Saturday, December 27, 2014

Bahraini detainees go on hunger strike to protest mistreatment

Political prisoners at a detention center in Bahrain have gone on a hunger strike to show their anger at the regime's harsh treatment of detainees.
The prisoners at the Jaw Prison in eastern Bahrain have staged a hunger strike in protest at the torture and mistreatment of the detainees by prison officials.
They said in a statement that many of them are subject to torture and are in terrible health condition due to prison authorities' ignorance. One of the prisoners was tortured to death at the facility in the last month.
Jaw Prison is known to host scores of political prisoners, mostly Shia protesters, who have been arrested after the 2011 uprising in the country.
Bahrain has been the scene of almost daily protests against the Al Khalifa dynasty since early 2011 when a pro-democracy uprising began in the kingdom.
Since mid-February 2011, thousands of pro-democracy protesters have held numerous rallies in the streets of Bahrain, calling for the Al Khalifa royal family to relinquish power.
On March 14, 2011, troops from Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates were deployed to Bahrain to assist the Bahraini regime in its crackdown on peaceful protesters.
Bahrain has been severely criticized by human rights groups for its harsh crackdown on anti-government protesters, which has claimed the lives of scores of people so far.

China - Long-term view needed to judge Mao fairly

China marked  the 121st anniversary of Chairman Mao Zedong's birthday. In recent years, whenever the day approaches, there is always a hot debate in China on how to judge the founder of our nation. This year probably won't be an exception.

There have been official perspectives and assessments made about Mao, but this won't suppress the active discussions among the public. Given Mao's heavy weight in China's history, we have to adopt a long-term perspective to better understand him and put the controversies surrounding him to rest.

Mao still has some bearing on today's political reality in China. Whether to praise Mao or not is not only a study of history, but often manifests some aspects of current political reality, which is inviting for some people. 

Though Mao Zedong Thought stemmed from the collective wisdom of the Communist Party of China (CPC), he was easily regarded as the embodiment of the Party and New China in its early days. Furthermore, he is considered to be both the foundation of the country's achievements and problems of today. To both Mao's supporters and detractors, his reputation carries a profound significance.

Debate about Mao has been distorted heavily by a division of values. There cannot be a serious debate about Mao between people who acknowledge China's revolution and the choice of its path, and those who are against them. Such debate is only an extension of an ideological contention between the two groups. Mao's value rests on his deeds and legacy. To assess his role, it is necessary to consider the historical context he was in, and this is an open process influenced by the development of China at present and in the future. Mao cannot be given a final judgment simply.

During the process of forming a consistent understanding of Mao, China's mainstream society will gradually gain cohesion and maturity. Mao's prominence makes it an attention-getting act to invoke debate over him.

Since the Internet has become a platform for public opinion in China, unofficial history surrounding Mao's personal life has been the source of extensive speculation. Extreme views, such as discrediting his moral record and demonizing his leadership, have emerged. It is rare in the world that a founding father of a nation comes under such malicious attacks. 

There has been much controversy about Mao's life. Only when the rejuvenation of China under the Party's leadership is realized can he be given a fair judgment.

China has chosen a development path different from the Western world. It is bound to be a bumpy road, and treading it needs collective strong will. Today, support for Mao is growing, even among young people who have no experience of the Mao era. Social forces that resist demonizing Mao are also expanding, an indication that the nation's political basis is consolidating.

Polls: President Obama has higher approval rating in sixth year than Bush, close to Reagan

According to recent polls, President Obama's approval rating for his sixth year is higher than President Bush's and close to President Reagan's at the same point in their presidencies.
A recent Gallup poll shows Obama with a term average of a 48 percent approval rating, and 45 percent approval for the most recently recorded weekly average. In comparison, George Bush was at 37 percent at the same point in his presidency and Reagan was at 48 percent.
A poll released by CNN this week shows the president has a 48 percent approval rating.
Based on the Gallup polls, no other recent president is close to President Clinton's approval rating in his sixth year, which made it to 67 percent.
With recent promising news for the economy like a 5 percent rise of the gross domestic product (GDP) and the fact the Dow and S&P stock market indexes hit all-time highs recently, many believe the approval rating has to do with an increased feeling the economy is on an upturn.

Read more:

Relations with EU to stay Russia's priority 'for years to come' – Moscow

Despite current difficulties in relations with the European Union, developing Moscow's partnership and connections with its Western neighbor will stay a priority in its international policy, Russia's Foreign Ministry announced in its roundup of the year.
Relations between Russia and the EU – its "neighbor and major trade and economics partner" – have worsened over the situation in Ukraine, the Foreign Ministry said in a document titled 'Main foreign policy events of 2014,' which was published on its website on Saturday.
But despite sanctions placed on Russia by the EU and US over the Ukraine crisis – targeting not only individuals, but also the state economy – and Moscow's retaliatory response to such measures, partnership with Europe will be among the country's top priorities "for years to come," the ministry said.
"2014 was marked by the accumulation of instability elements and build-up of crisis occurrences in international relations, which are undergoing a transition period, connected with the shaping of a new polycentric world order," the document says.
According to the ministry, the Ukraine crisis is the pinnacle of such politics, highlighting serious problems in the entire Euro-Atlantic region.
But in the face of all these problems, cooperation between Moscow and the EU has successfully continued in many fields, said the ministry, referring to a number of frontier programs, as well as joint projects in science, technology, and innovation.
The ministry also highlighted Moscow's intensified engagement with the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE), which helped establish the contact group on the Ukraine crisis and reach ceasefire agreements. Such cooperation will continue to overcome the European security crisis, the ministry added.

Video - Thousands join peaceful Bahrain anti-government protest

Video - Benazir Bhutto's Last Speech

Why was Benazir Bhutto killed?

By Mazhar Abbas

It was not the murder of Benazir Bhutto but the murder of her political narrative, which was to defeat the extremist mindset. Though belated, the Pakistani civil and military leadership finally agreed to eliminate extremism and terrorism and change the 1977 narrative. Let us see what action our civil and military leadership will take to transform this country.

Benazir Bhutto could not be defeated through electoral process so she was eliminated. Same happened with her father Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Thus, why was she killed is more important than who killed her? Perhaps, we never get the right answer to the second part of the question. The first woman prime minister of the Islamic world was perhaps the last strong liberal voice with international stature. Today, there is no disagreement that our biggest crisis is the crisis of leadership. But, if we really manage to change our narrative as how to progress as a nation, we will also be able to find new leadership, though it may take a few more years.

Benazir was never acceptable to many forces. She was not only unacceptable to the extremists but also to the same mindset within the establishment. The question is, why? We have to go into recent history of Pakistan in order to trace the answer.

Pakistani politics and society would have been less violent had we adopted the same narratives 30 years back, which we have finally agreed a few days back in Islamabad. The civil and military leadership reached on a consensus that terrorism and extremism is a “cancer.”

They agreed that there was no more “if and buts” and took the decision that this fatal disease had to be removed. The whole nation backed this narrative.

The narrative of General Ziaul Haq was imposed on the nation and never got the people’s backing. In fact, the nation had rejected this narrative in 1984, when hardly five percent voted for it in Zia’s referendum. Among these five percent also included vote from Jamaat-e-Islami but with a dissenting voice of Naib Amir of JI, late Prof Ghafoor Ahmad, who rejected Amir JI Mian Tufail’s argument in favour of Zia and reason to support him in the referendum.

Leaders like Prof Ghafoor have a different vision and in the last a few years before his death, he had even started saying that JI’s support to Zia in the initial years was a mistake and he used Jamaat to get rid of Bhutto.

But, the Pakistani left wing, which was also used by Zia, only realised that Zia used them too, against Bhutto and in reality he wanted to prolong his rule for which he used the name of Islam.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was the first victim of this narrative. Zia knew that in the presence of leaders like Bhutto, it would not be possible to enforce this narrative and prolong his rule.

After Bhutto, the military dictator got no problem in implementing his narrative, which today, has turned into a “cancer.” The terrorism and extremism started getting its roots and the revolution in Iran and the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan came as blessing in disguise for him to strengthen this mindset.

Zia first tested Bhutto’s popularity when he announced elections within 90 days on July 5, 1977. He released Bhutto in order to test him and within no time his intelligence agencies reported that Bhutto would win the elections, if held in October, 1977. Thus, he postponed it and within a year, decided that it was not possible to eliminate Bhutto politically so he adopted the other path and removed him through “judicial murder.”

Perhaps, Zia and the than establishment had never thought that Benazir Bhutto, one day would emerge as his biggest challenger and that too with massive public support. They were stunned when she returned on April 10, 1986.

He used military courts and Islamic punishment only against PPP workers. They were publicly flogged and hanged and thousands were lashed. Thus, PPP had bad memories of such courts. Perhaps, that is why Chief of Army Chief General Raheel Sharif assured the political leaders that only terrorists would be tried in these courts.

Zia never thought that Benazir would return from exile and challenge her after Bhutto’s execution and witness all these punishments. Her return in 1986 surprised him and his establishment. PPP was as popular as it was in the 70s. In May 1988 Zia become the victim of his own narrative i.e. extremism and terrorism when his plane was crashed in what termed a big conspiracy.

The establishment with the same mindset then curtailed PPP in 1988 elections. She was not allowed free hand both in the elections and after the elections. She was forced to follow the same mindset and kept away from certain policies. Her government was discredited and finally sacked in 1990. However, PPP’s popularity though decreased but the establishment rigged 1990 elections which has now an established fact.

Those who believe that Musharraf has a different mindset were wrong. He only tried to portray a different narrative but it was more or less the same even after 9/11. Benazir finally became the victim of this narrative while Pakistan’s most popular parties till 2008 is now facing the leadership crisis.

“I know the danger ahead. I know they are after my life, but I am Bhutto’s daughter,” she told this scribe a few months before she arrived in Pakistan on October 18, 2007. She got the first warning on the day of her arrival with massive suicide bombing, killing 140 people. She was again warned to go back when another attempt was made on her life. She got the last warning a night before December 27.

“They wanted to keep me away from the people. It’s not in our blood and I prefer to die before my own people rather than sit at home,” she told some senior party leaders who advised her not to go to Liaquat Bagh.

“It’s never been easy for a woman to do politics in Pakistan, but the people of Pakistan made her first woman prime minister of Pakistan. It clearly showed how different was the narratives of the people and the establishment,” she added.

Bhutto factor has dominated Pakistani politics for over four decades.

Had there not been regular military intervention, we would not have been facing the challenges which we are facing today.

It’s a huge challenge to enforce the new narrative. It may take years because the forces which are likely to resist this new narrative have taken strong roots. Let us see whether the civil-military leadership succeeds in resisting the pressure or not.

Pakistan - Khursheed Shah pays tribute to Benazir Bhutto

The Opposition leader in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah has said that the killers of Ms Benazir Bhutto will be tried in military courts.
He was talking to media here on Saturday, Paying rich tribute to Benazir Bhutto, the Opposition Leader said that democracy in the country has been made possible by the sacrifices rendered by Bhutto.
"Let there be no doubt that the nation is enjoying the fruit of democracy because Benazir Bhutto struggled for the rule of law and true democracy in the country. They would continue to follow the ideals of Benazir Bhutto", he added.
Replying to another question, Shah said that the decision of forming military courts was taken with a heavy heart. He said that the attack on Peshawar Army Public School has united the entire nation adding that the country is still crying for the children that were killed in the heinous attack. Earlier, Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah attended Quran Khuwani held at the Pakistan Sweet Home and offered fateha.
He paid homage to the martyred leader Benzir Bhutto and martyred school children of the Army Public School Peshawar.
Talking to orphan children, Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah said that he was very much impressed by the personality of Shaheed Benzair Bhutto who always worked for the uplift of the downtrodden.
He said that orphans, widows, handicapped and sick persons have the equal rights. Children of Sweet Home also prayed for eternal peace of the departed soul of Benzir Bhutto on her 7th death anniversary and innocent martyred children of Peshawar and also paid eulogised the courage of their Principal Tahira Qazi for embracing martyrdom during efforts to save lives of so many minor children.
On the occasion, Assistant Director Pakistan Bait-ul- Mall Sukkur Shabir Memon said that the Childrent of Sweet Home were provided with free food, shelter, boarding facility and quality education in the renowned educational intuitions of the city. He said that the Sweet Home was being run with the assistance of philanthropists.

Video - A Tribute To Benazir Bhutto - Pashto Song

بی بی کی شہادت نقصانِ عظیم

فیصل شامی

’’کل بھی بھٹو زندہ تھا ۔ آج بھی بھٹو زندہ ہے‘‘۔ دوستو یہ وہ الفاظ ہیں جو محترمہ بے نظیر بھٹو نے اپنی شہادت سے قبل لیاقت باغ میں زور شور سے نعروں کی صورت میں کہے۔ستائیس دسمبر کے دن لیاقت باغ میں محترمہ بے نظیر بھٹو نے عظیم الشان جلسہ عام سے خطاب کیااس خطاب میں محترمہ نے واضح کر دیا تھا کہ ان کی جان کو خطرہ ہے اس سے پہلے اپنی جان ہتھیلی پر رکھے ہوئے پاکستان پہنچ گئیں، کسی نتیجے کی پرواہ کئے بغیر۔ لیاقت باغ پر حملہ ان پر پہلا حملہ نہیں تھا، بلکہ اس سے قبل بھی کراچی میں شاہراہ فیصل پر قاتلانہ حملہ کیا گیا ،لیکن بی بی سانحہ کارساز میں محفوظ رہیں۔ کراچی کے بعد بی بی شہید پر راولپنڈی لیاقت باغ میں عین اس وقت حملہ کیا گیا جب بی بی بے نظیر لیاقت باغ میں تقریر ختم کر کے گاڑی میں بیٹھ کر جلسہ گاہ سے نکل رہی تھیں ،لیاقت باغ وہی جگہ ہے جہاں پاکستان کے پہلے وزیر اعظم قائد ملت لیاقت علی خان کو گولی مار کر شہید کیا گیا تھا اور عین اسی جگہ بے نظیر بھٹو کو بھی شہید کیا گیا اور بی بی کی شہادت یقیناًنقصان عظیم ہی تھا ، بی بی کی شہادت کے بعد ملک بھر میں گویا آگ سی لگ گئی تھی، سندھ میں ہر جگہ توڑ پھوڑ ، آگ لگا دی گئی تھی ۔ تاریخ اس بات کی بھی گواہ ہے کہ جب بے نظیر بھٹو پر قاتلانہ حملہ ہوا عین اس سے کچھ وقت قبل راولپنڈی میں ہی کہوٹہ روڈ پر موجودہ وزیر اعظم پاکستان میاں نواز شریف پر بھی حملہ کیا گیا ،لیکن جناب نواز شریف حملہ میں بچ گئے ، تاہم میاں نواز شریف پر حملہ کی خبر نے ہر جگہ کھلبلی مچا دی تھی، تمام سیکیورٹی فورسز کا دھیان میاں نواز شریف موجودہ وزیراعظم پر گیا اور عین اسی وقت دہشت گردوں نے اپنا کام دکھایا اور بی بی پر حملہ کر دیا جو جان لیوا ثابت ہوا ، بی بی شہید کو شدید زخمی حالات میں اسپتال لے جایا جا رہا تھا لیکن وہ ہسپتال پہنچنے سے قبل ہی شہادت کا رتبہ حاصل کر چکی تھیں اور اتنا عرصہ گزرنے کے باوجود بھی تاحال بی بی شہید کے قاتل نہ توبے نقاب ہو سکے اور نہ ہی ان کو سزا ہو سکی ، تاہم عوام کو آج بھی یاد ہے کہ جناب آصف علی زرداری جب صدر مملکت پاکستان تھے تو انہوں نے عوام کو یقین دلایا تھا کہ انہیں پتہ ہے کہ بی بی شہید کے قاتل کون ہیں اور وقت آنے پر بے نقاب کریں گے ، لیکن آج تک وہ دن نہیں آیا ، یعنی کہ عوام کو تاحال نہیں پتہ چل سکا محترمہ کے قاتلوں کا، تاہم اگر بات کریں قاتلوں کا پتہ کرنے کی تو جناب ضیاء الحق شہید کا طیارہ بھی آسمان میں تباہ ہو گیا ،لیکن آج تک اس کے اسباب بھی عوام کو نہیں معلوم ہو سکے ، بہر حال عوام کو آج بھی یہ انتظار ہے کہ شاید وہ دن آئے جب انہیں بھی محترمہ کے قاتلوں کا پتہ لگ سکے ،تاکہ وہ انہیں حسب خواہش سزا دے سکیں ۔ ستائیس دسمبر محترمہ کی شہادت کی تاریخ اور یقیناًجب بھی ستائیس تاریخ آتی ہے تو جہاں پیپلز پارٹی کی صفوں میں صف ماتم بچھ جاتی ہے وہاں دنیا بھر کے عوام بھی غمگین ہو جاتے ہیں ۔محترمہ کی شہادت پاکستانی میدان سیاست کو بہت بڑا جھٹکا تھا ،بھٹو کے جیالے قائد کی بیٹی کی برسی ستائیس دسمبر کو انتہائی عقیدت و احترام سے مناتے ہیں ، اسی لئے ملک بھر سے تمام جیالے ابھی سے لاڑکانہ گڑھی خدا بخش پہنچنا شروع ہو گئے ہیں ، اس سال بھی بی بی بے نظیر بھٹو کی برسی کی تیاریاں شروع ہو چکی ہیں ، ہر سال کی طرح سادہ پروقار تقریب کا اہتمام ہو گا ، قرآن خوانی ہو گی۔ عجیب سماں بندھا ہو گا، بی بی کی برسی کے موقع پر ۔  اب دیکھنا تو یہ بھی ہے کہ بی بی کی برسی کے موقع پر پیپلز پارٹی کے قائدین کس طرح سے اپنی قائد کے افکار پر تفصیلی روشنی ڈالتے ہیں ، بہر حال بہت سے دوست کہہ رہے ہیں کہ پیپلز پارٹی کے بہت سے قائدین میں باہمی اختلافات پائے جاتے ہیں، اسی لئے پیپلز پارٹی کے کارکنوں کی خواہش ہے کہ قائدین باہمی لڑائی جھگڑے ختم کریں اور محترمہ کے نقش قدم پر چلتے ہوئے ملک و قوم کے لئے بھی سوچیں اور مشکل پڑنے میں اپنی قائد کی طرح ملک کی خاطر جانیں دینے سے بھی گریز نہ کریں ،تاہم بہت سے کارکنوں کا خیال ہے کہ پی پی کے زوال کی بڑی وجہ رہنماؤں کی آپس کی لڑائیاں ہی ہیں جو ختم ہو گئیں تو پارٹی بھی جلد ترقی کر سکے گی اور ملکی سیاست میں کھویا ہوا مقام بھی جلد حاصل کر سکے گی۔ بہر حال دعا تو ہماری بھی یہی ہے جو کہ پی پی کے کارکنوں کی ہے، یعنی کہ محتر مہ بے نظیر بھٹو کے قاتلوں کو جلد از جد تختہ دار تک پہنچایا جائے ، تاکہ نہ صرف عوام سکون کا سانس لے سکیں، بلکہ عالم بالا میں محترمہ کی تڑپتی روح کو بھی قرار مل سکے

Video - #SalamBenazir - Rang Laya Benazir Ka Junoon

Poet Raja Kashif Janjua

Rang Laya Benazir Ka Junoon Poet Raja Kashif... by rajakashifjanjua

Video Song - TRIBUTE - Benazir Bhutto - Abida Parveen

Pakistan - Misuse of military courts will not be allowed, vows Zardari

We don't understand difference between good... by dawn-news

Speaking at the Bhutto mausoleum to mark Benazir Bhutto's death anniversary on Saturday, former president and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari vowed that the misuse of military courts will not be allowed.
He said the PPP will only accept military courts when it is proven that they are not being used politically. On the other hand, Zardari admitted that there is a need for military courts under the prevailing situation in the country.
The PPP co-chairman was referring to the current law and order situation emerged against the backdrop of deadly Taliban attack on an army-run school in Peshawar that killed 150 people, mostly children.
"We will support military courts when we are sure they will not be used against a democratic party, a journalist or an intellect," said Zardari.
While commenting on the Peshawar school attack, he claimed that if notice was taken when 450 PPP workers were killed in 2007 during General Musharraf's regime, the massacre at Army Public School would not have occurred. He added that the operation against terrorism should have been initiated back then.
Zardari also stated that the party does not understand where the difference between 'good Taliban' and 'bad Taliban' lies.
"We need to know who we are fighting against, ever since Ziaul Haq's regime fighting is all we have done and we will not be afraid of any evil forces," Zardari added. "We will continue fight for the rights and for this country to make it powerful so that the future generations can live in improved times."
While dismissing reports of his differences with his son due to Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari's absence at the congregation, Zardari explained that rumours are being circulated by competitors.
Previously at the gathering, PPP party leaders explained that due to poor health Bilawal was advised against travelling by doctors, which is why he was out of the country. Security threats were also cited for Bilawal's unexpected absence at his mother's death anniversary.

Video - Benazir Bhutto - ڈرتے تھے بندوقوں والے اک نہتی لڑکی سے - سلام بی بی

Benazir Bhutto - When life is light

By Ali Malik 

Anyone who followed your life would know that you had a strong spiritual inclination. In fact, to a supporter like me, it sometimes irked me. However, spirituality is not something you ever flaunted
Some debts have to be repaid, not because they matter to the one they are owed to but because they are essential for the cycle of life. It has been seven years into the end of the life that was Benazir Bhutto, a life that inspired many in my generation and the generations that followed. A life that can be marked in one word: hardship, lived with a character that too can only be summed up in one word: brave. It is tough to encompass a life as yours BB, and yet I owe it and so I will try.

You were born into a life of luxury, a life that turned upside down on a night in July 1977. What followed was a life that was marked by hardship, a disintegrated family, struggle, hopes dashed, dreams broken and the loss of near and dear ones. Such misery and hardship could make anyone insane and yet you came out of it not only sane and composed but also dignified and compassionate. What you went through could make anyone vengeful and yet revenge was never on your mind. During your second stint in power, when a few working under you attempted to resort to revenge, you would intervene and mend their approach. Bearing hardship and misery with dignity and compassion alone could qualify anyone as superhuman and yet this dignity and compassion was only the inception of your legend.

When I was a child, raised in a Muslim household with strong emphasis on good and bad, reward and punishment, I would always wonder how one could be judged on something that is not of one’s choosing. It was during later years that I reconciled with the notion that hardship comes to us for the path we choose. We choose the path and the path has a price. Once those choices are made, walking along the path, we need to deal with the troubles that come with it. The harder the path, the more the price one pays. Once chosen, abandoning it leaves us condemned; carrying on, we pay the price. But it is these choices, bit by bit, that make the universe move forward. It seems at some point in those last months in the 1970s, you chose your path too. You could have abandoned it all and lived a life of luxury in Oxford or Boston or anywhere and yet you chose to take up the fight, making it your calling. Once you did, you were ready to pay any price for it, knowing fully that it would be painful and hard, but it would be the right thing to do.

For those living larger than the ordinary, they need not do things that they desire, nor do things the social or any other code asks of them, but they should do things because they are the right things to do. Your fight was such and in your struggle the mindfulness of it oozed out of your aura. Anyone who followed your life would know that you had a strong spiritual inclination. In fact, to a supporter like me, it sometimes irked me. However, spirituality is not something you ever flaunted. You were accused of being a heretic, anti-religious, ‘westernised’ (as if the word means anything) and what not but never in response did you try to emphasise your religion or spirituality. And this is precisely how it should be. If one believes one is doing the right thing, it has to be sold on the power of the idea, for the rightness of what one is doing. It need not have crutches of piety, moral code or conformity to tread. If something is right, it will inspire on its own. If one needs to invoke (and in most cases exploitatively) religion or honour to sell an idea in the new age, the idea has something inherently wrong with it. You were not a saint but a beautiful human being who would keep working for what you believed was right, keeping your faith, belief and spiritual enlightenment to yourself, never misusing them for a fight that was yours, a fight for the right cause.

The bravery that summed up your life could not be understood better than in your last months. Mindful of the threats that were ahead, you chose to do what had to be done. You were the only leader who would openly call the Taliban a threat to Pakistan, who would openly take on the government for surrendering Pakistan’s territory to the extremists. You were the only leader who had the courage to support the operation on Lal Masjid for the writ of the state and when the dictator’s own party showed cold feet, you were the one to endorse and support the Women’s Protection Bill because all those were the right things to do. The conviction of doing the right thing was not deterred by the accusation of colluding with Musharraf or the west, neither was it deterred by the many threats to your life.

Amid these threats you moved on with a firm conviction that your idea would succeed, that time was on the side of your idea. On the one side is the force that wants to hold these lands to the regression and manipulation of ideas that have run their course but these ideas are central to their hegemony. On the other are those who are fighting for the order here that will unleash the forces of liberty, progress, human dignity and innovation: your side. You fought for it bravely and compassionately, and through your fight you have pushed us closer to attainment. The fight continues. It will have to be fought hard but we must move on with the conviction of victory, a victory that is inevitable for being on the right side of history.

These debts are to be repaid. Those pledges are to be kept. That light needs to be protected. The march continues with feet standing firm on the ground.

#SalamBenazir: #SMBB’s vision now a reality, extremists’ days are numbered: Asif Ali Zardari

Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari has said that it was reassuring to see that the nation today seemed more united than ever before in its determination to exterminate militants.
In a message on the 7th martyrdom anniversary of Benazir Bhutto, Zardari said: “Today we pay homage to the prophetic vision of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto and salute her and all those who laid down their lives fighting militancy and extremism.”
“We will not allow the fanatics to destroy the state and will resolutely fight them to the finish,” he said, adding that it was abundantly clear that the sole agenda of these barbarians is to take over the state and install what they call caliphate, so that they can dismantle all existing democratic structures.
“Their agenda is the same as that of Daesh in Iraq and Syria, Al –Shabbab in Kenya, and Boko Haram in Nigeria,” he said, adding that they will not be allowed to succeed in their designs.
He said that today we also remember the martyrs who have laid their lives fighting extremists. If militants have not succeeded in their designs it is because of their sacrifices, and we salute them all.

Video - Benazir Bhutto Harvard University Commencement Address (1989 Speech to Students)

Tribute Song - Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto-Naam Hai Mera Benazir!

BENAZIR BHUTTO - A tribute to "a women of tremendous courage and a symbol of freedom

By M Waqar

Benazir Bhutto, born in 1953 and murdered in 2007 by fanatics supported by cronies of Mush regime and Remnant of cruel dictator Zia era. Benazir Bhutto, Her name, which translates to the “One without equal” signifies and trails her uniqueness. She had gone to university at the age of 16 and had emerged from Harvard University with startling distinctions, having earned a Cum laude degree in Comparative Government. Benazir was a true leader. A woman of heart, a woman of mind, a person driven by the courage and passion of heart to maintain democracy as a way of life on this globe and to defeat those determined to take the liberties of democracy away and to keep those liberties from those who have never known such freedoms of thought and the dreams associated with democracy. To millions of her supporters she was a brave daughter of a brave father who died while fighting for democracy and self-rule. To them she was a woman of unflinching determination who returned to Pakistan to reclaim what rightfully belongs to the people of Pakistan. Benazir was, by all accounts, a devoted patriot, a loyal friend and a loving mother. Benazir Bhutto was a woman of immense personal courage and bravery. Knowing the threats to her life she risked everything in her attempt to win democracy in Pakistan. 

She would be remembered for her long struggle for return of democracy in Pakistan. Forced reluctantly in to politics by her circumstances, she proved better than what her father could have ever hoped for. She led the persecuted family in the aftermath of her father's assassination, Spent five precious years of her youth in the jail. She saw two younger brothers killed. To the end she looked after an old heart-broken mother. She traveled vast distances battling for her country, party, and family. In between she even found time to raise a family and check the home work of her kids,drop her son at the moque for Friday prayer in Dubai. She persuaded Musharraf to give up military position. From the Sindhi haris to the Western politicians she could hold forth before anyone. She had become the most seasoned and wise leaders of not just the country but the world beyond as well. She had become the symbol of promise that this wretched land of ours holds. But she was not to be forgiven one small discretion of standing up to respond to her enthusiastic supporters from the safety of her transport. But then as Ali, the cousin of the Prophet and husband of Ummay Abeeha has said, "I found my creator in my broken resolve" and "Death is a man's greatest lifeguard". It is amazing that even under such trying circumstances, she stayed strong and fought for what she believed in. It takes a tremendous amount of inner strength to spread your message and fight for what you believe in when you know that you are in danger.

 I think that Ms. Bhutto showed us the definition of a leader. It is so hard to believe that this amazing woman's life has ended. Her death came too sudden and unexpected. She is a legend, who promised her father in his death cell that she will continue his mission . My heart ‘wept’ in shock the moment I saw the newsflash of Benazir Bhutto’s violent death. Who could have thought that her departure would come so soon? I always thought that nothing would happen to her. She will remain safe. No harm will be inflicted on her. Even the day and the time when the news came that she is injured, it did not cross my mind that any fatal harm could be done to her. We always saw her hail and hearty, fighting and surviving. For eleven long years she fought for her honor. She fought for her lost respect. For eleven long years she was the subject of a malicious campaign. Not a day would pass by when a "cock and bull" story would not adorn the front page of a newspaper. Today she is no longer with us, but her absence will always be missed forever. History will remember her as a great leader and as the only Muslim woman leader, who stood the tests of time, who never betrayed the trust of the people and who accepted every challenge that life threw at her. What is the difference between a politician and a leader? A politician asks for sacrifices, a leader gives one. She gave the ultimate sacrifice for her nation. One does not need power to be a leader. A leader needs followers, and she had plenty of them, even when out of power. How many prime ministers, presidents and generals can claim that? Power does not make leaders. History and followers do. She was brave and courageous then her male counterparts and coward opponents, determined to succeed and deliver the agenda of moderation and reform, she had the drive to put Pakistan onto the right track. Far bolder than any male leader, she told the Afghan president hours before her tragic assassination on December 27 that "life and death is in the hands of Allah, and that is why I have the courage to stare in the eyes of death without any fear",just like her great and brave father Z A BHUTTO, who refused to bow his head in front of dictator Zia. 

Her sophistication and diplomacy established a large network of friends and admirers around the world. At the World Political Forum in Italy in 2003, when she walked into the conference hall, almost forty world leaders stood up and applauded her, was not that an honor for Pakistan and Muslim World? She would stop a conversation or an activity just by walking into a room. She lectured regularly at universities globally where she would dazzle a large audience, In the preceding decade of political struggle, Ms. Bhutto was arrested on numerous occasions; in all she spent nearly 6 years either in prison or under detention for her dedicated leadership of the then opposition Pakistan Peoples Party, while her one political opponent couldn’t stay in jail for a year and ran to Saudi Arabia by making a deal with General Mush. Throughout the years in opposition, she pledged to transform Pakistani society by focusing attention on programs for health, social welfare and education for the underprivileged. Benazir was God’s gift to Pakistan. A brave woman who knew no fear and wanted for her country and its children things that all civilized world cherishes; food, clothing ,housing ,education and a future. She saw the evil of religious extremism for what it is; a self defeating disease and was not afraid to define it and fight it. Despite the controversies, which may never be resolved, her accomplishments as a woman in a Moslem society are remarkable. To many Pakistanis, she was a leader who spoke for them, their needs and their hopes. If you asked an ordinary person what they achieved when Benazir Bhutto was in power, they would say at least she gave us a voice and she talked about us and our problems. That was her real achievement." 

Benazir was a person of great character and she never forgot her traditions, although she spent most of her life in West during her education years but she had arranged marriage.

The arranged marriage of Benazir Bhutto and Asif Zardari was not expected. Benazir when asked "Why would someone as independent as you accept marriage to someone you hardly knew? She said, Actually, I had reconciled myself to a life without marriage or children for the sake of my career ... So keeping in mind that many people in Pakistan looked to me, I decided to make a personal sacrifice in what I thought would be, more or less, a loveless marriage, a marriage of convenience. The surprising part is that we are very close and that it's been a very good match ... I'd love to arrange my own children's marriages. I say that because I've been so happy." She also inherited the legacy of by far the most pro-people tradition in the otherwise elite-oriented political process of the country. Before coming back to Pakistan, she, herself, observed that there were two most important battles going on in the country. One, between dictatorship and democracy, the other, between moderation and extremism. Benazir was a woman of extraordinary power. Her critics often dismissed her credentials by saying that she was a privileged woman who did not reflect the true status of Pakistani women, Yet they seemed to miss the point in their critique - precisely because of her privilege and status she could have led a life of luxury and seclusion but instead chose to embrace many of the shackles of tradition. She married a landlord , had three children and acquired the Islamic garb of modesty. Since entering politics, she never let her /dupatta/ (or head covering) slip down for more than a few seconds in public and played by most of the rules .

As the first Muslim woman to become a head of state, Benazir Bhutto will remain an icon for generations to come. The fact that even a privileged woman could reach her level in a society where traditional tribal elders are still debating whether or not it is permissible to beat your wife, makes her story particularly inspirational. Her acquiescence in benign traditions was matched with her astonishing ability to move masses in a male-dominated society. What she managed to accomplish as a Muslim woman by breaking the taboo of female leadership was her least appreciated and most lasting legacy. Talking about Benazir’s political history would require a long article to include her successes, failures, disappointments and official triumphs. But she was a charismatic unique character coming from Kurdish-Farsi roots with a vision that believed in the Pakistani community regardless of its different ethnicity. She believed strongly that the country had so much potential to progress and advance so that its citizens would achieve success strongly. Benazir was only 25 years old when her father Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was hanged in Rawalpindi in April 1979. She was 32 when her younger brother Shahnawaz was mysteriously killed in France in 1985. She was 43 when her other brother Murtaza was killed by the police in 1996. Murtaza's killing was a great tragedy for her. Benazir spent more than nine years in exile without her husband. She raised her children as a single parent. She used to teach them the Holy Quran regularly with English translation. She tried her best to ensure the children did not feel the absence of their father. When her husband was released on medical grounds, he was sent to the United States for treatment. Once again Benazir was alone with her children in Dubai. She did not allow her husband and three children to accompany her to Pakistan when she returned on Oct 18 2007,the last 30 years of her life were full of struggle and trouble, but she proved to be a woman of strong nerve. She was a caring wife, loving mother and a courageous leader. Her agenda for better Pakistan was to seek reconciliation, peace, ending militancy, eradicating poverty, building institutions of civil rule and democracy, spreading education and providing hope to the people of Pakistan for a better future. 

Benazir’s platform had been leftist, including food for the hungry, health care, jobs, slum clearance and a monthly minimum wage. She has been opposed by Islamic fundamentalists who have been suspicious of the PPP because of its alleged leftist. According to Western media and intelligence agencies reports Hamid Gul, Nawaz Sharif, and Osama bin Laden conspired to assassinate Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. Husein Haqqani, a Pakistani journalist who claims to have been involved in the plot, will later say that ISI Director Hamid Gul contacted Osama bin Laden, who was then known to provide financial support to Afghan mujaheddin, to pay for a coup/assassination of Bhutto. Gul also brings Nawaz Sharif, then the governor of Punjab province and a rival of Bhutto, into the plot. Bin Laden agrees to provide $10 million on the condition that Sharif transforms Pakistan into a strict Islamic state, which Sharif accepts but he puts all the money in his pocket. Benazir was not assassinated at this time, but bin Laden allegedly helps Sharif replace Bhutto one year later . In October 1990, Nawaz Sharif is running for election to replace Benazir Bhutto as the prime minister of Pakistan. According to a senior Pakistani intelligence source, bin Laden passes a considerable amount of money to Sharif and his party, since Sharif promises to introduce a hard-line Islamic government. Bin Laden has been supporting Sharif for several years. There is said to be a photograph of Sharif chatting with bin Laden. Sharif wins the election and while he does not introduce a hard-line Islamic government, his rule is more amenable to bin Laden’s interests than Bhutto’s had been. Sharif will stay in power until 1993, then will take over from Bhutto again in 1996 and rule for three more years. Former ISI official Khalid Khawaja, a self-proclaimed close friend of bin Laden, will later claim that Sharif and bin Laden had a relationship going back to when they first met face to face in the late 1980s. This tells us that there were people who wanted to kill her long time ago. Independent Investigators appointed by the UN must find out who are the real murderers of Benazir .Chaudry Pervaiz Elahi; Chaudry Shujhat; and the son of Zia Ul Haq, all haters and sworn enemies of the Bhutto family and of Benazir in particular ,and former officials of ISI must be investigated. She never believed in violence and revenge, in her own words , ‘’democracy is the best revenge’’. 

She was innocent. Before her tragic death, she wrote Reconciliation, Islam, Democracy and the West, which is one of the greatest books I ever read., according to Arianna Huffington ,’’This is a courageous and powerful answer to hatred and intolerance, written by an extraordinary women .’’She believed in democracy, freedom and openness -- not as slogans, but as a way of life, she remained the most potent Pakistani voice for liberalism, tolerance and change. Her place in history will be written with golden words and she would be remembered and honored by generations to come. Benazir Bhutto was a symbol of Democracy in Pakistan. Her killing is the Killing of Democracy in Pakistan. She was a great daughter of a great Father. The most popular leader and Chairperson of the Peoples Party fell victim to the murderous and cowardly act of terrorism. One can cite many examples of the courage and determination of the fallen leader and the domestic and international media is not lacking in enumerating her qualities of courage and intelligence, democratic credentials, popularity, charisma, farsightedness and bravery in the face of adversity, love for her people and country, her abhorrence of and determination to root out terrorism and her rightful understanding that terrorist supporters still exit in the Establishment and political circles of the country.

 Benazir had also fought for women's health, social and discrimination issues. She had plans to set up police stations of women, banks and also courts. She always spoke against abortion. She was one among the forefront to form the council of women world leaders. As a politician, wife and mother, Benazir fulfilled her responsibilities to the fullest. Thus being an icon to many women. Especially Muslim women. Benazir was against violence on woman. Benazir's zest for life, her charisma was so good that she became a role model to many. From getting the best of education and being a great leader. Benazir has done it all. She fought for democracy until death. Her intelligence and charm has an everlasting print in everybody's mind. Her proudest accomplishment, as Benazir Bhutto said, is her success as a woman in a man's world. "My greatest contribution lies in that my success as a woman in a Muslim society, where tradition and tribal taboos held sway, has emancipated other women," she said. "My success helped other women make choices that were not available to them before, not only in Pakistan but all over the Muslim world." One of the most disgusting aspects about the murder of Benazir is that Ms. Benazir Bhutto was callously murdered by people who were SCARED of her return to power. Fact remains, that she was perhaps amongst the very few Pakistani Women and indeed from Asia who could have changed the political scenario. Benazir Bhutto’s brutal and gruesome slaughter equates a decline in the quality of the democracy prevailing in our world today. To have watched, helplessly or conveniently, while such a stunningly charming, charismatic, cerebral and flamboyant political giant is slain reduces the world’s claim to civilization and to humane ideals,she lies buried next to her father, her life cut short at a time when she seemed the only symbol of hope for leading Pakistan to a semblance of democratic normalcy, the tsunami of chaos and unanswered questions, comments and commentaries, flooded all airwaves and social gatherings globally. Her assassination, the fear of an uncertain future not just of her party but Pakistan is an ongoing topic of discussion. Needless to say, its impact is being felt the world over, and what happens in Pakistan will have repercussions on the international community as well. 

There are many who remember her as a warm, generous and extremely lovable woman; a fantastic mother, wife and friend. Those who love her also say that as a politician Benazir tried her best in spite of the many roadblocks put in her path, loved her country, its people and wanted to lead it towards a democratic path once again. Hers was a life that was meant for something special...for something more. Hers was a life that was meant to change the world. And change the world she did. She felt the hand of destiny upon her and she never wavered from following its direction. Benazir Bhutto made extraordinary choices of bravery and self-sacrifice. When her father was about to be hanged, he told her that she did not have to stay in Pakistan, that she could leave and live in safety and comfort elsewhere. She promised him that she would stay and take up his fight for democracy. She never swayed or faltered, not from her promise, nor in her commitment. 

In 2007 - some 28 years since she first made that promise - she once again made an extraordinary choice. She left a life of comfort and safety to return to Pakistan - knowing the risk, knowing the peril - to continue her fight and her struggle to fulfill that promise. And fulfill it she did. In life and in death, Benazir Bhutto lit a flame, a flame of hope, of courage, of commitment - a flame for the birth, realization, and hope of peace and democracy. The flame she lit is a flame we must commit ourselves to carry, to embrace, to raise high, and to never let be extinguished. We must all become keepers of the flame. In this way, she lives. Benazir lives. Her promise lives and will see fulfillment each day we carry, raise, and keep the flame. A flame that will live, and will burn, and will inspire people the world over for the duration of time. Her life here on this earth may have ended but her spirit lives on. And her cause goes on. It goes on within all of us who embrace her courage and her spirit - and who believe in the hope and vision that were the mission of her life. What makes a martyr is not the who or the how of the person's murder, but the why. Joan of Arc was martyred because she fought for and spoke for her beliefs - and because she was willing to pay the ultimate price for continue fighting for, and standing for, and speaking for what she believed in regardless of anything else. 

Patrick Henry who famously said "Give me liberty or give me death," was willing to die - to lay down his life for his vision, hopes, beliefs, and convictions - and his commitment to such was stronger in his heart than the fear of death. Socrates made people think. Most people fear the truth, as if it were death. Socrates did not, believing in the immortality of the soul. He went to his death not afraid, but eager to go and enjoy the fortunes of the blessed,drank poison like wine but did not bow his head. And so was Benazir Bhutto martyred - for standing up, speaking out, and struggling and fighting for her beliefs, for her vision, and for her hopes for her country, and for the rights, opportunities and freedoms of its people. Her commitment, dedication, and belief in her cause and her vision called her to make the ultimate sacrifice, to pay the ultimate price. It was a sacrifice and a price that, throughout her life, she seemed to know in all her prescience and wisdom that she would one day have to pay. And she marched on. Ever onward. With spirit and strength; with faith in God; with conviction and commitment to her beliefs and her vision and her cause; with hope; and always with courage ,undaunted, unblinking, undying courage. What she gave to the world, to humanity, to time itself - courage, faith, spirit, bravery, love, kindness, self-sacrifice, optimism, and hope - will live forever. Her life was a light in an oft-darkened world. She was the embodiment of courage, beauty, and strength. She never failed to put her country and her people above and before herself. Her light has gone out of this world, but will shine forever in the hearts of those who loved her. Her memory is enshrined forever in the fabric of time. And I know and believe that her courage and spirit will live forever in the hearts of those whose lives she touched; in the warm, immortal wind; and in the dusty earth of the land she loved. Hers truly was and forever will be in every way , a heart, a spirit, and a life without comparison. 

She had longed to walk once again upon the dusty roads of her homeland. Now she walks there forever. Now she walks with God. Now she is free. As the "Daughter of Destiny" that she was, it was fated before her time on this earth even began that she would be a martyr for her country, her people, and for freedom and democracy. She died as she lived , embracing those who loved her with her beautiful smile and a heart full of love for Pakistan and its people. The idea and vision of a democratic Pakistan was the cause, the struggle, and the dream for which Benazir Bhutto so courageously gave her life. And it is an idea, a cause, and a dream that must not die with her - it is an idea, a cause, and a dream that must live and breathe and come to fruition. It is a struggle and a fight that she began - and it is a struggle and a fight that we must finish. when a reporter from the Times suggested that her life was the stuff of Greek tragedy, she laughed. "Well, I hope not so tragic," she said. "Don't all Greek dramas end in tragedy?" Benazir’s Bhutto's assassination was a blow to people all over Pakistan, and the world, who hold life sacred and believe in the basics precepts of democracy. It is also a blow to women worldwide who took strength from seeing such a courageous, articulate and charismatic woman playing a leadership role in a powerful Muslim country. Inside Pakistan, even her most bitter critics wept at the news of her death, understanding that it is indeed a dark day when assassination becomes a tool for eliminating opposing viewpoints. 

She gave her life serving the cause and hope of democracy, equality, justice, freedom, and humanity. She was one of the greatest leaders and advocates for democracy and human rights that our world has ever known. She was a mother. She was a wife. She was a daughter and a sister. She was a friend. She was a remarkably special person. She was, is, and forever will be, every ones inspiration. Benazir Bhutto lives. Her spirit lives forever in the hearts of those who loved her; in those to whom she gave hope; in those who were touched by her unbreakable, beautiful and special spirit; in those who were inspired by her courage, her bravery, and her largeness of soul. Those of us whose lives and hearts were forever touched and changed by hers - those of us who loved her - will forever carry her extraordinary spirit in our hearts. Hers was an extraordinary, epic life of tragedy, triumph, love, bravery, and sacrifice. She died as she lived - and as she will forever be remembered - a woman of great faith in God and of tremendous courage. Forever brave. Forever beautiful. Forever BENAZIR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Benazir, They killed you, you knew they were going to kill you, the same people who killed your father, the same group of generals, politicians, mullahs and bourgeois, who did not want to see you as a liberal, educated leader, but you fought for us , you fought for democracy and freedom. You are our HERO and will always be... YOU WILL ALWAYS BE REMEMBERED AND WILL BE ALIVE LIKE THEY NEVER WANTED YOU TO BE. May God give the people of Pakistan to fight the tyrants. Benazir ! our hearts will cry for you on every beat until alive. She lives on. And her courage lives on. As is the legacy of a martyr. Benazir Bhutto for past 30 years has been a part of our life, I dare say that for most of us she will remain a part of our lives as long as we live. The Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto & Mohtarma BB shall always respectfully be remembered by all democratic masses of Pakistan in particular & those of the world in general. We are very unfortunate people of this Country that we lost Zulfiqar Bhutto and now Benazir. She was the last hope for the unity and prosperous Pakistan. 

You can imprison a man, but not an idea. You can exile a man, but not an idea. You can kill a man, but not an idea." Long Live Bhuttoism.

BB, we miss you. We love you, we salute you for your courage. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Benazir Bhutto - A leader who saw the jihadis coming

Farahna Ispahani

The extremists and Pakistan’s conservative establishment that has backed them hated Benazir Bhutto with a passion and tried to thwart her in every way her entire adult life
Two years after being elected the world’s first Muslim woman prime minister, Benazir Bhutto received intelligence that a man called Osama bin Laden had given orders to kill her. The year was 1990. Al Qaeda had not yet officially been formed but the organisers of global jihad had already determined that Afghanistan and Pakistan, where they launched their first modern jihad against the Soviet Union, would be crucial to their plans for restoring a medieval caliphate across the Muslim world.

Shaheed Benazir Bhutto narrated the bin Laden threat to her life in the second edition of her book The Daughter of the East. In the first edition she spoke of threats to her life at the time of her first return to Pakistan from exile, in 1986, while jihadist dictator General Ziaul Haq still ruled the country. Bhutto conveyed her concerns about Zia to US officials then as she had about bin Laden four years later. However, before 9/11, warnings about radical Islamists were not taken seriously.

Shaheed Benazir Bhutto was assassinated by the jihadis on December 27, 2007 after addressing a rally where she repeated her warnings about the Taliban and other extremist groups. Today, events such as the recent massacre of schoolchildren in Peshawar reflect what Bhutto was warning against. Extremist Islamist ideologues opposed her because, as a western-educated Muslim woman leader, she symbolised all that the jihadis hate.

Bhutto was physically brave beyond comprehension. She had a commanding personality, was extremely intelligent and well read. Her charisma, combined with her compassion towards the poor of Pakistan, helped her win elections in a conservative Muslim majority country. Ziaul Haq, the brutal military dictator, rued that he had not “finished her off” along with her father Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a former president and prime minister of Pakistan, executed by Zia after a military coup.

The extremists and Pakistan’s conservative establishment that has backed them hated Benazir Bhutto with a passion and tried to thwart her in every way her entire adult life. Pakistan’s reputation as a terrorist incubator owes itself to the hyper-nationalist and Islamist ideology cultivated over the years by the country’s establishment. Bhutto saw this ideology, not as cement that would bind Pakistan’s disparate ethnic groups, but as a deviation from the ideas of Pakistan’s secular founder, Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

Benazir Bhutto had a vision for and clarity about Pakistan, the Muslim world and the west after 9/11 that no Muslim leader today seems to have. In her book, Reconciliation, Islam, Democracy and the West, written just before her assassination and published right after it, she argued that Pakistan under military dictatorship had become the epicentre of an international terrorist movement that had two primary aims. “First the extremists aim to reconstitute the concept of the caliphate, a political state encompassing the great ummah (Muslim community) populations of the world,” she wrote. The second aim of the militants was “to provoke a clash of civilisations between the west and an interpretation of Islam that rejects pluralism and democracy.”

In 2007, before Islamic State (IS) and its markedly escalated brutality had surfaced, Bhutto cautioned the world about the violent intentions of those hijacking her Islamic faith. “The attacks on September 11, 2001, heralded the vanguard of the caliphate-inspired dream of bloody confrontation: the crusades in reverse,” she explained to a global audience that still does not always understand the motives of groups like Daesh or IS as the extremist murderers prefer to be called. Shaheed Benazir Bhutto explained that within the Muslim world sectarianism was widespread and Islamic dogma had been shaped into a propaganda tool justifying jihad against the west. She also took on rising western Islamophobia and argued that Islam and Muslims were not the negative and cartoonish caricatures often painted in the western press and movies.

Bhutto offered an alternative vision of civic Islam, drawing on Prophet Muhammad’s (PBUH) acceptance of “women as equal partners in society, in business and even in war. Islam codified the rights of women. It guarantees women, civil, economic and political rights.” She castigated those “who claim to speak for Islam who denigrate democracy and human rights, arguing that these values are western values and thus inconsistent with Islam. These are the same people who would deny basic education to girls, blatantly discriminate against women and minorities, ridicule other cultures and religions, rant against science and technology, and enforce brutal totalitarianism to enforce their medieval views.” According to her, these people have a no more legitimate relationship with Islam than the people who bomb women’s health centres in the US have to Christianity or the madmen who massacre innocent Arab children at the tomb of Abraham in Palestine have to Judaism.

Shaheed Benazir Bhutto will be mourned on the anniversary of her assassination at her burial place in her family shrine in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh in Sindh and all over Pakistan. This year, with the turmoil, strife and violence spreading all over Muslim lands by the extremists, it would be worthwhile to pay attention to her words, experience and recommendations for fighting the jihadi extremists.