Voices from Pakistan on Benazir's Death

Pakistan is in serious turmoil! A blogger friend – Rubab Saleem, who runs “Pak Times” has compiled reactions from Pakistanis from different walks of life on her blog. Drishtikone is grateful that she is sharing the article with our readers.

AMBER KHAN, LAHORE

The personality and the politics of Benazir Bhutto evoked various responses from various people. There are very few people who were so contradictory in their personality and popularity; she was revered as a politician nationally and internationally yet many didn’t approve of her political strategies and gimmicks; she was often considered a leader with a vision and a symbol of democracy yet her government was twice suspended on corruption charges; she was a western-educated, modern woman living a luxurious lifestyle but her home town of Larkana was strewn with poverty. The contradiction list may go on and on. But the truth lies beyond the obvious. Her absence clearly has left a vacuum that can NEVER be filled. With the demise of BB and the legacy of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in the form of his beloved daughter gone, Pakistani politics will never be the same again.

In her life, many accused her of further dividing the already tattering political and social fabric of Pakistan but her death has revealed that she was the only epicenter around whom the divisive Pakistani voters could agree to rally. Her self imposed exile had matured her into a seasoned politician who had become a ray of hope for the oppressed majority of our country. She wanted to conquer not just Sindh but the entire federation of Pakistan. The positivity of BB’s politics was that she had firmed her party’s roots amongst the poor and the lower middle class of our country. PPP’s followers were and still are one of the most ardent and die-hard supporters of true political principles symbolizing democratic values, rule of law and an open, progressive society.

Her sudden death has been an irrevocable loss to all that she stood for and more. Not only Pakistan but the whole world has plunged into immense grief and pain and in Pakistan, the agony has resulted into anger, chaos and anarchy that threatens the entire future of our country. Pakistan has had a violent and turbulent history. But BB’s assassination would definitely prove to be the kind of incident which changes the entire tapestry a nation. Pakistani politics and Pakistan in general is at a turning point of history from where things can either deteriorate or, learning from our past, we can etch out a blueprint of a better tomorrow. The choice is ours.

As for BB’san death, she has achieved more in her death than she could ever achieve in her life. Benazir, daughter of the east, epitomized the struggle of her father and like her father, she has been immortalized. Valiant in deeds till the end!

FAISAL MAMSA, PSYCHIATRIST, KARACHI
Faisal Mamsa witnessed chaos on the streets of Karachi

Last night I was stuck in traffic on the streets of Karachi for hours witnessing a stampede as life on the streets became insecure. I was shocked as I witnessed women running for help, without their shoes, without their head scarves, just running and begging cars to help them and give them a lift to safety. I felt as if I was living in a civil war. The city was being set on fire. The country had become paralyzed. I think that’s a symbol of where Pakistan is going after this assassination. I believe most damage was done by the followers of her party, done in rage, I’m sure. But what has the common man done to deserve this?

We used to feel secure here. Foreign companies were investing in Pakistan, people could go out at night and feel safe. During Musharraf’s rule we had an economic boom. After last night, I believe this country is being handed over to militants. I hate to say it, I might be condemned or killed, but we need to take extreme security measures to curb whatever the militants are doing. I had high hopes for Benazir Bhutto. It was one of her main agendas to control the militants. Now we have been asked to stay at home for three days. It is literally like a curfew. The main road is empty. I have been trying to trace my patients and some are missing. That makes me wonder what has happened to this country.

UZMA SHARON, TEXTILE LAB TESTER, LAHORE

She was our hope in this bad year. She was a seasoned politician and now there is no one experienced enough to take her mantle. I am not a political die-hard but she seemed to project a great image for Pakistan. She was a woman and she was strong. Our image abroad is bad, people believe our women are suppressed. But none of the men in this country were as qualified as her, she would have been a great candidate. These militants cannot bear a woman. My great fear is that they want to suppress women’s rights across Pakistan. I don’t know what our younger generation is going to be facing now.

The girls here are so enthusiastic about participating in public life but now they may have to be confined to their home. This is the image of Pakistan that the media portrays anyway: that we wear burkas, that we have no freedom. But after this incident, it may well become a reality. I am worried about the Talebanisation of our country.

KAHKSHAN FAROOQ, Editor THE POST EYECANDY & ANGELS Lahore

BB’s death is the greatest loss to our country in the recent years. Its going to be very dangerous for solidarity and stability of our country which is already trouble stricken. I’m afraid to say but theres a great possibility of a civil war and anarchy which is building up very quickly.

She was a leader of all four provinces as no other leader is enjoying this much popularity all over country as Learning from her past mistakes which she made because of her inexperience in politics, now she had become a leader of high caliber and stature and I was expecting her win in 2008 elections and her this premiership term as the better one than the last two terms. With her assassinations we haven’t lost a seasoned politician and a national leader but we have lost the democratic and liberal future of Pakistan.

RAHEEL HANIF, Reporter, THE POST, LAHORE
Another conspiracy….wait for another war

The assassination of former Prime Minister and PPPP Chairperson Benazir Bhutto is another conspiracy fabricated by wielding popular means of US backing an Al-Qaeda reaction against Pakistan. Benazir always considered herself as the queen of Chess on National and International political scenario but she could never recognized that she was being used as mere pawn.

The challenges ahead Pakistan are either to un-arm it’s nuclear arsenal or US-allied forces will attack to save the world from destructive usage of nuclear weapons in case these fall in the hands of so-called extremists, or even US has established “pre-emptive doctrine” to attack any country..

The killing of Bhutto has raised question marks on the security measures for high-ups and Al-Qaeda influence in Pakistan, as a pre-planned strategy. I can foresee few more killings of important figures will be source to convince international community to re-design their policies towards Pakistan in order to take actions aimed at disarming Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. American Defence Journal has indicated nothing in the name of Pakistan in 2010 on World Map. Nuclear Muslim Country is in-tolerable for them.

Musharraf will be another Sadam Hussain further Pakistanis should be ready to face US attack that seems inevitable if the things continue to work in same direction. US backing is behind the killing of Benazir Buhtto certainly, alas! Musharraf Government has become tool to implement US plans and committed this heinous act without going through the script and knowing repercussions.

Being Muslims, optimism is our forte’ So whole nation can pray for safe future of Pakistan. A common perception after this attack prevailing is “Pakistan under the shadow of swords” and in end Pakistanis will undergo sufferings and not our opponents.

SYED AHMER ALI, BUSINESSMAN, ISLAMABAD

My condolences to all those who support Benazir Bhutto and her family. I believe we are all missing a point here. We are too busy contemplating the nitty gritties as the reality diminishes and is some what lost amidst all the Masala TV channels offer and the political leaders interviews. This was not an attack on an Individual or a mere politician, but on the Federation. We are badly falling victim to what the planner expected of us. We still are talking aimlessly, pointing fingers at each other, not realizing we have all been affected. No leader however popular or unpopular should be assassinated or killed. They are all important as they help maintain a balance by keeping their followers engaged. Being political is not the solution. Why are we under a one collared or three collared flag? Have we forgotten what we attained all this for? Or has the freedom come so cheap that we have to divide into sub categories. Can we not unite, is there no one out there who remembers the sacrifices of the millions who gave their lives away for our freedom. Or have we been taken hostage by individualism, the so called media revolution that has lost its purpose or direction. I recall the massacre in Gujrat, I remember visuals going out of India from just one TV channel for 90 seconds, and it banned for ten years, accounts seized, properties confiscated. From riches to Rags all in one day.

The argument was fairly simple on part of their government. “Whats internal shall be handled internally, why were the visuals exposed to the outside world”. If our so called enemy knows how to promote and project their nation with all its short falls, why do we throw our nation naked at the doorstep of the west. Who is the beneficiary? Some entrepreneur with a dual nationality who would evade us all when the going gets tough. They would leave us high and dry. What then, would the channel rating matter? Do we have to act as a GPS (Global positioning System) and help terrorists track down every movement of our leaders and use our technology against us and hit us this bad every time. Do we have to provide them with a platform by terrorizing 5 Crore viewers all across Pakistan. If we are as adamant as we claim to attain democracy why do we follow the anarchic regimes in the name of various political parties? Can we not rise as a nation, commoners coming forward and taking responsibility? Do we have to weaken each other by twisting what we see on TV screens and play the blame game? What would we do if we weaken doing this and are challenged by an external force, not hidden this time but recognized? What of the hungry people. What of the children that have no control over any of this? Would anyone talk about them?

O People of Pakistan, remember those who just wanted us to be free, remember their sacrifices, strife and struggle and Unite. Let’s rise above these things before it’s too late. Let’s realize our moral obligation towards our Country and proceed towards a prosperity. Please stop pointing fingers. Please stop feeling victimized on a Clan or Provincial level. Let the young come forward.

We interact here, experiencing the Global village. Why can we not join hands as flesh and blood, as real human beings and defy these taboos, these barriers, these two faced customs that have only kept us apart. Rise and be recognized. Not with the intent of showing street power, but in a civilized educated manner. Register groups, register parties, register yourself as a concerned Pakistani. Not by maligning our leadership wherever it may be, not by ridiculing Our Nation by using provincial slogans, or by killing the very essence of our freedom by divide, but lets sit together and work towards a SOLUTION. We don’t need an average age of 50 group telling us what is right. We need to break all such barriers and defy these unwritten rules that have only enslaved us. Let’s Unite. Let’s look ahead instead of mourning our past. Let’s ensure there is no violence, let’s ensure there is no collateral damage, let’s ensure there is no riot or hooliganism.

Let’s work, let’s go out there and assume our duties once again. Let’s work towards a happy and successful Pakistan. We can’t be consumed by our petty differences anymore. We will be united in our common interest. Let’s show the world we would not go down even if they throw tyranny, oppression, or persecution our way. We will not go quietly into the dark ages, we will not vanish without making our presence felt, we’re going to live on, we’re going to survive. Not by virtue of an over rated revolution but with an evolution of a revolution. Let’s educated the media, the press, the bureaucracy and the politicians. In a constructive, educated manner. Long Live Pakistan. Amin to a new Beginning.

ZULQERNAIAN TAHIR, Staff Correspondent, THE DAWN

Though I am devastated by cold-blooded murder of a leader of international stature, Benazir Bhutto,I am happy that the nation is still alive for its knee-jerk reaction to the tragedy. Benazir, courageous like her father, knew threats to her life but chose to fight the cowardice than surrender. The architects of governments must be facing difficulty in coming across the nation their version about murderers. This time they may fail because the people have been aware a bit because of media. I could only hope that the masses which are feeling orphaned after her departure could absorb the clossol loss and learn something from it.

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About Rubab Saleem

Rubab Saleem, 26, is from Gujranwala, Pakistan with a Masters Degree in Mass Communications from Punjab University, Lahore. She works with PTV apart from doing various other things (eg.; Tutor for Bachelor classes with Allama Iqbal University and sub-examiner with Punjab University. She likes to blog and owns the sites: Pak Times, Busharraf, Earth Quake, Rubab Saleem (her personal blog)


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