Bilawal Cannot Hold a Party Office

Benazir Bhutto‘s son Bilawal Zardari has been appointed as the new chairperson of the party in its central executive committee meeting on Sunday, Dec 30, 2007, at Naudero, Larkana.
However, according to Pakistani law, Bilawal is ineligible to become PPP’s chairperson.  According to the Political Parties Order and Pakistan’s Constitution, Bilwal can’t be the chairperson of PPP as he is only 19-years-old.
According to the Political Parties Order 2002: “Every citizen, not being in the service of Pakistan, shall have the right to form or be a member of a political party or be otherwise associated with a political party or take part in political activities or be elected as an office-bearer of a political party: Provided that a person shall not be appointed or serve as an office-bearer of a political party if he is not qualified to be, or is disqualified from being elected or chosen as a member of the Majlise- Shoora (Parliament) under Article 63 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan or under any other law for the time being in force.”
According to the Constitution, a person has to be at least 25 years old to become a member of the Parliament. Thus, Bilawal is ineligible to be the chairperson of the PPP. Under the law, he cannot hold any party position till he turns 25.
What appears to be a big blunder could be a possible deliberate move to counter advances by others to stake claim. Fatima Bhutto, the daughter of Murtaza Bhutto and the niece of Benazir Bhutto, is 25. Her mother Ghinwa Bhutto is the head of a breakaway faction of PPP — Pakistan People’s Party (Shaheed Bhutto Group).The PPP leadership is aware of the importance of the “Bhutto factor” in the party’s success in the forthcoming elections. It must have felt that only a ‘Bhutto’ can keep the party united. However, the dilemma is that there are three breakaway factions of the PPP — the PPP, the PPP (Shaheed Bhutto) and the PPP (Sherpao) — and every faction claims to be the true follower of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

Benazir had, in her will, named her husband Asif Ali Zardari as her successor. Zardari manipulated the situation quite tactfully. Even as he accepted his wife’s decision, Zardari cleverly passed on the baton to his son Bilawal. The move resulted in 19-year-old Bilawal changing his surname from Bilawal Zardari to Bilawal Bhutto.

Zardari knows that only a ‘Bhutto’ can keep the PPP effectively alive. A non-Bhutto name will not survive long. Owing to his limitations, Zardari knew he will not be able to keep the party united. He may be accepted as the party’s leader for the time being by the senior leadership; however, when the grief over Benazir’s death subsides, it will be difficult for him to remain in full control. Thus, Zardari played his cards well by making Bilawal the party’s leader than taking that seat himself.

Zardari is now the co-chairman of the party. In this capacity, he will be the person at the helm. He will be making the party’s decisions. Bilawal’s chairpersonship will be symbolic. Zardari, over the years, has proved himself to be a shrewd politician.

Ever since he married Benazir, he has spent more than 10 years in Pakistani jail on charges of corruption (though not a single charge was proved). Benazir paid his courage a great tribute by calling him the ‘Nelson Mandela of Pakistan.’

Zardari proved his political astuteness when Benazir was prime minister twice. He had the ability to influence his wife’s political decisions. He has done the same even after her death. She wanted him to be the party’s chairman. Instead, he assigned this job to his son — a great disappointment to many.

What it proves is that politics in Pakistan is not a discipline; political parties are not an institution. No qualifications and experience is required to be a politician. Other disciplines are far more professional. If you have to hire a butler, you would look for a number of things in the prospective candidate. But in politics, nothing is a pre-requisite.

“This simply shows the poverty of Pakistani politics,” says Ayaz Amir, a renowned columnist who is now contesting a National Assembly seat from Chakwal on a PML-N ticket.

“It is surprising to note that the PPP could not find any trusted, senior leader from the party. A Bhutto name is indispensable, which is again the poverty of Pakistani politics,” laments Ayaz.

But does it matter that politics should be a discipline; political parties should be institutions? The fate of the people of Pakistan is not in their hands. The political parties may win elections and form governments, but they never represent the wishes of the people.

They might want to change the lot of the people, but they are held hostages by the dictatorial forces like the military establishment, jihadis and clerics. The best example is of the judiciary. For the first time in Pakistan‘s history, the judiciary under Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry had started operating in an independent manner. It was not tolerated by the then in-uniform President, who sacked the former under the cover of emergency on November 3.

So, it really does not matter who heads the PPP — Bilawal, Zardari or any X, Y, Z. Pakistan would continue to be run by three As — Allah, Army and America.

Fauzia Minallah Draws Mush


Let Us Not Suspend All Critical Thinking

Bhutto: A Short Break from the Hagiography

Bhutto’s assassination was disgusting and depressing, but that doesn’t mean we should now suspend all critical thinking – and yet her sainthood status has now been confirmed in the saturation media coverage following her death.

A former U.S. intelligence official with whom I spoke had this to say:
“Without being disrespectful of Bhutto’s memory or of her tragic
death, a dispassionate analysis suggests that she was a calculating politician, regardless of the saintly mantle her followers and
supporters are bestowing on her after her death. She did not
accomplish much as Prime Minister; in fact, her tenure was marred by corruption, nepotism and poor governance.”

“Unfortunately for Benazir, she was a creation of the West, but she had no chance of defeating Musharraf in the coming elections or expediting the return of democracy to Pakistan. She returned to Pakistan after securing a political deal with Musharraf, under U.S. auspices and guarantees; she naively thought she could beat Musharraf in the elections or that she could persuade him to give up power and restore democracy to that country.”

“Her U.S. supporters pushed her forward without a clear plan of how to deal with Musharraf or how to remove him should he resist U.S. pressure to go democratic. Let’s not forget that Musharraf only reluctantly allowed her to return and only begrudgingly voided the corruption charges against her. It was wishful thinking at best and ignorant at worst to have expected Musharraf to share power with Benazir or to tolerate an electoral victory by her. His donning a civilian suit in place of the military uniform has not made him a democrat. Benazir Bhutto was bound to fail had she lived, and it is doubly tragic that in death she is perceived as the savior of Pakistan.”

US Intelligence Official Blames Army for Benazir’s Assassination

U.S. Intelligence Official Points Finger at the Musharraf Army:
Publisher: HARPER’s Magazine – New York, NY, USA

Who Killed Bhutto: Alternative Theories

Eli Lake, a friend from The New York Sun, sent me a story saying: “American and Pakistani military leaders are seeking to account for what may be renegade commando units from the
Pakistani military’s special forces in the wake of the assassination
of Benazir Bhutto.”

I am still sticking with my original guess, but the former U.S.
intelligence official I spoke with earlier about Benazir’s saintly status had some further, very interesting thoughts:

“First, I would not be surprised if some pro-Musharraf elements within the Pakistani security services were involved in the assassination. Of course, it is convenient to blame the dastardly act on Islamic radicals, but in fact, the Musharraf camp would gain the most from her death. And I don’t trust any Pakistani government investigation of this crime.”

“Second, we need to watch what action or a series of actions the military, under Parvez Kayani, would take in response to Bhutto’s murder. Will such action support Musharraf or undermine him and will it involve reinstating the state of Emergency, suspending the Constitution, and canceling the elections? Will the military conclude that the growing violence in the country is caused by Musharraf’s continued rule and therefore decide to remove him? Before they embark on this course of action, the military would have to ensure continued U.S. support after sacking Musharraf. Should the United States promise
support, as we did in Iran on the eve of removing the Shah, what
guarantees could the U.S. extract from the military as a quid pro

“Third, if the above idea has merit, I can imagine Pakistan becoming more lawless and violent and its nuclear arsenal at risk. In this scenario, the U.S. military goes to Pakistan ostensibly to protect its nukes, but in fact to widen the so-called ‘war on terror’, which will conveniently take the American public’s eye off Iraq and Afghanistan. Benazir Bhutto’s assassination becomes a distant memory and irrelevant.”

“Fourth, I do not mean to imply that Islamic militants could not have been involved or could not carry out such an act. This is of course the prevalent view all over the media. But I do think we should take another look. Talking heads seem to be in agreement that Musharraf would benefit from her death – groupthink at its best! If he blames her assassination on Islamic militants, as he has done, and if such a strategy is accepted on face value in the West, especially in Washington, he would be free to either cancel the elections or choreograph them as he likes. In either case, he would guarantee his continued control. By holding elections, well-orchestrated in advance and with anticipated results, he would project himself as pro-democracy while at the same time continue with his authoritarian rule. I didn’t think Bhutto posed a real threat to Islamic militants because they didn’t see her as a credible challenge to Musharraf. He has been a wily figure who has mastered the art of speaking to Washington and playing the [Bush-Cheney] Administration like a yoyo.”

Admittedly, the above ideas are out-of-the-box, but isn’t this what analysis is all about?

Hillary Clinton Says Army May ve Killed Benazir

Hillary: Pakistan Troops Might Have Killed Bhutto


CLINTON, Iowa, USA, 29 December 2007 (Newsday) – Hillary Rodham Clinton waded into Pakistan’s volatile internal political situation Saturday, raising the possibility the country’s military might have assassinated Benazir Bhutto because the killing took place in the garrison city of Rawalpindi.

Clinton’s remarks came as Pakistan [Tyrant] Pervez Musharraf’s
government seemed to reject a call for an independent international investigation of the murder that Clinton and John Edwards proposed on Friday.

During a question-and-answer session at an elementary school here, Clinton offered a detailed prescription for the troubled county, suggesting that the U.S divert aid away from its military to social welfare programs.

And for the second time in as many days, she cast doubt on Musharraf’s contention that the bombing that led to the death of the country’s most popular opposition leader was masterminded by “al-Qaida”

Clinton, who earned the endorsement Saturday of the influential
Concord (N.H.) Monitor, emphasized her foreign policy experience and spoke about her 12-year relationship with Bhutto, Pakistan’s former Prime Minister.

In August [2007], her aides accused [U.S. Senator Barack] Obama [D-IL] of helping to destabilize the nuclear-armed Pakistan by suggesting he would deploy U.S. forces in the country to hunt for Osama bin Laden.

But Saturday, Clinton delved into Pakistan’s internal affairs,
suggesting its “feudal landowning leadership,” led by Musharraf, has protected “al-Qaida” to preserve its tenuous grip on power. In an interview on Friday, Clinton called for an international probe into Bhutto’s assassination, saying “there was no reason to trust the Pakistani government.”

An Interior Ministry [of Pakistan] spokesman rejected that suggestion Saturday, saying: “I think we are capable of handling it.”
Source: Newsday daily newspaper – Melville, New York, USA

Statement of U.S. Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton on the Death of Benazir Bhutto

( – “I am profoundly saddened and outraged by the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, a leader of tremendous political and personal courage. I came to know Mrs. Bhutto over many years, during her tenures as Prime Minister and during her years in exile. Mrs. Bhutto’s concern for her country, and her family, propelled her to risk her life on behalf of the Pakistani people. She returned to Pakistan to fight for democracy despite threats and previous attempts on her life and now she has made the ultimate sacrifice. Her death is a tragedy for her country and a terrible reminder of the work that remains to bring peace, stability and hope to regions of the globe too often paralyzed by fear, hatred and violence.”
“Let us pray that her legacy will be a brighter, more hopeful future for the people she loved and the country she served. My family and I extend our condolences and deepest sympathies to the victims and their families and to the people of Pakistan.” – [Thursday, December 27, 2007] - p=modload&name=News&file=article&sid=3254 27767c0a815e6a0

E-Mail of Benazir Bhutto Says Pervez Musharraf Killed PPP Chief 616094e2c853db8

US Intelligence Official Points Finger at the Musharraf Army 459c07ed023b46c – USA

Sedition Charges Against Punjab University Teachers

As part of the crackdown on protests against emergency, the Government of Pakistan recently brought sedition charges against fourteen faculty members of the Punjab University (Lahore, Pakistan). These charges were in response to the faculty members speaking out and organizing a protest walk on their campus against the imposition of emergency rule. The Government of Pakistan has also issued a ban on political discussions and debates on campuses, which is a violation of one of the most basic tenets of academic freedom.
Most of you must by now be familiar with the vanguard role played by members of the Pakistani judiciary in the current political struggle against dictatorship. The unprecedented expression of solidarity by members of the international law community has been extremely important in building up the pressure against the Pakistani government, and in keeping up the spirits of the lawyers and their family members. Students (and educators) comprise the next largest group of protesters and so are being targeted in similarly illegal and brutal ways. This is a call to school and college/university faculty, academic unions and organizations to express their solidarity with the above mentioned faculty members of Punjab University as well as all those being targeted by the Pakistani state, and to demand that the government drop these charges immediately.
It should be noted that even when emergency rule is lifted, these and other such charges will not be automatically dropped nor will the dissenting judges be restituted. Please sign the petition and forward to others, and please consider creating faculty/student solidarity committees on your campus, and issuing separate letters of protest and solidarity. It is imperative at this stage to get as many signatures as possible, as well as to send as many letters/faxes/emails to the individuals and institutions listed below as possible. You can sign the petition at (the text is pasted below).
Time is of the essence, so please sign the petition and send your letters ASAP. Your voice counts.
Below are links to three related articles. If you have any questions please email
Shefali Chandra (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
Lubna Chaudhry (SUNY, Binghampton)
Sofia Checa (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
Arslan Razmi (University of Massachusetts, Amherst)
Rakhshanda Saleem (Harvard Medical School and Lesley University)
Sahar Shafqat (St. Mary’s College of Maryland)
Saadia Toor (College of Staten Island, CUNY)
Sedition case against 14 PU teachers
Political debate banned in colleges
DAWN, November 22 2007
LUMS professors, students charged under MPO
Daily Times, December 05, 2007
Send your letters/faxes/emails to:
General (Retd.) Pervez Musharraf
Pakistan Secretariat
Islamabad, Pakistan
Fax: (92) 51-922-1422
Email:,, or via the website

Embassy of Pakistan in Washington, DC
3517 International Court, NW
Washington DC, 20008
Phone: 202-243-6500, Fax: 202-686-1534
Ambassador Mahmud Ali Durrani: 202- 243-6500 Ext. 2000 & 2001
Email: &
Punjab University Administrators:
Dr. Muhammad Arif Butt
Vice Chancellor, Punjab University
Lahore, Pakistan
Phone: (92) 42-923-1098, Fax: (92) 42-923-1101
General (Retd.) Pervez Musharraf
Islamabad, Pakistan
Mr. Musharraf:
We, the undersigned, are appalled by the charges brought against 14 faculty members of the Punjab University under sections 124-A, 188, 143/149 and 16-MPO. They have been charged with sedition and provoking the masses against the government for its action of imposing emergency and promulgating the PCO.
The charges against the Punjab University faculty were registered after the said academics organized and participated in demonstrations against the promulgation of emergency and abrogation of the constitution. These were peaceful protests held inside the campus. We demand the withdrawal of the charges against the faculty members of Punjab University.
We are also appalled by the restrictions on academic institutions and civil society in general including the ban on open debate in all colleges and universities, as well as the curbs on constitutional rights of freedom of assembly and association of the citizenry of Pakistan. University campuses are supposed to be the center of political debate and activity, not zones of repressive censorship. The undersigned condemn the curbs on free speech and attempts to silence voices through intimidation and harassment. We also condemn
the suspension of the constitutional rights of freedom of assembly and association. The ban on political debates on campuses is a violation of the most basic tenet of academic freedom; we demand that this ban be lifted immediately.
We express solidarity with our colleagues at Punjab University and all those in Pakistan engaged in the just struggle to end the state of emergency and restore the constitution and the rule of law in Pakistan.
The Undersigned
cc. Pakistani Embassy in Washington, DC
Vice Chancellor, Punjab University

Taliban Wont Be Motivated to Kill Benazir


    Taliban would not be motivated to kill Benazir.
Musharraf is their bigger enemy who assisted the americans against them with tremendous logistical support.

Benazir’s brother was killed in Karachi by the MQM. They are the most callous, irreligious, and secular hardened killers, with no compassion just like Musharraf. For example, who killed the registrar of the supreme court, Hamid Raza execution style?

They are bonded to Musharraf by the Mohajir blood.

Musharraf is pro-American. His only son in there and so are his brothers. He trusts them. He is being tutored personally by Negroponte. CIA provides free consulting to him and Negroponte personally tutors him. Ponte went there to tutor Musharraf on how to handle the Judiciary in a machiavellian fashion, by inflicting a mortal disabling wound , and that is exactly what Mush did.

Pakistan’s enemies are quietly watching because Mush and MQM is doing their job and you maintain pin-drop silence when your enemy is destroying itself.

This is the way to handle an islamic nuclear country by making it crumble from inside by putting a militant minority of biharis (who were the back-stabbers to their very neighbors and muslim brothers, the bengalis in 1971 on the basis of language and ethnicity) like the Kallu Mush, on top of the majority in the country. Being cornered, they will heartily and mightily fight and destroy each other with wanton and abandon.
 Musharraf and MQM believe that it is their historic opportunity to setup a Mohajir Caliphate – forever.

The goal of CIA, Mossad, is to create Tamil-Sinhalese
intensity and style hatred in Pakistan, and MQM is the perfect tool. We must guard against it and resuscitate a hero like Dr A.Q.Khan to serve as the bridge. It will kill many birds with one stone.

It will kill many birds with one stone.

Musharraf and MQM dream has no feasibility, but their belief in it will indeed make the CIA/Mossad plan not only feasible but successful.

 please visit my favorite sites

<> wrote:

They want to destroy Pakistan and the national spirit of the Pakistani people.

 In America they did this by corrupting the people at the level of job,  housing and sex.

Coldwell banker is a pyramid scheme of screwing people of all
 ethnicities by (real-estate) agents of their own ethnicities selected by corruption and depravedness.

 In Pakistan, military is going to be corrupted in this way, by DEFENSE HOUSING SOCIETIES. People have suffered amnesia as a result of 911 hammer. It was an inside job. The islamic states of the past, Spain etc were weakened in this way.

 The neocons, the most rabid nation on earth, the KHAZARS, the Ashke-NAZIS, who even sold their own mothers for their zionist dreams ( and read the book, “holocaust victims accuse” by Rabbi Weismandel free on the internet google-it) gives proof of that.

Did Benazir Know Her Assassins?

Benazir Bhutto knew her assassins
The assassination of opposition political leaders and activists has always been the practice of tyrants, dictators and imperialist occupiers.   Israel has long practiced such assassinations with the complicity of the United States.  The Israeli Mossad have assassinated numerous Palestinian leaders and activists both from the Fatah Movement as well as Hamas, including the paraplegic Sheik Yassin who was a source of inspiration to Palestinians engaged in freeing their country from the heavily armed and violent Israeli squatters.
With the help of the United States, Pervez Musharraf took power in a military coup in 1999 by ousting the twice-elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who Musharraf forced into exile to Saudi Arabia by using corruption charges against him as leverage.  On the other hand, twice-elected PM Benazir Bhutto (1988 & 1993) was living as a fugitive in the UK and Dubai as she was fleeing corruption charges and was even sentenced by a Pakistani Court for failure to appear.  During her eight years in Europe, Ms Bhutto was never offered to return Pakistan to hold the fault until Musharraf’s power seriously eroded.  Seeing their grip on Pakistani politics slipping away, the US and the UK quickly brokered a power-sharing deal between Musharraf and Bhutto in Dubai under which Bhutto would have the corruption and theft charges against her dropped.  The deal was sealed with a presidential order (National Reconciliation Ordinance) giving an amnesty to Ms Bhutto and other Pakistani corrupt politicians.
Failed Assassination Attempt
Upon Bhutto’s return to Pakistan on 18th October 2007, she was greeted with a ‘failed’ assassination attempt while heavily guarded by Musharraf’s Secret Services, army and Police.  Bhutto’s herself asserted that the attempt against her life was orchestrated by “certain individuals who abuse their positions.”, that she even sent a letter to Musharraf giving the names of people in the “government and Pakistan security forces” who have been conspiring against her.  And, earlier, she had even told the French magazine Paris Match that “I know exactly who wants to kill me. It is dignitaries of the former regime of General Zia who are today behind the extremism and the fanaticism.”   People would recall that Zia ul-Haq was a ruthless dictator with whom the US forged a strategic alliance, together with the mujahidin (freedom fighters), who were none other than Osama Bin Laden and the Talibans, in order to defeat the Russian occupation of Afghanistan.  The US also green-lighted Zia ul-Haq’s hanging of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the Father of Benazir Bhutto.  When Zia was of no use to the Americans as he enforced strict Islamic law within Pakistan, he was also assassinated in a planned aircraft crash on August 17, 1988.
State of Emergency
Ahead of an expected ruling declaring unlawful Musharraf’s eligibility to run for President while still in uniform, Musharraf sacked the Pakistani Supreme Court Judges, banned political rallies and declared a State of Emergency while Bhutto had briefly gone to Dubai.  Upon her re-return to Pakistan Bhutto refused any contact with Dictator Musharraf and demanded that he steps down altogether and started to forge alliances with other political parties, including Nawaz Sharif’s party.  This went against what Musharraf had expected from Bhutto and he placed her under house imprisonment “for her own safety”, he argued.  Other political leaders, including cricketer Imran Khan, and opposition activists were also arrested.  Analysts affirm that from that time onwards Benazir’s Bhutto’s life was in grave danger as soon as she would start addressing the people as the dictatorship had already prepared the ground by justifying her house imprisonment “for her own safety”, hence attempting to shift the blame onto others.
The Assassination
If Musharraf’s dictatorship knew Benazir Bhutto’s life was in danger, enough to justify her house imprisonment, one would have thought that they would have found it far easier and be better prepared to protect her life.  But this was not to be the case.  On 27th December 2007, after addressing the people at her first election campaign rally in garrison city Rawalpindi since returning from exile two months ago, Benazir Bhutto was shot twice by a trained marksman, once in the neck and once in the chest.  Whilst one official who asked not to be named said “The attacker fired and then blew himself up”, Sardar Qamar Hayyat, an eye witness and a leader from Bhutto’s party, said he was standing about 10 yards away from the vehicle in which was Benazir Bhutto who emerged from the vehicle’s roof to wave to her supporters when he « saw a thin, young man jumping toward her vehicle from the back and opening fire.  Mr Hayyat did not mention that the marksman blew himself up.  Bhutto was rushed to hospital and taken into emergency surgery. She died about an hour after the attack.  Former PM Nawaz Sharif was at her bedside and he later told both hers and his supporters that Benazir Bhutto was her sister and that her assassination would be avenged against the rulers.
Although no one claimed responsibility for Bhutto’s assassination, only the so-called ‘Islamic militants’ are said to be the suspects, and not Musharraf’s dictatorship in which  Bhutto had already identified her would-be assassins and which, more than anyone else, knew of the danger she faced but was ‘powerless’ to protect her.
Benazir Bhutto’s supporters had no hesitation in holding  Musharraf responsible for her assassination and accused him of complicity in the killing.  Although Benazir Bhutto had said she was prepared to die for democracy, she wasted her life for a fascist democracy imported form European invaders who supported the dictatorship of Pervez Musharraf under which she was assassinated.  Pakistanis must unite and look for a pro-Pakistan leader and rid the country of all foreign intervention.  Pakistani people are bound to ask how many secret agents from the ISI, the Mossad, the CIA and MI6 were amongst the crowd when the trained marksman shot Benazir Bhutto in the neck and chest.
M Rafic Soormally
27 December 2007

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Did Army Commandos Kill Benazir? Article in NY Sun

Pakistan Army’s SSG Commandos Killed Benazir Bhutto

NOTE: This New York Sun article points out that Pakistan Army’s Special Service Group (SSG) commandos murdered Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Chairwoman Ms. Benazir Bhutto, 54 (1953-2007), in her vehicle on Thursday, 27 December 2007 during the PPP rally at the Liaqat Bagh (park) in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Pervez Musharraf worked for seven years in the Pakistan Army’s Special Service Group of Commandos, where he learned the evil art of assassination.

Assassination is Laid to Team of Precision Snipers

WASHINGTON DC, USA, 28 December 2007 (The New York Sun): American and Pakistani military leaders are seeking to account for what may be renegade commando units from the Pakistani military’s special forces in the wake of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

The Dec 27 attack at Rawalpindi bore the hallmarks of a
sophisticated military operation. At first, Bhutto’s rally was hit by
a suicide bomb that turned out to be a decoy. According to press
reports and a situation report of the incident relayed to The New York Sun by an American intelligence officer, Bhutto’s armored limousine was shot by multiple snipers whose armor-piercing bullets penetrated the vehicle, hitting the former premier five times in the head, chest and neck. Two of the snipers then detonated themselves shortly after the shooting, according to the situation report, while being pursued by local police.

A separate attack was thwarted at the local hospital where Bhutto possibly would have been revived had she survived the initial shooting. Also attacked on Dec 27 was a rival politician, [PML-N Chief Muhammad] Nawaz Sharif who took power
after Bhutto lost power in 1996.

A working theory, according to this American source, is that [PML-Q and MQM] groups had effectively suborned at least one unit of Pakistan’s Special Services Group [SSG], the country’s equivalent of Britain’s elite SAS commandos. This official, however, stressed this was just a theory at this point. Other theories include that the assassins were trained by [SSG] or were from other military services, or the possibility that the assassins were retired Pakistani [Army] special forces.

“They just killed the most protected politician in the whole country,” this source said. “We really don’t know a lot at this point, but the first thing that is happening is we are asking the Pakistani military to account for every black team with special operations capabilities.”

Bhutto survived a suicide bombing attack in October [2007] and then went public with a list of former and current security and military officials she said had been plotting to kill her. At the time, she asked for the FBI [U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation] to
investigate the attacks.

The prospect that Bhutto’s attackers were [Pakistan Army] trained special forces operatives raises profound questions for America’s policy of giving financial aid to Pakistan’s military. Since the attacks of September 11, 2001, America has provided the Musharraf regime with more than $10 billion.

A close associate of Bhutto for more than two decades, Hussein
Haqqani, yesterday said he believed Pakistan’s security services were complicit in the assassination of his friend. “I don’t think they were complicit, as in, they did it, I mean this as they allowed this to happen. Of course that includes the possibility of actual complicity. I think her security needs and concerns were not addressed,” he told the Sun. Mr. Haqqani said he thought it was a possibility that [PML-Q and MQM] had penetrated the security services.

A Pakistan expert at the Rand Corporation, Seth Jones, said
he would need to study the technical details of the assassination to determine if it was an inside job. “If there is anywhere to fault the national security establishment, it would be not protecting her well enough,” he said.
A senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, Daniel Markey, who just returned from Pakistan, told reporters on a conference call yesterday that there were plenty of people around Mr. Musharraf “who were angry with Benazir Bhutto.”

The assassination is particularly troubling for American policy. For the last year, the [U.S.] State Department in particular has tried to broker a power sharing agreement between Mr. Musharraf and Bhutto, reasoning that Mr. Musharraf alone lacked the legitimacy to wage a full military war against “Al-Qaeda.”

Source: The New York Sun, New York, USA


Another View of Benazir

Even those of us sharply critical of Benazir Bhutto’s behaviour and policies – both while she was in office and more recently – are stunned and angered by her death. Indignation and fear stalk the country once again.

An odd coexistence of military despotism and anarchy created the conditions leading to her assassination in Rawalpindi on Dec 27. In the past, military rule was designed to preserve order – and did so for a few years. No longer. Today it creates disorder and promotes lawlessness. How else can one explain the sacking of the chief justice and eight other judges of the country’s supreme court for attempting to hold the government’s intelligence agencies and the police accountable to courts of law? Their replacements lack the backbone to do anything, let alone conduct a proper inquest into the misdeeds of the agencies to uncover the truth behind the carefully organised killing of a major political leader.

How can Pakistan today be anything but a conflagration of despair? It is assumed that the killers were jihadi fanatics. This may well be true, but were they acting on their own?
Benazir, according to those close to her, had been tempted to boycott the fake elections, but she lacked the political courage to defy Washington. She had plenty of physical courage, and refused to be cowed by threats from local opponents. She had been addressing an election rally in Liaquat Bagh. This is a popular space named after the country’s first prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, who was killed by an assassin in 1953. The killer, Said Akbar, was immediately shot dead on the orders of a police officer involved in the plot. Not far from here, there once stood a colonial structure where nationalists were imprisoned. This was Rawalpindi jail. It was here that Benazir’s father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was hanged in April 1979. The military tyrant responsible for his judicial murder made sure the site of the tragedy was destroyed as well.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s death poisoned relations between his Pakistan People’s party and the army. Party activists, particularly in the province of Sind, were brutally tortured, humiliated and, sometimes, disappeared or killed.

Pakistan’s turbulent history, a result of continuous military rule and unpopular global alliances, confronts the ruling elite now with serious choices. They appear to have no positive aims. The overwhelming majority of the country disapproves of the government’s foreign policy. They are angered by its lack of a serious domestic policy except for further enriching a callous and greedy elite that includes a swollen, parasitic military. Now they watch helplessly as politicians are shot dead in front of them.

Benazir had survived the bomb blast but was felled by bullets fired at her car. The assassins, mindful of their failure in Karachi a month ago, had taken out a double insurance this time. They wanted her dead. 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.

What has happened is a multilayered tragedy. It’s a tragedy for a country on a road to more disasters. Torrents and foaming cataracts lie ahead. And it is a personal tragedy. The house of Bhutto has lost another member. Father, two sons and now a daughter have all died unnatural deaths.

I first met Benazir at her father’s house in Karachi when she was a fun-loving teenager, and later at Oxford. She was not a natural politician and had always wanted to be a diplomat, but history and personal tragedy pushed in the other direction. Her father’s death transformed her. She had become a new person, determined to take on the military dictator of that time. She had moved to a tiny flat in London, where we would endlessly discuss the future of the country. She would agree that land reforms, mass education programmes, a health service and an independent foreign policy were positive constructive aims and crucial if the country was to be saved from the vultures in and out of uniform. Her constituency was the poor, and she was proud of the fact.

She changed again after becoming prime minister. In the early days, we would argue and in response to my numerous complaints – all she would say was that the world had changed. She couldn’t be on the “wrong side” of history. And so, like many others, she made her peace with Washington. It was this that finally led to the deal with Musharraf and her return home after more than a decade in exile. On a number of occasions she told me that she did not fear death. It was one of the dangers of playing politics in Pakistan.

It is difficult to imagine any good coming out of this tragedy, but there is one possibility. Pakistan desperately needs a political party that can speak for the social needs of a bulk of the people. The People’s party founded by Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was built by the activists of the only popular mass movement the country has known: students, peasants and workers who fought for three months in 1968-69 to topple the country’s first military dictator. They saw it as their party, and that feeling persists in some parts of the country to this day, despite everything.
Benazir’s horrific death should give her colleagues pause for reflection. To be dependent on a person or a family may be necessary at certain times, but it is a structural weakness, not a strength for a political organisation. The People’s party needs to be refounded as a modern and democratic organisation, open to honest debate and discussion, defending social and human rights, uniting the many disparate groups and individuals in Pakistan desperate for any halfway decent alternative, and coming forward with concrete proposals to stabilise occupied and war-torn Afghanistan. This can and should be done. The Bhutto family should not be asked for any more sacrifices.


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