The assassination of Benezir Bhutto stunned the world. Perhaps no other recent leaders’ death in the sub-continent made so much impact in the global media as the death of Benezir Bhutto. But the days of mourning is fast coming to an end and the reality of life taking its course.
The cowardly act of killing is condemned in the strongest terms by all civilised people of our world. The global community stands together with Pakistan to show utmost resolve on the face of this outrageous act of terrorism. No one, whether an ally or foe of Benezir in the political world, should or would find it acceptable to celebrate a death of this kind and let it pass without profound impact in their hearts and thoughts. The death of Benezir should act as a catalyst to build unity and bring about necessary strengths to rid the Pakistani nation off its most disturbing elements, the terrorists. However, no such result will take place unless a comprehensive understanding of the prevailing political culture is acquired.
Benezir, on her death, is rightly remembered as a champion of democracy, for she stood on the face of military dictatorship of Ziaul Haque to bring about democracy in Pakistan, she refused rightly to vow down to the threats and challenges of a dictator. However, Benezir, like most previous and present heads of state of Pakistan, symbolizes the very problem of Pakistan, the lack of a genuinely democratic, thoroughly honest and clean politicians who are inspired, motivated and committed to build a happy, prosperous and plural Pakistan where intellect and not gun rules. Unfortunately, Benezir has been part and parcel of a political culture which have been dominated by corruption, greed for power and a serious lack of true patriotism.
Pakistan, from its beginning, were built on a shallow principle where the vision and the values of the state were never clear. The leaders often cited values and customs, used religion and other slogans as they deemed fit to ensure their own grip on power. Even right at the beginning when the ‘great leaders’ freed the nation from the British empire promising to build a modern Islamic state, the core leaders themselves demonstrated little understanding what they were talking about and failed miserably to guarantee the most basic tenets of Islam, the individual freedom, justice and equality. When the then East Pakistanis revolted against the corrupt regime in the West, Benezir’s father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto were among the grand designers of a grand scale massacre of innocent people. All, one assumes, were nothing but the result of a blind desire to be in power. Benezir simply marked the continuation of that legacy.
Today when we shall rightly mourn the death of a popular politician, Benezir Bhutto, one cannot help but critically look at the legacy her death is bound to leave behind. The party Benezir once lead agrees on her teenage son being the leader while his dad become his deputy. The tenures of Benezir have been over-shadowed by allegation of corruption and the man at the centre of many of these allegation is none other than Asif Ali Zardari, the father and deputy leader of the current Chairmen of the PPP. So what can one make of the new dimension of PPP? Of course Benezir needs to be respected and her contribution to the Party must be recognised. But why should her teenage son who barely been in Pakistan be granted the leadership? By what right her husband becomes the deputy leader? Surely PPP is to serve the nation and not the Bhutto family?
Pakistan needs strong leadership free from the ‘landlord’ mentality. At the heart of much of the problem in Pakistan is the lack of political awareness among the most ordinary people. Very few ordinary people are intellectually aware of the political debates in their country and little intelligence do they use in choosing their leader. A few powerful clandestine families controls the wealth and power of the country who have monopoly in politics. Pakistan must break that tight controlled dynastic influence in her national affairs. The selection of Bilawal does not serves that purpose. Bhutto rose to prominence succeeding her father not for reasons of her political commitment and contribution but merely being the daughter of an unjustly executed popular leader. She did not have the time to grow to become a natural leader. As such she failed to genuinely develop the politics of Pakistan beyond corruption and feudal ‘power play’. Her son runs the risks of doing the same, except that his failure will cost Pakistan even more direly than his mother’s.