Political Assassinations in Pakistan with Special Reference to the Mystery of the Murder of Hayat Muhammad Khan Sherpao, 1975


  • Ulfat Zahra


During Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's term as Prime Minister, the law and order situation deteriorated throughout the country in general, and in the provinces of NorthWest Frontier Province (now Khyber Pakhtunkhwa) and Balochistan in particular. For multiple reasons, the mutual distrust between Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and the political leaders of the respective provinces never allowed them to overcome their personal and party interests and establish a harmonious working relationship. Accusations of conspiracy, worsening law and order, and political assassinations, were the dilemmas that agitated the whole country. One of the victims of the political assassination was Hayat Muhammad Khan Sherpao, a leading activist of the Pakistan People's Party and former Governor of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa. The incident of his murder commenced the series of legal disputes and cases of treason filed against the opposition leaders in courts and tribunals, which marred the political scenario of the country till the very end of the Bhutto era. The lack of research on political assassinations in Pakistan is a crucial oversight, especially considering the frequency of the phenomenon and its implications. This study attempts to highlight the main theoretical and political implications of assassinations and identifies some promising directions for further research, in the hope that this unique type of political violence will be better understood in the future.