Sometimes when I lost all my hope I considered the option of killing myself. We are the people on this earth who have been denied all their rights, the human rights. So many times I thought that I am may be nothing more than an animal. Why are terrorists being imposed on us? From whom in this world we seek the help? Who is the person responsible for all the suffering of so many human beings?
Being a mother of four children I dropped the idea of committing suicide as at least we have to live for them. But the situation is so bleak that I have again been losing the hope. Terrorists have been terrorising us, but still the world is silent. Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf is not serious in war on terror. He is just playing the game for keeping himself in power.
Hillary Clinton has called Benazir Bhutto a “courageous and determined leader” whose vision, hopefully, will continue to inspire the people of Pakistan.
In a letter to Asif Ali Zardari, Senator Clinton, after expressing condolences to him and his children on her and her husband, former US president Bill Clinton’s behalf, writes, “As so many people know Benazir was a courageous and determined leader. To us, she was also a friend and we are grateful that we had the opportunity to know her and work closely with her. We hope that her vision will continue to inspire possibilities for a better, more hopeful future for the people she loved and the country she served. We will be keeping you, your family and the people of Pakistan in our thoughts and prayers.”
“It is clear that perceptions in Pakistan are sometimes manipulated so we have to deal with Benazir Bhutto’s successor in his own right and not in the light of unflattering things said about him by past and present Pakistani establishments and political opponents.
What was the aim of Benazir Bhutto? Whether her Husband Zardari will be able to deliver. According to a comment, among the tributes being paid to PPP leader Ms Benazir Bhutto, there are articles in the Pakistani press meditating on her legacy as a political leader and its “internalisation” by her party after her demise. Her husband, Mr Asif Ali Zardari, has written an article in the Washington Post dilating on how her legacy will be carried forward under his stewardship and handed over to Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari when he comes of age and is able to run the party.
One must pause and make a realistic assessment of the PPP under Ms Bhutto. In some ways the party has been led for a longer time and with more significant influence by her than by her father and founder Mr Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. The PPP vote bank in the country has significantly referred to him, as of course she did too, as the touchstone of the party’s “ideology”, but one must look carefully into the ways Ms Bhutto redirected the worldview of her father and made his legacy more relevant to our times.
Therein lay the greatness of Benazir. Not many of us have appreciated the way she actually eliminated the imprint of her father on the party and gave it a political rebirth without her partymen actually feeling any great intellectual alienation. When the reaction came from the party’s elders she was able to fend it off without letting on that she was in the act of transforming the party away from the Bhutto worldview which the “uncles” claimed to guard against amendment. So what was the worldview espoused by the founder Bhutto as he rose to power with a popular mandate in the middle of an intensified Cold War?
He set up the PPP with a firm leftwing philosophy and a strong state-dominated economic vision. So after coming to power, it had no hesitation in proposing and carrying out a root-and-branch nationalisation of the economy. The vision was egalitarian, focused on the welfare of the people, based on the right to daily sustenance that an economy in the state sector was geared to provide. The vision was against the exploitative aspects of capitalism and was, by implication, anti-imperialist. Therefore the US became hostile to Bhutto, who carefully eschewed the Cold War polarity by aligning himself firmly with China, the country the US was then using against the Soviet Union with help from Pakistan.
But the economic vision fell apart soon enough and caused a domestic polarisation that still haunts Pakistan. More significantly, Bhutto cut the military’s dominance down to size and tried to subordinate it to the civilian government, but without changing the nature of Pakistan’s India-driven nationalism.
After Ms Benazir Bhutto took over, she retained the party’s liberal outlook but excised socialism from it. She also changed its stance towards India at the risk of becoming a “security risk” for the military establishment. She tried to change Pakistan’s equation with India through her counterpart in India, Mr Rajiv Gandhi. These two undertakings — the turning away from economic statism and turning towards India — will go down as her great achievements for future historians. Where she tried to retain her father’s Bhuttoism — as in her government’s mass employment policy — she only made mistakes. But, like a true leader, she abandoned her party’s socialism when it threatened to go into a time warp. Soon India’s economy too began to get out of the Nehruvian groove, which had in part inspired her father.
Ms Bhutto’s years in exile further honed her ability to judge the direction of the global winds blowing outside the region. The lesson she learned once again made her reassess the legacy of her father who — like all ideologues of the Left and Right — equated isolationism with some kind of Third World heroism. She could see that honour-based Pakistan did not like her political alignment with a West that her father had challenged, but she gave proof of true leadership by resisting the “collective wisdom” from “back home”.
Today Pakistan has a chance to survive because of her “redirection” of the party, provided the party recognises it. The nature of Pakistani nationalism must change as she wanted it changed. It should be neither anti-India nor anti-West; and the PPP should eschew international isolation at all cost. So far, Mr Zardari has taken the right decisions, but he must stand firmly behind what Ms Bhutto aimed to do. Her insistence that terrorism and militancy is the country’s biggest challenge will remain relevant to anyone who wants to rule Pakistan under democracy.