President Bush immediately blamed Al-Qaeda or the Taliban or both for the murder of Benazir Bhutto. Words like “extremists” or “terrorists” are being cited for the murder of a leader who was challenging the regime of President Musharraf. However, in the streets of Pakistani cities, the cries are somewhat different as grieving followers of the fallen leader blame President Musharraf and the “agencies” of his government such as the Intelligence service. Yesterday, a leader of the Pakistan Muslim League-Q, which supports Musharraf, was blown up by a roadside bomb, undoubtedly by followers of Bhutto.
Lost in the anguish and confusion of the moment is the reality behind Benazir Bhutto who is being transformed into a fallen martyr. In a story published in the London Review of Books, Tariq Ali pointed out that Benazir’s own brother, Murtaza, who demanded a return to the original secular values of the Pakistan People’s Party, was murdered by police while she was prime minister of the nation. When Benazir’s niece called and asked why witnesses rather than the murderers were being arrested, her aunt replied: “Look,you’re very young. You don’t understand things.”
Over all the confusion and anger and hatred and fear that is now taking place in Pakistan hovers the shocking power of Pakistan’s ISI, the Inter Service Intelligence. Daniel Pearl, who was murdered by extremists, made his appointment with the militants while sitting in an office of an ISI commander’s office. Pakistani analysts are arguing as to whether or not the murder occurred due to al-Qaeda-Taliban elements or whether the murder was planned in the offices of the ISI. At this point, no one knows. Shortly before she returned to Pakistan, the Daily Times of Pakistan reported a statement by al-Qaeda leader, Baitullah, in which he claimed to have trained hundreds of suicide bombers to kill her. In all honesty, it is doubtful if ay truth will emerge in the coming months about her death. In the meantime, Bush and Musharraf claim it was the work of al-Qaeda, but to the people now raging through the streets of Pakistan, it was planned and executed by agencies in the Musharraf government.