What a venue they chose to assassinate Benazir Bhutto. At the same venue, in the year 1951, Pakistan’s first Prime Minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, was assassinated. Fifty six years later, Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on 27 December 2007, indicating the state of security quagmire Pakistan has been in. The state of affairs is so appalling that the assassins could have terminated her life whenever they had wished. The fact is that the perpetrators had plotted to blow Benazir up targeting the day she had returned to Pakistan. They missed! And after that, within themselves, they must have discussed casually – ‘Well, no issues, we missed today, will try again, next month!’ It is unbelievable how easily they almost killed her once (during the first blast) and then actually killed her in a matter of a few more days. These shocking incidents only indicate the state of security quandary that the South Asian countries face, wherein the killing of top political figures is carried out almost at will.
What is most unfortunate is the fact that with Benazir’s life, the assassins also took away whatever little chance the Pakistanis ever had with democracy, the only form of governance that could have possibly stabilised Pakistan. Now, with Benazir removed from the scene, and no able successor to take her role in leading Pakistan People’s Party, and with Nawaz Sharif going undercover and boycotting the elections, it is almost certain that it is Musharraf’s Pakistan Muslim League (Q) that would come back to power. And when that happens, things will remain as bad, if not deteriorate altogether. The situation would worsen not only for Pakistan, but for India too, as the increasing dominance of the radical groups would continue pushing the Sharia rule in the region; and going by precedence, to make that happen, they would go to any extent. In the given scenario, and coupled with American pressures, the Musharraf Administration would not have much option but to go behind the radical groups, taking Pakistan more towards a possible disintegration. And if that happens, there’s just one ant of a reason why things will take a serious turn for India – Pakistan, ahem, has nuclear weapons now (that is, if you hadn’t noticed by now)!
Not just that Benazir’s assassination is a huge loss when it comes to Indo-Pak future relations, but also that this gruesome incident drives home some important lessons for the leaders on either side of the boundary. Around 48 hours after Benazir was assassinated,
Al Qaeda claimed responsibility for terminating her life as they saw her as ‘the most precious American asset’ who tried to defeat the Mujahideens! Not long back, it was Benazir who had asked the then Director General of Military Operations to rehabilitate Al Qaeda mastermind Osama bin Laden from Sudan to Jalalabad, a city in eastern Afghanistan. On account of the American pressures, Osama was ousted from Khartoum, following which he made his base in Sudan. Though Benazir had taken this step to control Pakistan’s western border and to intervene in Afghanistan’s affairs, she could hardly have known then that the same Al Qaeda would get after her and take away her life. It’s almost history repeating itself again and again. Indira, Rajiv, Benazir, all killed by terrorists who were either created and supported (at one point of time at least) by them or by terrorists whom they spoke against. It is a big lesson for the US too, something that they already learnt after 9/11 – the terror you create today would hit you back someday.
Benazir’s assassination drives home a two-fold lesson, particularly for young dynastic political leaders like Rahul. First, never to support any form of terrorism or anti-social corrupt elements, even if they serve some kind of strategic purpose in the short run, as they would invariably hit back in the future, as the past has shown. And second, if one has to go all out behind such terror groups, then they should not go around chanting that their life is at threat and that they could be killed any day or that they don’t bother much about their lives for they can easily give their lives away for the nation. Practically, these are absolutely silly, immature statements that serve no purpose other than rousing political rhetoric to engage an illiterate audience that may get swayed by such overwhelming emotions.
And that is the reason why top statesmen like Clinton, George Bush, Putin, Blair or even a Chavez or a Castro never make such statements. For they understand that for their respective nations, it is their lives that are more important than their dead bodies! And that is why they get themselves a world class security cover and go about their jobs fanatically. It is time our leaders realised that!
- 13 January 2008 |