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My dearest daughter,

What gift can I give you from this cell out of which my hand cannot pass? I give you the hand of the people. What celebration can I hold for you? I give you the celebration of a celebrated memory and a celebrated name. You are the heir to and inheritor of the most ancient civilization. Please make your full contribution to making this ancient civilization the most progressive and the most powerful. By progressive and powerful I do not mean the most dreaded. A dreaded society is not a civilized society. The most progressive and powerful society in the civilized sense, is a society which has recognized its ethos, and come to terms with the past and the present, with religion and science, with modernism and mysticism, with materialism and spirituality; a society free of tension, a society rich in culture.

You, my daughter, cannot be big unless you are prepared to kiss the ground. You cannot defend the soil unless you know the smell of that soil. I know the smell of our soil. I know the rhythm of our rivers. I know the beat of our drums. The theories, dogmas and the scripts stand outside the gates of history. The dominant factor is the aspiration of the people and the ability to seek total identification with it.

What I write is full of infirmities. I have been in solitary confinement for twelve months and in a death cell for three months, deprived of all facilities. I have written much of this by resting the paper on my thigh in unbearable heat. I have rarely seen the blue sky.

How does a condemned prisoner write a letter of birthday greetings to a beautiful and brilliant daughter fighting for the life of her father, being in bondage herself., knowing that her mother is suffering the same suffering as herself? It is more than a matter of communication. How would the message of affection and sympathy pass from one prison bar to the other, from one chain to another?

Zulfikar ali Bhutto to his daughter Benazir Bhutto 1979Image

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