there is speculation that the attack was not carried out by Islamists, but by certain groups within the regime who don’t want Bhutto in the country. The leaders of Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party are accusing the government and the intelligence services of not having done enough to prevent the attack.
In a piece that appeared in last week’s LRB, Tariq Ali offered an insightful views on “Pakistan at Sixty”.
The European and North American papers give the impression that the main, if not the only, problem confronting Pakistan is the power of the bearded fanatics skulking in the Hindu Kush, who as the papers see it are on the verge of taking over the country. In this account, all that stops a jihadi finger finding the nuclear trigger is Musharraf. Alas, it now seems he might drown in a sea of troubles and so the helpful State Department has pushed out an over-inflated raft in the shape of Benazir Bhutto…
The notion that the soon-to-return Benazir Bhutto, perched on Musharraf’s shoulder, equals progress is as risible as Nawaz Sharif imagining that millions of people would turn out to receive him when he arrived at Islamabad airport last month. A general election is due later this year. If it is as comprehensively rigged as the last one was, the result will be increased alienation from the political process. The outlook is bleak. There is no serious political alternative to military rule.
In the way that she’s — everyone knows that she and her husband went in power incredibly corrupt. The evidence is there. And in a country where the ordinary people are already alienated from the political process, to inflict this on them isn’t going to improve matters.
and the always acerbic Ardeshir Cowasjee has a trenchant criticism of Musharraf’s ordinance that enabled BB to return:
THE New York Times, August 6, 2003: ‘Bhutto Sentenced in Switzerland —A Swiss magistrate has found former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and her husband guilty of money laundering.
They were given six-month suspended jail terms, fined $50,000 each and were ordered to pay US$11m to the Pakistani government. The six-year-long case alleged that Ms Bhutto, who lives in exile in London and Dubai, and her husband, Asif Zardari, deposited in Swiss accounts $0m given them by a Swiss company in exchange for a contract in Pakistan. The couple said they would appeal.’
Swissinfo (swissinfo.org/eng), Oct 9, 2007: ‘Amnesty spells trouble for Swiss Bhutto case — … Daniel Zappelli, the general prosecutor of Geneva, is facing a quandary. Should the politician and her husband stand trial now that Bhutto has been granted an amnesty by her own country?…The couple was first convicted of simple money laundering in 2003 by a Geneva investigating judge who handed down a six-month suspended sentence.
The Bhuttos appealed against the magistrate’s decision but were later accused of more serious money laundering offences…
One positive — nay, excellent — factor to emerge from the promulgation by a man unable to relinquish power of the disgusting National Reconciliation Ordinance, which has had the opposite effect to reconciliation as far as the people are concerned, is the reaction of the literate and illiterate 170 millions of Pakistan.
They know they have been duped, that they do not know the truth, and have no fear in saying so in no uncertain terms. This ordinance, promulgated by a man who preaches enlightened moderation, stands equally ignominious and abominable (for different reasons) as the Hudood Ordinances of the reviled President General Ziaul Haq.