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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto Assassinated: Whither Pakistan?

One of the most charismatic leaders of our times, Benazir Bhutto was killed in a terrorist attack in Rawalpindi in Pakistan on Thursday.

Few leaders evoke the sort of admiration that Benazir got from across the world. She is often blamed for squandering her father Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto's legacy.

Also, despite being Prime Minister of Pakistan, she failed to fulfil the expectations during her stints, Benazir still was a people's leader and a champion of democracy.

The charges of corruption against her husband Asif Zardari had tarnished her image. But the Daughter of the East was loved outside her country as well.

She was a courageous woman, no doubt and after several years in exile came back to her country despite the threats to her life.

Ironically she was assassinated at the same place in Rawalpindi where the first Prime Minister of Pakistan Liaquat Ali Khan was killed. Truly this is a defining moment in the history of Pakistan.

The Pakistan state, its leaders and its citizens have to introspect of what future course they want their country to take. With the cult of fidayeen flourishing the Islamic state of Pakistan and suicide attacks becoming the order of the day, Pakistan has become one of the most dangerous places in the world.

With her politics, some agreed and others didn't. But such a tragic death! In her interview to Karan Thapar she had said that there was a major battle between the moderates and the extremists going on in Pakistan and that's why she came back. Sadly, she is no more.

Along with her 30 others died in the attack. Just like Rajiv Gandhi, who was assassinated when he had appeared to have become more mature, Benazir was also assassinated when she seemed to have learnt from her mistakes and was back to her homeland as a crusader for democracy.