World View: Pakistan Commemorates 5th Anniversary of Benazir Bhutto's Murder

This morning's key headlines from GenerationalDynamics.com

  • Benazir Bhutto's son launches political career in midst of Pakistan's political chaos
  • Pakistan has a new 'hope and change' candidate, Maulana Tahirul Qadri

Benazir Bhutto's son launches political career in midst of Pakistan's political chaos

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (R) with his father, President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan (BBC)
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari (R) with his father, President Asif Ali Zardari of Pakistan (BBC)

It's been exactly five years since Pakistan's popular former prime minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated (From 2007: "Benazir Bhutto killed by suicide bomber after election rally in Rawalpindi".) She had been favored to win the office of Prime Minister again in elections two weeks later. Bhutto was well-known internationally, and the scenario that Western countries have been hoping for was that Bhutto as Prime Minister would work closely with President Pervez Musharraf, and that between them they would restore stability to the country. Bhutto's assassination only destabilized Pakistan further, and a large part of the population blamed the Bhutto's death on the government and the army for not protecting her from terrorists. Moreover, her death propelled her widowed husband, Asif Ali Zardari, into the presidency.

On Thursday, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the 24 year old son of Benazir Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari, commemorated the anniversary of his mother's murder by launching his own political career. In his 30-minute televised speech, delivered alongside his mother's tomb, he recalled not only the death of his mother, but also the death of his grandfather, who was hanged by a former military ruler. He said:

"I am the heir to the martyr. If you kill one Bhutto, there will be a Bhutto in every house.

Bhutto is not a name, it is an obsession, a passion, a love. You can chain our feet to the ground but we will still keep moving."

There will be new elections, probably in May, but Bilawal will not be old enough to run for office until September, so there is talk of postponing the elections until them. Daily Times (Lahore) and Reuters

Pakistan has a new 'hope and change' candidate, Maulana Tahirul Qadri

I've frequently written about former Pakistani cricket superstar Imran Khan, once voted as the "Sexiest Man of The Year" by Australia Magazine Oz, who has become an anti-American "hope and change" Pakistani politician who hopes to win the 2013 elections. (See "Hope and change Pakistan candidate Imran Khan draws huge crowd in Karachi" from November 2011.) He drew crowds of hundreds of thousands in campaign appearances in which he blamed the Taliban and al-Qaeda linked terrorist attacks in Pakistan on the United States war on terror, and promised to end all such relations with the U.S.

Now there's a new "hope and change" candidate, Dr. Maulana Tahirul Qadri. He's not nearly as sexy as Khan, but he's a highly respected Sufi scholar, and he has a different solution to the problem of Taliban terrorist in Pakistan: Instead of ending relations with the U.S., he's declaring a jihad against terrorism -- though he has yet to lay out a road map for how he plans to accomplish his jihad.

While Khan drew crowds of hundreds of thousands, Qadri drew crowds of millions in a rally last weekend in Lahore. Even so, Qadri does not yet have the stature to achieve his stated goals. The News (Pakistan) and Kuna (Kuwait)


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