Friday, January 07, 2011

Benazir Bhutto And Her Commitment To Democracy?

By Shahid R. Siddiqi. Axis of Logic, Jan 5, 2011
 
Editor’s Comment: December 27, 2011 was the 3rd anniversary of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination and Shahid R. Siddiqi updates the essay he wrote for publication on Axis of Logic on the second anniversary of her death.

Associated Press of Pakistan reported Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani’s words on this third, sad anniversary. Gilani told the Pakistani people that the life of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto is “a classic study of courage, commitment towards people’s welfare, and steel like determination to accomplish the goals she set before herself.” The PM continued, calling Bhutto “an incarnation of steadfastness, perseverance and determination.” He said that her name would be “chronicled in golden words in the annals of history.”

It is curious to consider how difficult it is for human beings to speak in plain language and write honestly about the dead. Notions of “honoring the dead” seem to compel most to ignore or paint over the wrongs committed by them when they were alive. It’s a sin of kindness that can be easily forgiven in personal and family atmospheres where loved ones suffer loss and are in need of comfort. But when the person who dies is a public figure such as a head of state with great responsibility for many people, it is important to look honestly at the life lived, service rendered, values exemplified and decisions made. It’s important to measure the gains and failures wrought by that life for the historical record and for lessons to be learned by others. Shahid Siddiqi has done just this on the second and third anniversary of Benazir Bhutto’s death.
- Les Blough, Editor
Benazir Bhutto was assassinated
three years ago, December 27, 2007
South Asians are sentimental people. Over the centuries, their romanticism about revered religious deities and historical social icons has shaped their psyche of nurturing personality cults. To this when you add pervasive illiteracy and ignorance about political realities of the present times, it is not difficult to understand why some political leaders have managed to achieve their meteoric rise to power merely on the strength of their charisma.

For lack of substance, such political heroes did not last very long. They owed their fall to incompetence in management of the affairs of the state and misuse of power and often met violent fate. Their warts were posthumously removed by their hangers-on who, for their own self aggrandizement, transformed them into martyrs, clearing the way for their dynasties to rule after them. Those who survived, ensured that their parties became more like their personal “jageers” where they were surrounded by sycophants and succeeded by immediate family members.

Continues >>

1 comment:

Dr Nasir Khan said...

Mr Shahid Siddiqi has admirably shown who Benazir was. She understood the mass psychology of the Pakistani people who are mostly illiterate and gullible that makes them an easy prey to political manipulators when they use the weapon of their mesmerising rhetoric and populist slogan-mongering to advance their ignoble objectives.

This callous woman used her ‘assets’ to seduce the vast majority of the population of Pakistan into believing that she had the solution to the problems of the country. Seemingly, she adhered to the mantra of democracy and human rights when in power, but what she did was to use her power and influence to manipulate and deceive on an unprecedented scale. All she did was to squeeze Pakistan to fill her secret bank accounts in Switzerland and other countries. In her efforts to that end, she was ably assisted by her husband, Asif Ali Zardari. As a result they managed to amass enormous amount of money in foreign banks and bought costly mansions and properties in France, England and Dubai, etc. The question arises where did they got all that riches from? Well, the answer is clear: from Pakistan. How and by which underhand methods? There are no big suprises for those who know how the Pakistani ruling elites operate.

As far as Benazir’s political legacy is considered, she introduced hereditary rule in Pakistan in the grand fashion of our old kings and maharajahs. Obviously she believed that some were born to rule and some were only fit to be ruled! Her inclinations and her close connections with the Washington rulers had convinced her of that.

After her death, the elevation of Zardari (aka Mr 10 percent!) to the presidential office and the expected political coronation of her young son as heir apparent to the ruling dynasty are the links to that melodrama we are witnessing.

Lastly, Pakistan has produced many opportunists and third-rate corrupt politicians, but Benazir Bhutto will continue to hold the unique distinction of being the most corrupt politician in Pakistan’s history. She was an incarnation of corruption, money-laundering and political chicaneries — she was the Plundering Queen of Pakistan.