In 2007 the world was saddened by the sudden and violent death of Benazir Bhutto. She was a woman of profound courage and deep commitment toward bringing democracy to the people of Pakistan. Twice previously she had held the office of Prime Minister to Pakistan (1988-90, and 1993-1996). Both times she was forced to leave her office under suspicion of corruption. Prior to her return to Pakistan this past October those charges had been dropped and an agreement had been reached between her and President Musharraf.
Benazir Bhutto had been out of Pakistan on a self imposed exile since 1998. She was chairperson of the PPP (Pakistan People’s Party) and a candidate in their upcoming elections in January of 2008. She was a mother, wife, and hope for so many people in Pakistan. With her passing comes many unanswered questions of how and who may fill her shoes. Her will names her husband as her successor for the Pakistan People’s Party, Asif Ali Zardani. Pakistani politics usually unfolds under the blood line and Benazir Bhutto’s husband appoints their eldest son as her true successor, but he is a mere 19 and in college at this time.
Benazir Bhutto followed in her father’s footsteps. Her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, had also been Prime Minister to Pakistan. He was a Shia Muslim who championed a democratic type of government for Pakistan. He was removed from his post in 1977 via a military coup and charged with conspiracy to murder a dissident politician. He was found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging two years later (April 4, 1979).
Benazir Bhutto was a graduate cum laude from Radcliffe College at Harvard with her BA in comparative governments (1969-1973). She went on to obtain her Law degree from Lady Margaret Hall at Oxford University in the UK (1973-1977) where she studied philosophy, politics and economics with concentrations in international law and diplomacy. She was a Phi Beta Kappa and the first Asian woman to hold the office of President of the Oxford Union which is the head of their prestigious debate team.
In 1987 she married Asif Ali Zardani and bore three children. Her entire family was committed to her cause and supported her in this democratic and diplomatic process. I extend my most sincere condolences to her family and friends in this difficult time and wish they do not give up her hopes and dreams for a democratic Pakistan.
The United States government asked for an independent investigation of the situation surrounding Benazir Bhutto’s controversial death. No autopsy was performed on Benazir Bhutto at the time of her demise. There is no agreement between the current government’s story and that of the initial doctors who attended her. The first reports from attending physicians said Benazir Bhutto died from three gunshot wounds. Pakistan’s government now states that she died from hitting her head on the edge of her sunroof where she stood greeting her public after a speaking appointment and where she crumbled in the final moments of her life.
Benazir Bhutto’s husband said he knows how she died. Furthermore, Asif Ali Zardani tells us that autopsies are not commonplace in Pakistan where he does not trust the government of Pakistan to perform a credible investigation of the facts in her murder. Much of the world shares this view, but is it our business to force an investigation of the obvious?
What is the status of Pakistan now? Has killing Benazir Bhutto helped or hindered progress in Pakistan and the Middle East?
article from http://www.news.aol.com from the AP posted on December 31, 2007 at 10:28;44 am by Ravi Nessman titled Controversy on Bhutto Death Rises Anew.