Posted by: jadanzzy | December 27, 2007

To Benazir Bhutto, R.I.P.

Benazir Bhutto

I’ve been following Pakistan in the news front for the last several months after not knowing much about them except for hearing over the year or so snippets about them being allies against Al Qaeda. Pakistan’s events sparked my interests, much like Ukraine did during their Orange Revolution and Victor Yuschenko’s coming to power.

I heard about former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto several months ago being re-admitted into Pakistan after 8 years of exile. I had no strong impressions of President Pervez Musharraf, but I love an underdog, especially when it comes to progressive ideals. So I immediately took a liking to her. The then general Musharraf was not very thrilled with her return given that she has a populist voice, very appealing to the poor in Pakistan. She had a massive following, within and outside of Pakistan. Her former opponent, Nawaz Sharif, whom she had bitter rivalry with, was consequently grouped along with her as threats to Musharraf’s military rule. He stayed with her on her deathbed today.

Recently, she was to make a deal with Musharraf for a possible power-sharing deal over country rule. It was apparently influenced by Washington as they wanted to see a peaceful and progressively democratic Pakistan. Since, General Musharraf declared himself President. Many consider it an unconstitutional and illegitimate presidency.
She narrowly survived an assassination attempt in October while on her way to a political rally.

I didn’t hear much about her through November and December until this morning. I was getting ready to go to the city and went to the NY Times site, only to find the tragic news. I was stunned. She was assassinated. And only after the fact did I know that her father, a former prime minister, was hung, her brothers killed (some suspect by her), and her solitary confinement. I believe she’s only survived by her mother now.

Despite whatever corruption charges she had held against her, I couldn’t help but be fascinated by this Harvard and Oxford educated, headstrong, progressive, and idealistic woman. And hearing about her assassination left me upset and shocked. Many suspect that Musharraf was behind the asssassination as she was a viable threat against his rule. Musharraf will fear for his political, and maybe even physical, life now.

Well, here’s to her legacy. She’s bound to become a martyr if she hasn’t already. A martyr for progressive politics in a tumultuous middle east and central Asia. A martyr against religious extremism, and against militaristic rule. A martyr for democracy.

The world mourns for Benazir Bhutto. Rest in peace.

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