Pakistan: Why Bhutto, and what now for Pakistan?

More reactions are pouring out in the Pakistani blogosphere and elsewhere as it settles in that a very strong and capable leader is no more. Some bloggers are concerned about the law and order situation, providing personal accounts of the violence on the streets. There is also a lot of speculation about the impending elections, and the likely postponement. Taking the issue forward, some blogs are discussing the legacy of Benazir Bhutto, the future for Pakistan and the likely suspects who ordered the assassination, even as the Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility.

Red Diary discusses why Bhutto was a target, and the resulting riots.

The strong possibility of the rise of a secularist Benazir into power made her a mortal threat for those in the State who harbored sympathy for Islamic Fundamentalists, with whom the notorious intelligence agencies, such as the ISI, were closely knitted since the Cold War and the Afghan War. Benazir Bhutto become a symbol of resistance against Islamic Extremists – both residing inside and outside the State. She stood secularism and modernity against militant retrogressive and conservative trends.

Some bloggers assert that while they did not agree with Benazir Bhutto's politics, or support her part – Pakistan Peoples Party, an attack such as this is deeply tragic and reflects the turmoil that Pakistan is likely to find itself in. Muslim Matters calls it an act of terrorism, and condemns violence as a tool of resolution.

This is pure terrorism that must be condemned by all, religious or otherwise. If anyone had a problem with her politics, then the proper route is to use one’s pen and mind to argue against her ideology, not use the coward’s strategy of shutting up who you can’t argue with. Violence is the nemesis that will sink Pakistan if people don’t wake up and recognize its evil (both in an Islamic and social sense).

Echoing a similar point of view, Ali Eteraz writes an article on the Huffington Post.

Irrespective of one's views on Bhutto — mine were mostly negative — she was the primary secular-minded democratic leader of Pakistan. She had made statements about hunting Bin Laden, eradicating the pernicious madrassa system, as well as apologizing for allowing the Taliban to acquire power during her watch in the mid 90's. Her killing is a huge blow to the anti-extremist movement in Pakistan. Frankly, as it stands now, there are no other anti-extremist democratic leaders in Pakistan.

Metroblogging Karachi has a post detailing the panic on the streets. Tabish Bhimani focuses on the consequences of this tragedy, and recommends that people take caution when venturing out of their homes.

What I am trying to say here is not that one of these individuals or organizations have committed a heinous crime, a murder, deciding the fate of not just a country, but of human beings; rather what I am trying to say is that there are an equal number of possibilities as to what happened and why and that we must reserve judgement. What happens in a country such as Pakistan, which is so famous in the international media, has global repercussions.

Teeth Maestro who is providing constant updates on the event and its aftermath, sets up an online condolence book for Benazir Bhutto.

In an attempt to provide the online community and opportunity to offer their condolences to the grieving family and literally thousands of Peoples Party supporters I would like to initiate this condolence book for Benazir Bhutto. I will make it my own responsibility to present the entire list to the offices of the Pakistan Peoples Party to be attached with the main condolence book.


  • Thanks Neha for quoting us.

    I would like to point out to an interesting fact that I found soothing even in this time of turmoil for Pakistanis.

    As I was perusing an Indian online newspaper I was heartened by the feelings of sympathy and support by the vast majority of Indian commentators. There was little or none of the “rubbing it in”. I wish the Pakistanis of all political ideology take this spirit to heart and unite in the face of a common nemesis.

    -Amad for

  • Hi. Yes, thank you for quoting us.

    I would like to add for the knowledge of your readers that I was in discussion with a friend yesterday: He told me that his father has a shop in a place called Empress market and they NEVER close down for whatever reason but yesterday, they closed down in three minutes.

  • aysha

    just wanted to correct u that extremists are not muslims so please never call them “islamic extremists”… islam is religon of peace and extremists create violence and hatred. they have no right to call themselves muslims…..

  • Broderick

    Pakistan’s problems are numerous. Any country that have the worlds two most dangerous persons within their boarder, namely A Q Khan and Osama Bin Ladin, and made a fight against terrorism a money spinning industry, which is their main economy, should not look for the wider world sympathy.

    Until when Pakistan can hand in the world’s most dangerous man, A Q Khan, who hawk nuclear arsenal blue prints, to North Korea, Libya, Iran and any other countries or oragnisations that have the Dollars, Pakistan should be classed as a warehouse for terrorists.

    Pakistan can help find Osama Bin Ladin, I believe the ISI knows where he is. The world can fence off Pakistan until when they no longer pose the level of security risk they pose to the wider world.

  • mildbrew

    Benazir was never as important or as smart as many of her western media pundits and savants have suggested, Pakistan has a lot of really capable leaders that will soon ride to the top.

    Our problem is in worshipping personalities and parties like cults.

    I am against this passing the baton of politics from within a family.

  • South Asian Writer

    My heart bleeds tears for the anguish the Pakistanis find themselves in. Benazir’s assassination has shattered the hope that she brought to many. Her passion and her courage were remarkable. Growing up in India we were all dazzled by her beauty and wit. We heard enchanting stories from the silk merchants of how the export of silks and chiffon dupattas to Pakistan had increased twenty fold since Ms. Bhutto became prime minister.
    She has been part of our history as much as Pakistan’s. Good luck to her family and especially to young Bilawal who reminds me so much of Rajiv Gandhi when he took over at the helm that his mother was torn from.

  • sheila choudhri

    Suicide by grandstanding.
    In America, there is an expression ‘suicide by cop’- i.e. to recklessly provoke the police and let them gun you down. Benazir Bhutto committed suicide by cop/terrorist or terrorist/soldier or some such combination. Why? Because of a call from Condaleeza. Why did Condaleeza make that call? Because Mush looked weak. Why did Mush look weak? Coz he was stupid enough to neglect to get the Lal Masjid nutters to blow up the Supreme Court Justices or at least make it look that way. Now maybe, the fellow is learning- the deeply distasteful Nawaz Sharif and equally abhorrent Zardari leering at the cameras and shedding crocodile tears is surely more than most stomachs can bear. Sooner or later the Pakistani public is going to connect the dots- the Bhutto family paint themselves into a corner and take refuge in ‘martyrdom’- but the truth to which they are witness (both the words martyr and ’shaheed’ actually mean witness) is that their inner power to discriminate the worse from the better cause is confined to Iranian cavaire as opposed to Russian Beluga, genuine Rolex as opposed to a cheap knock-off.
    Fatima Bhutto, who claims to be a poet, is no better than her Aunty dearest. She claims that her father was a martyr. Some martyr! He shaved off half of his brother-in-law’s moustache- that’s why he was killed. While hiding out with the Soviet backed regime in Kabul, he and his younger brother had masterminded the hijacking of a Pakistani plane. They had their father’s former a.d.c- who happened to be on the plane- shot on the tarmac though he had been completely loyal to their father and even played with them as children. The naive young men the Bhutto brothers used to carry out terrorist attacks were then ruthlessly sacrificed and forgotten. No provision was made for their families.
    Fatima attacked Benazir for being responsible for the death of 150 people- at the time of the first suicide attack- all so that Aunty could have her moment of grand theatre- but now, according to her, Aunty too is enrolled in the catalogue of martyrs. As for her uncle- surely he either poisoned himself or was bumped off by his wife while living in the French Riviera. How exactly does that make him a martyr? As for Bhutto Senior, he was executed by his Army Chief after trying to turn himself into a dictator with rigged elections and murders & jailings of political opponents. But, Bhutto had himself deliberately appointed Zia because he thought the man would be his poodle. The Bhutto family are martyrs not of democracy but to their own desire to tyranise over the state. Sadly or happily, they simply lack the judgement and self-control necessary to pull it off. It is because no one can trust them-least of all those who had the misfortune to follow them- that in the ultimate analysis the bandwagon can only be kept going by a grinning gargoyle like Mr. 15% Zardari.
    However, all this is beside the point. The question that faces us now is whether there is any diffenece between Condy making a phone call and sending poor deluded Benazir out on her suicide mission and Osama bin Shithead.
    In both cases the deluded are sent to destroy themselves for no other purpose but to make failed ideologues believe that the strings they are pulling are actually connected to something meaningful- that ‘regime change’ really occurrs because of what- from the point of view of history- amounts to a fart in a crowded lift.
    Heigh ho, still maybe it was fun for them while it lasted and no doubt Christina Lamb can write another cringe-worthy book and Tariq Ali- now deep in his anecdotage- can rehash the same self important shite he’s been peddling all these years and become, more than ever, the image of his feudal grand-father.

  • Zeba Chowdhry

    A strange death. She has made every friend and foe cry for her. Her death is the continuation of the series of killings for TRUTH.A honouable lady who died with honour.

  • Ping Pong

    Who can say what really happened,we will never really know.All I can say is that what happened was wrong to any decent minded human being and my heart goes out to her family and to Pakistan,increasingly it seems that evil is stalking our world we must stand firm and not allow these awful acts of violence to alter our thoughts or actions in any way or they win! LOVE TO ALL PING PONG

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