Newspaper Articles

Birth of a Benazir legacy -by Salman Sikandar

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I support PPP, Bhutto, Benazir & their legacy not on the basis of personal liking or disliking but for an open, democratic and progressive Pakistan.

A conversation which I had with my Dad on 28 December 2007.

27 December 2007, it was a normal day, had breakfast with my brother, I was visiting him in the UK. Around 12:00pm (UK time) while waiting for him to a planed Lunch, I opened BBC Urdu website and came across the news I was afraid of, since 18 October 2007.

I cried alone; in the darkness of a cold evening. It was not only sadness or anger it was more helplessness, we could not save her even when we all knew dangers to her life.

Mind flashed back to two telephonic conversations which I had with my father and mother in recent past.
A religious ‘fanatic’ killed a Punjab woman minister Zil-e-Huma, in Gujranwala, in Feb 2007. Being from Gujranwala, I talked with Dad about the incident & he mentioned that it was a warning to Benazir. “Do not come otherwise we will kill you”. Attack on Benazir’s vehicle on 18 October 2007, proved our fears almost true, which killed 100s of PPP workers; the blood that is keeping the Pakistani state at bay.

I remember, I had conversation with my mother, on the next morning on 19 October 2007. She said “ I say Benazir take her kids and leave this country, this country is for Mullahs & ‘Kanne Dajjals’, Look what they have done to your father, brothers and countless PPP workers” She refers General Zia as ‘Kanna Dajjal’.

After 18 October 2007, I was almost certain that they will not let her live and she will not leave Pakistan.

Days, 18 October – 27 December 2007, of Benazir were similar to her past all days of struggle. It demonstrated what Benazir was made up of; pure resilience. She refused to bow to General Zia’s dictatorship, bow to religious terrorism, General Mushraf’s dictatorship & dangers to her life for one and only reason; betterment of the People of Pakistan. The reason for which all Bhuttos sacrificed their lives one way or the other.

During her ‘final Journey’ for Peoples’ cause, she traveled all over Pakistan, met families of workers who were killed on 18 October,2007 held public rallies and held meetings with people from every walk of life to discuss the future of Pakistan moving forward. People of Pakistan (irrespective of their political affiliations) were hopeful that She could lead Pakistan through the problems & challenges present at that time. She worked tirelessly to brokerage the Charter of Democracy in democratic circle, a deal with dictatorial forces & return of Nawaz Sharif, in international political arena. This all was being watched closely by the religious fanatics, extremists, terrorists & their Godfathers; the forces of darkness. They had other plans.

When I see last 6 months of present Federal Govt and politics of PMLN / PTI especially against terrorism, it made me happy & sad at the same time. Happy, because it shows that my leader Benazir was right on major issues we are facing today especially the cancer of religious terrorism. Sad, because she is not with us to lead us against this monstrous cancer.

However her political philosophy, her wisdom, her legacy & party is here to lead us. The PPP has the potential to fill the vacuum against religious right & get Pakistan out of this Black-hole of religious terrorism & extremism. Only a focused & determined approach is required.

Back to that black day, I cried on Benazir’s death because I thought they did not kill my leader but tried to kill my hope, hope of a better Pakistan, where human beings could live without bias of color, race or religion & where minorities have equal rights.

Fortunately they could not kill my hope. It lives on… like Benazir. Benazir left us a party and leadership that correctly elected Bilawal as the new leader, a continuation of the same hope, with new energy. He fearlessly speaks (a trait of his Grandfather and mother) against religious terrorism, like his leader & mother and has brought a new life in the party. Once Benazir said in one of her Newspaper columns that ‘she did not chose this life, this life chose Benazir’. The history repeated itlsef with Bilawal as well – the only politician in Pakistan who is chosen by rather than chose by choice like her great mother.

I sincerely appeal to Bilawal to take full ownership of the PPP and revive the basic ideology of Peoples’ Party. Not for Jiyalas, PPP workers, but for Pakistan and for all Pakistanis. It is a need of time, more than ever.

Long Live Awam, Long Live Bhutto

Source: Daily Times