Friday, 28 December 2007

Benazir Bhutto, 1953-2007 (updated)

In some places political candidates are chosen in free and fair elections.  New Zealand used to be one of those places.

In other places such as Pakistan however, they seem to prefer assassination:

Two months after her triumphant return from exile, a lone gunman fired several shots at Bhutto as she left an election rally in Rawalpindi, hitting her in the neck and chest. Seconds later a fireball caused by a suicide bomb engulfed her bulletproof car and killed at least 20 supporters. The former prime minister was rushed to a nearby hospital where distraught supporters burst through doors, smashed windows and tried to storm into the operating theatre where surgeons struggled to save her life. She was pronounced dead shortly afterwards.

Initial suspicions for the attack fell on Islamist militants who had previously threatened to kill the 54-year-old scion of Pakistan's greatest political dynasty. [Source: Guardian]

Note the suspected perpetrators? 

The news of Bhutto's barbaric assassination and the slaughter of twenty others rather overshadows the news of even more Islamist barbarity from Afghanistan, where according to Amnesty International's 2007 Report on Afghanistan there was a rise in cases of so-called “honour” killings of women. [Source: Abdulhadhi Hairan, GROUND REPORT]

UPDATE 1: Poneke looks at how since partition India has worked out way, way better than Pakistan.  The reason?  One's a secular state.  The other isn't.  Guess which one is rife with poverty, violence and Islamist training camps, and (now that it's abandoned its pathetic earlier addiction to socialism) which one is the coming economic tiger. [Hat tip DPF]

UPDATE 2: Christopher Hitchens pens a magnificent eulogy to Benazir Bhutto here.  Her courage, he says, "could sometimes have been worthy of a finer cause, and many of the problems she claimed to solve were partly of her own making. Nonetheless, she perhaps did have a hint of destiny about her."  And her murderers?

Who knows who did this deed? It is grotesque, of course, that the murder should have occurred in Rawalpindi, the garrison town of the Pakistani military elite and the site of Flashman's Hotel. It is as if she had been slain on a visit to West Point or Quantico. But it's hard to construct any cui bono analysis on which Gen. Pervez Musharraf is the beneficiary of her death. The likeliest culprit is the al-Qaida/Taliban axis, perhaps with some assistance from its many covert and not-so-covert sympathizers in the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence. These were the people at whom she had been pointing the finger since the huge bomb that devastated her welcome-home motorcade on Oct. 18. Tags:

1 comment:

  1. Well she may have been a thief (with little doubt she and her husband creamed millions of dollars from the Pakistan government for personal enrichment), and a socialist (she was campaigning days ago for subsidised energy and telecommunications in a country with appalling infrastructure), but the biggest battle for Pakistan is secularism - and she was a hero for that.

    Unfortunately, much like Fatah, the gross corruption breeds discontent and Al Qaeda and its kind are strict about this. Her murder is tragic, no question, and she would have made Pakistan more pro-Western at a critical time - but she would not have saved Pakistan, it would still be poverty stricken partly because of her politics, whereas she sat on mountains of ill gotten cash.


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