Pakistani Lady Minister's Murder:
A Message for Bhutto
Minister's Murder: A Message for BHUTTO
London: In a recent column I expressed apprehensions that Pakistan rendered
into an epicentre of international terrorism is slipping into a fratricidal
civil war. I have warned of an implosion beyond the control of the General
and , if power is not transferred to the genuinely elected representatives
of the people, the situation might culminate in a point of no return for the
Many political analysts believe that the goal of the Pakistani military establishment is to undermine the unprecedented and undiminished Bhutto phenomenon which it sees as threatening the forces of status quo that include the generals, the mullahs and other retrogressive forces opposing change and empowerment of the people irrespective of their caste, creed, colour or economic standing.
It has not been easy for the Bhuttos to climb the pinnacle of glory and stay there as the most popular leaders in Pakistan’s history. Martyred Zulfikar Ali Bhutto walked to the gallows head high so that his followers ever after do not have to bow down to oppression and totalitarianism. His wife—Begum Nusrat Bhutto--for long First Lady of Pakistan not only by virtue of being the spouse of an ex-president—was considered so by the masses by her own right for her bravery, sacrifices and steadfastness in the darkest hour of military dictatorship. She along with her daughter—former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto—has written with the blood of her great husband and two sons--hitherto unprecedented chapter in history that shall remain eternal for all those to emulate who commit themselves to the cause of unshackling and empowerment of the masses.
The uninterrupted politics of divide and rule now being pursued by General Mushharraf and his gang of political thugs is directed against former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Having failed to reduce her domestic popularity and international fame through character assassination and multiple court cases based on lies, her refusal to surrender to and her dauntless determination to continue to fight against military dictatorship has caused great frustration among the rulers. Realising that their totalitarian order is facing dying pangs, the regime is creating conditions that would deny the masses a free election restoring the PPP under her to power.
Gory details are unfolding on how transparently rigged his “mother of all elections” would be. Throwing aside all norms of presidential rules and etiquette, he has placed himself in the red-lighted window to openly threatening the voters to vote for the Q-League—a conglomerate of ill-reputed politicians and co-operative thugs. His message is: by voting for Q-League you will vote for me . He likes the Q-League because it wags its tail incessantly: it wants Musharraf to keep on his uniform.
In a closed door meetings he told the Q-League comrade in arms that he wants them to get him two-third majority in the parliament. For that, government coffers would be open for them to abuse and his entire administrative, law and order and intelligence apparatus would be at their disposal—to get to him the “positive results”. And the pre-run to the polls has already quite a lot to tell of dirty things to come. Six PPP men were gunned down in broad day light in Attock—a constituency that Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz had rigged blatantly on the previous occasion. Shaukat Aziz has already announced that he would be a candidate again from Attock.
Dr Azra—a prominent PPP leader and sister-in-law of Ms Bhutto barely saved her life when her car was targeted by the bodyguards of a Sindh provincial minister obviously to assassinate her. PPPP MNA Sherry Rahman—hit by a blunt objective by a hefty woman who has been video-identified but remains at large—has yet to make a full recovery from an injury that numbed her limb and had to be placed in a straitjacket to keep her head motionless. PPPP candidate Nafees Siddiqui, his son, Senator Farooq Naek, MNA Fauzia Wahab and several others were physically maltreated by the regime’s ethnic collaborators.
On the heels of these events came the Quetta suicide bomb attack on the Balochistan High Court, killing a judge and scores of others besides a heavy injury toll. The sad news is that none have been apprehended in any of the recent cases.
Quetta suicide bombing was followed by the Samjhota Express blast in India killing more than 70 passengers. While Quetta suicide bombing is being attributed to Taliban/Al-Qaeda, Samjhota Express bloody incident is being alleged as the work of Jaish-e-Muhammadi and Lashkar-e-Tayabba. Of course in both the cases, no substantive evidence has been found, neither there has been any breakthrough in investigations.
Of these major events, the most sinister was the killing of the Punjab Social Welfare Provincial Minister Zille Huma . The message it carried was especially meant for former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Unlike her Chief Minister Choudhry Pervaiz Elhai who patronised and funded the recent huge Tablighi religious meeting in Raiwand as part of his election campaign, Zille Huma earned her name for suporting a mixed marathon in Gujranwala in 2005. She defied her Chief Minister who was opposed to it .
Notwithstanding, the Punjabi honcho had his own latent ways of subverting it. Chouhdri Sahib’s police remained silent witness an unwarranted thrashing of peaceful participants that included women, children and men of all ages.
Since the general is the past master in hunting with mullah hounds, the gory incident did not make his ‘enlightened’ eye blink . No one was taken to task in the Punjab government nor any police or government official punished for inactivity. And now same Zille Huma who mistook Musharraf’s enlightened moderation as something of a commitment was brutally murdered by a fanatic—Maulvi Sarwar of Gujranawala-- who has been at large as a serial-killer for a long time on account of his belief that all women who do not adhere to the Islamic code of dressing deserve to be killed.
It is alleged that he escaped punishment in the past because of his powerful patrons. Whenever arrested he was freed not only for want of credible evidence but also due to intervention of his powerful Gujrati patrons. The man had earlier murdered seven women described in the press as ‘call girls’ in Gujranwala and Lahore. He confessed to killing the ‘sinful women’ but was let off after one year because of lack of evidence but, more accurately, because of religious and political support and linkage with the intelligence. His patrons, according to the police, had “paid off” the relatives of the killed and been reprieved under ‘Islamic’ laws. On occasions he got away for doing an odd job here and there for the spooks for whom such fanatics are easy to manipulate.
What has added a dangerously and nationally alarming hue to the entire Zille Huma episode is the sensational disclosure by him that in the past he had tried to kill Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. He revealed that once he went to kill PPP Chairperson Benazir Bhutto when she was addressing a public meeting in Wazirabad, but did not succeed because of tight security and the huge crowd.
Since Maulvi Sarwar has had links with the religious, political and intelligence, the message in Zille Huma’s murder and killer’s statement that he tried to kill Benazir Bhutto once-- is obviously very clear. It is both an attempt to instil dread as well to convey that Pakistan is no more safe for her. Her absence obviously would benefit only one person who wants to be the permanent president of Pakistan.
Not undermining the tragic death of Zille Huma, the more seamy side of it that needs to be investigated is: was she a victim of merely a fanatic or Maulvi Sarwar was so manipulated and brainwashed into killing her by the spooks of the power that be to send a clear message to Bhutto to keep away from Pakistan to let the General have a free hand for ever and ever. After all, his biggest threat is from her since she carries the largest number of votes. Last but not the least, Zille Huma’s sad demise should be an eye opener for MMA and other religious parties. The fanatic and misguiding religious teachings on issues such as dress which carry no definite definition or description should be stopped forthwith.
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