This will remain the question, who has carried this act and who is responsible for the tragic death of the most popular leader of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto, but I just present my tribute to her. Millions of people admire her as after all he is the daughter of one of their favourist leader of Pakistan Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, who was also killed in a tragic manner. Bhutto was the leader, who challenge the imperialists of Pakistan. He was a real democrat.
Being the duather of such a great leader Benazir Bhutto has also certain qualities. But her misfortune was that she always relied on the same estalishment that killed her father. She was a brave lady as she knew the threat to her life, but still she decided to return to Pakistan for eradicating terrorism. She has lost her life for the peace as terrorism is still a tool for launching war everywhere in the world. She was absolutely right in her demand from the government to control religious fanatics, who are bent upon destroying this world. She was a leader and will remain in the hearts of Pakistanis and people of tribal areas for ever.
A political writer of Pakistan wrote that Ms Benazir Bhutto is dead, assassinated. A grave tragedy, this could likely have even graver consequences.
She was walking back to her vehicle after addressing a rally at Rawalpindi’s Liaquat Bagh on December 27 when, according to reports, a man approached her, started shooting and then blew himself up. The bullet that entered her neck proved fatal.
That Bhutto was attacked is not surprising; it wasn’t the first time. What is surprising is that someone could so easily get close to her and had enough time to start shooting before activating his suicide belt. Or were there two people, one shooting and the other blowing himself up?
Who could have done it? The answer to this obvious question, unfortunately, is not so obvious. If motive is the benchmark, culprits can range from the rightwing elements — Al Qaeda and its affiliate groups had repeatedly threatened to take her out — to her political rivals to elements within the establishment and intelligence agencies.
Anyone, singly or in tandem, could be behind this murderous act. There is a strong undertow in Pakistan still of extremism — rogue elements within the establishment linked to extremist groups and right-of-centre political parties.
Bhutto had, after the gruesome Karachi bombings, pointed the finger at what she called the “Zia remnants”; later, however, she had decided not to press with that line. But the manner in which Pakistan’s politics is configured, the PPP rank and file will entertain no other thought except that the dark deed was committed by Bhutto’s rivals — and rivals range from the army (for whom Bhutto was a bete noire) to intelligence agencies to right-of-centre political parties to the extremist groups on the loose.
PPP cadres are already in a foul mood and in the coming days the possibility of increasing violence in the party’s strongholds cannot be discounted. The consequences of Bhutto’s assassination have to be seen on the basis of the vertical fault-line that has historically run through Pakistan’s politics and where the army has overtly and covertly tried to do everything possible to keep the PPP on the margins since its very inception (former Director-General of Inter-Services Intelligence, Lt-Gen Hamid Gul, has publicly confessed that he put together the Islami Jamhoori Ittehad in 1988 to thwart the PPP).
Even now, while President Pervez Musharraf began to make overtures to the PPP, partly because he realised that the next phase of politics would require a much stronger PPP presence and partly because the Americans pushed him in that direction, Musharraf’s allies were extremely unhappy. It doesn’t bear repeating that Musharraf presides over a system where many functionaries of the government are not particularly enamoured either of his policy of alliance with the US or his idea of cultural liberalism and moderation.
An alliance between Musharraf and Bhutto, even one based on self-interest, was not in the interest of such players. That her rally in Karachi was targeted within hours of her landing on Pakistan’s soil shows that these elements meant business. It also proved that they considered her a grave threat and would strike again.
Turmoil suits extremist groups; the absence of Bhutto suits some political groups as well as some elements within the establishment. But unlike the extremist groups, those who are in this game to seek power must realise that some basic rules of the game are important all round — for themselves as well as the rivals. Without règle du jeu, the country can never acquire the stability which makes politics the only profitable game in town.
Where does Pakistan go from here?
That’s the question now and its answer will depend on Musharraf. He will have to make a decision and a smart one. And the only sensible decision is to not postpone the elections. Whoever did this wants two things: create unrest through violence; and get the elections postponed sine die. The postponement of elections will only increase the possibility of violence by signalling to an already bereaved PPP rank and file that the dastardly act of killing Bhutto was aimed at eliminating a political threat and keeping the country away from democracy.
In fact, the only way Musharraf can show his sincerity and even get himself, the army and perhaps his political allies absolved of the accusations that will now fly thick and fast, such being the nature of Byzantine politics, is to go ahead with the elections.
The talk about imposing another emergency will be akin to playing with fire. Investigations into this tragedy need sincerity, not a blanket imposition of drastic measures curtailing basic rights, not least because emergency in and of itself can have no impact on the efficacy of investigations intended to unearth the culprits who did this. Indeed, imposition of emergency and postponement of elections will serve to do just the opposite: convince the PPP cadres as also the majority of Pakistanis that Bhutto was targeted only so the ancien regime could carry on merrily.