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Pakistani Terrorists Fail To Shatter Hope Of Masses

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Again the mighty rulers of world have failed in providing security to the one of the most popular leaders of Pakistan. There will be no denying the fact that terrorists have registered another victory. But now one thing has become clear-- that officials within the administration have been supporting terrorism.

Chairperson of Pakistan People's Party Benazir Bhutto is the last hope of the poor masses and all steps must be taken for keeping this hope alive. President Bush should be compelled to anwser as why his ally failed in provision of security to the political leader. Most of the tribesmen think if the rulers cannot provide security to the masses then they should leave the corridor of power.

Reports said that at least 132 people were killed and hundreds injured late on Thursday night as suspected suicide bombers targeted former prime minister Benazir Bhutto on her return from eight years in self-imposed exile.
Two explosions went off a minute apart shortly after midnight near Karsaz close to the vehicle Ms Bhutto was travelling in, at the head of a procession of hundreds of thousands of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) supporters who had flooded the streets of Karachi to welcome the return of their leader.

The attack bore the hallmarks of Al Qaeda and resembled assassination attempts by militants linked to the terrorist network on President General Pervez Musharraf and Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz in recent years. Intelligence reports also warned of threats of suicide attacks against Ms Bhutto by militants linked to Al Qaeda, the Taliban and Baitullah Mehsud, the Sindh home secretary said on Wednesday.

A leading newspaper discussed the Bhutto return to Pakistan in a comment writtern earlier. It stated that the return of Benazir Bhutto is bound to change the political scene in the coming days. Already, her review of the state of law and order in the course of her press conference has refocused public attention on the trouble in Waziristan, something which the opposition believes in “denying” and blaming on President General Pervez Musharraf’s “enslavement to America”. Strangely, the PMLQ leadership, loath to damage its conservative vote bank, was also not very assertive on the topic and often articulated its opposition to the United States to confirm its credentials.

The PPP’s robust welcome to Ms Bhutto confirms our estimate that her vote bank is intact. People interviewed on the roads insisted that they would follow whatever she decides on the matter of opposing President Musharraf or working with him. The pro-BB upsurge all over Pakistan, but particularly in Sindhi, stems from the collective memory of the founder of the party, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, which has compelled Ms Bhutto to raise the slogan of Benazir ayai gi rozgar dilai gi (Benazir will come and give employment) and bring back in currency the old PPP slogan of roti-kapra-makan (bread-clothes-house).

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Whether or not the economics behind the slogan is tenable in our day, one thing is certain: she will give the lead and her supporters will follow. The code of conduct she issued for the reception at Karachi indicated that she wants to be non-confrontational at the outset. This is understandable because the political map before her is not set in black and white. There is an increasingly hostile party in power and there is also a president armed with Article 58-2(B) who needs political support that the PMLQ cannot give whole-heartedly because of its rightwing vote-bank. The “clash”, if any, will have to come later, perhaps much later, when she is in occupation of the office of the prime minister and doesn’t want to be fired by the president.

Ms Bhutto’s comment on the Supreme Court, and her reference to the provincial bias in its past and present adjudications, has been interpreted by the lawyers’ community as intimidation of the judiciary. But let’s face it. The lawyers, and many enthusiastic writers trying to break new ground in their wayward musings on the judicial institution, have to finally decide what kind of doctrine they wish to finally embrace. Before her return, the doctrine was that the Supreme Court could not ignore the people and their collective wisdom. The lawyers challenging the government openly asserted that any verdict against them would not be accepted. It was, according to them, no longer right that the Court should decide on the basis of law.

But with the arrival of Ms Bhutto, the “voice of the people” is bound to become more diversified, and if the Supreme Court has to decide on the basis of what the people want, as the lawyers insist, then it will have to pay heed to this diversification too. Although the universal principle that the judge always decide on the basis of law cannot be shaken by political upheaval, a new vista may open up before the apex court judges. Instead of having to heed the lawyers’ call for “street justice”, they will have the option to point to an alternative opinion and go back to the wisdom of deciding on points of law rather than on the basis of agitation. There are signs that the “tilt”, if any, will be corrected perhaps because of the righting of the political balance in society.

Significantly, the Woman’s Action Forum (WAF) has called on the Supreme Court to review its suo motu decision to return Lal Masjid to its former terrorist owners and revive the Jamia Hafsa seminary. The Court may have followed its own wisdom, but there is no doubt that the opposition and the media had performed an “opinion” somersault on the issue after Lal Masjid was challenged by the government. That imbalance will now have to go simply because a party representing the bipartisan political system in Pakistan has decided to call a spade a spade.

Pakistan has hurt itself through its nationalism in the past; and it may hurt itself again through its anti-Americanism. In their origin both passions have the same flawed source and can hardly be told apart if one removes the words used to describe them. Nationalism, which made us lose many wars, was India-driven. The lack of realism in it dawned only gradually, but today Pakistan is ready to turn its face away from it without spelling it out. If the next phase has to be America-driven, it will be immeasurably more harmful because of the isolation it will impose on Pakistan and the damage it will do to the national economy. This new “nationalism” has brought President Musharraf under siege. The PPP can weigh in on the other side to lessen the extremism of Pakistan’s opposition. That is why Ms Bhutto is needed today regardless of the charges tainting her persona.

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Muhammad Khurshid, a resident of Bajaur Agency, tribal areas situated on Pak-Afghan border is journalist by profession. He contributes articles and news stories to various online and print newspapers. His subject matter is terrorism. He is also (more...)
 

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