« Benazir Bhutto was also my sister, and I will be with you to take the revenge for her death [..] Don't feel alone. I am with you. We will take the revenge on the rulers », said Nawaz Sharif to the supporters of Benazir Bhutto after her assassination on 27th December 2007.
The assassination of opposition political leaders and activists has always been the practice of tyrants, dictators and imperialist occupiers. Israel has long practiced such assassinations with the complicity of the United States . The Israeli Mossad have assassinated numerous Palestinian leaders and activists both from the Fatah Movement as well as Hamas, including the paraplegic Sheik Yassin who was a source of inspiration to Palestinians engaged in freeing their country from the heavily armed and violent Israeli squatters.
With the help of the United States , Pervez Musharraf took power in a military coup in 1999 by ousting the twice-elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who Musharraf forced into exile to Saudi Arabia by using corruption charges against him as leverage. On the other hand, twice-elected PM Benazir Bhutto (1988 & 1993) was living as a fugitive in the UK and Dubai as she was fleeing corruption charges and was even sentenced by a Pakistani Court for failure to appear. During her eight years in Europe , Ms Bhutto was never offered to return Pakistan to hold the fault until Musharraf’s power seriously eroded. Seeing their grip on Pakistani politics slipping away, the US and the UK quickly brokered a power-sharing deal between Musharraf and Bhutto in Dubai under which Bhutto would have the corruption and theft charges against her dropped. The deal was sealed with a presidential order (National Reconciliation Ordinance) giving an amnesty to Ms Bhutto and other Pakistani corrupt politicians.
Failed assassination attempt
Upon Ms Bhutto’s return to Pakistan on 18th October 2007 , she was greeted with a ‘failed’ assassination attempt while heavily guarded by Musharraf’s Secret Services, army and Police. Ms Bhutto’s herself asserted that the attempt against her life was orchestrated by “certain individuals who abuse their positions.”, that she even sent a letter to Musharraf giving the names of people in the “government and Pakistan security forces” who have been conspiring against her. And, earlier, she had even told the French magazine Paris Match that “I know exactly who wants to kill me. It is dignitaries of the former regime of General Zia who are today behind the extremism and the fanaticism.” People would recall that Zia ul-Haq was a ruthless dictator with whom the US forged a strategic alliance, together with the mujahidin (freedom fighters), who were none other than Osama Bin Laden and the Talibans, in order to defeat the Russian occupation of Afghanistan . The US also green-lighted Zia ul-Haq’s hanging of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the Father of Benazir Bhutto. When Zia ul-Haq was of no use to the Americans as he enforced strict Islamic law within Pakistan , he was also assassinated in a planned aircraft crash on August 17, 1988 .
State of Emergency
Ahead of an expected ruling declaring unlawful Musharraf’s eligibility to run for President while still in uniform, Musharraf sacked the Pakistani Supreme Court Judges, banned political rallies and declared a State of Emergency while Ms Bhutto had briefly gone to Dubai . Upon her re-return to Pakistan Bhutto refused any contact with Dictator Musharraf and demanded that he steps down altogether and started to forge alliances with other political parties, including Nawaz Sharif’s party. This went against what Musharraf had expected from Ms Bhutto and he placed her under house imprisonment “for her own safety”, he argued. Other political leaders, including cricketer Imran Khan, and opposition activists were also arrested. Analysts affirm that from that time onwards Benazir’s Bhutto’s life was in grave danger as soon as she would start addressing the people as the dictatorship had already prepared the ground by justifying her house imprisonment “for her own safety”, hence attempting to shift the blame onto others.
If Musharraf’s dictatorship knew Benazir Bhutto’s life was in danger, enough to justify her house imprisonment, one would have thought that they would have found it far easier and be better prepared to protect her life. But this was not to be the case. On 27th December 2007, after addressing the people at her first election campaign rally in garrison city Rawalpindi since returning from exile two months ago, Benazir Bhutto was shot twice by a trained marksman, once in the neck and once in the chest. Whilst one official who asked not to be named said “The attacker fired and then blew himself up”, Sardar Qamar Hayyat, an eye witness and a leader from Bhutto's party, said he was standing about 10 yards away from the vehicle in which was Benazir Bhutto who emerged from the vehicle’s roof to wave to her supporters when he « saw a thin, young man jumping toward her vehicle from the back and opening fire ». Mr Hayyat did not mention that the marksman blew himself up. Bhutto was rushed to hospital and taken into emergency surgery. She died about an hour after the attack. Former PM Nawaz Sharif was at her bedside and he later told both hers and his supporters that Benazir Bhutto was her sister and that her assassination would be avenged against the rulers.
Although no one claimed responsibility for Bhutto’s assassination, only the so-called ‘Islamic militants’ are said to be the suspects, and not Musharraf’s dictatorship in which Ms Bhutto had already identified her would-be assassins and which, more than anyone else, knew of the danger she faced but was ‘powerless’ to protect her.
Benazir Bhutto’s supporters had no hesitation in holding Dictator Musharraf responsible for her assassination and accused him of complicity in the killing. They shouted slogans including "Musharraf is a dog" and "Long live Bhutto." Although Benazir Bhutto had said she was prepared to die for democracy, she wasted her life for a fascist democracy imported form European invaders who supported the dictatorship of Pervez Musharraf under which she was assassinated. Pakistanis must unite and look for a pro-Pakistan leader and rid the country of all foreign intervention. Pakistani people are bound to ask how many secret agents from the ISI, the Mossad, the CIA and MI6 were amongst the crowd when the trained marksman shot Benazir Bhutto in the neck and chest.
M Rafic Soormally
27 December 2007