Benazir Bhutto’s Assassination

History turned another gory page in Pakistan on December 27 when Benazir Bhutto, former prime minister and Pakistan People’s Party’s chairperson was assassinated.

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History turned another gory page in Pakistan on December 27 when Benazir Bhutto, former prime minister and Pakistan People’s Party’s chairperson was assassinated. This reprehensible murder has assumed sinister proportions as the national elections were at hand. Pakistan has had less democracy and more dictatorship. Dictator after dictator appeared on the political scene of the country with regularity with very short spells of civilian rule. It did not allow rule of law to become strong enough to be able to contain violence. This state of affairs has prompted some cynics to say that perhaps the people of Pakistan are not fit for democracy. The tragedy is that the country which was created to be a practical model of Islamic way of life was never allowed, by vested interests, to put Islam into practice. Shura or democratic way is one of the cardinal principles of Islamic political system but it was never given a genuine chance to play its role. Sixty years is not a small period for a nation to discover its roots and build its life firmly on their basis. Benazir’s unfortunate murder has once again brought Pakistan back to square one.
People of Pakistan are getting increasingly frustrated at the sordid turn of events. Pervez Musharraf is the latest figure who has dealt a death blow to people’s aspirations, of course with the blessings of his American handlers. Another dictator president Ayub Khan wanted for his country ‘friends not masters’. But unfortunately his country got many masters and very few friends. Most of Pakistan’s rulers also acted not as friends of the people but as their masters.
Pakistan would not have been in the present pitiable situation had it turned to the Creator and Master of the universe and followed His commandments. Being a Muslim nation it had the benefit of a detailed and well-laid-out political system presented by the Qur’an and Hadith. Future historian is watching the ups and downs of Pakistani affairs with cross fingers and waiting for the moment when the people of the country would be given a real chance to administer their affairs in the light of Islam.
Benazir Bhutto as a formidable opposition leader had returned to Pakistan after 8-year long self-imposed exile. It is an open fact that the US arranged an understanding between Musharraf and Benazir to safeguard its long standing interests in the region. Therefore, large sections of people who were already up in arms against Musharraf, were not happy with her. She was being seen as an American imposition who was being brought to bolster American interests. Her open condemnation of “nexus of military, mullas and madrasas” had also angered the military rulers and some religious leaders. This is also a fact that, in recent years, extremism has been on rise in Pakistan and this has also played a part in creating the present situation and possibly her murder also.
Who is really behind her murder is yet unknown and perhaps will remain so. But one thing is certain, that Musharraf and military establishment cannot be absolved of facilitating her murder. It was the bounden duty of the government to have provided adequate security to her.
It is not certain that the people who are responsible for this heinous murder would be brought to justice. The last two decades saw murder after murder of many prominent people both political and non-political. A number of high-ups in political parties played their part in these murders and mayhems but they were not brought to justice at all. Prominent journalist Muhammad Salahuddin of Jasarat daily was eliminated in cold blood. Hakim Mohammed Saied of Hamdard, who was a philanthropist par excellence and highly respected academic figure, was put to death. But the world is yet to hear that the culprits were punished. Thernnot expect that the murderers of Benazir would be brought to justice.
Now there is a big question about the future of Pakistan itself. Will democracy be given a chance there? Will people’s rights be restored? Or there would be more violence and chaos? Musharraf has done the greatest disservice to his country by murdering independent judiciary and imposing his hand-picked judges who meekly do his bidding. This was the last nail in the coffin of supremacy of law. Now the elections have been postponed to mid February. In the present chaotic situation free and transparent elections are next to impossible.
Unless supremacy of law is restored things would not improve. Free, fair and transparent elections are the need of the hour. Military should go back to barracks and power should be handed back to true representatives of the people. Extremism should be contained and true Islamic principles of compassion and cooperation should be strengthened. Extremists should be made to understand that they cannot impose their will on people by violence.
United States of America must understand that its continued interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan and its backing to military rulers is one of the reasons for the present chaos. It should refrain from this destructive interference. It should ensure that people are given free hand to elect their representatives who should rule with fear of God and a sense of accountability to the people of Pakistan. This is the only way to save Pakistan from becoming a failed state.