Formation Of The Pakistan Peoples Party (Ppp) At Lahore

Qasim Khan Lahore

PPP formation, 1967: It’s amazing how little is available by way of any visual documentation of what was perhaps one the most iconic events in the history of Pakistani politics – i.e. the formation of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) during a convention in Lahore in 1967.

The convention gave birth to a populist democratic party that for the next four decades would go onto become both passionately loved, as well as loathed by Pakistanis in equal measure.

Chaired by the suave and yet exuberant Z. A. Bhutto, the convention was attended by some of the country’s leading progressive and leftist intellectuals, journalists and radical student leaders.

This photo shows Bhutto seated among the men who would turn the PPP into a fervent progressive platform that not only accommodated committed Marxists, Maoists, ‘Islamic Socialists’ and liberals alike, but would also go on to sweep the 1970 general election (in former West Pakistan). The most endearing characteristic of the image is the way J. A. Rahim (an otherwise serious and sombre Marxist thinker and PPP’s leading ideologue) is actually sitting on Bhutto’s lap!

Rahim was one of the founders (along with Z. A. Bhutto) of the PPP and co-author of the party’s original socialist-democratic manifesto.

Unfortunately in 1975, Rahim had a falling out with Bhutto and was humiliatingly expelled from the party.

Bhutto, on the other hand, was hanged by the Ziaul Haq dictatorship in 1979 through a sham trial, taking with him what still remains to be one of the most populist, dynamic and yet, contradictory eras in Pakistani politics.

Resources: PPP – The first phase (Hasan Askari Rizvi); PPP-Rise to Power (Philip Jones).

by Nadeem F. Paracha @ Dawn