Raees Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi: Demise of a veteran statesman


With the passing away of Raees Ghulam Mustafa Khan Jatoi, the country has been deprived of a veteran statesman. Mr. Jatoi was 78, when he died in a London hospital on October 20, 2009. Throughout his political career which started soon after the Indo-Pak partition, he was elected as a chairman of District Council, Nawabshah. Following the foundation of Pakistan Peoples Party spear headed by Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Mr. Jatoi accompanying his thousands of friends and fans joined the new party and contested 1970s election and successfully returned to lower house. After his couple of years stay in the National Assembly he was elevated to the slot of Sindh Chief Ministership, replacing Z.A Bhutto’s ’talented cousin’ Mumtaz Ali Bhutto. He served in the capacity till their government was dislodged following Gen. Zia led military coup in 1977, thus he made the history of remaining Sindh’s longest serving chief minister (the record still remains intact). Coming from a highly motivated family of zamindars of Central Sindh with a deeply rooted background in politics, which wielded traditional influence in the region. He particularly distinguished himself because of his intellectual capabilities, upright conduct, straight forwardness and above all a humble political activist always ready to help out everyone. He was a visionary and a very articulate politician and forceful in his enunciation of issues and problems. He proved his loyalty with Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto upto the hill and personally visited Gen. Ziaul Haq and spread his jholi before him to demand amnesty for Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. He played key role in the formation of movement for the restoration of democracy against Gen. Ziaul Haq and emerged as a vibrant force to motivate it and get it popular across the country. He courted his arrest on the very first day of the launching of anti-Zia agitation from Mazar-e-Quaid and similarly number of his close relatives, comrades, friends, fans and supporters following his decision volunteered their arrests and mounted immeasurable pressure on the then military junta. By the mid of 1980s, following differences with the then PPP leadership headed by Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, Mr. Jatoi showed remarkable courage and striking out on his own path in politics and founded his own party called National Peoples Party (NPP). In 1990, following the dismissal of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s first government, Mr. Jatoi was elevated as Prime Minister of Pakistan to lead the interim setup of the government. Subsequently, he contested all the national elections and returned to assembly and played positive role for creating an environment of tolerance and respect in politics. However, after 2002 he adopted secluded political life and introduced his siblings in the politics. He was also a very open person. As a person he had great warmth and sensitivity. His death will be mourned by many who were aware of his fine qualities of head and heart.