Tag Archives: BIBI

FIA report … Murder of Benazir Bhutto

FIA report – Dawn Editorial

At the very least, the country deserves to know who ordered her killing. And yet with her own party in power, little has been done to find her killers.

So it seems that it was Baitullah Mehsud who ordered the killing of Benazir Bhutto after all, at least if an interim report submitted by the FIA in the Rawalpindi anti-terrorism court is to be believed. Two and a half years since the tragic assassination of Ms Bhutto, the state seems to be arguing what was argued within days of the assassination by the Musharraf government: that the TTP was responsible for Ms Bhutto’s death. That is certainly possible. After all, Ms Bhutto was returning to Pakistan with the support of the American and British administrations because they hoped the PPP leader would shore up the fight against militants here. Mehsud had every reason to fear her return.

Continue reading FIA report … Murder of Benazir Bhutto

Bibi’s Murder and The Establishment

by Mohammad Ali Mahar, Austin, TX

Current hoopla about Gen. Nadeem Ejaz being questioned regarding the murder of Benazir Bhutto, and accusations of his involvement in the murder of Bugti and terrorizing/ torturing other politicians, makes it look as though Ejaz is the only serving ‘establishment’ officer in the history of the country to have resorted to the vicious antics.

Hamida Ghangro, the wife of Shaheed Nazir Abbasi, and all the other evidence presented so far, have been pointing at Brig. Billa, for mercilessly torturing Abbasi to death during Zia’s dark days. Has there been any action against him? Not even a suo moto action from the ‘independent’ judiciary. Not only does the murderer Brigadier enjoy the complete immunity, he is free to insult our intelligence via establishment- sponsored TV talk shows. Na mudaee na shahadat hisaab paak hua – yeh khoon-i-khaak nasheenan thaa rizk-i-khaak hua…..

Those hoping to see Gen. Nadeem and others murderers/ collaborator of Ms. Bhutto’s assassination from within the ‘establishment’ taken to task, must not forget that in the land of the pure, even a petty captain is free to commit any crime he wants with complete impunity.

Does anyone know if any action, even after the change in the army command, has been taken against Captain Hammad, involved in the rape of a lady doctor in Sui, Baluchistan?

Courtesy: Sindh e-lists, May 06, 2010

Benazir assassination case and the establishment

by: Munwar S.

Now the seasonal frogs have appeared again in the form of A, B, C and Q leagues. These slaves of intelligence agencies are talking all possible non-sense. They are creating ground for the overthrow of elected government as usual to appease their masters and fathers. PPP folks are weak due to their inefficiency as well as the pressure of establishment. What I see is that if PPP starts or dares to investigate .. and intelligence agency monsters in the BiBi case, its government will be overthrown on so many accounts which nobody would think of, as usual. Now we also know the real face of Judiciary which has never been independent rather responsible for the death of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and thousands other innocent people. Things won’t solve anyways without a decisive battle between cruel forces and the innocent people which PPP should get ready for if they want to save people and themselves. Because people will have to do it eventually, sooner the better.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-Lists, May 5, 2010

Doubts about enquiry in BiBi’s murder case…

“Doubts about the move to bring BiBi’s murderers to book” – by G.N.Mughul

– Frontier Post

Karachi, May 1: With the blatant denial reportedly made by Ex-MI Chief, Maj Gen Nadim Ijaz of having not issued orders at all to the Police Officers to hose down the site of the assassination of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and his statement reportedly endorsed by the Police Officers concerned, particularly ex-CPO Rawalpindi Saud Aziz, the said three member fact finding committee to investigate the hosing murder site has emerged mere as a lollipop -not more than that.

Continue reading Doubts about enquiry in BiBi’s murder case…

Shaheed Bibi, we are ashamed…

by Iqbal Tareen

CLICK HERE TO WATCH SINDH TV ON SHAHEED BENAZIR BHUTTO

How could we live with our conscious in peace without bringing assassins of Shaheed Raani to justice? Mohtarma was not a private person but a hope for 170 million peoples of Pakistan especially for the poor men, women, and children of Pakistan. No one even her husband or children have right to forgive anyone of her assassins or let them off the hook.

I know Bibi said “Democracy is a best revenge” but democracy without justice can’t deliver the revenge. Let us pledge not to rest until the culprits involved in this heinous crime are sent to court of law.

Let us fill up the streets, ring the tallest bells for justice and send a powerful message to Chief justice Chaudhry Iftikhar that civil society and peoples of Pakistan did not support him for restoration of Chief Justice but justice in Pakistan.

Above documentary was produced and released by Sindh TV News on Shaheed Benazir Bhutto’s death anniversary. It is an apology submitted to Shaheed Raani for failing to catch her assassins and conspirators. Please click http://vimeo.com/11411306 to watch this video.

May 3, 2010

Remembering Benazir Bhutto: Truly, the Jihadists worst nightmare

by: Tarek Fatah (Canada)

Today (Dec 27th) is the anniversary of the assassination of the woman Pakistanis know as ‘Bibi“. The day she was killed, I wept at my desk. The men who trade in my faith, Islam, had killed one more Muslim.

On that day I penned my thoughts for the Globe and Mail. It was my tribute to the woman who, despite her many flaws, stood up to the jihadi hate-mongers and paid the ultimate price.

I went on to dedicate my book “Chasing a Mirage” to her memory and that of Daniel Pearl. Two years have passed, but I still cannot get over the fact the JIhadi Islamists killed a woman they couldn’t defeat through the ballot box. And now they are gunning for her husband the same way they hanged her father and killed her brothers.

Her friend, the American writer Mark Siegel described her as “truly, the jihadists worst nightmare.” Siegel goes on to say:

I don’t think people can ever understand the selflessness of the woman, how she genuinely always put herself last and put her country first, sacrificing personal happiness and family. It was as if Asif was her second husband – Pakistan being her first. It was as if Bilawal, Bakhtawar and Aseefa had 170 million brothers and sisters vying for her attention. She once said that she didn’t choose her life, that it chose her.”

Here is the piece I wrote the day BB died at the hands of a Jihadi.

Continue reading Remembering Benazir Bhutto: Truly, the Jihadists worst nightmare

“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.

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

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.

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

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.