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« on: Dec 27, 2007 08:04 PM »


 innalillah

I'm still shocked by the news. I don't understand what the "extremists" hoped to gain by it. Even if they think she's a puppet or too pro-western, what is killing someone going to do? I don't understand why they think violence is the answer to everything. Killing themselves AND other innocent Muslims, just soooo WRONG. This is what happens when people think they are vigilantes. The election was coming up, if they didn't like her, why didn't they just not *vote* for her.  Maybe someone from pakistan can help us understand what is really going on over there. Sad

===================



Quote:
BENAZIR BHUTTO
Father led Pakistan before being executed in 1979
Spent five years in prison
Served as PM from 1988-1990 and 1993-1996
Sacked twice by president on corruption charges
Formed alliance with rival ex-PM Nawaz Sharif in 2006
Ended self-imposed exile by returning to Pakistan in October
Educated at Harvard and Oxford
Last Updated: Thursday, 27 December 2007, 16:26 GMT

Benazir Bhutto killed in attack

Benazir Bhutto had been addressing rallies in many parts of Pakistan
Pakistani former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has been assassinated in a suicide attack.

Ms Bhutto had just addressed an election rally in Rawalpindi when she was shot in the neck by a gunman who then set off a bomb.

At least 15 other people died in the attack and several more were injured.

President Pervez Musharraf condemned the killing and urged people to remain calm so that the "nefarious designs of terrorists can be defeated."

There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attack.

Ms Bhutto, leader of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP), had twice been the country's prime minister and had been campaigning ahead of elections due in January.

It was the second suicide attack against her in recent months and came amid a wave of bombings targeting security and government officials.

Nawaz Sharif, also a former prime minister and a political rival, said her death was a tragedy for "the entire nation".

"It is not a sad day, it is [the] darkest, gloomiest day in the history of this country," he said, speaking at the hospital where she was taken.

The United Nations Security Council is to meet for emergency consultations shortly to discuss the situation in Pakistan after the killing.

Scene of grief

The attack occurred close to an entrance gate of the park in Rawalpindi where Ms Bhutto had been speaking.

Police confirmed reports Ms Bhutto had been shot in the neck and chest before the gunman blew himself up.

She died at 1816 (1316 GMT), said Wasif Ali Khan, a member of the PPP who was at Rawalpindi General Hospital.

Some supporters at the hospital wept while others broke into anger, throwing stones at cars and breaking windows.

Police in the north-western city of Peshawar are reported to have used tear gas and batons to break up a demonstration by angry Bhutto supporters and there were also protests in other cities.

Mr Sharif said there had been a "serious lapse in security" by the government.

But an old friend of Ms Bhutto, Salman Tassir, told the BBC World Service he did not think criticism should be directed at the government.

"There have been suicide attacks on Gen Musharraf also," he told Newshour.

"... I mean it is extremism and the fanatics who are to blame."

Earlier on Thursday, at least four people were killed ahead of an election rally Mr Sharif had been preparing to attend close to Rawalpindi.

Ms Bhutto's death has plunged the PPP into confusion and raises questions about whether January elections will go ahead as planned, the BBC's Barbara Plett in Islamabad says.

'Cowardly act'

The killing was condemned by India, the US, the UK and others.

"The subcontinent has lost an outstanding leader who worked for democracy and reconciliation in her country," said Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

US President George W Bush condemned a "cowardly act by murderous extremists who are trying to undermine Pakistan's democracy".

UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband said "extremist groups... [could] not and must not succeed".

Ms Bhutto returned from self-imposed exile in October after years out of Pakistan where she had faced corruption charges.

Her return was the result of a power-sharing agreement with President Musharraf in which he granted an amnesty that covered the court cases she was facing.

But relations with Mr Musharraf soon broke down.

On the day of her arrival, she had led a motor cavalcade through the city of Karachi.

It was hit by a double suicide attack that left some 130 dead.
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« Reply #1 on: Dec 27, 2007 09:38 PM »

Asalamualaikum wra,


The people who did this act did not follow the Ulema, rather they follow their own opinions and ideas.  This is a great crime.  The righteous Ulema have spoken out against such senseless violence.  May Allah guide our Ummah.

________



Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen on Attacking the enemy by blowing oneself up in a car

Question: What is the ruling regarding acts of jihaad by means of suicide, such as attaching explosives to a car and storming the enemy, whereby he knows without a doubt that he shall die as a result of this action?

Response: Indeed, my opinion is that he is regarded as one who has killed himself (committed suicide), and as a result he shall be punished in Hell, for that which is authenticated on the authority of the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam).

[((Indeed, whoever (intentionally) kills himself, then certainly he will be punished in the Fire of Hell, wherein he shall dwell forever)), [Bukhaaree (5778) and Muslim (109 and 110)]].

However, one who is ignorant and does not know, and assumes his action was good and pleasing to Allaah (Subhaanahu wa Ta'aala), then we hope Allaah (Subhaanahu wa Ta'aala) forgives him for that which he did out of (ignorant) ijtihaad, even though I do not find any excuse for him in the present day. This is because this type of suicide is well known and widespread amongst the people, so it is upon the person to ask the people of knowledge (scholars) regarding it, until the right guidance for him is differentiated from the error.

And from that which is surprising, is that these people kill themselves despite Allaah having fordbidden this, as He (Subhaanahu wa Ta'aala) says:

{And do not kill yourselves. Surely, Allaah is Most Merciful to you}, [Soorah an-Nisaa., Aayah 29].

And many amongst them do not desire anything except revenge of the enemy, by whatever means, be it halaal or haraam. So they only want to satisfy their thirst for revenge.

We ask Allaah to bless us with foresight in His Deen and action(s) which please Him, indeed He is all Powerful over all things.

Shaykh Ibn 'Uthaymeen
Kayfa Nu'aalij Waaqi'unaa al-Aleem - Page 119

Be merciful to those on earth, and the One in the Heavens will be merciful to you.
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« Reply #2 on: Dec 28, 2007 03:45 AM »

 peace be upon you

After hearing of the suicide bombing at the mosque near Peshawar recently, when a man, presumably a Muslim, decided to blow himiself up along with scores of fellow worshipers praying their Eid ul-Adha prayers, the question I asked myself is "Who are these people?", and I ask myself that question again with today's events...

First of all, the death of any innocent civilians, be they Muslim or non-Muslim, is tragic and unwarranted. The use of illegitimate means of violence is reprehensible, whatever means they take, be they carpet bombing by government airplanes or a single man strapping himself with explosives and blowing himself up in a crowded market..

One thing has recently bothered me though, as I seek to try to understand the mentality of those individuals who commit such nefarious acts, many of whom think that they are doing God's work and defending their religion...

Where are those "martyr" videos lionizing their actions?

If we look at the acts of terrorism committed against non-Muslims in recent times, such as the London bombings, it's been common to see images of the suicide bombers to be, explaining the reasons for their actions, justifying their means, as the videos praise and honor the "martyr".

Where are the videos of these "heroes" who have perpetrated similar measures against Muslims, in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and beyond? I've never seen any of them. Many more Muslims have died at the hands of this type of terrorism than non-Muslims, both directly as well as indirectly. Why don't we see videos of these men and women proudly justifying their murder of Muslims and explaining their actions? Why don't we see the faces of these so-called martyrs?

Is it that the ruthless killing of non-Muslims at Muslim hands requires justification and explanation, while the ruthless killing of Muslims does not? It is almost as if to these self-professed ideal Muslims, the blood of their fellow Muslims is even cheaper than other peoples...

I've seen the face of the bombers in London. I know their names. For once I'd like to see the face of one of those countless suicide bombers that have killed thousands and thousands of Muslims over the past few years. I'd like to see how proud they are and what kind of people they are. I'd like to see if people are going to their parents houses and congratulating them about their child's martyrdom. I'd like to see how proud their familes are of them.

I'm sure I'll never see their faces. I would hope the reason behind that silence is that deep down both they and their handlers feel some shame in the mass murder of innocent Muslims. Otherwise I can only assume that to them all blood is cheap, but the cheapest blood of all is that of a Muslim. And to kill a Muslim doesn't even deserve or require an explanation.

 peace be upon you
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« Reply #3 on: Dec 28, 2007 11:07 AM »

peace be upon you

brother Abdul Basir

You want to understand the mentality of the suicide bomber? I have not met a suicide bomber, or the mentors of such people, but I can throw some light, I think:

I met a young man from the Frontier province. He had done Intermediate Arts, (i.e. pre-University), which is 12 years of schooling. He was without a job, and had come to live with his cobbler cousin while looking for a job. He was unsuccessful, and told me that if someone would offer money for his family, he would become a suicide bomber.

There is the other type, the Afghan who has lost his family in NATO or Pakistan bombings, and is bent upon revenge.

There is yet another: the sectarian one, like lashkare jhangwi (a sunni outfit) and Jaishe Muhammad (a shia one). These are motivated by sheer hate. Their roots are in old enmities of certain areas (Jhang, Charsadda). The lashkare jhangwi looks at the books of shia ulema that denigrate the Sahaba, particularly Abu Bakr (raa), Umar (raa) and Ayesha (raa), and are filled with rage. The jashe Mhammad look at the accounts of the martyrdom of Hussein, and are filled with hatred. Both believe that the other is an agent of Satan, and by killing one of the opposing sect, jannah is assured. I have met one each from both, and I shiver at the encounter.

None of the above wants to advertise the name of the martyr, as Muslim society in general looks down upon such people at large. Their families would suffer, not receive congratulations.

The Palestinian suicide bomber in the Middle East, and the one in the West, do receive some acclaim, as the vast majority of the Muslm world believes the West as still Imperialistic and driven by Zionist agendas.

Does that make it clear?
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« Reply #4 on: Dec 28, 2007 01:16 PM »

Inna Lillahi wa inna ilaihe rajioon.

Human emotions can be very powerful, so I guess I can understand how it can happen. But then, Allah gave us all guidelines to follow, so there's always someone who can think reasonably in any particular group. It'll be interesting to see what direction Pakiland will follow now.

 - A
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« Reply #5 on: Dec 28, 2007 09:23 PM »

Asalamualaikum wa rahmatallah,


The youth who are tempted to commit these actions should be reminded with the verses of Allah:


004.029 ... Nor kill (or destroy) yourselves: for verily God hath been to you Most Merciful!

004.030 If any do that in rancour and injustice,- soon shall We cast them into the Fire: And easy it is for God.



We learn from these verses that:


1.)  Suicide is forbidden, and person who does such a thing will be punished eternally in the Hell-Fire, by committing the same act over and over again.



2.)  Interestingly, Allah mentions His Mercy in the same verse the He forbids suicide.  Thus, when a person despairs of the Mercy and Rahma of Allah, he may fall into this sin.  Such a person should be reminded of Allah's mercy to all of His Creation, and His Mercy in the Afterlife.  Allah's mercy encompasses all things.  We should not let the injustices of others cause us to forget that in the afterlife those who bear these difficulties with patience will have a great reward with Allah.


3.)  The Hell-fire is sufficient for the wrongdoers, as Allah says regarding those who practice evil : "Sufficient for them is the Fire, they will be thrown into it."    By committing suicide and harming others, the person has a.) taken his own life unlawfully, and b.) taken the lives of countless others unlawfully. 

Thus, he will become similar to the wrongdoers that he seeks to oppose!



The youth need to have a strong connection with the Ulema, so they can be taught Fiqh (Good understanding) and Hikmah (Wisdom).  They need to be educated in the various aspects of Fiqh such as the Fiqh of Beliefs (aqeedah, the afterlife), the Fiqh of Worship, and the Fiqh of Priorities (awloowiyaat), as well as the intents and aims of Shariah.  Without such knowledge and connection with the Ulema, they are liable to bring great harm to the Ummah despite their good intentions.



And Allah knows best.

Be merciful to those on earth, and the One in the Heavens will be merciful to you.
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« Reply #6 on: Dec 29, 2007 02:59 AM »

 peace be upon you

The question I asked in my post was intended to be rhetorical, but Jazakumullahu khayran for your thoughts.  bro
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« Reply #7 on: Dec 29, 2007 07:26 AM »

:wsalam:

I don't think Br. Abdulbasir was asking what motivates suicide bombers, but rather, why do they release videos for when they kill nonmuslims and not when they kill muslims. Why are muslim lives so cheap to them when they claim to be doing these things "for the ummah" and when this (muslim lives being so cheap to the west) itself is the supposed reason they commit these acts! The irony. 

(I know you said they're rhetorical)

I would say first to emphasize, that there can be no justification for killing anyone in this manner. We've heard again and again from the overwhelming majority of the scholars and ulema about how heinous a crime it is to kill oneself let alone to take another innocent life, whatever the cause. Indeed in Islam the punishment is eternal damnation! Not even in war are we allowed to do this. This has been said over and over by our shaikhs and every normal muslim in the world but of course we never get airtime.

I would argue that first suicide bombers have no regard for life, muslim or otherwise. If they kill 200 Muslims to "warn someone" or "make a message", if they kill 2000 nonmuslims it makes no difference to whatever is fueling them.

Second, how can we even ask questions or reason with this issue. These people are sick. You can bring all the reasons to them, you can try to be logical, you can explain how detrimental this is to the ummah, indeed they don't even regard quran and sunnah. It's like a person that has paranoid schizophrenia. You can argue with them and tell them nooo there are no aliens following them, there is no chip in their head, but it will never work because they're sick. Yes there are root causes to this sickness, but sometimes even taking away the root causes doesn't work. They are stupid hateful vengeful people that cannot see past their own arrogance. They lack Sabr and knowledge. They lack any type of vision or sense and contrary to popular opinion i can't see how they believe in a hereafter OR God as their actions completely belie that. If only people would think. If only those 19 could see the absolute suffering, devastation and destruction their single actions have caused thousands and millions of MUSLIMS. Women raped, babies killed, men displaced, cities ravaged, countries burned and looted, living in constant fear, war zones, poverty, problems. Even the name of Islam, tarnished, branded and hated. AND FOR WHAT?

A non-Muslim activist once told me that the single thing stopping Palestine from having any sympathy or actions of help from around the world is "because of the suicide bombings". And I believe him.

I know we'll get that brother on here who says that it's all a conspiracy by the gov't, that the western media shows everything distorted and that many of the "suicide bombings" and whatever are actually planted by western forces as a 'divide and conquer' strategy. And that is true and there have been articles that prove that they do do that. But no one can deny that there are 'muslims' who do commit these acts and have beliefs like this.

What is the solution? I really don't know. How do you stop someone from gunning down a political leader they don't like in the street and then blowing everyone up? How do you stop people who protest against that by rioting and killing more of their own people? That go and BURN DOWN A BANK IN HER HOMETOWN??? as protest! It's civilization I think. We've completely lost it. It's chaos and fitnah and every man for himself. The end of times are here.
 
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« Reply #8 on: Dec 30, 2007 12:45 PM »

I actually felt cold to the bone when I heard the news.  I was upstairs while my sister was watching Al-Jazeera/English on TV downstairs when suddenly,  "BREAKING NEWS" in red started flashing across the TV screen.  And of all breaking news, it happened to be the death of Benazir Bhutto.  She shouted from downstairs calling to me to come and see.  I just couldn't believe it when I watched it on TV.  I feel pain for her kids and husband.

Like everybody, we all thought WHY?  What could her killer possibly gain from her death?  When will we as Muslims use common sense rather than being reactive.  I am actually worried for Pakistan.

But I don't agree that Al-Qaida or the Taliban had anything to do with it.  Let's call a spade, a spade. 

May Allah protect the innocent and may the cowards mend their ways.  Ameen.

The Almighty Allah says,

"When a servant thinks of Me, I am near.
When he invokes Me, I am with him.
If he reflects on Me in secret, I reply in secret,
And if he acknowledges Me in an assembly,
I acknowledge him in a far superior assembly."

- Prophet Muhammad (SAW), as reptd by Abu Huraira
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« Reply #9 on: Dec 30, 2007 08:03 PM »

1) this is very sad.

2) this also proves that pakistan is the most messed up country with a population bigger than 20M on planet earth. 

3) this also proves that the only hope that pakistan ever had was shaykh mujib -- who could have brought bengali moderation to  pakistan and used to the moderation of 70 million bengalis to remold Pakistan.  instead bhutto's dad, the greedy butthead, didn't allow him to come to power, and so today we have a lunatic pakistan which is a threat to the whole region

4) despite the tragedy, benazir was no angel.  she was a pampered thief. her father was responsible for the dissolution of pakistan and the death of millions of bengalis. the resulting atrocities of 1971 have caused a whole nation (bangladesh) to virtually curse him and his family.  at some point the dua of the oppressed does manifest itself in this worldly life in some form by God's will

5) benazir was not a democrat and by appointing her 19 year old son as party head, has proved that she knows nothing about democracy; you cannot have democracy in a country when the political parties do not practice democracy themselves (i.e. their leaders should be elected by party members, party leadership must be obtained by intraparty elections, not by inheritance.)

6) have pity for pakistan, now that Mr 10% and his son, who probably can't even read urdu well, head Pakistan's biggest political party.
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« Reply #10 on: Dec 30, 2007 11:57 PM »

 peace be upon you


We witness yet another act of violent expediency in the name of Islam.


The problem many Muslims don't realize is that suicide bombing is not a legitimate means to achieve an end.  In fact, it makes Muslim lives appear worthless (since they are willing to take their own for political ends) and hardens the hearts of the opponents of Islam.  It also gives the opponents of Islam an opportunity to harm the Muslim community vis-a-vis the moral "upper-hand" that we've given them.

We know that Islam forbids suicide, and the most conservative Muslim scholars, including ibn Baz, Albaani, Uthaymeen, and others all ruled against the use of these attacks, and attacking civilians in general. 

However, it has not gone unnoticed that certain scholars justify them, in certain circumstances.  This has hurt the peaceful propogation of Islam immensely, and given Muslims the image of being pathetic, anarchistic, uncivilized, and irrational.


I believe it is time for the Ulema to review their position on this issue, and take a unified stance against all forms of immoral violence, especially since we now see that we Muslims have become the greatest victims of these acts.

As the last community sent to uphold of the religion of Allah, we have to lead by example, not words alone, that belie our actions.




And Allah knows best.

Be merciful to those on earth, and the One in the Heavens will be merciful to you.
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« Reply #11 on: Dec 31, 2007 04:02 PM »

peace be upon you

It is not the extremists, but criminal elements.

we are in need of duas, very much so.

The country is at  a standstill for more than 4 days now. In Karachi, very few shops and gas stations opened today, and that too for a very short period. In most areas, as soon as some shops or offices opened, miscreants came out with aerial firing, and the owners put the shutters down. Hospitals are understaffed. Ambulances ahve been burnt down. Medical stores are not open. Food and water are running scarce. There must be starvation now in houses of daily wage earners. Where food is available, it is selling at more than double the normal price. We are lucky, as we can get food, and the area is rlatively safe. Transport including airplanes are either running late, or not at all. My daughter is supposed to arrive between 1st and 2nd Jan. and we do not know if the roads will be dafe enough to go to the airport. The next day we are scheduled to leave for Islamabad by a diffeert airline, and the schedule is in doubt, too.
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« Reply #12 on: Jan 01, 2008 01:28 PM »



  In Pakistan,

  whenever they have a general election . . .

                           . . . they elect a General .




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« Reply #13 on: Jan 01, 2008 06:04 PM »

Thought this was a good article on the subject:
======================================

Benazir Bhutto, fell victim to the politics of endemic violence in Pakistan. She called herself “the Daughter of Destiny” in her autobiography and often styled herself as the daughter of Pakistan. She had more upheavals in one life time than most can imagine. In her untimely death, she followed her slain father and two brothers.

She was the daughter of former President, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, appointed under emergency rule when former dictator Yahya Khan abdicated in the wake of civil war of 1971. The war was brought on by hubris of Yahya Khan and Zulfiqar Bhutto, resulting in East Pakistan breaking away to form Bangladesh. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto later became the Prime Minister under a parliamentary constitution designed by him. He rigged the next election and was overthrown in a military coup in 1977 by General Zia ul Haq, who hanged him in 1979 for the murder of a political opponent.

With courage and perseverance, twenty-six year old Oxford and Harvard educated Benazir Bhutto became the undisputed leader of her father’s Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP). The PPP was hounded by General Zia, an ally of the US in the war against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. After the death of dictator-President Zia ul Haq in a plane crash, she returned from exile to lead PPP to victory twice to become the Prime Minister in 1988 and again in 1993. And twice she was dismissed from office under a cloud of corruption and nepotism in 1990 and 1996 by the ceremonial president.

In 1999, General Parvez Musharraf overthrew the government of her political rival Nawaz Sharif. General Musharraf has ruled Pakistan through some very difficult times in the wake of 9/11 and the US war on Al Qaeda and the Talibans in neighboring Afghanistan.

After eight years of dictatorship, and close cooperation with the United States, Musharraf has not been able to contain the virulent Talibanist ideology that has spilled over among the kith and kin of Afghan Pashtuns in the very porous frontier areas of Pakistan. With regular indiscriminate bombings of Pashtun villages in Afghanistan by the US lead forces and occasional stealth bombings in Pakistan, claiming hundreds perhaps thousands of innocent lives, the Pashtuns have become much more anti-American and anti-Pakistan government than ever before, resulting in Iraq style suicide bombings in civilian areas of Pakistan.

Unable to defeat the Talibanist ideology and unable to safeguard the civilian population in the heartland of Pakistan, Musharraf has become quite unpopular. He found his power slipping and made the mistake of firing the Chief Justice of the Benazir Bhutto PakistanPakistan Supreme Court in March 2007. Unexpected widespread protest followed and Musharraf was forced to reinstate the Chief Justice. It weakened him further.

Over the summer of 2007, the United States brokered a power sharing deal between General Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto to provide a gradual shift in power. Musharraf dropped the pending corruption charges against her and allowed her return to Pakistan after a decade of self exile. She was a candidate for Prime Minister again in the upcoming election on January 8, 2008. On again, off again political maneuvering by General Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto further weakened Musharraf who declared emergency in early November, but was forced to relinquish his military dictator’s uniform to become a newly minted civilian president.

Whatever the veracity of behind the scene deal may have been, Bush took credit for it, trying to shore his sagging popularity in the United States. To the Pakistanis the very idea of Bush meddling and controlling the two top political figures, made Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto appear to be stooges of Bush, who while preaching democracy has a record of supporting dictatorships and bullying other countries. An average Pakistani does not support the Talibanist ideology and feels caught between the devil and the deep sea, unable to decide which is which.

Benazir Bhutto was a polarizing figure in a country that had aspirations of nationhood, but keeps loosing to the vested interests based on many conflicting ethnic, linguistic and economic fissures held together or perhaps suppressed together by the domineering presence of the military. For sixty years, its leaders have gone for quick fixes of military dictatorships

As polarizing leaders often are, she was intensely loved by many and was hated by many others. In the past Benazir Bhutto had political opponents, but this time she had deadly enemies. The bullets of an assassin and the suicide bomber not only killed Benazir Bhutto, but have set Pakistan further back, denying another possible chance for an imperfect democracy to take root.

I was not an admirer of Benazir Bhutto’s political compromises and considered her father to be one of the architects of the dismemberment of Pakistan when Bangladesh broke away in 1971. But criticism aside one has to admire her courage and persistence. She tried to bring sanity to Pakistan’s many-sided murky politics choked with a strangle-hold of military on all the intermittent civilian governments, including hers.

Finally she went down fighting courageously trying to do some good for her beleaguered country. She was less than what critics like me would have liked her to be, but then critics have the luxury of not being in Benazir Bhutto Asif Zardari Bilawal Larkanathe rough and tumble of politics. They do not have to swallow principles and make calculated imperfect or at times far from perfect compromises. As Theodore Roosevelt said,

“It is not the critic who counts: not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood, who strives valiantly, who errs and comes up short again and again … who spends himself in a worthy cause; who, at the best, knows, in the end, the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least he fails while daring greatly.”

Banazir Bhutto knew the dangers she faced. About 150 people died in an attempt on her life when she arrived in Pakistan from exile in mid-October this year. She was not intimidated but pursued on with vigor. She died valiantly fighting for her and Pakistan’s future as she saw it. She was cut down in her prime by those who have a very narrow jaundiced view of their religion and no vision of the future. They court death, killing innocent bystanders in ignorance of the ideals of religion and nobility of human spirit.

After six years of war of death and destruction the US should realize that bombing in anger wins battles and destroys an enemy, resulting in a blowback price to pay. War of ideas is won by convincing the enemy of a better future. Instead of supporting military dictatorships the United States should invest in better schools, universities, hospitals and infrastructure to help Pakistan alleviate poverty and build a more equitable society.

Pakistan is again at fateful cross roads. It is sixty years late, but not too late, because what else can a people or a nation do, but to take up the fallen standard and persevere. Pakistanis can reject the politics of fear imposed by the quick-fix promises of military dictatorships. They should take up the difficult long journey of slowly building civil institutions of imperfect political give and take to reach an internal cohesion and become a nation at peace with itself and its neighbors.

indianmuslims.in/obituary-benazir-bhutto-faced-death-with-courage/
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« Reply #14 on: Jan 02, 2008 01:10 PM »

Assalamo elikuim
Another article .
****************************
http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,2233334,00.html



Pakistan's flawed and feudal princess


It's wrong for the West simply to mourn Benazir Bhutto as a martyred democrat, says this acclaimed south Asia expert. Her legacy is far murkier and more complex

William Dalrymple
Sunday December 30, 2007
The Observer


One of Benazir Bhutto's more dubious legacies to Pakistan is the Prime Minister's house in the middle of Islamabad. The building is a giddy, pseudo-Mexican ranch house with white walls and a red tile roof. There is nothing remotely Islamic about the building which, as my minder said when I went there to interview the then Prime Minister Bhutto, was 'PM's own design'. Inside, it was the same story. Crystal chandeliers dangled sometimes two or three to a room; oils of sunflowers and tumbling kittens that would have looked at home on the Hyde Park railings hung below garishly gilt cornices.

The place felt as though it might be the weekend retreat of a particularly flamboyant Latin-American industrialist, but, in fact, it could have been anywhere. Had you been shown pictures of the place on one of those TV game-shows where you are taken around a house and then have to guess who lives there, you may have awarded this hacienda to virtually anyone except, perhaps, to the Prime Minister of an impoverished Islamic republic situated next door to Iran.

Which is, of course, exactly why the West always had a soft spot for Benazir Bhutto. Her neighbouring heads of state may have been figures as unpredictable and potentially alarming as President Ahmadinejad of Iran and a clutch of opium-trading Afghan warlords, but Bhutto has always seemed reassuringly familiar to Western governments - one of us. She spoke English fluently because it was her first language. She had an English governess, went to a convent run by Irish nuns and rounded off her education with degrees from Harvard and Oxford.

'London is like a second home for me,' she once told me. 'I know London well. I know where the theatres are, I know where the shops are, I know where the hairdressers are. I love to browse through Harrods and WH Smith in Sloane Square. I know all my favourite ice cream parlours. I used to particularly love going to the one at Marble Arch: Baskin Robbins. Sometimes, I used to drive all the way up from Oxford just for an ice cream and then drive back again. That was my idea of sin.'

It was difficult to imagine any of her neighbouring heads of state, even India's earnest Sikh economist, Manmohan Singh, talking like this.

For the Americans, what Benazir Bhutto wasn't was possibly more attractive even than what she was. She wasn't a religious fundamentalist, she didn't have a beard, she didn't organise rallies where everyone shouts: 'Death to America' and she didn't issue fatwas against Booker-winning authors, even though Salman Rushdie ridiculed her as the Virgin Ironpants in his novel Shame.

However, the very reasons that made the West love Benazir Bhutto are the same that gave many Pakistanis second thoughts. Her English might have been fluent, but you couldn't say the same about her Urdu which she spoke like a well-groomed foreigner: fluently, but ungrammatically. Her Sindhi was even worse; apart from a few imperatives, she was completely at sea.

English friends who knew Benazir at Oxford remember a bubbly babe who drove to lectures in a yellow MG, wintered in Gstaad and who to used to talk of the thrill of walking through Cannes with her hunky younger brother and being 'the centre of envy; wherever Shahnawaz went, women would be bowled over'.

This Benazir, known to her friends as Bibi or Pinky, adored royal biographies and slushy romances: in her old Karachi bedroom, I found stacks of well-thumbed Mills and Boons including An Affair to Forget, Sweet Imposter and two copies of The Butterfly and the Baron. This same Benazir also had a weakness for dodgy Seventies easy listening - 'Tie a Yellow Ribbon Round the Old Oak Tree' was apparently at the top of her playlist. This is also the Benazir who had an enviable line in red-rimmed fashion specs and who went weak at the sight of marrons glace.

But there was something much more majestic, even imperial, about the Benazir I met when she was Prime Minister. She walked and talked in a deliberately measured and regal manner and frequently used the royal 'we'. At my interview, she took a full three minutes to float down the 100 yards of lawns separating the Prime Minister's house from the chairs where I had been told to wait for her. There followed an interlude when Benazir found the sun was not shining in quite the way she wanted it to. 'The sun is in the wrong direction,' she announced. Her hair was arranged in a sort of baroque beehive topped by a white gauze dupatta. The whole painted vision reminded me of one of those aristocratic Roman princesses in Caligula

This Benazir was a very different figure from that remembered by her Oxford contemporaries. This one was renowned throughout Islamabad for chairing 12-hour cabinet meetings and for surviving on four hours' sleep. This was the Benazir who continued campaigning after the suicide bomber attacked her convoy the very day of her return to Pakistan in October, and who blithely disregarded the mortal threat to her life in order to continue fighting. This other Benazir Bhutto, in other words, was fearless, sometimes heroically so, and as hard as nails.

More than anything, perhaps, Benazir was a feudal princess with the aristocratic sense of entitlement that came with owning great tracts of the country and the Western-leaning tastes that such a background tends to give. It was this that gave her the sophisticated gloss and the feudal grit that distinguished her political style. In this, she was typical of many Pakistani politicians. Real democracy has never thrived in Pakistan, in part because landowning remains the principle social base from which politicians emerge.

The educated middle class is in Pakistan still largely excluded from the political process. As a result, in many of the more backward parts of Pakistan, the feudal landowner expects his people to vote for his chosen candidate. As writer Ahmed Rashid put it: 'In some constituencies, if the feudals put up their dog as a candidate, that dog would get elected with 99 per cent of the vote.'

Today, Benazir is being hailed as a martyr for freedom and democracy, but far from being a natural democrat, in many ways, Benazir was the person who brought Pakistan's strange variety of democracy, really a form of 'elective feudalism', into disrepute and who helped fuel the current, apparently unstoppable, growth of the Islamists. For Bhutto was no Aung San Suu Kyi. During her first 20-month premiership, astonishingly, she failed to pass a single piece of major legislation. Amnesty International accused her government of having one of the world's worst records of custodial deaths, killings and torture.

Within her party, she declared herself the lifetime president of the PPP and refused to let her brother Murtaza challenge her. When he persisted in doing so, he ended up shot dead in highly suspicious circumstances outside the family home. Murtaza's wife Ghinwa and his daughter Fatima, as well as Benazir's mother, all firmly believed that Benazir gave the order to have him killed.

As recently as the autumn, Benazir did and said nothing to stop President Musharraf ordering the US and UK-brokered 'rendition' of her rival, Nawaz Sharif, to Saudi Arabia and so remove from the election her most formidable rival. Many of her supporters regarded her deal with Musharraf as a betrayal of all her party stood for.

Behind Pakistan's endless swings between military government and democracy lies a surprising continuity of elitist interests: to some extent, Pakistan's industrial, military and landowning classes are all interrelated and they look after each other. They do not, however, do much to look after the poor. The government education system barely functions in Pakistan and for the poor, justice is almost impossible to come by. According to political scientist Ayesha Siddiqa: 'Both the military and the political parties have all failed to create an environment where the poor can get what they need from the state. So the poor have begun to look to alternatives for justice. In the long term, flaws in the system will create more room for the fundamentalists.'

In the West, many right-wing commentators on the Islamic world tend to see the march of political Islam as the triumph of an anti-liberal and irrational 'Islamo-fascism'. Yet much of the success of the Islamists in countries such as Pakistan comes from the Islamists' ability to portray themselves as champions of social justice, fighting people such as Benazir Bhutto from the Islamic elite that rules most of the Muslim world from Karachi to Beirut, Ramallah and Cairo.

This elite the Islamists successfully depict as rich, corrupt, decadent and Westernised. Benazir had a reputation for massive corruption. During her government, the anti-corruption organisation Transparency International named Pakistan one of the three most corrupt countries in the world.

Bhutto and her husband, Asif Zardari, widely known as 'Mr 10 Per Cent', faced allegations of plundering the country. Charges were filed in Pakistan, Switzerland, the United Kingdom and the United States to investigate their various bank accounts.

When I interviewed Abdul Rashid Ghazi in the Islamabad Red Mosque shortly before his death in the storming of the complex in July, he kept returning to the issue of social justice: 'We want our rulers to be honest people,' he said. 'But now the rulers are living a life of luxury while thousands of innocent children have empty stomachs and can't even get basic necessities.' This is the reason for the rise of the Islamists in Pakistan and why so many people support them: they are the only force capable of taking on the country's landowners and their military cousins.

This is why in all recent elections, the Islamist parties have hugely increased their share of the vote, why they now already control both the North West Frontier Province and Baluchistan and why it is they who are most likely to gain from the current crisis.

Benazir Bhutto was a courageous, secular and liberal woman. But sadness at the demise of this courageous fighter should not mask the fact that as a pro-Western feudal leader who did little for the poor, she was as much a central part of Pakistan's problems as the solution to them.

· William Dalrymple's latest book, The Last Mughal: The Fall of a Dynasty, Delhi 1857, published by Bloomsbury, recently won the Duff Cooper Prize for History



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« Reply #15 on: Jan 27, 2008 04:28 PM »

Assalaamu Alaikum..

By far...the best line in this entire thread was:

Let's call a spade a spade.

Wasalaam.
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