Did Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Threaten To ‘Break’ PPP MNAs’ Legs In 1971?
A controversial statement about the events of 1971 is often attributed to former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto wherein he had threatened to ‘break’ his party members’ legs if they attended the inaugural session of the National Assembly. However, it was a case of inaccurate translation. Researcher Maryam Khan took to Twitter to share that the infamous “break their legs” threat that has been quoted extensively is actually a case of lost translation from English to Urdu. What Zulfikar Ali Bhutto actually said was that if they attend the session, the PPP members “will have no leg to stand upon.” However, this statement was mistranslated to imply that he had threatened to break his party members’ legs.
The researcher also shared the original speech for reference: “If they go there & abstain what good will that do? If they rubber stamp the AwamiLeague’s draft constitution they will have no leg to stand upon on their return to their respective constituencies here..”
The full statement is as follows: “But in the present circumstances how can PPP members attend the NAsession? If they go there & abstain what good will that do? If they rubber stamp the Awami League’s draft constitution they will have no leg to stand upon on their return to their respective constituencies here.. Voting for the Awami League draft constitution will be like breaking the backbone of our national integrity. It will not be allowed. If the National Assembly meets on 3rd March my party will launch a campaign of protest.”
1. Bhutto's infamous promise to 'break the legs' of his party members if they attended the inaugural session of the National Assembly in March 1971 is part of the myth-making on the events of 1971. This statement was apparently a case literally of things being lost in translation
— Maryam S. Khan (@MaryamShKhan) January 10, 2021