Islamabad: President Asif Ali Zardari paid homage to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Thursday by recalling that the Simla pact he signed with India in 1972 led to the longest spell of peace in South Asia.
In a message to mark Bhutto`s 84th birth anniversary, Zardari said the "Shaheed" employed negotiations to recover the territory lost to India in the 1971 war that gave birth to an independent Bangladesh.
Bhutto also brought back Pakistani prisoners of war from India and prevented the war trials of its military officers for large-scale killings in then East Pakistan to protect the country`s honour and name. The Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) quoted Zardari as saying that it was the Simla Accord, which Bhutto and Indira Gandhi signed after the 1971 war, that led to the "longest spell of peace between India and Pakistan".
That is "a lasting monument to Shaheed Bhutto`s negotiating skills", he added.
Zardari was married to Bhutto`s daughter Benazir, a former prime minister who was assassinated in 2007. Bhutto, founder leader of the Pakistan`s People`s Party (PPP) which now rules Pakistan, was hanged by the military in 1979.
Bhutto took power in Pakistan following the breakup of Pakistan after the 1971 war. More than 90,000 Pakistani soldiers and pro-Pakistan militia surrendered to the Indian military in December 1971.
In a separate message, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani said Bhutto`s greatest success was reviving the confidence of the Pakistani people after the country`s eastern wing broke away.
This, he said, "does not have any parallel in world history".
Bhutto created in "the broken nation a new hope and a desire to look forward and infused a sense of self-confidence and self-esteem" after the military rout by India.