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Benazir Bhutto and Karbala – Guest post by Naseer Ahmed

Related post: Benazir Bhutto: Ik Kaneez-e-Karbala – by Abdul Nishapuri

I remember a poem by a famous Pakistani poet, Mohsin Naqvi, on the dismissal of the first PPP govt by Ghulam Ishaq Khan in 1990.

A maid of Karbala is
Surrounded by conspirators
Oh God, Oh Messenger
Benazir is not guilty.

Benazir herself linked her tragedies with the ultimate tragedy of Karbala. She found comfort in the fact she shared a bond with sacred sorrowers. Her books, her speeches, her interviews are full of these references. She was proud of this fact that she stood up against the tyrants like the house of the Prophet (peace be upon him).

The judicial murder of her father made her an embodiment of Sakina. The killings of her brothers bestowed upon her the courage of Zainab.

The path of Karbala is strewn with flowers of sorrow and suffering. She followed that path, she suffered. She defied tyrants, she was imprisoned, tortured, exiled and murdered. She sacrificed in every possible human way.

She, like Hussein, fought against usurpers, terrorist and powerful tyrants bravely.

Hussein was labeled rebel by tyrants.Benezir was projected as security risk. Hussein was accused of fighting for personal ambitions, not for truth. So was Benazir.

Hassan negotiated with a tyrant for peace.Benezir negotiated with a tyrant for peaceful transition to democracy. She was portrayed as a demon of corruption. But at the end, democracy won. Her critics should be thankful that their voice is consequence of her diplomatic skills and personal sacrifice. These critics are using this freedom to malign her achievements but this is how democracy works. People have this right of expressing their view, no matter, how absurd and abominal.

Benazir had the shortcoming of a consensus builder. She was ready to negotiate with anybody. Some people think that it was a mistake. I think she was right, because well entrenched vested interests leave their grip on power gradually but they do. Her enemies knew what she had done to them. They killed her in frustration. She has set a process of peaceful democracy. She is gone. This process will not go.

This gradual withdrawal of army and its beneficiaries is very necessary. It will save country from breaking. It will prevent genocide. It will condemn terrorists to inglorious defeats. Because it has exposed them to public for what they are. Their grand ambitions of transforming this region into a Sharia state have faltered. It is our misfortune that whenever a seasoned politician turns into an international statesperson, they kill him/her. Rajiv, Benazir, Massoud and Bhutto are contemporary examples.

However, battle for democracy is not lost. Afghanistan is struggling for democracy, Pakistan is struggling for a stable democracy, and India has done better than both.

They will never assassinate Nawaz Sharif until he sees the light. Seeing light is not good for personal safety because it leads you to Karbala, gallows and the Liaqat Bagh. But it is good for community life. One wise person creates so many lighthouses.

Benazir lived an optimistic life, she passed her optimism to masses. This optimism will restructure our society. I do not know who would do it but names are not important. The spirit of Benazir would watch over us whenever we managed to run a democratic Pakistan, a proud Pakistan and a mother–like Pakistan.

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Abdul Nishapuri

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