Veteran politician Mumtaz Bhutto passes away

Mumtaz Bhutto was the first cousin of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Source: FILE.

KARACHI: Veteran politician and former chief minister of Sindh Mumtaz Ali Bhutto passed at the age of 88 after a prolonged illness.

Mumtaz Bhutto was the first cousin of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. His spokesperson said Bhutto passed away at his residence in Karachi and was unwell for a while. His body will be sent to Larkana for funeral prayers and he will be laid to rest at their ancestral graveyard.

Mumtaz Bhutto also served as the governor of Sindh prior to becoming its chief minister. After developing differences with the PPP, he had formed his own party, Sindh National Front (SNF).

Political leaders have expressed their condolences over Bhutto’s passing. Prime Minister Imran Khan said he was “saddened” by news of the death. “My condolences and prayers go to his family,” he said.

Sindh Governor Imran Ismail expressed grief over the death and prayed for Bhutto and his family members. “Along with being a political leader, he had a kind, compassionate and sociable personality,” said Ismail.

PTI Senator Faisal Javed Khan prayed for the deceased’s family and friends to cope with the “huge loss”. Leader of the Opposition in the Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh said he was deeply aggrieved upon hearing of the death. He said Bhutto was an “important character” in Sindh’s politics and served the people during his tenure. “Sardar Mumtaz Ali Bhutto’s death is a big loss for Sindh’s politics,” he said.

Qaumi Awami Tehreek chief Ayaz Latif Palijo expressed grief and called Bhutto an unconventional leader who who played an important role in Sindh’s politica; awakening

Pakistan Muslim League (Functional) chief Pir Pagara also expressed sorrow and said in a statement that he was an “equal partner in grief” with his heirs.

Profile

Mumtaz Ali Bhutto was born on 28 November 1933 in the village of Pir Bux Bhutto of Larkana District. He attended St George’s College in Mussoorie and Lawrence College, Murree before graduating from Oxford University in United Kingdom.

Bhutto became a member of the National Assembly in 1965.  He was a founding member and principal executive committee of the Pakistan Peoples Party. He won the 1970 election after which his cousin Zulfikar Ali Bhutto became the first democratically elected prime minister.

Mumtaz Ali Bhutto became Governor of Sindh on 24 December 1971, then Chief Minister of Sindh Province on 1 May 1972. On 7 March 1977, he won a National Assembly seat and became a Federal Minister.

In 1977, he was nominated him as president of PPP Sindh. He was arrested during the struggle against the arrest of his cousin and went into exile during General Zia’s military rule.

On 31 March 1989, he announced a new political party named Sindh National Front. He was elected to a seat in the provincial assembly from Larkana on 6 October 1993. On 6 November 1996, he became the Chief Minister of Sindh. He has two sons Ameer Bux Bhutto and Ali Bhutto.

In 2017, he announced that the SNF had merged with the PTI. Bhutto had merged the SNF with the PML-N before the 2013 elections but both parties parted ways after developing differences.