Benazir Bhutto - articles from the radical sites

As I write, Znet is unusually quiet on the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

Elsewhere, Information Clearing House, posts a savoury piece entitled Aunt Benazir's False Promises from Fatima Bhutto, the niece of Mrs Bhutto that originally appeared in the LA Times.

This piece was written back on 13th December. Says the niece:

“Perhaps the most bizarre part of this circus has been the hijacking of the democratic cause by my aunt, the twice-disgraced former prime minister, Benazir Bhutto. While she was hashing out a deal to share power with Gen. Pervez Musharraf last month, she repeatedly insisted that without her, democracy in Pakistan would be a lost cause…..“Ms. Bhutto's political posturing is sheer pantomime. Her negotiations with the military and her unseemly willingness until just a few days ago to take part in Musharraf's regime have signaled once and for all to the growing legions of fundamentalists across South Asia that democracy is just a guise for dictatorship…. Ms. Bhutto's repeated promises to end fundamentalism and terrorism in Pakistan strain credulity because, after all, the Taliban government that ran Afghanistan was recognized by Pakistan under her last government -- making Pakistan one of only three governments in the world to do so. ….And I am suspicious of her talk of ensuring peace. My father was a member of Parliament and a vocal critic of his sister's politics. He was killed outside our home in 1996 in a carefully planned police assassination while she was prime minister. There were 70 to 100 policemen at the scene, all the streetlights had been shut off and the roads were cordoned off. Six men were killed with my father. They were shot at point-blank range, suffered multiple bullet wounds and were left to bleed on the streets…”

Some decent article on the Bhutto assassination can be found on Counterpunch, the more analytical being Wajahat Ali’s A Pakistani Requiem . Some quotes from that piece:

Reports indicate that the United States, Musharraf and Bhutto recently agreed to a brokered power sharing deal, whereby Musharraf would retain his Presidency, Bhutto would be named Prime Minster and her numerous corruption charges would bypass the courts and be "dropped" due the creation of the "National Reconciliation Ordinance." The deal was suspect from the beginning and only further deteriorated with Bhutto's return from exile to Pakistan in October: thereafter, triggering a devastating assassination attempt on her life, still unsolved, leaving nearly 140 people dead. The nail in the coffin was hammered by Musharraf, who unilaterally implemented a State of Emergency in November. Experts state his action was motivated by the Supreme Court's adverse ruling regarding his eligibility to lead Pakistan, thereby denying him a right to lead as both President and Chief of Army Staff, a title he relinquished only recently. As a result, The United State's democratic ally, Musharraf, undemocratically suspended the Constitution, ousted and jailed Supreme Court judges and lawyers critical of his policies and leadership, detained nearly 2,000 human rights activists, and silenced independent media and news stations. Although publicly reprimanding Musharraf's "questionable," or one could say "undemocratic," actions, the White House remained loyal to their dictator-of- choice, because the U.S. has provided Pakistan with nearly $10 billion in aid as "good will currency" in its support to hunt Al- Qaeda and extremists within Pakistan's borders. Specifically, President Bush said he wants democracy in Pakistan, but "at the same time, we want to continue working with [Musharraf] to fight these terrorists and extremists."

Two weeks before the State of Emergency prompted his unlawful arrest, incarceration and subsequent kidney failure, Muneer Malik, Pakistan's former President of the Supreme Court Bar Association and prominent critic of Musharraf, gave me an exclusive interview, in which he proclaimed a statement shared by many in Pakistan: ‘The U.S. supports dictatorships that suit its interests. It is never interested in the masses of Pakistan. The power sharing between Benzair and Musharraf will only perpetuate military hegemony. The mindset of the politicians is that the road to Islamabad [Pakistan's capital] leads from Washington and not from the streets of Pakistan.

A grand irony results from observing this alliance: the United States wants to support democracy in Pakistan by allowing Musharraf to implement undemocratic measures and dictatorial practices to ensure Pakistan's future democracy. That is akin to endorsing an avowed pacifist who feels forced to purge his enemies through murder and violence in order to bring peace.

“…before returning to Pakistan in October, Bhutto had publicly stated she would allow the United States within Pakistan's borders to assist in hunting Al-Qaeda operatives and terror cells. Bhutto said, "I would hope that I would be able to take Osama bin Laden myself without depending on the Americans. But if I couldn't do it, of course we [Pakistan and US] are fighting this war together and [I] would seek their co-operation in eliminating him." Her critics questioned her sincerity and motives in potentially allowing Pakistan's sovereignty to be threatened by inviting America to strike within Pakistani soil.

The critics responded by calling her America's "stooge" and "puppet": a woman willing to appease Western nations by any means to ensure her political power.

This charge and allegation of "servitude to the United States" arguably ensured her assassination, or at the very least, cemented her unpopularity amongst an extremist political segment of Pakistan.

Bhutto changed her tune. In her final speech on the day of her assassination, she passionately declared, "Why should foreign troops come in? We can take care of this [referring to resurgent Al Qaeda extremists in Pakistan], I can take care of this, you [Pakistani citizens] can take care of this."

This recent tragedy has further destabilized the country prompting mass protests and vandalism thereby giving Musharraf a rationalization and excuse, according to his critics, to impose Martial Law yet again if he so chooses and curb the democratic process. Since the United States has no political allies in Pakistan that it feels it can remotely trust, one can argue they will be forced, out of necessity and desperation, to tacitly endorse Musharraf and promote him as an "ally against terrorism" and "hope for democracy." The West fears that the nuclear weapons and technology of Pakistan will fall in the hands of an extremist minority that will align itself with Taliban and Al-Qaeda

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