Benazir's One Way To Pakistan
Benazir seemed to have a premonition. “When I first got elected they said, ‘A woman has usurped a man’s place, she should be killed. She should be assassinated, she has committed heresy.” Heresy! Ah, such a convenient fall-back for the accusations made by self-righteous cowards. How does anyone counter the shouts of heresy from the fundamentalists, the radical Islamists who control through ‘irrefutable dogma’? Yes, she had a strong premonition, and according to many, also a strong sense of predestination concerning her life and death.
“If you believe in something, go for it, but know that when you go for it there is a price to be paid. Be ready to pay the price and you can contribute to the welfare of society and society will acknowledge you and respect you for it.”
Her return to Pakistan, her one way return from exile was performed with the knowledge of the grave danger she faced. Already the Taliban had called for her execution, yet in the face of danger she returned, made her way back. She had a strong belief that she could contribute to the welfare of Pakistani society. In her past record there were achievements of note; she worked hard for the welfare of women, the common women in Pakistani society, trying to improve their health, their family life through learning about reproductive choices. “I have always done my best to allow women to succeed.” But overshadowing all her efforts to create positive social change there hung the cloud of that terrible word, corruption, the arrest of her husband Asif Zardari and his long imprisonment and her own exile. Yet she returned and made her way back to Pakistan.
She was a highly privileged person from any point of view. Imagine, being able to gain entry to Harvard at the age of sixteen! Imagine her home life, vast estates, huge houses, multitudes of servants; truly a person who came from a lineage of ‘feudal lords’, who as they moved about the country from village to village were met by common folk who sank to their knees and lowered their heads to the feet of Bhutto’s family members. Yet, in spite of this she had a deep love for her people, her country, and from what she often stated publicly, a belief that she could make a difference politically and socially.
Her one way return to Pakistan was shadowed. “I put my life in danger and came here because I felt this country is in danger.” How true that statement was. She was a person with close ties to the United States, a person with a fine secular education, a person with an international life style, a modern woman in many ways, yet one who kept to her beliefs, her religion and faith to the very end.
“In the end, Bhutto’s secular credentials in a Muslim dominated Pakistan and her close ties to the U.S. could have been her downfall. Al-Qaeda and Taliban hated her close ties to Americans and her support for the war on terrorism.” (NPR.org, Dec.27, 2007)
Don’t be afraid, she had said. I just re-read the text of her interview with the Academy of Achievement, Oct.27th. 2000. It was a worthwhile exercise for me. Her words spoke her own eulogy eloquently.
Benazir's One Way To Pakistan
- » Published on December 28, 2007
- » Type: Opinion
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