Benazir Bhutto was assassinated three years ago today, December 27.
Two years ago on the first anniversary of her death we had carried a post asking “What If She Had Not Been Killed?” Of course, this is not the type of question that has a real answer. But as the discussion on the question showed there is value in thinking about such speculative notions nonetheless. This year, to mark her third anniversary, we wish to ask a slightly different question: “What would Benazir think of today’s Pakistan?” Of course, we realize that none of us can know or guess what she might actually think. But in thinking about it maybe we will come to grips with what we ourselves think and bring some clarity to those thoughts.
So, dear readers, do please let us know what you would think Benazir Bhutto might think about today’s Pakistan.
Two days ago as I was driving in Karachi on my way to the airport I was stuck by all the huge bill boards and posters that were everywhere in commemoration of this day. All had huge pictures of Benazir Bhutto, most also had pictures (sometimes not as large) of Zulfiqar Ali Bhuto, and many also had pictures of Asif Ali Zardari and Bilalwal Bhutto (plus of whoever had paid for the poster in the first place). I realized that Benazir Bhutto is now the principal and most beloved icon and symbol of her party. Maybe even more so than her father!
What, I wondered, would she make of that?
The world was in utter shock at Benazir’s death. And many still are. The memories of the assassination are still fresh for many of us. And, yet, so much – so very much – has changed. This was even true two years ago, when I had written: “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. 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.”
What might have Benazir made of all of this had she been alive? What might she be thinking on this day? What are you thinking? How have things turned out that are different – or the same – if Benazir had actually survived the attack?