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Saturday, December 29, 2007

In Memoriam: Benazir Bhutto (1953 - 2007)

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Image hosting by PhotobucketShock and speechlessness.

That's what Walski felt when he first got word of the brutal assassination of Benazir Bhutto, two-time former Prime Minister of Pakistan, late Thursday night (Malaysia time), December 27, 2007. Circumstances, however, prevented Walski from posting this any sooner.

For many around the world, Benazir was an icon of strength, and an ispiration to the downtrodden women of the world. In 1988 she became the first woman Prime Minister of an Islamic state in the modern era. But her government was dismissed less than two years later, over corruption charges. She was re-elected in 1993, but again, her government was dismissed, and again, over corruption charges. Opposition to Bhutto came from the elites, opposed to her move towards national reform.

She took a big risk going back to Pakistan, after years in exile. But it was a risk that she felt she had to take, for the sake of her country, and the sake of her people.

On Thursday, December 27, 2007, Benazir Bhutto paid the ultimate price for her courage.
(more thoughts on this tragedy, in the full post)

Whether or not she was actually guilty of the charges against her is unknown. Benazir Bhutto has maintained that the charges brought against her were political.

What is known, however, is that she definitely had enemies. And one of them succeeded in removing her, with hardly 3 weeks to go before the Pakistan general elections. Permenantly.

Walski, like most of the rest of the world, mourns this senseless loss, and prays that whomever was responsible for the assassination be brought to justice. What effect the assassination will have on the coming Pakistani General Elections is left to be seen, but from what we read, the people of Pakistan aren't exactly happy campers at the moment.

Benazir was laid to rest in her hometown in Sind, next to her father, who also had a tumultuos career in Pakistan politics. She leaves behind, apart from her husband and children, a legacy of political struggle to improve the lives of her people. Walski hopes that the people of Pakistan turn their anger to electing a government that will serve the people, rather than one that is serves the interest of only a few.

But the political situation in Pakistan is complex. And while one can hope, the actual outcome of the next general elections, and the performance of the government that will be elected, is left to be seen. Perhaps, if Benazir had been victorious in the polls, she would have faced the same opposing forces that saw her time in office cut short. Twice.

Walski prays that her soul rests in peace. Benazir will always be remembered as someone who was never allowed to do all that she could have, as hard as she probably tried.

May God bless her soul...

Walski's information source disclosure footnote: Most of the information about Benazir Bhutto above comes from Wikipedia, either on the entry about her, or on an entry about her assassination. The recent events in Pakistan should be a reminder to all that just because a state is ruled by Islamic law, that it is any less lawlessness or that insane acts such as this assassination cannot manifest itself.