Angry mobs of Bhutto followers are now raging through the streets and provinces of Pakistan venting their anger at the death of a leader who they felt could restore democracy in their land and, hopefully, address issues of terrorism. Police are firing at demonstrators, bands of youth are closing down factories and other angry Pakistanis are burning cars, and, even ambulances as people attempt to find a way to express their emotions of fury at what has happened to their leader. President Musharraf announced thee days of mourning but made no mention of a state of emergency not did he indicate any change in the upcoming election for a new parliament. Leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid, his political party, are reportedly now in hiding and they even have switched off their cell phones to escape detection.
Benazir Bhutto originally returned to Pakistan hoping to forge some type of alliance with Musharraf, but the president’s blunders in denying entry to Nawaz Sharif, sacking the supreme court, and then declaring a state of emergency helped set the stage for the current situation. There is scant doubt many members of the Musharraf military and Intelligence agents did not look favorably on Ms. Bhutto and strong suspicion exists they somehow are connected to the assassination. That is the horn of the dilemma– Musharraf’s own people disagree with efforts to ally with the United States or to attack terrorism. The Taliban originally were supplied and aided by the Pakistan Intelligence sector and undoubtedly many of those same people hate America hate secularism as personified by Bhutto.
Where does Pakistan go from here? The prospects are not good. Nawaz Sharif never completely shared the secular ideas of Bhutto and her party, at this point, lacks a figure who approaches her stature. An important step that Musharraf can take is restoring the Supreme Court judges to give a semblance of legality to the situation and entrusting them with responsibility for ensuring there is a fair election. Pakistan will have to wait for another figure to emerge who can lead their nation from the confusion that has been the product of Musharrafism.
Posted in Asia, George Bush, Human Rights, Military, Muslims, Peace, Politics, War, World News
Tagged assassination Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, Musharraf
President Musharraf made clear his determination to cooperate with any political party that gains victory in January elections for a new parliament. “I will try to work with anyone who comes to power after the elections,” he told his nation. The two main opponents of Musharraf, Awaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto have called off their planned boycott of the elections and will campaign vigorously in order to ensure that Musharrf does not gain control over the legislature. They feared a boycott would automatically ensure Musharraf’s political allies would completely control the government. In a surprising note, a poll by the International Public Opinion poll revealed that President Musharraf had made a dramatic rise in his popularity over the past month. Unfortunately, for President Musharraf, it turns out there is no such organization as the International Public Opinion poll, it was a fraud and was quickly discovered. His ratings most probably remain very low in the estimation of the Pakistan population.
A paranoid individual might connect President Musharraf to the phony poll, but at this point no one knows who are these people. Initially, they claimed their organization was based in Boston, then announced they were in Houston. The only certainty is there never was a poll.
Posted in Asia, George Bush, Human Rights, Military, Muslims, Politics, World News
Tagged Benazir Bhutto, Musharraf, Nwaz Sharif, Pakistan elections, phony poll
The Pakistan government freed former prime minister Benazir Bhutto from house arrest late Friday evening. She previously had been blocked from attending a rally against emergency rule. The Interior Department said the house arrest “has been withdrawn.” Earlier, Ms. Bhutto, speaking via a megaphone, from behind coils of barbed wire, demanded police allow her to lead a march to end the emergency rule. “I am your sister fighting for democracy,” she shouted to the crowd gathered around her compound. After the house arrest was lifted, she spoke to the press while in her bullet proof car via telephone: “I am not afraid of these tactics,” she said. “My struggle is for the people of Pakistan, for their rights and for an end to dictatorship.” A spokesperson for the Ministry of Information insisted her house arrest “was a temporary detention order to keep her from getting exposed to a very serious threat of suicide bombing.” Elsewhere, a suicide bomber blew himself up at the residence of a minister in the northwest city of Peshawar which killed four people.
The release of Ms. Bhutto undoubtedly is the result of intense outside pressure from nations like the United States. Musharraf apparently over stepped the limits of what he thought could be attained, and most wisely took a step backward. The real issue is whether or not Benazir Bhutto can cease being a corrupt leader which was so characteristic of her previous time as prime minister.
Posted in Asia, Gender Issues, George Bush, Human Rights, Peace, Politics, US Foreign Policy, World News
Tagged Benazir Bhutto, house arrest, Musharraf, Pakistan, suicide bomber
Benazir Bhutto lashed into the Pakistan government insisting there was need for an international body of experts to investigate the bombing which greeted her arrival back home after several years in exile. Her request reflected lack of trust in the integrity of the Musharraf government to conduct an unbiased study of the suicide bombings. Bhutto emphasized the bombings were really an attack against “the moderate majority of Pakistan.” There originally were many doubts regarding the feasibility of a Musharraf/Bhutto alliance, but the Bush administration made it an important goal for the future of Pakistan. One can only wonder if this incident dooms the alliance.
Poet Fatima Bhutto, niece of Benazir, blamed her aunt for death and carnage because “she insisted on this grand show, she bears responsibility for these deaths and injuries… they died for this personal theater… Ms. Fatima Bhutto was not the only one who urged Mrs. Bhutto to avoid a grand parade since it was bound to elicit violent reactions. She was asked to take a helicopter but refused since she insisted the people of Pakistan wanted to see her in person. Unfortunately, some of those people will never see her again.