Pakistan continues to experience chaos in the aftermath of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. New reports indicate the original belief she was killed by bullets and shrapnel from the explosion were incorrect. The latest version is the shockwave fro the blast threw her body against the reinforced sunroof of the car and that led to her death. Bhutto supporters are still marching chanting slogans like “General Killer” since they believe the president of Pakistan was somehow responsible for the death of their leader. The Pakistan army has orders to fire on sight against any violent demonstrators and these encounters so far have resulted in the death of at least 31 people.
Acting Prime Minister Mohammedian Soomoro insists the elections “stan as they are” and there are no plans to cancel them. Nawaz Shariff, a past opponent, but recently an ally of Bhutto has threatened to boycott the election, but his final decision has yet to be made. Foreign leaders like England’s Gordon Brown and President Bush are urging no delay in the election. The issue of a delay is vital. The Pakistan Peoples Party is not ready at this moment to offer a full slate for the election and its leadership is in turmoil. Certainly, waiting a few weeks will not alter the democratic process. Shariff should have an opportunity to have discussions with PPP leaders and work out an electoral strategy. Bush and Brown are making a mistake in urging continuation of the election. If Musharraf’s party gains a large majority it will only lead to future riots. It is time to take a deep breath and allow the PPP an Shariff to decide when they wish the election to occur.
Benazir Bhutto, leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party(PPP) charged that President Musharraf is partially responsible for the resurgence of the Taliban in areas of her nation as well as in Afghanistan. She claims the Taliban were crushed by American forces in Afghanistan and when they fled to safety in Pakistan, they were able to regroup. “They could not do that unless there is some support from the government or the intelligence.” She is casting her candidacy as the main force capable of halting Pakistan’s movement toward a government in which fundamentalist leaders exert control. Bhutto charges President Musharraf as using the fundamentalist militants in order to gain victory in the January election. She believes only her triumph in the election will result in a government dedicated to moving Pakistan out of medieval thinking and called for major education reforms of the religious madrassas schools. Her political ally, Nawaz Sharif’s petition to stand for public office was rejected by the Musharraf government.
Secretary of State Rice calls for “free and fair elections” in which all parties have equal access to the media, Benazir Bhutto is charging Musharraf with seeking to empower religious fundamentalist, and opposition leaders are denied the right to run for public office. There is a confusing mixture of hope and fear in the midst of an election in which America’s supposed ally is linking his fortunes to cooperating with religious fundamentalist leaders who support the Taliban, an enemy of the United States. A triumph by Musharraf whose fortunes are linked with those of George Bush would only result in aiding forces which are hostile to American interests. Does anyone wonder how the United States wound up in this situation? Is there a coherence in American foreign policy is a question the American people might well pose?
Posted in Asia, Gender Issues, George Bush, Human Rights, Islam, Military, Muslims, Peace, Politics, US Foreign Policy, War, World News
Tagged Bhutto, Musharraf, Pakistan elections, Rice, Taliban