By Arbaz Ahmed Janjhi
KARACHI – Jul 18, 2021- Senior politician, former governor and Sindh chief minister Mumtaz Bhutto passed away here on Sunday. He was 94.
According to Mumtaz Bhutto’s spokesman Ibrahim Abro, Mumtaz Bhutto had been ill for some time and died at his residence in Karachi.
He said that Mumtaz Bhutto’s body will be flown to his hometown Larkana at 6 o’clock.
Mumtaz Bhutto was a cousin and close associate of former Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.
He got his ‘barrister’ degree from Lincoln’s Inn, London.
Mumtaz Bhutto served as the eighth Governor of Sindh from December 22, 1971 to April 20, 1972. He was also the 13th Chief Minister of Sindh from May 1, 1972 to December 20, 1972.
Mumtaz Bhutto was associated with the PPP from 1967 to 1985.
As a Chief Minister, he announced Sindhi language as the official language of the province. Sindhi Language Bill, 1972 was introduced by the Chief Minister Mumtaz Bhutto on July 3, 1972, in the Sindh Assembly. The 1972 Language violence in Sindh occurred starting on July 7, 1972, when the Sindh Assembly passed the Sind Teaching, Promotion and Use of Sindhi Language Bill, 1972 which established Sindhi language as the sole official language of the province.
A former student leaders said that Mumtaz Bhutto formed Sindh Peoples’ Students Federation to counter Jeay Sindh Students Federation in early 70s.
He was replaced by Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi as chief minister Sindh. Later PPP Sindh some how remained divided into Jaoi and Mumtaz Bhutto groups.
In March 1977 he won a National Assembly seat and became federal minister in Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto government. In the year of 1977, Bhutto nominated him as president of PPP Sindh.
Some opponent made a point to criticise for promoting Mumtaz, Z A Bhutto responded that he was a “talented cousin.” Thereafter Mumtaz was nicknamed in political circles as “talented cousin.”
Though he did not play role in 1983’s MRD movement but was detained by the Zia government.
At te verge of MRD movement, he adapted nationalistic politics. On 31 March 1985 he along with Abdul Hafeez Pirdazo, Sardar Attaulllah Mengal and Afzal Bangash announced a new political Alliance named Sindhi Baloch Pushtoon Front at London for four provinces nationalism in Pakistan. He also announced support for a new constitutional framework for Pakistan as confederation.
This front was to counter what they perceived as a Punjabi establishment’s hegemony. It called for a confederation in Pakistan instead of a federation.
He became the convener of the alliance for Pakistan, returned to Pakistan, and once again arrested by the military government of Zia.
After the death of Afzal Bangash in October 1986, the Sindhi Baloch Pushtoon Front slowly withered away.
On 31 March 1989, he called a workers convention at Hyderabad and announced a new Sindh based political party named Sindh National Front (SNF).
He was strong critic of Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari. Hence he joined hands with anti-PPP forces in Sindh as well as in the country.
He was elected to a seat in the provincial assembly from Larkana in October 1993 election.
On 6 November 1996, when President Farooq Laghari dismissed Benazir Bhutto’s second government, Mumtaz Bhutto was appointed the caretaker Chief Minister of Sindh.
For some time he joined PML-N also. Later left it and revived SNF.
Mumtaz Bhutto merged his political party, the Sindh National Front, with the PTI in 2017.
PM Imran Khan
Prime Minister Imran Khan in a tweet said he was “saddened” by news of the death. “My condolences and prayers go to his family,” said the premier.
President Arif Alvi
President Dr Arif Alvi also expressed grief over the demise and prayed for patience for the family while extending his condolences.
PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif said he was saddened by the news of the death. “He played an active role in [the] political history of Pakistan,” he tweeted.
“Very sad to hear about our uncle, Mumtaz Bhutto’s, passing,” Fatima Bhutto said in her tweet.