Tuesday, January 08, 2008
Viewpoint - Benazir is Dead, Long Live Pakistan
A young Pakistani remains hopeful even after Benazir's assasination.
[By Salman Ravala. The author is a Pakistani-American student is a JD and MA Economics Candidate at Syracuse University. He was a former summer law clerk for the Attorney General for Pakistan at the Supreme Court in Pakistan and is currently a Visiting Legal Scholar at the Office of Legal Affairs at the United Nations; picture by abro]
I pray to God five times a day and each time I stand up, I ask God to guide me. Guide me and my fellow Muslims. More than one billion Muslims around the world ask for the same. I am not sure if guidance has arrived?
What I am sure of though is the fact that my generation of Pakistanis, like that of our fathers, and their fathers, has seen the brutal death of a leader. Our grandparents saw Liaquat Ali Khan murdered, our parents witnessed Zulfikar Bhutto executed, and we watched Benazir Bhutto's assassination. Of course, there are others like Zia-ul-Haq who we know died under suspicious circumstances.
The question that has plagued us and is even more pertinent now is, whether things will change or will Pakistan once again go through a roller coaster ride of democracy and military rule so that our children too, will have to see bloodshed on the clothes of the Head of State of our beloved country?
We all watched Benazir Bhutto as Prime Minister as we sang to the Junoon and played with our Ninja Turtle figurines. Maybe that is why this assassination is so painful to us. So, even though most of us did not like the “Daughter of Pakistan”, I believe that my generation of Pakistanis can truly make a difference as a result of this tragic event.
Today, there is the largest number of students of Pakistani origin studying in well-established universities around the world. In Pakistan itself, we have some of the most hardworking and passionate people currently living. Historically, not a single migration has occurred that compares to the mass migration to Pakistan in 1947. Pakistan is the only Muslim country in the world that has been able to acquire nuclear capabilities. So, this event may put forward great challenges for Pakistan but it must never be forgotten that the people of Pakistan are still greater. I am confident that this time around we can make a difference. God-Willing. All we need are everyone’s sincere prayers. I am sure, then, we will see guidance from above and Pakistan will truly be able to move forward with a renewed sense of unity, faith, and discipline.
I sincerely pray that God blesses this generation of Muslims and Pakistanis. May He ease the suffering of those who were hurt the most. May He allow Pakistanis to be forever united and loving, in good times and bad.
As a conclusion to this note, I hope the observers of the situation can think, not about whether democracy will prevail in Pakistan or if elections will be held as prescribed, but rather if the common man on the street in Pakistan will get food and shelter, today, and years from today.