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Thursday, 5 April 1979

Mr MALCOLM FRASER (Wannon) (Prime Minister) - I move:

That this House notes with regret the death on 4 April 1979 of Mr Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, formerly Prime Minister of Pakistan.

Mr Bhuttoruled Pakistan from 1971 to 1977. He was executed after last minute appeals for clemency were rejected by the Pakistan authorities. A petition to review his case had been rejected by the Pakistan Supreme Court on 24 March. Honourable members will be aware that many countries and international organisations over the past 12 months have appealed for clemency for Mr Bhutto on humanitarian grounds.

Australia made an appeal in April 1978 and again in February of this year. There are many divisions and conflicts within nations, but we do not believe that the execution of political leaders can contribute to resolving these conflicts. Rather it risks making them deeper and more enduring. Certainly Mr Bhutto was a controversial figure. He was prominent internationally because of his energetic espousal of issues concerning developing countries. I know he had warm support from many Third World nations, a number of whose leaders had spoken to me about his impending fate, asking whether there was more that could be done to avert it. Whatever views may be held about his attainments during his term as his country's leader, we regret that the appeals for clemency were not accepted and we deeply regret his execution. Mr Speaker, I ask that you convey to the members of his family the condolences of this House.

Honourable members- Hear! hear!

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