Monday, December 29, 2008

Anniversary of an Assassination

Saturday 27 December 2008
by: J. Sri Raman, t r u t h o u t | Perspective

 Supporters of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto express their grief after she was laid to rest in Naudero, her remote ancestral village. (Photo: Asif Hassan AFP / Getty Images)
  "It is impossible for even a rigged election to take place now. It will have to be postponed, and the military high command is no doubt contemplating another dose of army rule if the situation gets worse, which could easily happen."

  So wrote Tariq Ali, the British historian of Pakistani origin who has never lost his close interest in his homeland. He was writing in the wake of a terrible tragedy, whose first anniversary a tense Pakistan is witnessing today.

  On December 27, 2007, Benazir Bhutto met her martyrdom. The explosions, which took place at a mammoth political rally just two weeks before a general election originally scheduled for January 8, 2008, put an end to more than the life of the 54-year-old leader. Tariq Ali's prognosis was shared across a wide political spectrum.

  We, in these columns, recalled Benazir's return to Pakistan after years of exile and said that "within two months of her triumphant and tearful landing in her beloved Karachi, the hopes she had raised lay as shattered as the nearly 200 bodies blown to bits in the two blasts" (The Battle after Bhutto, December 28, 2007).

  A sobbing Asma Jehangir spoke for many other human rights activists of Pakistan when she said: "The way forward is bloodshed." Strangely similar was the reaction from India's strategic analyst and nuclear hawk, K. Subrahmanyam, never a promoter of peace with the neighbor. He said: "Pakistan will plunge into civil war."

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