Tag Archives: Benazir

Protest Rally against Dictator in Houston Texas

Report by: Sikander Baloch, Texas

A peaceful Rally of a large number of pro Democrat groups along with Sindhi and Baloch Communities took place in Houston Texas in front of the omni hotel, where Ex-military dictator Pervez Musharraf was invited to speech. Participants was carrying play cards and banners against Musharraf with different slogans, Killer of democracy and Judiciary, Killer of leaders like Akber Bugti, and Benazir Bhutto. They were demanding to the US government to revoke fugitive from law in Pakistan, ex-military dictator’s  visa and extradite him to Pakistan to be tried for High Treason under Article 6 of the Constitution of Pakistan and for his other crimes under relevant laws. People from Different Walk of life participated and supported this rally, where as Aziz Narejo , Abdul Narejo, Sikander Baloch, Mansoor Samo, Manzoor Memon, and others represent Sindhi Community and Habib Baloch, Malik Baloch, Aslam Baloch, Maria Baloch were the participants from American Friends of Balochistan. Javed Burki and other American friends of Pakistan along with Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz and Pakistan Tahreek Insaf were among the protester.

While talking with international Media they says that, Ex-military dictator who seized power on October 12, 1999 in a coup against an elected government has committed  crimes against the people and the country. He has violated the Constitution, dissolved the elected assemblies, compromised sovereignty of the country, destroyed institutions, waged war on own people, murdered political leaders and innocent citizens, caused disharmony among provinces, created divisions among the people, weakened the foundations of the country, threatened its integrity and ruined the economy bringing untold of miseries to the masses. they added that,

It is a matter of great concern that the US government has issued visa to him and he has been invited to address and hoodwink the people in USA at various fora. We call upon the people and the government in USA and the world leaders to respect the will of the people of Pakistan and support the demand for his extradition to Pakistan to stand trial for his crimes.

A pro Mushraff Rally was held by MQM and other groups at same place with Small number of people who were welcoming Mushrraff.

11 October, 2009

Protest Rally against Dictator Mushraff in Houston Texas

Book review – Harvest Will Come (New Book by Iqbal Tareen)

A new book by an American of Sindhi-Pakistani origin is published. The book contains selected articles, correspondence and speeches of Mr. Tareen, who is a noted human rights, and political rights activist.  Mr. Tareen is former President of Sindhi Association of North America (SANA) and founder President of Jeeay Sindh Students Federation (JSSF) (1960-70s). Mr. Tareen is current president of Washington based civic group called “Forum for Democracy and Justice in Pakistan” The book contains Mr. Tareen’s vision for Pakistan and Sindh, socio-economic and Political challenges that country and province face.

It also contains correspondence between him and Mohtarma Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, his few letters to US administration including Secretary of State, Chairman Senate Foreign Relations Committee and now VP Joe Biden, his speeches to different protest demonstration outside White House on democracy issues in Pakistan. The Book also reflects on his association with politicians of Sindh late GM Syed and Rasool Bux Palijo.

Book provides Writer’s excellent reflections on Sindh and his vision under several articles such as :

1. Sindh on the Threshold of 21th Century,

2. Sindh in the Eye of Terror,

3. Sindh Vision 2020,

4. US Sindhis Demand equity in Indus Commission,

5. 11 Guardians of Indus,

6. Chauvinism lurking out of Punjab,

7. Sindh is mother of Pakistan,

8. Government warned against division of Sindh

And the master piece of the book is valuable, thoughtful and beautiful article “Harvest will come” the title of the book, which is an excellent & refreshing analysis of change in modern history specially since 1820 to latest, how world has moved forward over the years, and writer believes “No matter how hard they try they cannot deny you dreams and hope. They might have stolen the day but tomorrow belongs to you.

Have faith, the harvest will come.

The Book is useful for those who have interest in Sindh’s Political issues, democracy in Pakistan and its American connections, also how does enlightened Pakistani Diaspora thinks of its own country.

For Contact Author Iqbal Tareen at iqbal.tareen@gmail.com

“The People of Kashmir are the Masters of their own Destiny”: G. M. Mir

Washington, D.C. April 19, 2009. “The people of Kashmir are the masters of their destiny, ” said Mr. Ghulam Mohammad Mir, former President of Jammu Kashmir Plebiscite Front at a reception given in his honor by the Kashmiri American Council/Kashmir Center, Washington, D.C.

Continue reading “The People of Kashmir are the Masters of their own Destiny”: G. M. Mir

Style of politics!

by: GN mughul

.. The then Sindhi Chief Justice of Pakistan, Syed Sajjad Shah was also one of the victim of Nawaz Sharif’s style of politics. Not to that extent but one more Sindhi i.e. former Caretaker Prime Minister Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi was also one of the victims of Nawaz Sharif. The fact is that when the then PP Government headed by Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was dissolved, Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi was inducted as the Caretaker Prime Minister with the promise that after the general elections he would continue as Prime Minister of Pakistan. But, after the elections, Nawaz Sharif rebelled against Ghulam mustafa Jatoi and establishment supported Nawaz Sharif and as the result of behind the scene manouverings Nawaz Sharif was made Prime Minister of Pakistan instead of Ghulam Mustaf Jatoi.

March 22, 2009

Opinion- Why Sindh is not part of celebrations of Nawaz sharif revolution?- by K.M. Kolachi

BY K. M. KOLACHI

Nawaz Sharif is against Mushrraf and was not ready even to talk and compromise with him. He wanted Mushraf to be ousted at earliest but Mr Nawaz Sharif could not manage such long march during the tenure of Mushraf. In my view this long march was made successful by hidden forces to convey message to USA that Zaradari has no free hand and can be made under pressure any time. In the situation when March appeared to be getting forceful USA came to compromise by accepting Chief Justice .This is not first time that USA has compromised to keep Pakistan as partner in war on terrorism. Before this unaccounted supply of money, recent favor to help Pakistan in getting loan from IMF and also soft attitude on the time of recent dispute between India and Pakistan are more examples of compromise by USA.

Although there is no declaration of any agreement but the indication in press are very clear that matter of Chief Justice was resolved as result of an agreement whereby chief justice will not touch missing peoples issues. In this way the interests of Zardari and USA has been taken care of. On the other hand when Chief Justice has accepted some conditions how he will be able to retain his title of totally neutral. In my view it was play between the strong lobbies within boundry and each of them know their limits.

Pakistani press, anti Sindhi elements and establishment has been making propaganda against Sindhis and has always been considering them hurdle. As result of long propaganda Punjabi and Urdu speaking brothers have same approach for Sindhis. Since Bhutto was Sindhi and peoples party is some times hurdle being united platform of majority Sindhis every one who will be in better position in PPP may it be Zardari or other will be criticized by those lobbies. As result of that propaganda it has become fashion to talk against Zardari. We want him to take all decisions on merit ignoring the powerful factor in country and international forces. The article of Dr. Manzoor Aijaz few days ago on Zardari also seems to be under same approach and fashion and this too has been focused on limited areas under specific purpose. As referred in article that it was political wisdom of Nawaz Sharif that he came to lead the issue. Look at his wisdom in recent past when he two times decided to boycott elections. Once BiBi and other time Zardari convinced him to change the decisions. Where he had been politically if he had boycotted the election.

March 20, 2009

Unfinished journey of Benazir Bhutto

Unfinished journey of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto

by Iqbal Tareen, Washington

I have been trying to reconcile with the tragic departure of our beloved leader and Sister Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.

I attempted to write about it many times but ran into constant indignation, frozen thoughts, and total mental block.

I did not know what to say and how to say it. I still don’t know if I could ever give words to my desolation and outrage. We know for sure the tragedy that landed into our lives on December 27, 2007 is here to stay forever. But I wonder what if she was not forced to depart from her unfinished journey!

The assassination of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto sets a new height of courage against extreme cruelty. By separating Mohtarma from the people of Pakistan, enemies of peace and democracy hope they will impose rule of darkness forever. They are mistaken. Mohtarma’s vision and dream can’t be snatched away from people. It will live forever.

Her life and message will resonate in the conscience of every person who ever knew her or knew about her. No matter how hard they try, they can’t kill the hope for democracy and freedom she kindled in hearts and minds of 160 million people of Pakistan.

Mohtarma lived and died as a peacemaker and as a warrior. She relentlessly fought for peace and democracy throughout her life. Although she inspired millions of people around the world but some remained extremely threatened by her existence. In popular rise of the people, they saw a sun quickly setting on their era.

The masters and killers who took her life were also timidly intimidated by her. They couldn’t dare to pull the trigger facing her so they shot her from the back. She willingly walked into the face of death and she was ready to pay with her life for all of us. The soul that departed her body shall lead our nation out of long and dark night of suppression, mockery, and tyranny. The politics of hate and pillage shall disappear from the lives of people she loved.

Someday the people of Pakistan shall rise to free the nation from dictatorship, poverty, subordination, and lies. I believe that day will come sooner than later.

Some people say “she shouldn’t have exposed herself to dangers”. Sure, they are making a point but they forget she had chosen a lifestyle that traded safety and security for dreams and destiny for her people. In her final sacrifice, she proved an ultimate point that nothing else mattered to her but the cause she lived and died for. Nothing really mattered.

Let us pledge to finish Mohtarma’s unfinished journey. Let us build Pakistan as she envisioned in her last speech. Let it be a nation inclusive of all religions, languages, nationalities, and elasticities. Let us cherish rainbow of our nation’s diversity and not be threatened by it.

Let us pledge to empower our disadvantaged and oppressed brothers and sisters to complete the circle of freedom. Let the canons of a few over many be a thing of the past. Let us turn the pyramid of politics bottom up.

Let us pay a corporeal tribute to Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto by restoring freedom and dignity of every child, woman, and man to make Pakistan a nation that we can proudly call our own.

Let the supremacy of law and governance by the people become the new tenet of the future.

Benazir’s First Anniversary

Fighting militancy best way to pay tributes to Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto

Islamabad December 26, 2008: PPP Co-Chairman and President Asif Ali Zardari has said that the best way to pay tributes to Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was to follow in her footsteps in fighting militancy and extremism and not to surrender before bigots who wanted to capture political power through bullet and impose their own world view on the people. He said this in a message today commemorating the first martyrdom anniversary of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto who, along with several party workers, was killed in a terror attack in Rawalpindi on December 27 last year.

“Those who laid down their lives for democracy and fighting the forces of militancy and extremism are our national heroes and heroines. They sacrificed their lives so our people could live in freedom and dignity”.

“She gave voice to the voiceless, strength to the weak and motivated workers and the people to strive for a goal higher than life. It is a measure of her greatness that ordinary people who came in contact with her became extraordinary. ”

Shaheed Mohtarma Bhutto was fully aware of the dangers to her life yet she had decided to return home to fight for the restoration of Pakistan’s place in the community of democratic nations, he said. “In the tradition of a true Bhutto she faced certain death rather than abandon her principles or the people.”

The attack on her was not an attack on one individual, he said. “It was an attack on the viability of the state and for undermining the efforts to build democratic structures for fighting militancy”. The tyrants and the killers have killed her but they shall never be able to kill her ideas that drove and inspired a generation to lofty ideals, the President said.

The recent events of militancy in the region bring to mind the words of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto “the fundamental battle in Pakistan was for the hearts and minds of a generation against fanaticism and extremism and that this battle can be won only under democracy”, the PPP Co-Chairman said and asked the democratic forces to rededicate themselves to fighting militancy and extremism by strengthening democratic institutions..

Militancy flourished in the country when dictatorship flourished giving rise to hopelessness that created the desperation that fueled religious extremism, he said. ..

December 27, 2008

Washington DC Discussion on “Baloch and Sindhi rights”

By Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia

The following are my notes and impressions from the discussion on “Sindhi and Baluch Rights” held in Washington DC yesterday.

Key Take-aways from Washington DC Discussion on “Baluch and Sindhi rights” held on September 27.

Washington DC, September 27, 2008: The American Friends of Baluchistan, a local organization of Baluch rights and their supporters, organized a discussion on “Baloch and Sindhi struggle for rights with Asif Ali Zardari’s rise to the presidency”. The event was held at a local restaurant on Saturday, September 27, 2008.

The organizer Mr. Ahmar Mustikhan welcomed participants, who introduced themselves and briefly stated their expectations from the discussion session. On a point raised by Dr. Jawaid Bhutto that the focus of the discussion should not be on one or more individuals but rather on the root causes and solutions, every one agreed to broaden the subject and not limit the discussion to only the context of Zardari’s ascend to the Presidency of Pakistan.

Dr. Safdar Sarki (http://www.pakusonl ine.com/page. aspx?page_ id=57), General Secretary of Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz (JSQM) (http://www.geocitie s.com/jeaysindh_ org/press. html) stated that he and his party are not against any individuals. They are only against the actions taken by individuals that suppress rights of Sindhis and Baluch. Pressing his point about the unfair treatment being melted out to Sindhis, he said that Sindh produces 60% of gas, 40% of oil, and 67% of revenue in Pakistan and yet receives back only 23% of benefits for this contribution. He said that in the last few decades, the successive Pakistani governments have treated Sindh and Sindhis with discrimination and attempted to make them happy with peanuts and lollipops. He asserted that 1973 constitution has lost its credibility and validity as none of the provisions for provincial equitability has been acted upon. He said, “An example of this is that concurrent lists were supposed to have been abolished within 10 years but after 35 years, many more provincial rights have been encroached and put in the constitution. The new “social contract” that Mohtarama Bhutto talked about had much to do with enshrining the principles of the 1940 resolution. Nothing short of a new constitutional setup where the main legislative body has equal number of seats from each province would be acceptable.

Dr. Wahid Baluch, http://intellibrief s.blogspot. com/2006/05/balochistan-drwahid-baloch- for.html, former Deputy Speaker of Baluchistan Assembly and President of Baloch Society Of North America (BSO-NA) USA (http://www.bso-na.org/index. html) said, “We know Mr. Zardari has no real power as in spite of his assurances, the war still continues to be wedged against Baluch.” He added “We look at the positive side and are hopeful that some positive results would result from Mr. Zardari’s presidency. It is more probable that only some cosmetic changes would come about during his rule and the root causes will remain unresolved.” Giving an account of his recent meetings with the US officials, he said that he sees hopeful signs of some understanding about the Baluch point of view. He said that it US officials are quite uneasy that after 10 billion financial assistance to Pakistan, there is very little evidence that Taliban and Al-Qaida have been weakened. If anything they appear to have become much stronger and are now pose a very serious risk to Pakistan’s stability.

Mr. Amir Baloch, a local Baluch leader expressed that he was not very optimistic of any positive results and said that so far, the only tangible results of some improvement are that the wholesale allotment of lands to MQMwallas in Gawadar Sea port has been stopped. He was afraid that that Baluch and Sindhis expereincing a false sense of security and will lower their guards thinking that as a Sindhi of Baluch origin is now in the top position, they can go back to their hibernation.

Mr. Faisal Qazi. a well-known journalist and Chief editor of local Pakistani newspapers Asian Tribune (published in Urdu and English) and Pakistan Journal posed a very interesting question. He said, where as, the National Awami Party, the main nationalist party of Pakhonwa (offical nane NWFP Province) has secured electoral successes in that province, Sindhi and Baloch nationalist parties have not achieved similar successes. Dr. Jawaid Bhutto answered that it is simply the fact PPP is the most popular political party in Sindh and Sindhis have consistently voted for that party in the belief that this party would deliver them their rights.

Mr. Ahmar Mustikhan said that he believes that the main culpirts behind the assassination of Mohtarama Benzar Bhutto are not “fundamentalist” forces but this is a dirty deed of agencies and some Generals. He added that the Benazir Bhutto’s elimination from the poltical scene is a great loss for Sindhi, Baloch, and people of Pakistan. Ms. Nafeesa Hoodbhoy said that it is too simplistic blame security establishment for this crime. Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto had become too close to USA and USA has many enemies in Pakistan. The fact is that we do not know who killed her. For the same reason, Mr. Zardari too has become the most threatened person in Pakistan.

Mr. Aijaz Sindhi, a local journalist, said that Sindhis are still waiting for the restoration of their rights under the new PPP government. He said that onlaught on Sindhi rights continues. He gave examples of the recent federal actions to privatize Qadirpur gas fields in Sindh http://www.apakista nnews.com/ qadirpur- gas-field- four-options- for-sell- off-referred- to-ccop-81196. and federalizing of the Sindh goal authority in support of his argument. He said that no decisions with respect to Sindh’s natural resources would be acceptable unless representatives of Sindh are participants and primary decision makers. Mr. Khalid Hashmani, a local Sindhi activist, said that Sindhis and Baloch rights groups are still using 20th century tools and techniques to secure their rights in 21st century. They have to take global factors into account and balance nationalistic instincts with the need for developing natural resources and to ensure that the needed help reaches rural populations of Sindh and Baluchistan (where poverty has has become main impediment to education and health services) as soon as possible.

THE DAWN OF REAL DEMOCRACY

By Wajid Shamsul Hasan, London

London, August 14: When I unfurled Pakistani flag on the Independence Day at Pakistan High Commission in London I was overwhelmed by a strange feeling of happiness that I never had before. Every one of us present on the occasion realised that this time Independence Day was being celebrated at the dawn of real democracy in Pakistan.

Continue reading THE DAWN OF REAL DEMOCRACY

Remembering Benazir Bhutto – An eyewitness account of Conditions in Balochistan after her assassination

She walked with us bare foot during her last visit of Balochistan

by: Khalid Hashmani

Washington D.C.—The “Justice and Democracy in Pakistan” forum organized an event to meet renowned writer and analyst Jawaid Bhutto, who was visiting Pakistan, when Benazir Bhutto was assassinated. The event was held on Saturday, June 7, 2008 at a local restaurant.

Jawaid Bhutto obtained his Master’s degree from Belgrade-based Sofia University and has taught at the International Relations department of Sindh University for several years. He began by saying that his primary purpose to visit small towns and villages of Sindh and Balochistan was to recognize the changes that may have occurred in him on account of living in the Western world for the past eight years, away from his homeland.

On the dreadful day of December 27, 2007, Jawaid Bhutto was visiting Dr. Abdullah Jan, who is the Dean of Balochi Literature at the Balochistan University in Quetta, Balochistan, Pakistan. They had just exchanged pleasantries for few minutes, when a few persons knocked the door of Dr. Jan’s house and informed him about the sad news that Benazir Bhutto, who was the last hope of millions of people of Pakistanis had been assassinated. Within few minutes of receiving the news, the electricity went off, shutting down television that they had just turned on. They switched to a battery-operated radio, but for some reason, that too was not giving any details as to what was happening in Pakistan. Soon, they learnt that there were no taxis, rickshaws, or other modes of transportation playing on city roads were closed and that angry mourners had shutdown everything in Quetta.

Jawaid ended up staying at Dr. Jan’s residence for three days before he could venture out and get to his hotel. During those three days, local Baloch visited Dr. Jan several times but all the news they brought was based on heresy. At the hotel, Jawaid soon learnt that there were no trains going to Sindh and other parts of Pakistan. There were no petrol stations that were open for other form of land transportation and the airport was closed. He was stranded in Quetta for ten days when a friend offered to drive him to Shikarpur, Sindh (about 200 miles away).

Trains that had left Quetta few hours earlier were forced to return back to Quetta. The trains that had left earlier got stranded in various cities and towns in Sindh and Balochistan. In acts similar to 1987, people had removed tracks in many places with bare hands.

They traveled on one of a major highway, which is normally heavily traveled. They were immediately taken back by the emptiness of the road as they seldom saw any other vehicle on the road. While trailing, they saw many burned gas stations, government buildings, railway stations, and police stations. Soon they made a stop at “Dera Allahyar”, which many people know as “Teople Dera” for “Temple Dera”. Upon reaching the town they went to the house of a non-political and traditional tribal elder man, who was a distant family relative of his friend who was driving him to Shikarpur. The elder said that in spite of him wanting to stop the destruction of property, he could not do much as he found his own sons, daughters, nephews, and nieces were participating in the carnage. The people of the area were extremely angry at the loss of Benazir Bhutto and felt that the country had become too cruel and not worth saving.

As they traveled through another town “Bhag”, they observed the similar expressions of grief and resulting anger in form of the destroyed, trucks, trailers, buildings and railway stations. Some people they met in Bhag were crying and reciting the stories about Benazir Bhutto’s recent visit to their town, just few days ago. They pointed out the spot, where she had addressed the people of town from a truck.

Everywhere, as he traveled from Quetta to Shikarpur, the only topics that people were talking about whether the Pakistan would survive after Benazir’s assassination and who killed her and who was behind her killing. The opinions were diverse but there was a consensus on one thing that … and General Musharaaf were behind her killing as they would be the primary beneficiaries of her death. No one was blaming religious elements as not a single mulla or madrassa was attacked. Some political pundits and commentators blamed Al-Quaida or Taliban for her assassination. But no one at least in rural Sindh and Balochistan bought that theory. Even today, many blame … and cite the swiftness of authorities to clean the crime scene as an evidence of their involvement.

In response to a question, Jawaid Bhutto said he did not meet any one who indicated suspicion in Asif Zardari but he observed that political enemies of Benazir Bhutto had started maligning Zardari.

Much of the damage to government offices, railway tracks and gas stations was done by unemployed youth. It was neither instigated by PPP nor by intelligence services but was simply a reaction of exploited people, who have suffered a lot. The young persons in rural Sindh are very angry and frustrated with high poverty levels in their areas and had hoped that Benazir would do something to alleviate poverty in their areas. 43,000 people were arrested – most of them unemployed youth.

What was amazing that in spite of the spontaneous nature of their actions, protestors were very careful not to harm other people. Many from many adjacent villages brought bread, milk, and other food items and served meals to the stranded travelers. For three days, while train service remained suspended, people took care of those impacted by the suspension in travel. Not a single person appeared before the Human Rights Commission (HRCP) saying that any intentional harm was done to human life.

A Biography of Benazir Bhutto

Goodbye Shahzadi : A Biography of Benazir Bhutto

New Book on Benazir Bhutto by Shyam Bhatia

Book was launched on 21st May, 2008, Shri L.K. Advani inaugurated the book followed by a Q&A with the author, Book was published by Roli Books, Delhi , India

Venue was Lecture Hall , India International Center Annexe, New Delhi

In his latest book, Goodbye Shahzadi, Shyam Bhatia traverses the highs and lows of a 34-year-long friendship with Benazir Bhutto to present a personal account of the woman and her politics. In the course of many candid conversations with the author, Benazir spoke about her family and Pakistan’s defence and foreign policies. In this book Bhatia reveals, for the first time, details of conversations that remained confidential during her lifetime.

Excerpts:

ALTHOUGH America had provided much of Islamabad’s military hardware and been the major source of foreign economic aid, any suggestion that a Pakistani ruler was prepared to get overly close to the US was bound to be viewed with suspicion on the Pakistani street. The link with Delhi was more complex. India had been Pakistan’s traditional adversary from the time of Independence, and the two countries have engaged in three major wars in 1947–48, 1965, and 1971. Therefore, any notion of a Pakistani prime minister seeking the aid of the enemy to sort out their domestic problems was bound to be controversial.

However, elected civilian prime ministers like Benazir also needed to be on at least moderately friendly talking terms with Delhi to avoid the kind of Indian military build-up along the border that would provide the Pakistan army with an excuse to strengthen its grip at home. Achieving the right balance is a difficult and sensitive exercise. Standing aloof from India invited the risk of allowing an unchecked flare-up of tensions to develop into something more serious. Being too obviously friendly with India risked being called an Indian or Hindu ‘agent’. Where India was concerned, it could be argued the dice was loaded against her long before she became prime minister.

It did not help that Indira Gandhi, ostensibly Pakistan’s and the Bhutto family’s foe, was one of the first international leaders to make repeated pleas for clemency for Zulfikar Ali Bhutto after he was sentenced to death. It was the same Indira Gandhi, then in Opposition, who twice received Benazir’s brothers, Murtaza and Shahnawaz, at her Delhi residence following their father’s execution.

It was during that first meeting with Indira Gandhi in 1979 that Murtaza suggested dividing Pakistan into four parts as a way of permanently blocking a future role for the generals. His controversial proposal for the dismemberment of Pakistan is recorded by his erstwhile colleague, Raja Anwar, in his book entitled The Terrorist Prince. Benazir’s first personal exposure to the politics and conflicts that kept Pakistan and India at each other’s throats, came during the 1965 India–Pakistan war. She and her sister Sanam were at boarding school in Murree, close to the Kashmir border, when war broke out and the nuns in charge of the school made the girls participate in air-raid practices and blackouts. Six years later, as a college undergraduate at Harvard, Benazir was more directly involved when war broke out again, this time over the emerging nation of Bangladesh, and she was summoned by her father to New York to help him as he prepared his brief for the United Nations Security Council. It was while she was managing the telephones at her father’s New York hotel suite and simultaneously acting as hostess for the delegations calling on him that Zulfikar gave Benazir her first lesson in international diplomacy.

When peace talks with India began the following year in S[h]imla, Benazir was once again at her father’s side. This time she was personally introduced to Indira Gandhi and other Indian dignitaries, but it was her experiences at the mass level that made the greater impression. Her autobiography and other contemporary accounts record the ecstatic reception she received whenever she ventured out into the streets of S[h]imla, with traffic-jams and small mobs of enthusiastic Indians craning their necks to get a better view of her. One local newspaper carried the iconic headline, ‘Benazir is benazir’.

Many years later, when Benazir was Prime Minister of Pakistan in her own right, she hosted a visit to Islamabad by Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi. The occasion was a regional summit of South Asian countries, and Benazir used it to try and forge a better personal rapport with Rajiv and Sonia, who were invited to a private dinner with Benazir and her husband during the course of the three-day visit. Six months later Rajiv was back in Islamabad, this time on a purely bilateral visit. The two visits led to a series of mutual confidence-building measures, including force reductions along the borders and an agreement that India and Pakistan would not attack each other’s nuclear installations. Benazir would also claim many years later, shortly before she died, that she choked off assistance to militant Indian Sikhs who had been afforded refuge in Pakistan by General Zia. It was the termination of this support, she implied, that finished off militant Sikh demands for an independent homeland carved out of India’s Punjab state.

Benazir’s Indian critics charge her with being two-faced when it came to India. They compare her covert fostering of the Taliban under Major General Nasirullah Babar, later her Interior Minister, with her rallying cry to anti-Indian jihadi militants across both sides of the ceasefire line when she shouted ‘Azadi, azadi `85’ (freedom, freedom`85). Evidence that she was secretly and violently anti-Indian has been deduced from her television images of 1990 where she was seen inciting Kashmiri militants to take action against India’s then Governor of Kashmir, Jagmohan. Still remembered is the shocking cutting gesture she made at that time in 1990, her right hand striking the open palm of her left, as she intoned, ‘Jag, jag, mo-mo, han-han’. In her speech aimed at stoking the fury of the jihadis, she said:

“The people of Kashmir do not fear death because they are Muslims. The Kashmiris have the blood of the mujahideen because Kashmiris are the heirs of Prophet Mohammed, Hazrat Ali, and Hazrat Omar. And the brave women of Kashmir?

They know how to fight and also to live. And when they live, they do so with dignity. From every village only one voice will emerge: freedom; from every school only one voice will emerge: freedom; every child will shout, “freedom, freedom, freedom”.

French journalist Fran`E7ois Gautier sensed the same hard line emanating from Benazir when he interviewed her in 1993 and asked her about Kashmir. She responded by telling him: “You have to understand the Pakistani point of view on Kashmir … that for long the Hindu Pandits in Kashmir exploited and dominated the Muslims who are getting back at them today”. Asked whether that was the only reason Pakistan was helping Kashmiris in their fight for self-determination, she replied: “It should be clear also that Pakistan never forgot the humiliating loss of Bangladesh at the hands of India,” before adding, “Zia did one right thing. He started the whole policy of proxy war by supporting the separatist movements in Punjab and Kashmir as a way of getting back at India.”

Benazir never attempted to justify her jihadi speech or the cutting gesture, but shortly before she was assassinated she claimed credit for reining in the Sikh extremists who had been given sanctuary across the border within Pakistan before she became prime minister.

Benazir’s Sikh connection was revealed in December, 2007, after India’s National Security Adviser M.K. Narayanan publicly questioned her track record as “not necessarily something which will make us believe that she would follow to the letter what she has said—I think even if she wishes to”. A furious Benazir lashed back in an interview with India’s Outlook magazine:

“Does anyone remember that it was I who kept my promise to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi when we met and he appealed to me for help in tackling the Sikhs? Has India forgotten December, 1988? Have they forgotten the results of that meeting and how I helped curb the Sikh militancy?

If anyone kept her word, it was me, not Rajiv. He went back to India and then called me on his way to the Commonwealth to say he could not keep his promise to withdraw from Siachen (the disputed glacier in northern Kashmir) and that he would do it only after the elections.”

I had heard of Benazir’s azadi speech, as well as some of her other reported virulent comments about India–Pakistan relations, and wanted to see for myself just how much she had changed from the time we first met at Oxford. An occasion to talk to her freely and in depth arose when she invited me to visit her in Dubai in 2003. We had spoken over the telephone a few months earlier, and before that also briefly met in London. It was then that she and I agreed to get together for a heart-to-heart, somewhere private and away from the glare of television cameras.

One of the first questions I put to her before we sat down for dinner in Dubai was about Kashmir; how did she see Kashmir and was it a subject for negotiation? “Its for negotiation and when I was Prime Minister, the Indian Government had agreed to put Kashmir as an independent agenda item,” Benazir replied:

“We had two agenda items. One of the agenda items was Kashmir and the second agenda item was India–Pak and we said we must not let lack of progress on one issue impede progress on the other. The second thing is that if we disagree over the territorial unity of Kashmir, we can still work for the social unity of Kashmir by working for safe and open borders. Because if we have safe and open borders, then people can travel, they can trade and then, ultimately, I feel we must ask ourselves that with a population of over a billion people and high rates of poverty amid islands of affluence, what do we do to pick ourselves out of this mess for the future? And l see the only way forward for us is to try and see what the European Union did and to try and have a kind of tariff in a common market that will enable people.”

This sounded to me like sensible reasoning, at the very least sharply different from the kinds of sentiment associated with the “azadi, goli chalao” politician of a decade earlier. This new look, or rather a return to the old Benazir, had enhanced her reputation for expressing views that projected her both as sober and positive when it came to India. I, in fact, sensed something fundamental had changed. Speaking to her that day it seemed to me that Benazir had come round to the view that a nuclear armed Pakistan, one of the world’s seven nuclear weapons powers, and India could no longer risk head-on confrontations. As she explained; “After India and Pakistan went nuclear in 1998, the PPP had a reappraisal and we said we don’t want to follow tit-for-tat with India. Just because India does something, we should not copy it. We should identify our core interests and follow our core interests, but not copy India”.

Many in India still do not appreciate the importance of this changed thinking. In effect, Benazir had come around to the same point of view as the US and Soviet Union in their time after they had tested nuclear weapons following the end of the World War II.

Benazir felt that what made sense for India and Pakistan was to strengthen economic ties. “You know what makes economies move?” she asked me rhetorically:

“In my view economies move through the service sector, through creativity. So if we open up, people will come and visit Pakistan; our hotels will be full; more hotels will be built; more labour will get jobs. Same in your country. All the visitors who come will want to have kebab and tikka and nihari and all the shops that make all the kebab and tikka and nihari will go up. People will want to buy; they will want to spend; they will want to go to museums; they will want to sight-see. It’s the flow of money that strengthens our economy and that’s what we all need—Nepal or Bangladesh or Sri Lanka or India, or Pakistan; we all need that.”

Encouraged by what I had heard thus far, I focused more sharply on bilateral relations, asking Benazir if the bitterness among some Pakistanis was associated with their fear of Indians trying to reclaim the properties they had abandoned at the time of Partition. “There is the older generation; they fear that, but I don’t think there is any such thing among the younger generation,” she replied.

“I have met people who are very bitter about India and I am sure you have similar people on your side who have witnessed massacres. People who witnessed massacres, it’s very difficult for them to let go.

“But, generally speaking, those who did not witness massacres, they all want to talk about their homes in India which they left—and even Indians do the same. I met (former Prime Minister) Mr I.K. Gujral and he told me he had been in Jhelum his whole life. I have met (former Deputy Prime Minister) Mr Advani and he told me about Karachi and Hyderabad.

“It’s all about diversity, America is about diversity, Britain is about diversity; it’s all about unity through diversity.”

I pressed on to ask if Pakistanis looked at Indians in a specific way. Did Pakistanis dislike Indians as such, anyone who held an Indian passport, or was it just the Hindus who were most intensely disliked? “Well it changes from times of tension to times of less tension,” Benazir explained.

“When there is tension and troops at the borders, then people hate anyone who is Indian, irrespective of whether they are Muslim or Hindu. They say, “They want to attack us and kill us, they want to destroy us and our country.”

“But when there is no tension, people really welcome Indians. I mean Indian films are very popular in Pakistan. Indian goods are smuggled across Pakistan a ll the time, people are desperate to get Indian visas and travel to India to go and visit their families, and go and see the Taj Mahal and the Mughal heritage of those days. And overseas, in America, I must have travelled to all the states where the Indians and Pakistanis and Bangladeshis see themselves as South Asians. They feel their interests are the same. They work together, they socialize together, there is no hatred at all.

You leave it to the people and they all want to be friends. Sometimes I think that your country and my country, our militaries need a war so that they can go on buying weapons. I don’t know. But as far as the people level is concerned, there is a lot of love and affection.”

I deliberately kept my most provocative question for the last, and when I put it to Benazir, she almost choked over the cup of tea in her hand. Looking her straight in the face I asked, “As a Pakistani did you ever wake up in the morning and think, “Oh God I wish I could nuke a few thousand Indians?”

Benazir’s response was unequivocal:

“For God’s sake, never for a moment have I woken up with such a thought—because I know that nuking any Indian—if I was mad enough to think that—would end up nuking my own people. And this is sometimes what I don’t understand because neither India can use the nuke, nor can Pakistan. Because whatever country is throwing that nuke knows there is not enough time space to avoid retaliation and is going to get it back. No.”

Excerpted with permission from Goodbye Shahzadi by Shyam Bhatia. Published by Roli Books. Pages 130. Price Rs 295

I-Witness

In 2003 and 2004 she agreed to a series of searingly honest interviews on the record with me about herself, her family, and her political life. At the time I did publish some, but not all the material from the tapes of those interviews. Some tapes containing much of the unpublished material, including her revelations about Pakistan’s nuclear programme, remained locked away in my filing cabinet. They only came to light by chance soon after she was assassinated when I was scouring through my personal papers. I realised then that the tapes contained exclusive information about contemporary issues that had never before been revealed. — Shyam Bhatia

Nayyab Hain Hum (Rare We Are)

By Zulfiqar Halepoto

I feel honored to share with you all that a new book in Urdu language, compiled and edited by me on Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto Shaheed is published. Title of the book is Nayyab Hain Hum (Rare We Are)

It is a great privilege too share with you all that Syed Murad Ali Shah provincial Minister for Revenue and Land Utilization, Government of Sindh member of Sayed Abdullah Shah Foundation has published this book.

This book is comprised of more than 100 selected articles written in Urdu language by the leading writers, intellectuals, political analyst, columnists, poets, her spouse, party leaders and workers, which are published in various leading Urdu dailies of Pakistan. Book is published by Sindh’s leading publication unit Sindhika Academy This 400 pages book has five sections: – Section 01: Introduction by Syed Murad Al Shah. – A detailed Preface on MBB Shaheed written by me as compiler and editor

Section 02: Selected Poems on MBB Shaheed by Hasan Mujtaba, Aitzaz Ahsan, Kishwar Naheed, Mehmood Sham etc

Section 03: Columns, write-ups, profiles, obituaries, comments, personal notes from dairies, memories and personal profile

Section 04 :Selected editorials of leading Urdu daily newspapers and magazines

Section 05: Selected colored photographs of MBB Shaheed

Book will soon be launched in Karachi

Courtesy: Sindhi lists/ e-groups, April 17, 2008

This is first time that the pro-people parties have captured power in Islamabad

PPP, ML-N, ANP & Expectations of Oppressed Masses

By Ayaz Latif Palijo Advocate

Our major issues can only be solved by implementing 1940 resolution, but in the mean time we can forge the unity between lower middle / middle class Sindhis, Balochs and other nations of Pakistan. Musharraf government, since assuming reins of power, has been trying to convert Sindhis and Balochs minorities in their homelands, but at the same time it is also betraying the interests of poor Pakhtun and common Punjabi, and their resentment has been reflected through election results of Punjab and Pakhtun Khawah.

I have also gone through the mails of Khalid Hashmnai and Aftab Qazi sahib, we all appreciate their commitment and sincerity, but when some of our friends & civil society groups in Sindh suggest that instead of making an alliance with allies of Musharaf, PPP should join hands with ML-N, ANP,Baloch Nationalists & Lawyers, they want legitimacy and acceptance of PPP

govt for next 5 years. In past some of our oversees friends & intellectuals twice endorsed PPP’s polices of joining hands with Ghulam Ishaq Khan, Aslam Beg, JUI, MQM, Hamid Nasir Chattha, Manzoor Watoo, FATA MNAs etc, with a justification that let them form the govt, tiny issues would be solved latter. The outcome of this ad-hoc policy was witnessed by all of us in 1990

and 1996.

This time half of the PPP seats in NA have been given by people of Punjab and if once again PPP would repeat the same mistakes and if assemblies are dissolved it would be nearly impossible for PPP to get the same results from Punjab, because the civil society and majority of People of Punjab are not only committed to the restoration of independent judiciary they are opponents of the terrorism in Karachi.

PPP and Pakistan have been made to travel this well worn path many times in past 20 years. This is first time that the pro-people parties have captured power in Islamabad through relatively fair elections (off course except Karachi, Hyderabad, Thar, Balochistan and some areas of Central Punjab). The General’s regime is trying to bring doubts and hostility in the political

community through its puppets like Shaikh Rasheed, Arbab Raheem, Chodhri Prervez Ilhai etc and if we keep getting dictations from Musharaf and his team we will push Pakistan into a bigger disaster then 1970 and 1977.

Prior to assassination of Shaheed BB the govt after sidelining the two major mainstream political parties, planning to hold utterly fake elections but the entire scenario changed on 27th December and thereafter People of Sindh, Civil Society of Punjab, European Union, Common Wealth, General Kiani and other main stakeholders refused to support Musharaf’s plan of rigging.

Resultantly we all not only witnessed the well deserved success of PPP and Nawaz League but welcomed it considering it as result of our eight years long joint anti Musharaf struggle. Lets take advantage of it, lets not waste this historic opportunity, if we stand firm, if we think beyond personal and party interests we can force Musharaf to resign, we can get the genuine provincial autonomy and we can have a prosperous Pakistan based on principles of equality, peace and justice.

I second Aziz Narejo, Raza Rabbani, Dr. Manzoor Aijaz, Nafees Sidiqui, Akhtiar Beg, Raza Abidi, Aitzaz Ahsan, Asma Jahangeer, Ayaz Amir, Imran Khan, Mian Nawaz Sharif, Siddiq ul Faruq, Dr. Farzana Bari and others that alliance with Musharaf’s team would not only be a betrayal of the vote of the people, it will ruin the aspirations of the people who want to see a real change. I think that this is high time when the liberal and democratic forces should concentrate on strategic polices instead of ad-hoc tactics.

Here I would like to bring into your notice that after several bomb blasts and operation in FATA and Wazirastan thousands of people of tribal areas are

shifting to Lahore, Mulan, Karachi, Sukkur, Mirpurkhas, Nawabshah, Faisalabad and Hyderabad, this would not only bring an alarming demographic change but may introduce a wave of violence and extremism in relatively

peaceful Punjab and Sindh. Lets pre-empt these threats, lets strengthen our political and cultural bonds with liberal, democratic Punjabi, Seraiki and Pakhtun masses and with peace-loving and unbiased patriotic Urdu speaking Sindhis like Wajeehudin Ahmed, Anees Haroon, Sabeehudin Ahmed, Rasheed Rizvi, Iqbal Haider, Adeeb Rizwi, Ameer Hani Muslim, Naeem Qureshi, Khilji

Arif Husssain, Maqbool Baqar, Rahat Saeed, Sarmad Jalal Usmani, Rashid Rabani, Nafees Siddiqui, Musheer Alam, Zahida Hina, Anwe Zaheer, Mujahid Barelvi, Sadiqa Salahudin and others.

In the mean time our Sindhi and Baloch friends should seriously think: how to bring their rural masses up and how to replace feudals, Peers and tribal heads from their national political scene with committed middle class, how to reverse the past 8 years anti-people decisions of Musharaf regime, how to apprise the developed world specially USA, UK, India, China and European Union, about their genuine grievances, how to strengthen bonds with oppressed people of other provinces Pakistan.

Feb 23, 2008

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/e-groups.

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

Assasination of Ms Bhutto: A letter to Transparency International

To: Chairman,

Transparency International

The Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) and the people of Pakistan and the free world are shocked at the tragic assassination of former Prime Minister Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. We strongly condemn this cowardly and barbaric act of terrorism by the forces of evil against the forces of democracy and moderation in Pakistan. Mohtarma Bhutto was a courageous and dedicated leader, who was the vanguard of democracy in Pakistan. She struggled against the forces of extremism and terrorism, and believed in liberty and freedom for all. She visualized a moderate, pluralistic, democratic and prosperous Pakistan.

The PPP rejects the inquiry being conducted by the Musharraf regime into the assassination of Mohtarma Bhutto and calls upon world leaders, civil society, and human rights bodies to urge the regime in Pakistan to let foreign experts conduct an independent investigation of the tragic incident, preferably under the auspices of the United Nations by a UN prosecutor, as conducted in the assassination case of the Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Harriri.

The United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has already recognized that former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s assassination has implications for international security by calling a special session of the UNSC and condemning the assassination.

“The Security Council condemns in the strongest terms the terrorist suicide attack by extremists that occurred in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, on 27 December 2007, causing the death of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and numerous other causalities, ” said Italy’s U.N. Ambassador Marcello Spatafora as he read out a statement in council chambers in his current capacity as president of the council. He also said the Council also “expresses its deep sympathy and condolences to the victims of this heinous act of terrorism and their families, and to the people and the government of Pakistan.”

In addition to calling on Pakistanis to “exercise restraint and maintain stability” in the aftermath of the attack, the council also reiterated its call to bring the perpetrators, organizers, financiers and sponsors of the attack to justice. The council in their statement also reaffirmed the need to combat “by all means” threats to international peace and security caused by such terrorist acts. “The Security Council reiterates its determination to combat all forms of terrorism, in accordance with its responsibilities under the Charter of the United Nations,” the statement also said.

Two months before her assassination, Mohtarma Bhutto wrote to Mark Siegel, her U.S. spokesman, lobbyist and friend, saying that if she were killed, General Musharraf would bear some of the blame. “Just wanted u to know if it does in addition to the names in my letter to Musharaf of October 16th, I would hold Musharaf responsible. I have been made to feel insecure by his minions and there is no way what is happening in terms of stopping me from taking private cars or using tinted windows or giving jammers or four police mobiles to cover all sides could happen without him.” as reported by CNN. Siegel forwarded that e-mail to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, with instructions he not report on it unless Bhutto was killed.

Mohtarma Bhutto in a secret email to Foreign Secretary David Miliband written weeks before her death had claimed three senior allies of Pakistan’s General Musharraf were out to kill her, as reported in Daily Mail of December 30, 2007. Astonishingly, one of them is a leading intelligence officer who was officially responsible for protecting Ms Bhutto from an assassination. The second is a prominent Pakistani figure. The third is a well known chief minister in Pakistan who is a long-standing opponent of Ms Bhutto. Ms Bhutto told Mr Miliband she was convinced that the three were determined to assassinate her on her return to the country and pleaded with him to put pressure on the Pakistan government to stop them.

Earlier, in an interview with the French magazine Paris Match, she said that “I know exactly who wants to kill me. It is reminiscent of the former regime of General Zia who are today behind the extremism and the fanaticism.”

Mohtarma Bhutto wanted to hire British and American security experts to protect her, The Sunday Telegraph revealed on December 31, 2007. But the plans collapsed because General Musharraf refused to allow the foreign contractors to operate in Pakistan, according to senior aides. “She asked to bring in trained security personnel from abroad,” said Mark Siegel. “In fact she and her husband repeatedly tried to get visas for such protection, but they were denied by the government of Pakistan.”

The PPP and calls upon world leaders, civil society, and human rights bodies to urge the regime in Pakistan to let foreign experts conduct an independent investigation of the tragic incident, preferably under the auspices of the United Nations by a UN prosecutor as performed in the assassination case of the Lebanese Prime Minister Harriri.

Sincerely,

Ali Nawaz Memon

Senior Financial and Institutional Development Consultant

Good Governance Support Group

Jan 8, 2008

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.

Discrimination

By M. Saleem

Pakistan Muslim League (Q) has set up relief offices for the affected people of recent violations after December 27th, 2007. They have mentioned all the communities like Punjabi, Muhajirs etc, they have not mentioned Sindhis.

It is clear discrimination against Sindhis. Discrimination was in places since long but it was under table. Now it has been very clear and official discrimination against Sindhis. You can find these advertisements on Jung news paper.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, 05/01/2008

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

Salam Benazir Bhutto

By Javed Larik

An other wound in the soul of nation. No body will take her place. She is martyr (Shaheed). Daughter of Shaheed became shaheed. She fulfilled her promise and laid down her life for the people. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto must be proud of (Benazir Shaheed) Pinki.

She proved to be his continuation even up to her last breath. She certainly knew the cost of being among the people. None could separate her from people. None could intimidate her. Oh the daughter of east, oh the daughter of land, Oh MARVI MALIR JEE we salute you. SALAM BENAZIR you will rule the hearts we will never forget you.

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

Back to Square One

By Khalid Hashmani, McLean, Virginia

The 1983 history (MRD Movement) appears to be repeating itself. Some players are different, other players are the same but the establishment once again succeeds in their plan to deny the justice to Sindhis and other exploited groups of Pakistan. Supreme Court justices are gone, press and media has been clamped down, Baloch are dying, and the same machinery is busy in churning lies and propaganda against PPP only because the party is still the number one choice in Sindh and Baluchistan.

In addition to the full page advertisement in the Pakistani newspapers about fictitious letter by Benazir Bhutto to Peter Galbraith, who did not even work for National Democratic Institute for International Affairs in 1990, I have received venomous e-mails whose aim is to malign PPP and divide people. One in particular titled “Price Per Jialas” used baseless allegations and a lot of innuendo. It has sentences such as “stampeding bigwigs of PPP literally driving over the dead and injured party workers/Jialas in their luxury cars”, “Ms. Bhutto returned to Dubai. Her husband picked her up from the airport in their Bentley luxury-car. A single Bentley costs at least $264,000” and “Ms. Bhutto owns a pink family villa fringed by palm trees in an upscale Emirates Hills Dubai) neighborhood overlooking a lake and with a view to a golf course. Average price for a villa in Emirates Hills is said to be $6,000,000.” were clearly aimed at discrediting Benazir and part of the conspiracy create an environment where PPP can be declared as having lost elections.

The hurried elections under the emergency rule, whose nomination date starts today are all designed to defeat the true ballot box choice and ensure that the same unrepresentative groups continue to rule Pakistan and continue to deny due rights of the Sindhis and the people of Pakistan.

Alas, our jihad remains limited to declaring “enemies” of our “enemies” as true friends and joining hands with those who pursue the path of fundamentalism and want to strengthen military even further using resources of Sindh and Baluchistan.

I think the time has come for us to call spade a spade and leave the delusional world of securing justice through democracy and elections. This is not going to happen as the establishment controls are not easily breakable. It about time that we take an inward look at our strengths and weaknesses and formulate a strategy on how we would be able to protect Sindhi identity, political rights and culture in years to come!

22/11/2007

Mir Murtaza Bhutto and Fatima Bhutto

mirandfatima.jpg – Mir Murtaza Bhutto

(September 18, 1954- September 20, 1996)

Murtaza Bhtto, the elder son of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, was a revolutionary. Bhutto campaigned as an independent in the 1993 elections, winning a seat in the assembly governing the Sindh province. In 1996, he accused police of unfairly targeting his organization. Several hours after the conference, he was shot and killed along with six supporters during an altercation with the police. Murtaza was killed by police in 1996 in Karachi, during the premiership of his sister, Benazir Bhutto.

Fatima Bhutto (born 29 May 1982) is a young poet, writer and columnist who came to fame after the appearance of her first book, a collection of poems, titled Whispers of the Desert. Fatima was only 15 years old when the collection was published.

She is now a columnist for The News in Pakistan. She received notable coverage for her second book. Fatima is the daughter of the Shaheed Murtaza Bhutto. She is the grand-daughter of former Prime Minister, Z.A. Bhutto. Fatima is not known to be very active political worker. She is however far more active as a political writer and spares no body in criticism. Fatima’s style of writing resembles that of “Arab News” jovial writer Jehad Khazin. Her writings reflect some Pan-arabism , Liberalism and a lot of multi-directional political sides.

Oct. 18 Tragedy: Blame the Victim – Distorted Minds, Distorted Views

Oct. 18 Tragedy: Blame the Victim for the Crime: Distorted Minds, Distorted Views

By Aziz Narejo, TX

It is shocking to see the emails and statements blaming Benazir Bhutto for the October 18 tragedy in Karachi . The accusations are absurd and outrageous but unfortunately they are not uncommon or unheard of in Pakistan . On the contrary, that is exactly what one expects in the country where military and undemocratic rule over the time has distorted the politics, polluted the minds and created an unnatural atmosphere.

Wasn’t it the military dictator Musharraf who blamed the rape victims to invite the violation of their bodies and souls to seek immigration to Western countries? (By the way, he made that wild and shameful accusation as the cases of Mai Mukhtaran and the Sui rape victim Dr Mrs. Khalid were getting wide publicity in the world media. I think it would be the first duty of any future civilian set up to open the Sui rape case and prosecute the rapist for his crime and Musharraf for unlawfully absolving the criminal and obstructing the course of justice).

Similarly the Chief Justice of Pakistan was blamed for 12th May Karachi massacre while the real culprits, the terrorists and Musharraf’s brothers in arms have conveniently been kept off the hook.

And now they are blaming Benazir Bhutto for the October 18 tragedy! It is bizarre to blame Benazir for an attack on herself and her own rally causing death and pain to her supporters and denying herself an opportunity to lead and address the biggest ever gathering of people in Pakistan.

This is the prime example of distorted polity in Pakistan. Will we ever change?

26/10/2007