Pakistan after Benazir

CONFUSION, chaos, anger and hatred galore in Pakistan as the strongly condemned killing of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto sends national and international equations of politics, security and democracy into a tailspin. Evidently her tragic death was caused by a sniper bullet shortly before the massive bomb blast that attacked her rally, killing dozens.

  • Follow us on
  • google-news
  • whatsapp
  • telegram

Published: Fri 28 Dec 2007, 9:19 AM

Last updated: Sun 5 Apr 2015, 12:52 AM

Mercifully, the other former premier, Nawaz Sharif, escaped a similar fate when shots were fired at his rally also, but as things stand, whatever little political peace was left in Pakistan is destroyed.

Returning to the limelight only recently after many years in self-exiled wilderness, Bhutto was widely seen as championing the cause of democracy as Pakistan’s military dictatorship struggled to keep extremism and fanaticism at bay and the civil society yearned for a change of guard. And talk of the deal with the establishment notwithstanding, BB was clearly the frontrunner for the premiership in the general election just days away, as rivals slipped behind and the King’s Party appeared the least impressive.

Now, there is much fear of massive rioting breaking out across the length and breadth of Pakistan, prompting a return to emergency and undoing the election cycle. More importantly, there is fear that as the political situation descends to its darkest in recent memory, human life itself might be reduced to much lesser worth.

As our hearts go out for Ms Bhutto’s loved ones, especially her immediate family, it is strongly urged that charged sentiments be turned to keeping calm instead of igniting further trouble. Fingers will no doubt be pointed in all directions, not the least the notorious security agencies dedicated to furthering power stints of whoever commands the post.

There is an urgent need to introduce an element of sanity in the corridors of power in Pakistan. It was hoped that the January 8 general election would help improve the collective outlook by giving people a say in the country’s affairs and steadying the country’s ship. But evidently elements thriving on foul play and chaos continue to call the shots, sliding the country ever deeper into utter hopelessness.

General Musharraf’s unpopular government, already hounded by murderous extremists, hateful politicians and an angry and dissatisfied public, will have little to offer save concern and sorrow over the insane murder, a serious inquiry into the episode, and in all likelihood calling off the general election. And this will be the predominant concern if the shell-shocked public, especially BB loyalists, do not take the bait of violence and do not go about on a mad destructive spree. In that case, much worse is about to come.

There can be little argument, however, that on December 27, 2007, Pakistan is at its worst in a very long time. So is everything it concerns.

More news from