The F.E. Choudhry Gallery: Jiss dhaj say koee maqtal meiN gaya

Posted on June 25, 2008
Filed Under >Adil Najam, >Nadeem Omar, History, People, Photo of the Day
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Nadeem Omar and Adil Najam

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto going to Court for his Murder trial

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in Court for his murder trial by Zia ul HaqA large number of the photographs in the F.E. Chaudhry Collection are of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto during the time of the Bhutto Primiership. None are more riveting for those interested in Pakistan’s history than the one of Mr. Bhutto’s trial in the Lahore High Court during 1978.

In the last installment from the F.E. Choudhry Gallery we brought you scenes of public agitation from outside the Lahore High Court where Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s trial was proceeding. Today we bring you some amazing photographs from inside the Lahore High Court.

These pictures are amazing indeed. If you did not know of the context you would never guess that the smartly dressed, confident, self-assured man in all of them is the “accused” being led by his captives to court. It truly reminds one of Faiz Ahmad Faiz’s immortal verse:

jiss dhajj say koee maqtal meiN gaya
woh shaan salamat rehti hai,
Yeh jaan tou aani jaani hai
iss jaan ki koee baat nahiN

If one did not know of the context one could easily assume that this is a confident Prime Minister, walking with his head held high, accompanied by his security detail. Instead, what it actually is a deposed Prime Minister being taken to court for a mock trial by the dictator who disposed him and surrounded by his captors and guards. He walks elegantly and confidently in and out of the court while police escorts follows keeping a respectful distance as if led by Mr. Bhutto into a state function.


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These four photographs attest to Mr. Bhutto’s sense of dress and decorum, but even more to his sense of history. Each one rivals the others in terms of Bhutto’s formal attire. Of course, Mr. Bhutto knew the fate that awaited him and in some ways he dressed not just for that moment, but for that fate. His sense of defiance was reflected through his choice of clothes and his calm, confident and self-assured appearance.

All these photographs from chacha F.E. Chaudhry, but especially this next one, also demonstrate what leadership really is. It comes not just from the office but from the person. It is the police that is supposed to be “leading” Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto to court, and he who is supposed to be “following” them. Instead, it is very clear for all to see who is “leading” whom. Those with the guns and batons are “following” the dictates of a dictator. Those whose spirit they are meant to break, a man of many faults no doubts, walks with his head held high because he “leads” with his conscience.

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto going to Court for his Murder trialZulfiqar Ali Bhutto going to Court for his Murder trial

Click here for the evolving F.E. Choudhry Gallery at ATP.

68 responses to “The F.E. Choudhry Gallery: Jiss dhaj say koee maqtal meiN gaya

  1. FaizPoetry says:

    jiss dhajj say koee maqtal meiN gaya
    woh shaan salamat rehti hai,
    Yeh jaan tou aani jaani hai
    iss jaan ki koee baat nahiN

  2. Sajid Hashmi says:

    Salaam all,

    What I find disturbing is how short the memories of Pakistanis are. He was a great polititian but it was his thirst for power that led to his downfall.

    1. It was Bhutto’s refusal to accept defeat to Mujib ur Rehman in the 1970 elections that led to the creation of Bangladesh.

    2. His refusal to aceept defeat in the 1977 elections at the hands of the Pak National Alliance that led to total annarchy and strive which then resulted in the Gen Zia’s coup

    He had charisma and charm but Im afraid he did more damage than good

  3. Dr.Daniyal Nagi says:

    Dear Mr.Najam,
    Many thanks for posting these snaps of Bhutto Sb by Mr.F.E.Chaudhry.They have brought tears in my eyes and memories of my childhood.The third picture in which Bhutto Sb is wearing a Safari suit was taken infront of me and I personally saw the loin walking to the Court Room.I was 11 yrs old and we use to live next to Lahore High Court on the Mall.At that time when they use to bring him to the court the area was usually cleared by the police.His entrouge included police jeeps and vans.Traffic was less in those days on the Mall in 1970s.On this particular day I remember me and one of my friend were cycling down on Fane road,next to High Court side gate and police counstable stopped us since the traffic was blocked,but he allowed us to walk down on foot with our cycles.Everybody was saying bhutto is coming so both of us clung to the steel ralling of high court building peeping inside out of childhood curosity.Aftersome time the vehicles stopped and the loin emerged out,he waved at the crowd clinging to the fence and walked like a king towards the court room,with a smile on this face.He was slim,elegant and smart wearing a dark safari suit.I still have clear memories fof that sight.A chrismatic personality,a true son of the soil.
    Perhaps Gen.Zia thought he is going to live for ever by sending this son of Pakistan to the gallows,now afte 31 yrs Mr.Bhutto still lives and who cares about Zia and his cronnies.
    Dr.Daniyal Nagi
    Ireland

  4. Such a nice person was he,

    I have never seen a bold and honest man like him.

  5. Ghazanfar Ali says:

    Amazing pictures. Shows why Bhutto was Bhutto and why people are so much in love with him. What a man.

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