Dec 31, 2007 Benazir Bhutto: Adding my view
Pakistan plunged into further and deeper violence after Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. This yin-yang symbol represents the need for Pakistan and the whole world to follow a peaceful path during the fight for human rights and justice.
In 1983, fifty-one year-old opposition leader Benigno Aquino returned to the Philippines to challenge dictator Ferdinand Marcos, only to be shot dead as he exited the plane in the Philippines. Only three years older than Aquino on her return to Pakistan, main opposition leader Benazir Bhutto narrowly escaped an assassination attempt on her return there in October 2007, only to be assassinated two months later.
Regardless of one’s views of Ms. Bhutto’s politics and political past, her return to Pakistan brought hope of a real challenge to and change from strongman Musharraf’s grip on and abuse of power, inspired courage by Bhutto’s standing up against the threat of assassination, and led to a further outpouring of opposition to Musharraf’s repressive ways, not only from Bhutto supporters but also from lawyers willing to stick their necks out for justice (see the November 7, 2007, Underdog blog).
Despite the many differences between the Philippines after Aquino’s assassination and Pakistan after Bhutto’s assassination, hope springs eternal that out of this assassination will spring a Pakistani non-violent people power sort of movement that successfully removes Musharraf (the leaders that followed Marcos were not the greatest shakes, but were better than having Marcos as dictator; in Pakistan, the key is to avoid having worse than Musharraf as his replacement). Such a non-violent path is essential, as opposed to the violent reaction of Ms. Bhutto’s supporters and opponents (I am trying to learn the extent to which the killings and injuries are being caused by supporters of Bhutto as opposed to government forces and her opponents).
Clearly, Bush II needs to realize that nobody buys his recent claims before the assassination that Musharraf was good for democracy. Musharraf’s removal is essential, and he needs to yield to a full and fair electoral process. Jon Katz.