Benazir Bhutto: What if she had not been killed?

Posted on December 27, 2008
Filed Under >Adil Najam, Law & Justice, People, Politics
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Adil Najam

Benazir Bhutto was assassinated one year ago today, December 27.

I remember being in utter shock when I first heard that news. In some ways I am still in shock. Indeed, as our wall of newspaper covers showed, the whole world was in shock. That shock, I believe, is also still alive.

And, yet, so much – so very much – has changed. An elected government holds power. Benazir Bhutto’s arch-nemesis Gen. Pervez Musharraf is no longer President of Pakistan. Her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, is. We still do not know who was behind her death, but speculation remains rife. The economy remains in nosedive. An energy crisis is upon us. One Chief Justice still awaits reinstatement. Another is embroiled in scandal. War talk with India on the East is the rage. Drones pound us on the West. And Pakistan continues to lose both territory and citizens to the extremists who continue to wage a war within Pakistan and on Pakistan. Most of all, anger and angst still define the social disposition.


None of this is new. As a re-reading of our review of 2007 would show there is no evidence that 2008 was any more depressing than 2007 was. It just feels that way. Good things have happened (including elections) but so many bad things have piled on that it becomes difficult to remember what they were. Each new day brings new headlines of death, depression and despondency. And each headline chips away at the national psyche. The angst compounds within us. Gloom adds to gloom and the emergent analysis becomes ever more gloomy.

Speculative it surely is, but even if only for speculation’s sake, what if she had not been killed on that fateful day a year ago?

What if she had survived the attack? Would things have been different? Would the nature of the government she would have formed or run have been different from Mr. Zardari’s government? Would Gen. Musharraf’s fate have been different? Would Justice Iftikhar’s fate have been different? Would the pressure on Pakistan from abroad have been different? Would Pakistan’s response to extremists have been different? All of this, of course, assumes that she would have won the elections and assumed power had she lived. But, would even that have been so?

Time line for the Bhutto family

I do not know the answers to any of these. No one does. But a part of me would like to believe (for the sake of my own sanity) that things in Pakistan would, indeed, have been different – and better – if she had not been killed, even if nothing else had been any different from what it is today. Simply, because the blot of her assassination would have been one less stain for our collective soul to cleanse off. And she would still be there to give hope to at least a few!

45 Comments on “Benazir Bhutto: What if she had not been killed?”

  1. zzali says:
    December 27th, 2008 12:43 am

    What” ifs” will not help us determine what would have been for Pakistan. You and I, we both know that things would have not been any different…That she was part of the same corrupt party and system and in a way by her silence, she would also have been party to all the injustices. You and I, we both know that in 1988 and then in 1993, she was incapable of serving our nation. By all her training and her postulations, she had not been able to take us where we as a great nation should have been able to go; she was a great orator but not a great leader. Please do not think that I am here to speak bad about someone who is not with us anymore. But I am objective and I come from a family who has worked directly with her family. I am a feminist and believe in the female power but I had to be really blind and deaf to follow her or her doctrine in any way.

    Now, we have her husband ” Mr. 200 %” for a president. He is really milking a dead cow and really doing a good job at it. Other than that, he is totally incapable of understanding our
    problems and our aspirations as a nation. If we have to mourn, we should mourn Fatima Jinnah, or other great female leaders. I would not mourn her as a leader but as a muslim, I would pray for her salvation for the hereafter.

  2. Humaira says:
    December 27th, 2008 12:50 am

    From the comment above, I assume that the commenter misspelled his/her name – an extra ‘z’ in the beginning and a missing ‘l’ at the end.

    “Dushman marrey tay khushi na karee-aye, sajnaan vi marr jaana.”

    I do not like Mr. Zardari at all and I think he is bad for Pakistan and bad for PPP but Benazir’s legacy and sacrifice cannot be ignored. My eyes fill up again just thinking of the price she paid with her life.

  3. ASAD says:
    December 27th, 2008 1:23 am

    I think things WOULD have been quite different.

    First, people would have given her more of a chance because her reputation was not like Mr. Zardaris.

    Second, I think she would have taken the Democracy pact with Nawaz Sharif more seriously.

    Third, she would have held the PPP together better.

    Fourth, she would have surrounded herself with better people than Zardari has (not people like Rahman Malik or Husain Haqqani or Salman Taseer).

    But many of the bigger issues like the economy and terrorism would have still been there because they were before her as you say and they would have still been the big story that no one person could content with.

  4. Eidee Man says:
    December 27th, 2008 1:36 am

    Things would have been quite different. I think the extremists would probably have been more determined to attack Pakistan if a woman had been in charge; they never seemed to like that idea.

    But why single out the uneducated extremists, when our highly ‘educated’ elite holds only a slightly different opinion. They will always come up with the same shameful, pathetic excuse, that she stole money from Pakistan. But they never care to consider why someone whose sole intention is to commit financial fraud would repeatedly endanger her life by taking on military dictators and religious zealots.

    Our elites have always been on the side of ‘feminists’ and supportive of ‘democracy,’ yet time and again they register their vote in favor of the opposing forces.

    Was Benazir a great leader? I’m not sure; even historians will have a hard time on that analysis. However, she and her father showed genuine character during their times of adversity; just compare that with Nawaz who ran to his benefactors at the first opportunity, and Musharraf, Zia, and Ayub, who left in utter disgrace.

    I hope the PPP survives the leadership crisis that it is facing right now. Pakistan needs a truly national political party that is not just ruled by the Chaudries of Punjab, the Sardars of Balochistan, or the thugs of Karachi.

  5. ALI says:
    December 27th, 2008 1:49 am

    The biggest difference is that we would not have Mr. Zardari to deal with and she would have kept the party and the country together. Best analysis is below from The News.

    ——–

    ZARDARI GIVEN ENOUGH ROPE TO HANG HIMSELF

    By Shaheen Sehbai

    WASHINGTON: The one question that I am repeatedly asked by everyone, believing that I have been quite close to Asif Ali Zardari during his days of self-exile and forced expulsion from politics for many years, is how long he and his government will survive.

    It is hard to answer this very loaded and complex question almost on a daily basis, especially when people think everyone who comes to Washington from Pakistan knows something more than they do. So I have decided to pen down my answer.

    My considered opinion is that the present Zardari-led set-up will not last long as it has been structured on a wrong and distorted political premise as result of which the key players who have emerged as main power wielders were never in the picture, neither of Benazir Bhutto

  6. Afaque says:
    December 27th, 2008 3:41 am

    Yes the things would have been very different. But we must not loose hope, for this is all what we have along with the so many worst experiences in the past. We must learn from them and not to let it repeat once again.

    I am and was a no supporter of PPP but I believe the democracy must be flourished. Had Muhtarma been here, the people would have decided her fate as per her actions. I believe she was a changed person after she came back home before her death and this was what which was un-acceptable to certain groups inside and outside Pakistan. I am an ordinary Pakistani. How can I know who are these people, but I can only speculate and curse such forces and prepare myself in my own little way.

    We have to go way too far yet. But again we must not loose hope. I criticize all those who speak and write pessimistic views. I ask all of them; how many centuries were taken to let France achieve a perfect democracy? Pakistan had just been created only 61 years ago. So far we have done good if not great but we WILL do better tomorrow.

    God Bless Pakistan
    http://muddleheadedsblog.blogspot.com

  7. DuFFeR says:
    December 27th, 2008 5:38 am

    if she had not been killed, we would not have a holiday on 27th December and a Rs 10 coin :D

  8. Osman says:
    December 27th, 2008 8:02 am

    Everything would have been the same, except no Zardari in power.

  9. ASAD says:
    December 27th, 2008 8:59 am

    Congratulations to Adil Bhai and Owais Bhai for being named the two top Pakistani bloggers for 2008
    http://sajshirazi.blogspot.com/2008/12/top-ten-pakistani-bloggers.html

  10. ASAD says:
    December 27th, 2008 9:18 am

    An op-ed in The News today tries to answer your question:

    HOW THINGS COULD HAVE BEEN

    Rahimullah Yusufzai

    One year ago on this day, Pakistan lost one of its top politicians in tragic circumstances. Benazir Bhutto’s assassination was the latest in the list of political murders that this country has suffered. If the past is any guide, her real killers would remain unknown and go unpunished. Even though her PPP is now in power and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, has become one of Pakistan’s most powerful rulers in history, there has been little progress in tracking down the sponsors of the plan to assassinate her.

    It is a moot point how Pakistan would have fared had Benazir Bhutto been alive today. In fact, the PPP couldn’t have won the February 2008 election without the sympathy vote that was generated by her untimely death. At best, her presence in the election campaign would have enabled her party to do well and equally share victory and then power with Nawaz Sharif’s PML-N instead of winning more assembly seats and dominating the coalition government.

    On hindsight, one could say that a balance of power between the PPP and the PML-N would have been a better arrangement for the country because the latter would have been in a stronger position to force the former to allow restoration of an independent judiciary and agree to reinstatement of Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry as the rightful chief justice of Pakistan. This would have removed a major irritant in domestic politics and prolonged the life of their coalition government and, in the process, strengthened the rule of law and democracy. Though it may appear wishful thinking, one would like to think that a stronger PML-N presence in parliament could have prompted the coalition government to strive for a slightly more independent foreign policy instead of toeing the US line and entangling Pakistan in America’s disastrous “war on terror.”

    Much is made of late Benazir Bhutto’s public statement outside Iftikhar Chaudhry’s official Islamabad residence that he was her chief justice as well and would be restored to his position with the return of true democracy in the country. It is important to remember that she wasn’t always very enthusiastic in demanding Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry’s reinstatement and was prone to adjusting her position on this issue in keeping with the public mood, her political goals, her deal-making with the then president General Pervez Musharraf and her tendency to listen to the signals coming from Washington. Asfandyar Wali Khan’s ANP and Maulana Fazlur Rahman’s JUI-F had almost a similar take on the issue as they didn’t want to make their politics subservient to the deposed chief justice’s fate. Theirs was a clever line, which no doubt underlined the independence of the judiciary but detached their parties from demanding reinstatement of a particular judge, whether it was the chief justice or someone else. No ruling politician likes checks on their power, more so those dictated by an assertive judiciary.

    Given the fate of previous coalition governments in Pakistan, it would still be na

  11. meengla says:
    December 27th, 2008 10:26 am

    @Eideeman:
    “But why single out the uneducated extremists, when our highly

  12. Ghulam Ali Jatoi says:
    December 27th, 2008 11:30 am

    BB we will always miss you

    You are in our hearts

  13. December 27th, 2008 1:27 pm

    Benazir Bhutto was born on 21-6-1953.Hence her fate number is 27(2+1+6+1+9+5+3=27).She was assassinated on her fate number.
    This number adds up to 9.Similar is the case with 2007(2+0+0+7=9).The first attempt on her life was on October 18(1+8=9).
    At the time of assassination she was 54 years old(5+4=9)

  14. Aqil Sajjad says:
    December 28th, 2008 12:01 am

    It’s hard to answer most of the questions asked in the post, but one thing is for sure. Mr. 10% would not have been our head of state if BB had been around today. She was planning to keep him at a distance this time.

  15. Parveen says:
    December 28th, 2008 2:41 am

    The loss of Benazir and the way she died put the whole country into a depression, even those who did not agree with her, and we have not been able to come out of it yet. I have never been a PPP supporter, but I think her death was a great blow to the nation. It robbed us of Benazir and instead gave us Zardari. A double blow.

  16. Khuram says:
    December 28th, 2008 4:38 am

    Pakistan was sacrificed by founder of PPP to come into power.God knows what was his daughter up to after her sponsored return.The only persons who can answer these questions are Pervez Mushrraf and Rehman Malik who are privy to the whole scheme of things prior to October 2007.But then who would take up this task?

  17. Mithun says:
    December 28th, 2008 8:38 am

    Benazir Bhutto’s legacy hasn’t really been one of unflinching loyalty to a particular set of principles. Her maneuvers have always partaken characters of shifting grains of sand. She has been accused of gross misjudgments of situations and characters.

    Adil Sahab, I would really have my doubts if she could have been even a semblance of a liberator and a deliverer, so to speak. Her return to fold was but sparked by puppet masters of the West, and not some clarion call from her “Zameer.”

  18. NO NaMe says:
    December 28th, 2008 10:22 am

    Despite the installation of PPP government in Islamabad with its own prime minister and president,they failed to solve the mistery of BB’s assassination.and after a year of the tragedy why our so called democratic government reluctant to caught the criminals.Do they desirve to mourn on her death???they should mourn on thier attitude!!!!

  19. meengla says:
    December 28th, 2008 3:39 pm

    When people–generally anti-PPP–come out and wonder about as to why this govt. has not solved BB’s murder mystery I can’t help but think that they are insinuating that Zardari is involved in the murder.
    I don’t know who killed BB. It is possible that a few people from the tribal area killed her–she, unlike all other politicians in Pakistan, would be the most lethal, determined leader against the religious extremists. But I also think that the same forces which have gained enormous power in Pakistan since 1977 and which continue to label the largest political party in Pakistan as a ‘security risk’ had everything to gain from her assassination.

  20. Aqil Sajjad says:
    December 28th, 2008 6:03 pm

    meengla:

    And Zardari didn’t have anything to gain from it?

  21. meengla says:
    December 28th, 2008 7:55 pm

    @Aqil,
    Yes, he became the president of Pakistan after not only managing to calm down Sindhi anger but also after keeping his party united and leading his party to election victory. And then he saw to it that the Sword of Democles of Musharraf presidency was removed from the nascent democracy.

    I will hold my judgment on Zardari until he is either removed by a parlimentary process or by losing next elections. I am not going to accept Khakis role in political changes in Pakistan.

    Any more conspiracy theories? How about blaming Gen. Baig for Zia’s death because Baig benefited from it?

  22. Aqil Sajjad says:
    December 28th, 2008 8:16 pm

    @meengla:

    You are ducking the question and going off into irrelevant tangents.

    Is Zardari one of the main benificiaries or not? If so, he should be one of the top suspects in any honest murder investigation. Any other benificiaries should also be considered by such an inquiry.

    The same goes for Aslam Beg on Zia.

    Talking of conspiracy theories, your remarks about the military or some militents being behind her murder are not conspiracy theories?

    Oh sorry, I forgot, according to jiala logic, any conspiracy theory against the military or religious extremists is a fact, but noone should dare to raise any questions about the Bhutto’s or Zardari. :)

  23. meengla says:
    December 28th, 2008 9:07 pm

    Aqil,
    I think I answered your question. But if you still don’t get it then…okay! Zardari is the murderer! What a masterpiece of a plot: From Dubai orchestrate everything so precisely that at the right time someone pushes BB out the sunroof for the waiting pistol+bomber, then take hold of the party, then run elections, then win, then make coalitions, then skillfully show Musharraf the door, then assume the presidency, then loot 200%.
    PS. There are many people living right now, starting with Hamid Gul, who now fess’up to their role in conspiring against the PPP for decades.

  24. ali m. m. khan says:
    December 28th, 2008 9:20 pm

    Benazir was a catastrophic failure and even more disappointing considering her education and fight for democracy, but once in power she was highly corrupt and inept. I could never voice support for her but her death was tragic and unwarranted. No body deserves what she got………but other than the customary sadness of her demise she would not be missed as her accomplishments were none. Now to further add to the sadness of her demise her corrupt husband has become our president.

  25. Umar Akbar says:
    December 29th, 2008 11:22 am

    How can people forget the corruption, ineptitude, and nepotism/cronyism of the PPP governments? What is it about Benazir or Zardari, that people ‘see no evil, hear no evil,’ and every second journalist says, ‘Give Zardari a chance,’ ‘Give him the benefit of the doubt.’ Zardari will always be a doubtful personality, so should we always give him the benefit, then?

    It’s the cult phenomenon/God delusion we see throughout history, people thinking the sun revolves around this or that person. All those who are awe-struck by the PPP personalities, my question to them is, would you buy a used car from Mr Zardari? Would you lend him money? Would you accept him as a business partner?

    I rest my case. :-)

  26. Eidee Man says:
    December 30th, 2008 1:26 am

    @Aqil,
    if you’re even half-serious about considering Zardari a suspect, then I must say that this is by far the most ridiculous thing you’ve said on this blog.

    If we are to follow this twisted logic, why not also put Bilawal’s name on the prime suspect list? After all, no one paid any attention to him before that, and now he’s heading the only truly national political party in Pakistan.

    The idea that you consider accusations against extremist organizations as conspiracy theories is utterly absurd. Is it really too much of a leap to imagine that the groups who proudly claim responsibility of bombing girls schools would be against having a woman as prime minister?

    I think this is an example of what is wrong with Pakistan, and the Muslim world at large. We do not think rationally about people; instead, we classify them as either heroes or villains.

  27. Saleem says:
    December 30th, 2008 1:44 am

    Yes ! things must have been much better, leave other things apart, I talk only about the level of vision and intellect BB had is not found in any leader here at the moment. There must be many people with more intellect and vision but are not leaders.
    Word leader means entirely differrent.

  28. Umar Akbar says:
    December 30th, 2008 7:27 am

    It’s a recurring theme with PPP supporters: Bhutto’s ‘Legacy’, Benazir’s ‘Saga’ and Zardari’s ‘Vision.’

    Take any sentence, then add these few words, and voila!, you have a deceptively convincing claim to greatness.

    Why not take these same words and apply to others, like: ‘Zia-ul-Haq’s Legacy’, or ‘The Nawaz Sharif Saga’ or ‘Chaudhary Shujaat’s Vision’?

    Joseph Goebbels would be proud. :-)

  29. meengla says:
    December 30th, 2008 11:18 am

    @Umar Akbar,
    Zia ul Haq’s legacy is that despite getting a delayed, orchestrated a grand State Burial in a grand spot in Islamabad he stays almost unnoticed where even the Khakis–his true ‘support base’ don’t bother to organize events. That was after 11 years of absolutely tyrannical rule. His true legacy, however, is agreed upon now: Drug, gun, and jihadi culture which turned a Sufi-oriented Pakistan to a fundamentalist hotbed in a mere decade. His son lost his seat in his home town to PPP candidates in the last elections.

    History is sometimes written in front of our eyes. Imagine if ZAB was not judicially murdered in 1979? Would PPP have permanently lost Punjab to these Muslim Leagues so fast? May be. Probably not. And then the BB murder. Next AAZ is in line to be killed. PPP is being dismantled after killing its leadership one after another. The only national level political party of Pakistan is being broken up. What does that mean to the ethnically divided country of Pakistan?

    Also, it makes you wonder as to how NS, Imran Khan and almost all others can so proudly and fearelessly address pubic meetings while, for mere ‘corruption’ charges, PPP’s leaders are under mortal threat. Are there no other corrupt ‘leaders’ in Pakistan worthy of being hunted down?!

    By the way, those who come here and cheapen the discourse by calling every PPP supporter as ‘Jiyala’ open themselves to being labeled themselves–as the myopic supporters of dictatorships. These people, in their hatred for the Bhuttos, are quite willing to accept even the back-to-square-one Khaki rule. Then they sometimes get tired of the Khaki rule and ask for ‘democracy’.

    I support PPP’s right to rule and I am not going to be ashamed of this stand. If, through a constitutional process, this govt. falls and Nawaz Sharif or Imran Khan or Qazi Hussein Ahmad or even Baitullah Mehsud come to power then so be it. So long as rulers can be changed by constitutional processes they are acceptable. Khaki rule is unaccountable and therefore extremely dangerous. Zardari may be jailed, rightly or wrongly, but you can NOT touch Musharraf nor you would be able to touch Kyani who some of you want to come to power in a military coup.

    Finally, by all means hold Zardari accountable for any corruption or incompetence. But this automatic suspicion of him being the murderer of BB goes too far. While I don’t rule out anything there are some things which defy logic.

    What did Zardari say to Bilawal while they were throwing ‘mitti’ over Benazir while burying her: ‘Son, I have killed your mother. Now you can I can rule Pakistan and become Mr. 200%’. If you guys claim to know so much then I bet Bilawal would know more about any role his own father would have in BB’s murder.

  30. REALIST says:
    December 30th, 2008 12:35 pm

    1- person who had spent most of her life abroad, that is, away from Pakistan
    2- could hardly speak URDU which is the national language of the country
    3- raised her children abroad as well

    CANNOT be sincere to the country or its people.

    Those who think otherwise are either living in SELF DENIAL or are ILLITERATES like the majority of the population, or have some vested interests like the corrput stake holders and the politicians of the country.

    God save Pakistan!

  31. Eidee Man says:
    December 30th, 2008 12:47 pm

    @REALIST,
    if speaking really good Urdu is such an important factor, I guess we should have Altaf Bhai as Prime Minister?

    By the way, have you ever listened to clips of Jinnah himself speaking Urdu?

  32. Jamal Khan says:
    December 30th, 2008 2:27 pm

    I agree with “Realist” and would like to add one more:

    4- Corruption, Zardari and Benazir are synonyms of each other.

  33. December 30th, 2008 3:08 pm

    I think PPP wouldnt have won as many seats if Benazir lived, and her ineligability and backdoor dealing would have favored the lawyers movement to such an extent that elections might have been difficult.

    Benazir’s death brought us into a catch-22.

  34. Asif says:
    December 31st, 2008 12:26 am

    Zardari being one of the major suspects is a logical inference though by no means the only one. A clear suspicion can be raised at the direct benefactor. There are also many other details that are worth investigating.

    1. The role of Khalid Shahensha. He was the servant of BB who can be seen on youtube making very strange gestures and then repeatedly pointing to BB. He was reported to have gone underground after the assassination. Thereafter, he was killed while serving as the security chief of Bilawal house in Karachi 6 months later. Why did he disappear AND THEN ONCE AGAIN POSITIONED IN Bilawal house?

    2. Why didn’t BB inform anyone else about the “will”? Especially when she very well knew Zardari’s reputation within and outside her party? At a minimum, could not have she used the services of a credible foreign law firm or informed her closest confidant Naheed Khan?

    3. Zardari very smoothly moved into gaining absolute power. He initially indicated that Amin Fahim would be the next PM and Zardari would be playing a facilitator role. This of course changed after elections. Additionally, there have been blatant lies eroding his credibility by performing unbelievable somersaults having signed before the country twice.

    4. The roles of Rehman Malik and Zulfikar Mirza, BB’s top 2 security advisors. Rehman Malik’s conflicting acts and statements are public knowledge. Plus, the elevation of shady characters and push baks to BB’s loyalists such as Naheed Khan and Fahim and Aitzaz.

    5. The lack of real will to find BB’s killers.

    6. The reports, though unconfirmed that the couple was living separately. It does seem certain though that despite the NRO, BB did not have a role for Zardari till her death and no ticket for the elections was provided to him.

    Each of these points can further be expanded. Therefore, I believe it certainly is worth investigating along with other leads.

  35. Dua Go says:
    December 31st, 2008 12:52 am

    Well, she is dead. Let her please rest in peace now!

  36. Umar AKbar says:
    December 31st, 2008 3:51 am

    Dear meengla,

    Reference your letter: mere

  37. Aqil says:
    December 31st, 2008 8:17 am

    meengla and Eidee man:

    Any investigation starts with simple questions like “who benifits” and “who were the enemies or opponents of the murdered person.” Without any knowledge of specific facts, all such possibilities are mere theories but they all need to be considered.

    What’s so absurd about Zardari being a top suspect? Has no man ever killed his wife? Why should Zardari be considered beyond suspicion when it’s well known that they were not on the best of terms and BB was planning to keep Zardari away this time?

    As for the possibility that some people in the establishment were involved or some militents like Mehsud decided to take her out, where did I say that it’s “ridiculous” or inconceivable? I was only pointing out to meengla that these are also just theories, like the one about Zardari’s possible involvement.

    Your knee jerk responses and the way you guys start throwing tantrums in defense of Zardari and the PPP is very typical of what’s wrong with our politics. Excessive personality worship and the holy cow syndrome.

    meengla shamelessly defends the PPP by rubbishing all the corruption cases (for which Zardari had to use the NRO instead of relying on an independent court to throw them out) as “mere corruption charges.” He regularly lables all critics of the PPP as pro-dictatorship and completely ignores the importance of institution building to which the PPP is also a big hurdle. And eidee spends more time getting angry in defense of the PPP and admiring the “courage shown by ZAB and BB in the face of adversity” instead of trying to inteligently evaluate their impact on the country.

  38. Yasir says:
    December 31st, 2008 9:47 am

    Aqil, a simple question for you.

    Are you REALLY interested in finding Benazir’s killers because you pain for the woman being murdered, her children orphaned and her husband widowed? Or are you only interested in raking mud because you have convinced yourself in your hatred of Zardari that this would be a good way to embarrass him?

    No need to answer. Just think about it. Maybe this discussion says more about you than Mr. Zardari!

  39. Aqil says:
    December 31st, 2008 10:21 am

    Yasir:

    I can respond to your post in a number of ways but let me limit it to asking you three questions.

    1. What does one need to do in order to earn a certificate of being genuinely interested in finding her killers from you?

    2. Is “raking mud” at the military and using BB’s murder for emotional blackmail also a part of the pursuit for her murderers or just a convenient way for PPP apologists to score political points?

    3. Who should investigate her murder in order to make the process credible and how should conflict of interest be avoided in this process?

  40. Yasir says:
    December 31st, 2008 12:07 pm

    Aqil

    No one can give you that certificate except you yourself. If you honestly believe that you only want to find the killers then I will take your word for it. WHo am I to doubt it?

    But, it does strike me from this conversation that too many of those suddenly interested in this seem more interesting in “nabbing” Zardari and moved by what seems to be a vendetta against him than in actually finding murderers and terrorists!

  41. Eidee Man says:
    December 31st, 2008 10:02 pm

    Aqil,
    if you think I spend time defending Zardari, then I’m afraid you’ve never read any of my comments carefully.

    You are well within your rights to criticize Benazir, Zardari, etc on any point you want. But, I personally find your suspicion of Zardari’s involvement in her murder rather petty and unbecoming of a person with your level of education.

  42. meengla says:
    January 1st, 2009 2:48 pm

    @Umar Akbar and Aqil,
    1) I consciously used ‘mere corruption’ and I knew I would open myself to attack. But you need to read my sentence/context in its entirety: I am trying to say that, while there are many, many ‘corrupt’ khaki/non-khaki persons in Pakistan in last 3 decades, it is the leaders of the PPP who are ruthlessly targeted in assassination/plots. It is not a trivial point and one must wonder as to why? My answer is that the PPP remains the single most powerful anti-establishment force in Pakistan despite the current ‘working relationship’ with the military. It is still being called ‘the traitor party’ and ‘security risk’. AAZ is still under threat of assassination more than any other person in Pakistan.
    2) To @EideeMan’s defense I would say that he is consistently anti-Zardari. But both him and I do not want to waste our energy postulating about almost non-sense theories about AAZ automatically becomes the prime suspect simply because he is the prime beneficiary. And what benefits Zardari has derived now! He is very likely to be killed before very long. My advice to him would be to pack up and enjoy the Geisha Restaurant in Manhattan using his alleged $1.5 BILLION. It ain’t worth it.
    3) Indeed, by becoming the President of Pakistan and by not doing away with the illegal powers enjoyed by the Presidency AAZ is making the parliament and PMShip play the second fiddle. Yet I will hold my judgment until at least the summer of 2009 when the PPP will get a sizable Senators to effect legislation.
    4) Yes, I support the PPP govt. but I would also support if Nawaz Sharif comes to power. I am not expecting any miracles from either the PPP nor would I expect those from NS. But I know one thing: The Khakis are even worse choice because they cannot be held accountable for ANY of their actions.
    5) In my opinion, with a free media, politicians cannot get away with their shenanigans of the ’90s again. The political process will eventually mature enough after repeated elections to the point where Pakistan will have a functioning democracy. It will take time but there is no other way forward.
    6) Pakistani politicians are personally less corrupt than the court-convicted Indian ruling class. But despite the warts in Indian political class the Indian democracy has still managed to deliver more to its people than the uncorrupt, yet poisonous, influence of the Generals in Pakistan. Dr. Farrukh Saleem of ‘The News’ wrote a beautiful piece some months ago titled, something like, ‘Democracy, xx miles from Islamabad’.
    7) So, yes, it is the ‘system’, the ‘process’ where my sympathies are. If PPP blunders too much then will and must lose the next elections. The next govt. is likely to be of PMLN. If they, too, don’t ‘deliver’ then may be next time it would be the PPP or even Imran Khan’s Tehreek e Insaaf. All those are acceptable to me.
    8) The PPP govt. is already on shaky ground. The real power, as could be seen during the Mumbai crises, is still held by the Generals. If PPP tries to become too ‘principled’ then it will lose power the 4th time due to the Generals in 3 decades.
    9) NRO benefited a large number of people–not just AAZ. In case of AAZ, despite 9 years of jail, torture, and media trial, NOTHING held true to make convictions in Pakistani courts.
    10) What made it possible to allow NS back in Pakistan after illegally turned back from the ISB Airport only a few weeks before? Nothing to do with any ‘compromise’? I find it hard to believe. Where are the charges against him? Why the media trial of only PPP politicians?

  43. Aqil says:
    January 1st, 2009 11:54 pm

    @meengla and eidee man:

    Regardless of what we think and which possibilities we consider inconceivable or ‘petty minded,’ any investigation that does not include fully probing people like Musharraf, Zardari and Rehman Malik will lack credibility for obvious reasons. Let me just leave it at that.

    Response to Meengla’s other points:

    It’s a gross oversimplification of the entire debate to divide everything into two extremes. That either one is in favour of the political process or against it. And that if one favours the political process, then one should be sympathetic to the PPP. Whenever there is any criticism directed at the PPP, you PPP valas provide a crash course on the importance of sticking to the process and in this way, confuse the issue at hand by getting off into this tangent.

    You are right that Zardari is not the only one involved in corruption, but you could have left it at that instead of trying to prove that he is not guilty. There is no point in saying that he could not be convicted even after 9 years of persecution. There was a swiss ruling against him, and Zardari could not get the swiss case off his back untill the NRO came to his rescue. For several years, the PPP strongly denied that Zardari owned the surrey palace, only for them to admit it later:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2004/aug/21/pakistan.benazirbhutto
    So lets stop hiding behind the lame defense that no charges against them could be proved.

    As for the many other people who have not faced any accountability whatsoever, the answer is to make institutions like the judiciary and NAB strong and independent and work for accountability instead of refusing to restore the judiciary, hiding behind the NRO, finishing off the NAB, and having clowns like Fauzia Wahab regularly give ridiculous arguments against the need for a strong accountability system in order to protect the likes of Zardari.

    Lastly, people shouldn’t be asked to mute their criticism and silently wait for the next elections. Criticism is a part of democracy and PPP and its supporters should learn to live with it. Democracy is called a process for a reason; it involves constantly keeping an eye on the govt and judging its performance.

  44. Umar Akbar says:
    January 4th, 2009 4:10 pm

    Dear Aqil,

    Beautiful post! :-)

  45. anon says:
    February 14th, 2010 10:28 am

    Dear Meengla,

    Beautiful post! :-)

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