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National Institute of Pakistan Studies
Name of ScholarMuhammad Shoaib Malik
Title of Dissertation Pakistan People’s Party in Punjab: A Political Study (1972-77)
Issue Date2013
PublisherNational Institute of Pakistan Studies, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, Pakistan

The Movement against Ayub Khan and the election (1970) victory of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) in Punjab, Pakistan most important province, represented the breakthrough of the mass public into the political signalled a fundamental and irreversible alteration in the relationship between rulers and ruled. The events of 1969-70 forced open the Punjab political system to the entry of mass-based political parties.

The PPP emerged in response to growing awareness among the common man concerning the socio-politico and economic problems during Ayub’s military regime. By 1968 anit-Ayub feelings in Pakistan were widespread. Bhutto’s PPPsucceeded in mobilizing popular resentment against the Ayub regime. That seemed an opportune time for Z. A Bhutto to appeal to the masses.

The PPP, founded by Z.A. Bhutto in 30 November 19677, had a strange combination of landed aristocracy, labour leaders and leftist with socialist inclinations ranging from pink to blood red. Democracy, socialism, power to the people were some of the slogans of the party. The slogan ‘socialism is our economy’ was the main enigma for the rightist parties.

Although Bhutto was the unanimous choice of the delegates to lead the party, he was not alone in establishing the PPP, in designing its ideology, structure or program. Bhutto enlisted the support of distinguished intellectuals who has been ignored, oppressed by the previous regimes, and especially by the government of Ayub Khan. The PPP leaders were hardly representative of Islamic orthodoxy, but they took pairs to explain that they were guided in all their policies by the tents of their religion. J.A. Rahim, Mubashar Hassan, Sheikh Muhammad Rashid, Mairaj Muhammad Khan and Gukam Mustafa Khar were the early organizers of PPP. Sheikh Rashid turned to Mustafa Khar, an influential young landlord from the Punjab with somewhat radical ideas; and Mubashar Hassan influenced Mahmud Ali Kasuri; one of Pakistan’s most celebrated legal minds, and Hanif Ramay, a young, articulate, and outspoken lawyer from Lahore, to join the PPP. At the outset, the PPP was dominated by members of the intelligentsia. They were well educated, industrious, possessed a flare for leadership, and were dedicated to the complete transformation of Pakistan socio-political and economic life.

The PPP lost its momentum as Bhutto move to include landlords and industrialists in his organisation. A modified socialist programme was retained because it gave the regime the power of control the nation’s economy, but the PPP leftists were eventually forced from party. In July 1974, Bhutto served his ties with Rahim who had criticised his reorganizing exploits. The PPP’s central committee supposedly reached a consensus in January 1975 on the right of intra-party dissent, steadfast socialist programme and grassroots organization.

During the 1972-77, the PPP was in power and introduced some important socio-political and economic changes in Pakistan’s society. The main purpose of this study is to present an analysis of these changes. Being innovative in popular mobilization and using strong rhetoric promising social transformation, the PPP built popular support in a short period and outstripped older political parties. It drew strength basically from labours, workers, students, peasants, and the urban poor.

The party’s main objective was declared to be a socialist democracy with a classless society and the application of the principles of socialism for attainment of social and economic justice. The PPP also declared a crusade feudalism and desired to set up cooperatives for farmers on self-help basis.

The introduction of this thesis discusses the genesis and evolution of PPP in Punjab. Chapter one discusses the manifesto, structure and organisation of PPP. Chapter two discusses the major reform of PPP.  The nature of relationship of PPP and opposition parties during 1972-77 is evaluated in chapter three. Chapter four discusses the factionalism in PPP, including factionalism in Punjab. It is followed by conclusion and key findings of the study.