Tag Archives: assassination

Democracy is the best Revenge

The whole country, especially Sindh, is in deep shock and mourning over the tragic death of Pakistan’s finest daughter, Muhtarma Benazir Bhutto, and there is a widespread anguish and soul searching among the democratic and progressive people of Pakistan about the destructive role of military establishment and agencies in politics of the country, the complicity of Pervez Musharraf and his allies in demolishing the democratic institutions, and in fact the very future of the state itself.

The targeted killing of Muhtarma Benazir Bhutto has raised fundamental questions about the future of basic human rights, rule of law, freedom of speech, democracy and national integration in Pakistan. The regime’s authoritarian and dictatorial rule has turned this democratic and peaceful country in to a state of anarchy and chaos.

The whole civil society of the country expresses grave concern on the above situation and feels that there should be a joint strategy for a joint and final struggle to bring this country back to the rails of democracy and people.

In this regard a National Solidarity Mission comprised of 30 civil society leaders, human rights activists, lawyers, journalists and concerned citizens of Balochistan, Pakhtoonkhua, Punjab, Seraiki Wasaib, Azad Kashmir and Northern Areas is visiting Sindh to condole the death of Muhtarma Benazir Bhutto and express their solidarity with the people of Sindh.

To address these grave questions and concerns and to welcome the friends of “National Solidarity Mission” Sindh Democratic Forum (SDF) is organizing a reception in their honour and a discussion will also be held on the following topic “Democracy is the best Revenge”

On Monday, 31st January 2008 @ 12 A.M sharp @ House # A/15, Latifabad # 03, Hyderabad. You are cordially invited to attend the session.

On Sunday January 27 Launch of the Mission at Shah Latif Community Center, Islamabad with a group of Sindh Graduates Association (SGA) 11:30 Islamabad.

On Tuesday January 29 Meetings with civil society groups, political leaders, academia, media at Hotel Press Inn, Larkana at 1430 hours, Larkana

On Wednesday January 30, Meetings with civil society groups, political leaders, academia, media at Agha Jee Hall, Shahani Maohalla, Dadu at 1300 hours

On Thursday January 31, Reception by SDF and meeting with civil society groups, political leaders, academia, media at House # A/15, Latifabad # 3, Hyderabad at 1200 hrs, Hyderabad

On Friday February 1, Meetings with civil society groups, political leaders, academia, media at Press Club Nawabshah at 1400 hrs, Nawabshah

On Saturday February 2 Concluding tour Press Conference at Sukkur Press Club, Sukkur/ Khairpur.

On Sunday February 3, Press conference at Press Club

January 26, 2008

Before Assassins Struck Dec. 27, Pakistan’s Ex-Premier Kept Up Frenetic Pace but Also Found Time for a Prayer

Bhutto’s Last Day, in Keeping With Her Driven Life

Before Assassins Struck Dec. 27, Pakistan’s Ex-Premier Kept Up Frenetic Pace but Also Found Time for a Prayer

By Griff Witte and Emily Wax

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan — Gripping the podium with both hands, Benazir Bhutto spoke in a shout that filled the cavernous park and echoed into the streets beyond.

“Wake up, my brothers!” she implored, her trademark white shawl slipping off her head to her shoulders. “This country faces great dangers. This is your country! My country! We have to save it.”

When the former Pakistani prime minister had finished speaking, she descended from the stage and paused. She then turned, waved and kept on walking.

Inside the park, a crowd of thousands was still cheering. Outside, a pair of assassins lay in wait.

In the hours before they struck on Dec. 27, Bhutto’s day had unfolded typically — for her and for Pakistan. The pace was frenetic, the stakes were high, and the issues were familiar: extremism and democracy, militancy and the military.

Since her return from exile more than two months earlier, Bhutto had been in nearly constant motion, trying to outflank her political opponents and hoping desperately to stay one step ahead of the sniper’s bullet that, she told friends, was “always waiting for me.”

If she succeeded, she believed the reward would be a storybook comeback. She would return to her old job, and to the realm of world leaders, after eight years as a glamorous sidelight in the salons of London, New York and Washington. The country, meanwhile, would return to democracy after its own eight-year drought under military rule. It would also turn the tide against extremism, beating back the growing threat posed by the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

But the odds, for her and for Pakistan, were long.

On the day she was killed, Bhutto was pressing ahead on two main fronts. The first was to get the message out that she believed President Pervez Musharraf’s allies planned to rig the elections scheduled for Jan. 8. On the agenda for the day was a meeting with election observers from the European Union and another with two U.S. lawmakers — Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.) and Rep. Patrick J. Kennedy (D-R.I.). At the latter meeting, scheduled for the evening, she intended to hand over a dossier of evidence that she said supported claims her party had been making for weeks that the elections would be fixed by means of ghost polling stations, voter intimidation and other irregularities.

The second front was terrorism. Bhutto met for 45 minutes that day with Afghan President Hamid Karzai, and the two shared their concerns about the growing danger of extremism. More than perhaps any other Pakistani politician, Bhutto had been fixated on the problem both in public and in private. She spoke about it constantly.

For her, the threat was personal. She knew there were people out to get her. And on Dec. 27, there was reason for special concern.

The day before, in the northwestern city of Peshawar, a young man carrying explosives had been detained outside the site of her rally. The man told police he had been to a wedding just before he arrived to hear Bhutto’s speech and had not had time to dispose of some leftover celebratory dynamite. Police did not believe him.

That night, Bhutto’s husband, Asif Ali Zardari, called from Dubai in the United Arab Emirates to say he was nervous. He wanted her to stop attending the rallies and let him go in her place, sources said. She refused.

But by next morning, she was having doubts. She was due to hold a rally that afternoon in Rawalpindi, and the city made her nervous, friends said.

For one thing, it was the home of a military she had distrusted her entire life. For another, her father — former prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto — had died there, hanged in 1979 by the man who had overthrown him, Gen. Mohammed Zia ul-Haq. And Pakistan’s first prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, had been assassinated in 1951 in the very park where her rally was to take place.

For Bhutto, who could be superstitious, those were bad omens.

More came later in the day. In the afternoon, former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s supporters had been gathering on a street corner in Rawalpindi when a sharpshooter began firing from a nearby rooftop. Four Sharif activists were killed. Five others were injured. Sharif’s party quickly blamed Musharraf’s allies, alleging in interviews that they believed the attack marked the beginning of a campaign of political violence designed to scare opponents away from the polls.

But whatever her reservations, Bhutto decided to go ahead with her rally.

In the early afternoon, she huddled with her inner circle at her Islamabad home, eating a lunch of potato curry and chapati bread, said Babar Awan, a top official in Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) who had been at her side for two weeks.

Her aides were anxious, thinking ahead to the rally. But she was calm.

“She kept telling me to relax and eat,” Awan said.

The agenda for the lunch was to review the prepared text of her speech. Bhutto seemed intent on not rushing, enjoying the moment.

“She was so overly satisfied that day, so overly confident and full of jubilance,” Awan said. “She looked so beautiful that day, in all the ways that a woman like her — bright, energetic, bursting with ideas and hope — could look beautiful.”

At one point, Bhutto brought her notes for her speech to the large picture window overlooking the mountains and read them there quietly. “I call on my homeland of Pakistan to come out and fight for Pakistan’s future,” Awan said her notes read. “I’m not afraid. We cannot be afraid.”

She then prayed.

Around 3:45 p.m., Bhutto and her entourage of top party officials left in two cars for Rawalpindi.

After suicide bombers attacked her homecoming reception in Karachi on Oct. 18, killing more than 140 people, Bhutto had considered abandoning public rallies. Instead she would tape her messages and deliver them on radio or television.

That plan soon fizzled, however. Mass rallies are central to Pakistan’s political culture. For her party to have a chance, she believed, she could not forgo them.

When the time came for Bhutto to address the Rawalpindi crowd, she set her notes aside and spoke spontaneously. People who had been following her career for years said it was the most passionate they had ever seen her.

“Her speech was beautiful,” said Kamran Nazir, 19, a student and PPP activist. “It was about saving Pakistan. It was about having hope, no matter what.”

Just before dusk, Nazir followed Bhutto out to the park gates. As the crowd surged around her vehicle, he saw her head rise from the sunroof, and he saw her hand begin to wave.

Advisers had warned Bhutto not to come out of her bulletproof sport-utility vehicle on the way in and out of rallies. But she insisted.

“She said, ‘The people come with a lot of expectations and love. I can’t resist that. I need to reply,’ ” said Farzana Raja, a top PPP official who was with her that day.

The crowd — chanting “Long live Bhutto!” — was making her happy. But it was worrying Mohammad Qayyam, a local police constable who was trying to clear a path for Bhutto’s SUV while scanning the crowd for threats.

Like nearly everyone else there that day, he didn’t see the man in the sunglasses walk up to Bhutto’s vehicle and fire three shots from a handgun at close range. Nor did he see a second man, his head wrapped in a scarf, who blew himself up moments later.

All he remembers is seeing the bodies, dozens of them, suddenly scattered along the ground.

Qayyam passed out, waking up later at Rawalpindi General Hospital, the same hospital where Bhutto had been taken for emergency surgery.

Outside the operating room, a group of PPP leaders joined hands and prayed. “Please, God, let our leader be okay,” they said. “Please, God, let her survive this.”

After about 40 minutes, Awan saw a doctor, Muhammad Mussadiq Khan, who told him the surgery was still going on. Somehow, Awan didn’t believe it.

“Put me straight,” he said.

The doctor repeated what he’d said.

“That’s not true,” Awan said. “Put me straight.”

Then the doctor delivered the news that, within minutes, would reach around the globe.

“It’s all over. We did everything we could. She didn’t make it,” he said. “Benazir Bhutto has expired.”

Wednesday, January 16, 2008; A10

Courtesy: WashingtonPost

Source – http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/01/15/AR2008011503304.html?hpid=topnews

Assassination of BB: Causes, Ramifications and Challenges

Resolutions Passed by the Civil Society Forum on “Assassination of Shaheed BB: Causes, Ramifications and Challenges” 6th Jan 2008, @ Press Club Hyderabad

Center for Peace and Civil Society (CPCS) organized a civil society forum on “the Assassination of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto: causes, ramifications and Challenges” at Press Club Hyderabad. Retired Justice Wajeehudin presided the conference, Rasool Bux Palijo was chief guest and Executive Director CPCS Jami Chandio facilitated the conference as host. Those who participated and spoke in the program included Yousaf Masti Khan, Advocate Akhtar Hussain, Rahat Saeed, Anees Haroon, Dr Rajab Memon, Mazhar-ul- Haq Siddiue, Barrister Zamir Ghumro, Kachkol Ali, Usman balouch, Ishaq Tunio, Amar Sindhu, kausar S Khan, Dr Ali Ahmed Rind, Inam Shaikh, Taj Joyo, Hussain Bux Thebo, Afzal Gujar, Dr Nazir Shaikh and others.

The forum unanimously passed the following resolutions:

We the writers, intellectuals, journalists, political and social activists, political parties and civil society organizations strongly condemn the criminal act of assassination of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and express our solidarity with her family, party and the people.

We strongly feel that the assassination of shaheed Benazir Bhutto has caused a great political and emotional loss for the people of Pakistan in general and the people of Sindh in particular. In a country where the federation does not exist in true sense and structure, where the contract among the constituent federating units has already become abstract and obsolete, where politics has been criminalized and terrorized through state sponsorship, where intra-state conflicts are widening the gap among the provinces, where civil military conflict has started posing serious threats to the integrity of state, where secular forces are already harassed and democratic institutions are being virtually wiped out ; the assassination of Benazir Bhutto is indeed a great tragedy and irreversible loss.

Due to the heinous crimes committed by the ruling class and the establishment, the latter is loosing its rationale and emerging as a failed state on the political map of today’s world. We believe that:

* · Pakistan was established on the basis of 1940 Lahore resolution and the resolution clearly says that all the constituent federating units would be autonomous and sovereign but the ruling class and establishment have betrayed the contract and usurped the economic, political, social, cultural and emotional rights of oppressed nationalities and the people of Pakistan, thus negating and rendering totally irrelevant the above moral, social and legal foundation of Pakistan.

* · The ruling class and the establishment under the aegis of world imperialism interests of world imperialism virtually sold the country and turned into a neo colony from the every first days of the establishment of Pakistan and made its internal and external policy sub servient to the evil anti people interests of world imperialism.

* · In his famous 11th August speech the founder of Pakistan Mr. Jinnah clearly said that Pakistan would not be a theocratic state but on the contrary theocracy and fanatic militancy had been patronized and deeply rooted by the state and establishment over the years and decades which has maligned the image of the country through out the world as a nursery of terrorism.

* The military establishment has virtually conquered the state of Pakistan. It leaves no space for people and political forces. They do politics, run industries and business enterprises; create fake political parties, pseudo politicians, control parliament, judiciary and media. They have taken over every business of state and economy except doing their own professional work for which they are being heavily paid since decades at the cost of extreme poverty and under development. The military establishment has thus turned Pakistan into a militarized state and society.

We strongly assert and affirm that this country was established for the people and not for the usurpers of the rights and resources of the people of oppressed nationalities in particular and those of the people of entire Pakistan .

* We unanimously demand that the judiciary should be restored to Nov 2 position and an independent and credible inquiry commission be appointed under the guidance of Court in order to unmask the real culprits behind this horrendous and heinous criminal act.

* Pervez Musharaf has become a security risk for the country and the people of Pakistan . He has turned Pakistan into foreign and military occupied territory. We strongly demand that Pervez Musharf should immediately resign and a new credible interim government and independent election commission should be formed before the elections.

* Military should have no role and stake in politics and public life. The size of armed forces should be downsized and the armed forces should have roughly and reasonably equal representation from all the respective provinces. All Revenue and labor laws,

* Pakistan can only be saved and the intra-state conflicts could only be resolved if the foundations of federation be laid on the basis of 1940 resolution and structural equality among all the federating units. Federal Government should have only three subjects like foreign policy, defense, and currency where as all the rest of the subjects should be given to the respective provinces. Concurrent list should be abolished. Till this is done the 1973 constitution should immediately be restored.

* Thousands of political leaders and workers from, Balochistan, Sindh, Punjab and NWFP are detained illegally by the powers that be, they should be immediately released. All the lawyers, political workers and civil society leaders including president Pakistan bar Council Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, Akhtar Mengal, Dr Safdar Sarki and others should immediately be released. After the assassination of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto thousands of political workers have been arrested and a large number of bogus cases have been registered against political workers especially in Sindh to curb and depress the people’s voice against the Musharaf regime.

* Pakistan has become structurally imbalanced federation after the separation of East Pakistan. The ruling class of one province dominates all the state institutions and enjoys absolute majority in the parliament against all three provinces that has emerged as a major source of conflict in Pakistan. Till the state of Pakistan is properly established on its original socio-political foundation based on the 1940 Lahore resolution, the interim solution should be to make senate more empowered where all provinces should have equal numerical representation. The members of senate should be directly elected and the passage of budget and money bills and all federal appointments like judges of supreme court , chief election commissioner, members and chairman of federal public service commission , ambassadors, heads of autonomous bodies and corporations, Governors, and chiefs of armed forces should be made after the scrutiny and approval of the senate.

* Water conflict has become key source of conflict in Pakistan. Sindh is the lower riparian of River Indus and all its tributaries. The constitution of Pakistan and international law confers inalienable rights to the lower riparian. Sindh has been opposing further cuts on Indus in the names of dams, canals and barrages to store divert and steal waters of Indus River and its tributaries without the concurrence of lower riparian. Ongoing illegal construction of Greater Thal canal should be stopped and all mega projects of large dams on upstream should be shelved.

* The 1990 census should be accepted and on the basis of those results fresh census should be conducted by clamping curfew in the whole country and counting heads where ever they are on that particular day. This will eliminate duplicate counting and the anomaly of awarding major share of NFC funds to one dominating province.

* The NFC award should be decided on the following basis:

o Index of infra structure in each province

o Human Development index and ratio of poverty in the provinces

o Level of per capita income of a province in comparison to that of the other provinces

o revenue generation capacity of each province

o Burden of legal and illegal immigrants on each province.

* All the indigenous languages of Pakistan like Punjabi, Sindhi, Pushto, Balochi, Siraiki, Hindko and others should be given the status of national and official languages like that given in India and Urdu and English be made the languages of communication.

BBC: Thousands who protested Benazir’s assassination Arrested in Sindh

The BBC has carried a news that thousands of people who were protesting Benazir Bhutto’s assassination have been arrested in rural Sindh. Those arrested include several party officials and candidates in upcoming election. It looks like that government is targeting PPP and its workers. They are trying hurt and bruise PPP since they do not courage to face them in elections.

For full story, go to BBC, click here:

Source: http://www.bbc.co.uk/urdu/pakistan/story/2007/12/071231_sindh_rioting_firs.shtml

DO NOT BURN SINDH

By: Ali Nawaz Memon

MY HEART IS BURSTING. MY TEARS ARE NOT STOPPING. I HAVE LOST A GREAT LEADER…. I EXPECTED MOHTARAMA BENAZIR BHUTTO TO SOLVE OUR NATIONAL AND SINDHI PROBLEMS. SHE HAD PERSONALLY PROMISED ME TO FOCUS ON UNEMPLOYMENT ISSUE. WE WERE PLANNING CREATION OF NEW MINISTRY FOCUSING ON UNEMPLOYMENT ALONE.

NOW I AM HEARING THAT PEOPLE ARE BURNING SINDH.  BANKS, COURTS, ELECTION OFFICES, FIRE TRUCKS, AND PRIVATE PROPERTY ARE BEING BURNT IN LARKANA, JACOBABAD AND OTHER TOWNS OF SINDH. PROPERTY OF EVEN PPP WORKERS IS BEING BURNT. SOME BODY IS TAKING ADVANTAGE AND USING SHAHADAT OF MOHTARAMA TO SET US BACK FURTHER.

PLEASE DO NOT BURN ASSETS OF SINDH. WE NEED TO BUILD SINDH. DO NOT BURN IT. I APPEAL TO ALL WORKERS TO PROTECT PEOPLE AND ASSETS OF SINDH.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, 27/12/2007

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information

Benazir Bhutto assassinated by bombing in Rawalpindi

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan – Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday in a suicide bombing that also killed at least 20 others at a campaign rally, a party aide and a military official said.

“At 6:16 p.m. she expired,” said Wasif Ali Khan, a member of Bhutto’s party who was at Rawalpindi General Hospital where she was taken after the attack.

A senior military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment, confirmed that Bhutto had died.

Her supporters at the hospital began chanting “Dog, Musharraf, dog,” referring to Pakistan’s president Pervez Musharraf. Some of them smashed the glass door at the main entrance of the emergency unit, others burst into tears.

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP’s earlier story is below.

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday in a suicide bombing that also killed at least 20 others at a campaign rally, a party aide and a military official said.

Source of News:

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071227/ap_on_re_as/pakistan