Monday, December 31, 2007
Obituary: Benazir Bhutto, 1953-2007
Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan's future Prime Minister and convent-educated mother of three teenagers, died on December 27th, aged 54.
[Text by Mayank Austen Soofi; picture by Jahangir Khan]
The grief is still green and it is comforting to sink into the cushions of sadness. But let's make the mourning more intense. Switch on the record player, take out the Yash Chopra LP, and play Kabhie Kabhie Mere Dil Mein Khayal Aata Hai, Benazir's favorite song (else simply watch a Begum Nawazish Ali video).
OK, we are now crying for you. Benazir.
Bibi, they killed you. They, all together killed you. They all-Army, USA, Al Qaeda, Taliban, War on Terror, Politics, Militancy, Civilians, Generals, Punjabis, Sindhis, fundamentalists, moderates, enlightened-moderates, haters, admirers, detractors, supporters. Everyone. Hai Bibi…
But why be so sad? Stuff happens. Leaders die. Followers fight. Nations live on. And Benazir was no Jinnah. Dissenting voices have quieted in respect for the dead, but chambers would re-echo with accusations. Uncomfortable questions would be asked. Why the late Mohtarma Prime Minister had to appoint her businessman husband as Investment Minister? How many Swiss bank accounts she held? And what about the mansions in western Europe? And so on. True, nothing has been proved against her. But the taint would remain unless proved otherwise. So why feel sorry for her? Wasn't she just another politician?
Remember, at least 20 more people died in the assassination. Why grief only for the Lady VIP?
Benazir Bhutto was privileged. Born rich and got richer. A feudal lord's daughter who married a feudal lord. Her playgrounds - Karachi, Dubai and London. Her stopovers - New Delhi and Washington DC. Her pilgrimages – sufi shrines of Ghareeb Nawaz and Lal Shahbaz Qalandar. Tchhh, the lady could not live long but she did live a fantastic life. Do you agree? Why is then our heart broken?
Why be so grieved?
Is it because Benazir was a woman, a beautiful woman? Because she was like one of us? Because her nickname was Pinkey and she drank gin and drove a Porsche when at Oxford. Because she read Mills & Boon romances? Did we feel for her because she deserved a better husband? Why, oh why, are we in such despair? Is it that we are overwhelmed by the circumstances of her death? Are we saddened because her children might meet the same fate?
Are we weeping for Pakistan also?
But that's useless. These are bad times but they, too, shall pass. Pakistan Paindabad!