Some excerpts from Z A Bhutto’s book “The Myth of Independence”

JAN 5, 2015 (By Irshad Salim) — Zulfikar Ali Bhutto — the man who is known as the leader of the people and father of Pakistan’s nuclear program was born on January 5th 1928 and executed on April 4th 1979. Bhutto’s execution made him a legend. Today he rules from the grave. His words are a beacon for many Pakistani thinkers and analysts.

bhutto-myth-of-independenceA nationalist at heart and a socialist in politics, his concept brought Pakistan closer to China and his stances gave a signal of thunder to the West about the emergence of Pakistan as a strong nation and Asia as a strong region with close religious affinity with the Muslim world from the Middle East to Indonesia. His Third World Economic Order concept drew praises but more ire from the international status quo.

“The Western Powers seek to impose unity where it serves their purposes; unless division will serve them better”, Bhutto wrote in his first book “Myth of Independence” in 1969 — upon launching his Pakistan Peoples Party after fallout with the then President Gen Ayub Khan. (page 14)

Related article: 7 Quotes from Bhutto: 7 Holy Grails

The book is a sweeping treatise on Pakistan’s foreign policy and the country’s precarious position in the region.

Advocating a tougher stance against India, stronger relations with the People’s Republic of China, and a reassessment of Pakistan’s interests aligning themselves with the United States’ during the Cold War, Bhutto wrote with a coherent grasp of both world affairs and regional power plays.

Written before assuming the office of premier himself, the book is a primer on Pakistan’s place in the world by one of its most revered and visionary but controversial (in the opinion of many) statesmen. Today, Bhutto’s thoughts and analysis then, of world politics vis-a-vis Pakistan and the region appear to have stood the test of times and seem more relevant to events we may be witnessing now in the region. It’s a must read.

Some excerpts…

The aim of a Great Power is no longer to subjugate the world in the conventional sense, but to control the minds of men and gain the allegiance of the leaders of underdeveloped nations, through economic domination and other devices, without necessarily interfering directly… (page 14)

Modern means of communications make it possible for Great Powers to dictate
and direct the daily lives of people all over the world without having to
exercise a day-to-day overt control… (page 14)

Great Britain has now ceased to be a powerful force in Asia, but she
continues to play an important marginal role in support of the United States’
global interests… (page 24)

Now and for as long as it can reasonably be predicted there will be only three genuine Global Powers: the United States of America, the Soviet Union, and the People’s Republic of China… (page 15)

No small nation can possibly bring a Global Power under its influence on the plea of justice or because of the righteousness of its cause. In the ultimate analysis, it is not the virtue of the cause that becomes the determining factor, but the cold self-interest of the Global Powers which shapes their policy, and this self-interest has better chances of prevailing in an endless and unequal confrontation between a Global Power and smaller nations… (page 15)

The world cannot be turned into the real estate of the Super-Powers… (page 26)

..It cannot be ruled out that a time will not come when the United States and China will have to seek a modus vivendi… (page 22)

The intriguing thing about international politics is that it contains no law which rules out any kind of change resulting from the interplay of objective interests… (page 21)

It is safer and more prudent to avoid a head-on collision with a Global Power. It is wiser to duck, detour, step aside, and enter from the back door. It is futile to try to win over or implore a Global Power to change its policies by continued direct efforts on the plea of justice or alignment. Reminders of services rendered in the past are of no avail. Neither cringing nor sycophancy, neither sentiment nor argument, carry any weight in such dealings. The simple fact of the matter is that, in the long run, a Global Power is not likely to be outwitted, so it is better for a small nation to take a realistic attitude and evolve both policy and strategy on rational rather than on subjective lines… (page 17)

In the conduct of foreign policy, the benefits of cultivating good relations with countries in general, can often be neutralized by a country’s
failure in relations with its neighbors… (page 28)

If a nation is incapable of adjusting itself to its next-door neighbor, it will find it much more difficult to arrive at an understanding with nations situated far away. A nation’s maturity and flexibility in international relations is born of the maturity and flexibility of its behavior towards its immediate neighbors… (page 28)

Many relations can be changed or influenced, but not the reality of the presence of a geographical neighbor. This is a permanent factor in the shaping of foreign policy… (page 28)

If the British had left India ‘united’ as one state, there would be today four or five national states in the sub-continent. The choice was not between leaving India as one united country or divided into two, but between leaving India divided as two nations, or letting it burst into fragments of not fewer than four or five states. The creation of Pakistan has contributed to the crystallization of an Indian nationhood. Were it not for the hatred for Pakistan prevalent in India, India would have found it extremely difficult to restrain her polyglot provinces from breaking away. This is a factor of great significance and one that foreign Powers would do well to remember in their endeavor to bring about an effective reconciliation between India and Pakistan. In plain language it means that the effort to absorb Pakistan might lead to the end of India as it stands today. Such disintegration would immediately invite all the disastrous consequences the West is seeking to avoid by pressing Pakistan to confederation with India… (page 31)

“… (It is) the existence of Pakistan, equally poised as an indivisible nation at either end of the sub-continent that keeps India in one piece. If the evenly balanced scales of Pakistan tilt one way or the other, India’s equilibrium cannot remain unaffected… (page 32)

Neither during the darkest period of United States-Indian relations, nor during the brightest phase of the United States-Pakistan relations, did the United States take a stand as an ally of Pakistan in the Indo-Pakistan disputes… (page 42)

Force enters when diplomacy is exhausted. If all attempts to bring about cooperation between India and Pakistan fail, it would be imprudent to rule out coercive measures. This does not necessarily mean that the United States, whose objectives are not quite identical with those of India, would, in desperation, create conditions that would enable India to dismember or destroy Pakistan… (page 70)

(The author is a Business Analyst, Consultant, and Editor-in-chief of;; MAMOSA Report, BE2C2 and StratBiz)

All opinions and views expressed in columns and blogs and comments by readers are those of individual writers and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of PKonweb.


  1. Muhammad Ali Chishty January 5, 2015 at 12:07 pm

    Ironically, when Z. A. Bhutto took over power, Pakistan was fighting for its survival due to separation of former East Pakistan. And now on his 87th Birthday, Pakistan is yet fighting for its survival. Difference is today the country is fighting against invisible enemy. Method of aggression has changed from direct military action to indirect proxy war through so called Mujahideen or Islamists whom some amongst us also support and don’t take their individual group act of killing spree as QITAL according to Islamic interpretation.
    Which Islamists will shoot Mala Yousufzai and other innocent children at the Peshawar School?
    It is being debated that Pakistan needs to review its curriculum of basic education in social sciences and religion. Creation of Pakistan on the basis of two nation theory was bone of contention for the neighboring country which did not believe in division of India and now the nuclear of Pakistan, ZAB fathered and sacrificed his life consequently, is the bone of contention for big powers. If Pakistan has to survive as an independent state, it has to improve its economy and governance to ward off the dangers against its existence.

  2. You really make it seem so easy together with your presentation however I find this matter to be actually something that I feel I might never understand.
    It sort of feels too complicated and extremely wide for me.
    I’m taking a look ahead on your next publish, I will try to get the grasp of it!

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