Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan in October 2007, after eight years of exile, hopeful that she could be a catalyst for change. Upon a tumultuous reception, she survived a suicide-bomb attack that killed nearly two hundred of her countrymen. But she continued to forge ahead, with more courage and conviction than ever, since she knew that time was running out – for the future of her nation, and for her life.
In Reconciliation, Bhutto recounts in gripping detail her final months in Pakistan and offers a bold new agenda for how to stem the tide of Islamic radicalism and to rediscover the values of tolerance and justice that lie at the heart of her religion. With extremist Islam on the rise throughout the world, the peaceful, pluralistic message of Islam has been exploited and manipulated by fanatics. Bhutto persuasively argues that America and Britain are fueling this turn toward radicalization by supporting groups that serve only short-term interests. She believed that by enabling dictators, the West was actually contributing to the frustration and extremism that lead to terrorism. With her experience governing Pakistan and living and studying in the West, Benazir Bhutto was versed in the complexities of the conflict from both sides. She was a renaissance woman who offered a way out.
In this riveting and deeply insightful book, Bhutto explores the complicated history between the Middle East and the West. She traces the roots of international terrorism across the world, including American support for Pakistani general Zia-ul-Haq, who destroyed political parties, eliminated an independent judiciary, marginalized NGOs, suspended the protection of human rights, and aligned Pakistani intelligence agencies with the most radical elements of the Afghan mujahideen. She speaks out not just to the West, but to the Muslims across the globe who are at a crossroads between the past and the future, between education and ignorance, between peace and terrorism, and between dictatorship and democracy. Democracy and Islam are not incompatible, and the clash between Islam and the West is not inevitable.
Bhutto presents an image of modern Islam that defies the negative
caricatures often seen in the West. After reading this book, it will become
even clearer what the world has lost by her assassination.
Courtesy: Daily New York Times
Before her untimely death, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan wrote of
the rapidly growing tension between Islam and the West. “Reconciliation”
offers a realistic overview of ways to bridge the cultural, political, and
economic chasms that separate these differing cultures.
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Monday, February 04, 200
Benazir reveals murder conspiracy in posthumous book
By Khalid Hasan
WASHINGTON: “Remember, God gives life, and God takes life. I will be safe until my time is up,” former premier Benazir Bhutto told her children before leaving Dubai for Karachi to end her eight-year exile.
Extracts from her soon-to-be-publishe d book “Reconciliatioin: Islam,
democracy and the West” in Sunday Times, London say that she was well aware of the dangers that faced her on return, which was why her husband was to stay back to take care of the children if something happened to her. She writes, “Indeed, many of the same people who had collaborated with an earlier military junta in the judicial murder of my father were now entrenched in power in President Pervez Musharraf’s regime and the intelligence apparatus. There could have been no more dramatic statement to me than Musharraf’s recent appointment as attorney-general of the son of the man who had sent my father to the gallows.” She confirms Musharraf telling her to return after the elections, but when she decided otherwise, “he sent messages to my staff that I should have no public demonstration or rally and I should fly directly by helicopter from the airport to Bilawal House … He said that he was concerned about my security and my safety, but his supporters did very little to provide the necessary protection we needed …”
Benazir writes that she had “become aware, through messages sent by
Musharraf, that suicide squads might be sent from the North West Frontier Province and Federally Administered Tribal Areas to try to assassinate me immediately on my return. I had actually received from a sympathetic Muslim foreign government the names and cellphone numbers of the designated assassins. I was told by both the Musharraf regime and the foreign Muslim government that four suicide bomber squads would attempt to kill me. These included, the reports said, squads sent by the Taliban warlord Baitullah Mehsud; Hamza Bin Laden, a son of Osama Bin Laden; Red Mosque militants; and
a Karachi-based militant group. Musharraf’s regime knew of the specific
threats against me, including the names and numbers of those who planned to kill me, and the names of others – including those in his own inner circle and in his party – whom we believed were conspiring. Despite our request, we received no reports on what actions were taken before my arrival as a follow-up to these warnings.”
Benazir speaks of a letter she wrote to Musharraf telling him that if she
was assassinated by the militants it would be due to their sympathisers in his regime. According to her, the suicide bomber who was hiding the
explosives in wrappings around a baby that he raised towards her, may have had the pellets soaked in poison. She writes, “Later I was informed of a meeting that had taken place in Lahore where the bomb blasts were planned.
According to this report, three men belonging to a rival political faction
were hired for half a million dollars. They were, according to my sources,
named Ejaz, Sajjad and another whose name I forget.
One of them died accidentally because he couldn’t get away fast enough
before the detonation. Presumably this was the one holding the baby.
However, a bomb maker was needed for the bombs.” She names one Qari
Saifullah Akhtar, “a wanted terrorist” who had tried to overthrow her second government, to whom officials in Lahore had turned to for help. He was in a Karachi jail. “His liaison with elements in the government, according to this source, was a radical who was asked to make the bombs and himself asked for a fatwa making it legitimate to oblige. He got one.”
Courtesy: Daily Times