by Zulfiqar Halepoto, Hyderabad, Sindh
My respected and dearest Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Saheba. The finest daughter of the East.
I am writing you this email with wet eyes, heavy heart, deep compassion, profound grief and heartfelt thoughts as the revival of democratic rule in the country has failed to bring social justice, peace and rule of law in the country. Unfortunately Pakistan is trapped by mediocre and corrupt rulers again and again.
Pain of your departure: loss of identity
Since the day you went away from us to the eternal breeze of heaven, we feel that we have lost not only a leader, but Pakistan has lost its progressive, liberal and democratic identity.
Country is now a paradise for mediocres.
For some, it was not a time for you to depart from us, as Pakistan was in a need of a leader of international caliber, who could have negotiated with regional and international powers.
But my Sufi friend Irshad Laghari said Sindh wanted another Shah Inayat Shaheed.
A faqir at the shrine of Bhit Shah said to me “Yes you wanted her alive so that you shall be compensated in politics on the cost of her sacrifices. Her time was over and she knew that and that’s why she died a “heroic death”
She is a martyr of Sindh and democracy.”
We all know that you love your father, but if you don’t mind, I may tell you that your grave has become more mighty and commanding than Zulfi’s grave.
Your reference has become more influential than any other leader of Pakistan.
Do you know a best friend of mine, who is always a strong critic of your party politics, has named his first lovely daughter after you? Just as my father named me after your father, for his refusal to accept Ayub’s dictatorship.
You changed Pakistan!
But why am I explaining all to you, as you are aware of everything?
Do you know that how much the poor and down trodden people of Pakistan and Sindh were happy on the day you landed at Karachi international airport on December 18th, 2007?
Separation of Karachi was an everyday threat of dictator Musharraf and his fascist organization.
With your landing and gathering of million people in Karachi were the most superlative political reply and defeat to Musharraf’s ethnic stupidity.
When the mothers saw your eyes wet, their hearts were crying and were looking in to the sky, begging for your long life.
My mother said to me “May GOD save our last hope” when the first bomb blasted.
You were saved but you very well knew that you were back to Pakistan not to become a puppet prime minister but you were back to transform the politics and society of Pakistan.
You knew that you were acting against the dirty policies of ugly establishment.
But you went to Nawab Khair Bux Marri to offer fateha on the murder of Balach Marri.
You went to Akbar Bugti’s house.
You said “why only Qadir Kahn. All the generals who took bribe in the smuggling of nuclear assets shall be brought to justice.” You went to the residence of Justice Iftikhar Chuadery and said PPP will restore all deposed justices. Your strategic decision to land at Karachi was not liked by fascist forces, establishment and international powers. You talked of a new social contact between the provinces. You singed the Charter of Democracy and gave a new constitution to the people. The 5 Es of your election manifesto were the last hope for revival of democracy and human rights in Pakistan. The nation had an eye in your promises and commitments.
Good Bye Shahzadi!
Hum Jo Tareek Rahoon Main Marey Gaey
But on December 27th, 208 you were martyred. All Pakistan was a-fire. Sindh’s protest with anger at its highest yet it mourned in peace. Not a single person was hurt. Not a single property of any citizen was damaged. People disowned states’ writ as state has failed to save the life of the finest daughter of Sindh. Every house of Pakistan and Sindh was mourning your departure. I still remember that I haven’t seen that much water in the eyes of my mother even at the time of her husband’s death. At that time I realized that the murder of hope is more painful than the departure of spouse. People symbolized you with the heroic characters of Bhittai, Baghal Bai of Sindh, Mai Bakhtawar, follower of the martyrs of Karballa. People write thousands of poems on your courage, heroism, and political commitment to die a heroic death. Agencies tried to convert that peaceful movement into a bloody war but Sindh followed your last lesson to the nation that “democracy is the best revenge” Pakistan was to disintegrate but Sindhis have saved the failed state again as they have promised to you to save it through ballot and democratic culture. We saw the revival of democracy in Pakistan The long and dark nights of authoritarian rule, dictatorship and tyranny had vanished. The nation saw a new dawn of hope, anticipations, and expectations.
Reconciliation or Retreat
Disappointment in Sindh:
In your last email to Mark Siegel you wrote “Nothing will, God willing, happen, Just wanted you to know that, if it does … I would hold Musharraf responsible.” But we gave a safe departure to Musharraf with royal treatment, guard of honour…etc. But Sindh got surprised when under the slogan of ‘RECONCILIATION’ we took all those forces which were your enemies. Who were the bad barriers to the development of Sindh? We take MQM together, who as the policy implementers of Musharraf’s ethnic doctrine had done everything they could do to weaken the social and value base of a secular and progressive Sindhi society. We embrace all decaying feudals, whom the people of Sindh have rejected, to develop a new Sindh. We give ministries to those who had jirgas against women and call Karo Kari (honour killing) a value and custom to be proud of. We take all those who used derogatory language for you and for other women legislators. We take Pagaro, Jatois, Arbabs, Mahars, Shirazis and all those who kept their shoes on the neck of Sindhi people and supported Musharraf who wanted to divide Sindh on ethnic lines. Now the people ask: why we fought for political principles???? Corruption and withdrawal from writ and powers is the order of the day… Worst governance and every day failure has become the identity of the government. Policy less, directionless, authoritarian and over centralized rule is imposed again on Sindh
Awful tactics in Punjab:
In Punjab we try to destabilize the legitimate and elected government of Punjab with the support of those turn-coats whom you nominated in your letter as your suspected killers and whom the party, after you, called qaatil league (the murder league). The cronies of Musharraf in Punjab who enjoyed perks and privileges in the caretaker setup, which wanted to get you and your party away the elections. Overnight they become governors and start the game of establishment to destabilize democratic process through intrigues and conspiracies. We take lot of those turncoats in the cabinet who were the part and parcel of Musharraf’s worst dictatorial governance. Where have our principles gone..?????????????
Sick economy, shrinking dreams and dying hope
You knew that we are under poverty trap80% people live below poverty lane. Agriculture is dying; the shortage of water and the hegemony of upper riparian province are forcing Sindh to breathe its last breath. You promised to give a just formula. The nation was united under Anti Thal Canal Alliance. In the election manifesto you promised to provide bread, cloth and shelter; since you knew that majority of our poor have no access to these fundamental human needs. Small provinces trusted you to give autonomy and fiscal sovereignty to make Pakistan a true federation in truth. Young girls were being killed in honour killings; old women were killing themselves because they failed to provide bread to their children. A sea of un-employment was waiting for you to arrive and fulfill your promises. Youth was eager to receive you and the jobs you promised. But on the contrary e are selling the strategic assets of Sindh, we are privatizing the ramsar sites of Kenjhar Lake and others. Our “visionary” chief minister of Sindh, our own Louis XVI, said to people “why not eat rice if there is no wheat”.
Candle of hope on your Birthday We miss you a lot.
Sindh resolved against the military dictatorship under your leadership. People have made history. Now since you are departed, we the people again with your memories as source of inspiration will fight against all the odds and the enemies, which are coming to hurt the people of your beloved motherland.