st Mar 1990 Trafalger Square - Horse Charge.jpg
Poll tax riot 31st Mar 1990.jpg
Poll Tax Riot 31st Mar 1990 Trafalger Square - Protesters Stand Firm.jpg
Poll Tax Riot 31st Mar 1990 Trafalger Square - Police Pinned down.jpg
Scenes from the day of the event
Date31 March 1990 (1990-03-31)
LocationTrafalgar Square, London
Non-fatal injuries113

The poll tax riots were a series of riots in British towns and cities during protests against the Community Charge (colloquially known as the "poll tax"), introduced by the Conservative government of Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. The largest protest occurred in central London on Saturday 31 March 1990, shortly before the tax was due to come into force in England and Wales.


The advent of the poll tax was due to an effort to alter the way the tax system was used to fund local government in the UK. The system in place until this time was called "rates" and had been in place in some form from the beginning of the 17th century.[1] The rates system has been described as "a levy on property, which in modern times saw each taxpayer paying a rate based on the estimated rental value of their home".[1]


The Thatcher government had long promised to replace domestic rates, which were unpopular, especially among Conservative voters. They were seen by many as an unfair way of raising revenue for local councils.[2] It was levied on houses rather than people.[2]

The proposed replacement was a flat-rate per capita Community Charge—"a head tax that saw every adult pay a fixed rate amount set by their local authority".[1] The new Charge was widely called a "poll tax" and was introduced in Scotland in 1989 and in England and Wales a year later.[3] The Charge proved extremely unpopular; while students and the registered unemployed had to pay 20%, some large families occupying relatively small houses saw their charges go up considerably, and the tax was thus accused of saving the rich money and moving the expenses onto the poor.[4]

Two stickers, still on their backing sheet, from the group "Luton Against The Poll Tax", using the slogan "Can't pay won't pay" which had been popularised by the Dario Fo play of that name.

In November 1989 the All Britain Anti-Poll Tax Federation was set up by the Militant tendency. Other groups such as the 3D (Don't Register, Don't Pay, Don't Collect) network provided national coordination for anti-poll tax unions who were not aligned to particular political factions.[5] The All Britain Federation called a demonstration in London for 31 March 1990 which all of the major networks organised for. Three days before the event, organisers realised the march would be larger than 60,000 (the capacity of Trafalgar Square) and asked permission from the MPS and the Department of the Environment to divert the march to Hyde Park. The request was denied[6] on the basis that the policing had been arranged for Trafalgar Square and there was no time to re-plan it. A building site on Trafalgar Square with easily accessible supplies of bricks and scaffolding was left largely unsecured while the police set up their centre of operations on the other side of the square.

Events of the day

Protesters marching in front of the Palace of Westminster carrying red banners and placards with anti-poll tax slogans: "Don't Pay – Don't Collect"
Peaceful anti-poll tax protesters outside the Palace of Westminster on the afternoon of 31 March, before the rioting began.

On 31 March 1990, people began gathering in Kennington Park from noon. Turnout was encouraged by fine weather, and between 180,000 and 250,000 arrived. The police report, a year after the riot, estimated the crowd at 200,000. An abandoned rally by the Labour Party may also have contributed to the number of protesters. The march began at Kennington Park at 1:30 pm, moving faster than planned because some of the crowd had forced open the gates of the park, presumably in order to avoid being forced through smaller gates. This split the march over both sides of the road, and protesters continued in much the same way for the rest of the route.

By 2:30 pm, Trafalgar Square was nearing its capacity. Unable to continue moving easily into Trafalgar Square, at about 3 pm the march stopped in Whitehall. The police, worried about a surge towards the new security gates of Downing Street, blocked the top and bottom of Whitehall, and lined the pavement refusing to let people leave the road. Additional police units were dispatched to reinforce the officers manning the barrier blocking the Downing Street side of Whitehall. The section of the march which stopped opposite Downing Street reportedly contained veteran anarchists and a group called "Bikers Against The Poll Tax", some of whom became aggravated by reportedly heavy-handed arrests, including one of a man in a wheelchair.[6]

Mounted riot police were brought in behind this immobilised section of the march, in theory to clear the protesters from Whitehall, despite both retreat and advance being blocked by further lines of police. Meanwhile, the tail-end had been diverted at the Parliament Square end of Whitehall, and the anarchists it had attracted were at the head of an unpoliced portion of the march. These people walked to Richmond Terrace, bringing the diverted march into Whitehall, opposite Downing Street and behind the police lines on that side of Whitehall. The protesters at the rear of the stationary group, being faced by mounted police seemingly preparing to charge, sat down on the road for safety. Despite black-clothed and scarf-masked people running through seemingly from behind the police lines and urging them up, they remained seated until physically dragged away and arrested for "obstructing Whitehall". The mounted police then advanced at speed, forcing the Whitehall section of the march to fight its way into Trafalgar Square.

From 4 pm, with the rally nearly officially over, contradictory reports began to arise. According to some sources, mounted riot police (officially used in an attempt to clear Whitehall of protesters) charged out of a side street into the crowd in Trafalgar Square. Whether intentional or not, this was interpreted by the crowd as a provocation, fueling anger in the Square where the police had already been pushing sections of crowd back into corners, leaving no way out except through the police. At 4:30 pm, four shielded police riot vans drove into the crowd (a tactic in dealing with mass demonstrations at the time) outside the South African Embassy, attempting to force through to the entrance to Whitehall where police were re-grouping. The crowd attacked the vans with wooden staves and scaffolding poles. Soon after, rioting began to escalate.

By 4:30 pm police had closed the main Underground stations in the area and southern exits of Trafalgar Square, making it difficult for people to disperse. Coaches had been parked south of the river, so many marchers tried to move south. At this point, Militant Fed stewards were withdrawn on police orders. Sections of the crowd, including unemployed coal miners, climbed scaffolding and rained debris on the police below. At 5 pm, builders' cabins below the scaffolding caught fire, followed by a room in the South African Embassy on the other side of the Square. The smoke from the fires caused near darkness in the Square and produced a 20-minute lull in rioting.

A broken shop window and debris, including crumpled posters with anti-poll tax slogans
Damage, including a broken shop window, caused during the rioting on Trafalgar Square.

Between 6 and 7 pm, the police opened the southern exits of the Square and slowly moved people out of Trafalgar Square. A large section of the crowd was moved back down Northumberland Avenue and allowed over the River Thames in order to return to their organised transport. Two other sections of demonstrators, now very angry and aggravated, were pushed north into the wealthy shopping streets of West End, which suffered reported theft and vandalism. Published accounts detail shop windows being broken, goods looted, and cars being overturned in Piccadilly Circus, Oxford Street, Regent Street, Charing Cross Road, and Covent Garden. Police ordered pubs to close.

The demonstrators mixed in with the general public. By midnight, released figures claimed 113 were injured, mostly members of the public, but also police officers; and 339 people had been arrested.[7] Scuffles between rioters and police continued until 3 am. Rioters attacked numerous shops, most notably Stringfellow's nightclub, and car showrooms; and Covent Garden cafés and wine bars were set ablaze, along with motor vehicles.


The response of the Metropolitan Police, the Government, the Labour Party and the labour movement and some of the Marxist and Trotskyist left, notably the Militant tendency, was to condemn the riot as senseless and to blame anarchists. Tommy Sheridan of Scottish Militant Labour condemned the protesters. The next day, Steve Nally, also a Socialist Party member and Secretary of the All Britain Anti-Poll Tax Federation, said that they would "hold an enquiry and name names".[8] Many others denounced the All Britain Anti-Poll Tax Federation position and defended those who fought back against the police attacks. Danny Burns (secretary of the Avon Federation of anti-Poll Tax Unions)[9] for example said: "Often attack is the only effective form of defence and, as a movement, we should not be ashamed or defensive about these actions, we should be proud of those who did fight back."[10]

The UK Socialist Workers' Party (SWP), which was blamed for the violence by some in the media and by Labour MP George Galloway,[11] refused to condemn protesters, calling the events a "police riot". Pat Stack, then a member of the SWP's Central Committee, told The Times: "We did not go on the demonstration with any intention of fighting with the police, but we understand why people are angry and we will not condemn that anger."[12]

A 1991 police report concluded there was "no evidence that the trouble was orchestrated by left-wing anarchist groups". Afterwards, the non-aligned Trafalgar Square Defendants Campaign was set up, committed to unconditional support for the defendants, and to accountability to the defendants.[13] The Campaign acquired more than 50 hours of police video. Use of these was influential in acquitting many of the 491 defendants, suggesting the police had fabricated or inflated charges.[7]

In March 1991, the police report suggested additional contributing internal police factors: squeezed overtime budgets which led to the initial deployment of 2,000 men, insufficient given the number of demonstrators; a lack of riot shields (400 "short" riot shields were available); and erratic or poor-quality radio, with a lag of up to five minutes in the computerised switching of radio messages during the evening West End rioting. Prime Minister Thatcher was at a conference of the Conservative Party Council in Cheltenham; the poll tax was the focus of the conference—as coverage of the demonstrations unfolded, speculation developed for the first time about Thatcher's position as leader.

Abolition of the tax

The national opposition to the poll tax (especially vehement in the north of England and Scotland) was the major factor; an opinion poll had found 78% opposed to it.[14]

John Major announced in his first parliamentary speech as Prime Minister that the poll tax was to be replaced by Council Tax. The council tax came into effect in 1992. Similar to the previous system of rates, the new system set tax levels on property value. Although it was not directly linked to income, the council tax took ability to pay into consideration, unlike the poll tax.[1]

See also


  1. ^ a b c d Nick Collins (9 March 2011), "Local government funding timeline: From rates to poll tax to council tax", The Daily Telegraph, retrieved 22 May 2018
  2. ^ a b Margaret Thatcher: The Authorized Biography, Volume Two: Everything She Wants, p. 58–9, at Google Books
  3. ^ "Secret papers reveal push to 'trailblaze' poll tax in Scotland", BBC News, 30 December 2014, retrieved 10 October 2015
  4. ^ Wilde, Robert, "Community Charge / Poll Tax", About Education, retrieved 10 October 2015
  5. ^ Burns, Danny (1992), Poll Tax Rebellion, AK Press
  6. ^ a b Channel 4 Critical Eye documentary, "Battle of Trafalgar", 9 July 1990, Despite TV
  7. ^ a b Verkaik, Robert (21 January 2006), "Revealed: How police panic played into the hand of the poll tax rioters", The Independent, p. 10, retrieved 17 May 2008
  8. ^ London: Anti Poll Tax Riot: The Violence | Archive Footage, ITN Source, 1 April 1990, retrieved 8 August 2012
  9. ^ https://libcom.org/history/poll-tax-rebellion-danny-burns
  10. ^ "Poll Tax rebellion", AK Press 1992, p. 116.
  11. ^ "Poll tax spurs riot", The Gainesville Sun, 1 April 1990
  12. ^ "Bloody battle of Trafalgar – London poll tax riot", The Sunday Times, 1 April 1990
  13. ^ Gross, David M. (2014), 99 Tactics of Successful Tax Resistance Campaigns, Picket Line Press, pp. 37–38, ISBN 978-1490572741
  14. ^ Wood, Nicholas; Oakley, Robin (30 April 1990), "Poll shows 35% want to bring back rates", The Times, MORI found 35% wanted 'Rates', 29% a local income tax, 15% a 'Roof tax' combining property values with ability to pay, 12% the poll tax, with 9% in favour of neither of these options.

Further reading


External links