Thursday, November 15, 2007

An uprising may be the only way to dislodge the general

Benazir Bhutto is back at the head of a struggle against dictatorship, but Pakistan needs a more radical transformation

Seumas Milne
Thursday November 15, 2007
The Guardian, Comment

The return of Benazir Bhutto from the political dead has been wondrous to behold. Ten years ago, her name was mud around the world: she had been sacked as prime minister; her brother had been gunned down by her own police force; her husband was in prison on corruption charges; and her Swiss bank accounts had been frozen at the request of the Pakistani government. When the heroine of the struggle against the dictatorship of Zia ul-Haq visited Britain, government ministers failed to return her calls.

A decade on, she is the darling of the western media once more, leading the opposition to another US-backed military ruler and somehow, at the same time, the last hope of the US and British governments of keeping a grip on the upheaval now engulfing Pakistan. As she was told by a senior US official at her lowest point in the late 1990s: “We can whitewash you in 24 hours if we need to.”

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