Published on Kashmir Affairs, by Murtaza Shibli, 27th December 2007.
… Although Benazir was portrayed as the modern and moderate’ face of Pakistan who could help fight Jihadists, this fact is conveniently buried that it was her government that helped the formation of Taliban whose legacy continues to ruin Pakistan, Afghanistan and beyond. After her return from self-exile, Benazir went beyond all decency and decorum to appease the US and other Western powers.
Her assertions that she was not opposed to the American operations in the Pakistan’s tribal areas to fight terrorism and would allow disgraced scientist AQ Khan to be interrogated by the US showed her desperation for power. Power was all that mattered and she showed no regard to the public’s feelings or her country’s integrity. She even talked tough about Jihadis and was willing to follow the course of General Musharraf’s
military response to the crisis rather than any political negotiation to rid the country of growing extremism.
Who Killed Benazir?
There is no doubt that Benazir Bhutto had many enemies. After her rhetoric against the Taliban and other Islamic fundamentalists, her list of enemies grew phenomenally.
Despite the deal between Pervez Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto, she was seen as the main challenge to the current government. It is important to note that General Musharraf allowed Bhutto into Pakistan only after tremendous US pressure. When she arrived in Pakistan last October, the millions of people who came to receive her gave sleepless nights to the government authorities. This ultimately paved way for the return of Nawaz
Sharief, another former Prime Minister who was earlier deported as soon as he landed in Pakistan …
… Light at the End of Tunnel
There is no doubt that the death meted out to Benazir Bhuttoo is tragic and testing for Pakistan. But there are some positive things that seem to be coming out of this national tragedy. In his reaction and speech to the nation, President Pervez Musharraf declared a three-day official mourning when the national flag will fly at half mast. This is the first time that the death of an opposition leader has been recognized officially. Similarly, the Islamist Jama-at-e-Islami, while condemning the terror act, has called for a general strike. Other political parties from a wide spectrum of persuasions have condemned the killing and offered condolences.
The suicide attack on Benazir’s convoy on 18th October 2007 that killed nearly 150 Pakistani civilians precipitated the anger of Pakistanis against the terrorism and extremism. There was a massive public recognition and reaction against the extremist ideology. Benazir’s death might act as a catalyst to unite the Pakistani nation and strengthen their resolve to fight the menace that has engulfed the country thanks to its
willingness to act as proxy to the alien interests in the region.
If Pervaiz Musharraf’s government can offer initiatives to value the public opinion of Pakistanis in this time of multiple crisis and bring about a real national reconciliation, Pakistan could emerge from the challenges that are not only threatening the core values of its society, but also the very existence of the country and its people. (full text).
(Murtaza Shibili is a Kashmiri from the Indian side now based in London. He is a security/media consultant and editor of the online quarterly Kashmir Affairs. Read other articles by Murtaza).