Bhutto murdered


by Rumbold
27th December, 2007 at 5:00 pm    

Benazir Bhutto was murdered:

“Pakistani former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has been assassinated in a suicide attack. Ms Bhutto had just addressed an election rally in Rawalpindi when she was shot in the neck by a gunman who then set off a bomb. At least 16 other people died in the attack and several more were injured.”

Update: Criticism so far has focused on the apparent ease at which the assassins were able to get to Bhutto’s vehicle, with some suggesting that her security detail was either too few, too lax, bribed, or ordered to stand aside for the bombers. However, for all the speculation, no concrete facts about the identity and motivation of the murderers has yet emerged.


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  1. Sam Ambreen — on 27th December, 2007 at 5:07 pm  

    A bad day for Pakistan and democracy.

    Deepest sympathies to all those affected.

  2. Sofi — on 27th December, 2007 at 5:13 pm  

    (thanks!)

    what a terrible tragedy….what a shock. inevitable as it was.

  3. Natty — on 27th December, 2007 at 5:31 pm  

    It is shocking. Senseless killing.

  4. Random Guy — on 27th December, 2007 at 5:32 pm  

    There are not enough swear words in my book for whoever did this.

  5. Sam Ambreen — on 27th December, 2007 at 5:37 pm  

    Bloody fundamentalists, they don’t want a people’s voice nor do they want a woman in power.

  6. Saqib — on 27th December, 2007 at 5:52 pm  

    It is sad to see the current situation prevailing in Pakistan. I didn’t have any fondness towards BB when she was alive (it was a n utter disgrace the way she was trying to broker a power0sharing deal with Musharaf and undermining the GENUINE democratic opposition) however she did not deserve this fate, no one does. Assassination of leading political figures is a very bad sign for a society, for it shows a clear and direct lack of trust and respect for the institutions of the state and society. One can only hope that the perpetrators are brought to justice.

    I am not sure what information Sam has currently about ‘Blood fundamentalists’ being responsible…per you have inside information you would like to share with the rest of us?

  7. RAMIIE — on 27th December, 2007 at 5:53 pm  

    Benazir was no pussy cat. Pakistani party politics is as violent, murky, sectarian, corrupt and as deadly as any that seeks to establish itself in the shadow of a dictatorship. She knew exactly what she was facing and had no doubt surrounded herself with the necessary dubious charactaers to ensure her own survival. Her death, really, shouldn’t be greeted with such suprise (except by those who are out of touch with the reality of dirty politics..such as the average croissant and clam socialists on this site..but simply a tactical victory for the other side.

    RAMIIE

  8. Refresh — on 27th December, 2007 at 6:04 pm  

    This is the most dreadful news for everyone. For Pakistan of course, all the countries in the region and the wider world.

    It is not helpful to work on assumptions, we do not and cannot yet know who was behind it. There is nothing obvious as to who might have been responsible.

    What is obvious is who would be the ideal perpetrator as no doubt we will start to hear from more pundits over the next few hours and days, taking Sam Ambreen’s lead.

  9. Sam Ambreen — on 27th December, 2007 at 6:25 pm  

    I’ve no real education on Pakistani politics and haven’t really bothered taking an interest before. However, I do have an uncle who is proactive in the PPP’s campaigns and can only really echo the bits I pick up on. My family have supported Bhutto as far back as I can remember and I feel upset for them if nothing else.

  10. Sam Ambreen — on 27th December, 2007 at 6:28 pm  

    “Her death, really, shouldn’t be greeted with such suprise (except by those who are out of touch with the reality of dirty politics..such as the average croissant and clam socialists on this site..but simply a tactical victory for the other side.”

    Congratulations on being the more informed amongst us. Pff.

  11. Sam Ambreen — on 27th December, 2007 at 6:33 pm  

    I keep reading back and picking up on information that’s leaving me a little unnerved. Can I not make a comment or express disbelief without being challeneged by those of you that clearly feel you’re more savvy in the field of politics? Fine, it’s where you come to chew over what you would do if you controlled the world but I’m coming from a place of shock and hurt on behalf of those that felt Bhutto represented them. I haven’t the foggiest who did what or who we should flog but I am aware of the sentiments her supporters feel. Just that and nothing but.

  12. Edsa — on 27th December, 2007 at 6:36 pm  

    Bhutto faces lawsuits for kickbacks

    Even if the Supreme Court accepts Musharraf’s amnesty, Of course, her murder is a terrible tragedy.
    But let’s soberly consider the facts – she was standing essentially as a US stooge and her calls for democracy were all a sham. She was thoroughly and had pillaged the Pakistan treasury during her terms as PM.
    What is her record?
    - Bhutto stood to face several cases outside of Pakistan.
    1. Swiss Case
    In 2003 Geneva magistrate Daniel Devaud convicted her of money-laundering.

    He found she and her close associates received around $15m in kickbacks from Pakistani government contracts with two Swiss companies (SGS and Cotecna).

    Mr Devaud sentenced Ms Bhutto and her husband Asif Zardari to 180 days in prison, ordering them to return $11.9m to the government of Pakistan.
    The decision was made in her absence, and the case is being reheard, with the former prime minister now facing the more serious charge of aggravated money-laundering.
    Vincent Fournier, the Swiss judge in charge of the current case, told the BBC he planned to hand the case over to Geneva’s attorney-general soon.

    2. UK case
    The government of Pakistan alleged that Ms Bhutto and her husband bought Rockwood, a $3.4m country estate in Surrey, UK, using money from kickbacks.

    Ms Bhutto and husband Zardari denied owning the estate for eight years. But in 2004, Mr Zardari suddenly admitted that it was his. In 2006, Lord Justice Collins, said Ms Bhutto and/or her husband bought and refurbished Rockwood with “the fruits of corruption”.

    3. WHAT JEMIMA KHAN SAID (In UK’s Telegraph 21 Oct 07)
    Benazir Bhutto’s call about “fighting for democracy” and “fighting for Pakistan’s poor” is a sham. This is the woman who was twice dismissed on corruption charges and went into self-imposed exile while investigations were going on about the vast sums she had siphoned into Swiss accounts. Her reign as PM was marked by extra-judicial killings and brazen loot of the treasury, with the help of her husband dubbed Mr 10 percent.
    She has left the women as powerless a she found them. She never repealed the Hudood ordinances that made no distinction between rape and adultery. She preferred to kowtow to the mullahs to hang on to power.

    So how much of state assets did she loot? BBC anchor David Frost asked blankly how many millions she held in Swiss accounts. Her answer: “David, I think that’s a very sexist question” – but what has loot to do with gender?
    The figure stashed away turns out to be $1.5 billion, according to Musharraf’s own National Accountability Bureau. No wonder she could afford to buy luxury mansions in the UK and live lavishly.

    Benazir ia adept at playing to the West. The Americans brokered her deal with Musharraf to grant her immunity from prosecution and share power for 5 years. The West never learns, always taking sides with the favourite of the moment.

  13. Cover Drive — on 27th December, 2007 at 6:39 pm  

    Sad news but inevitable I think after the previous attempt to kill her.

    Politics is incredibly violent in Pakistan. It is not uncommon for political parties to assassinate members of another party.

    I really don’t know why Benazir had to go back. The fact is she was an incredibly corrupt politician who was obsessed with her international image. She was liked far more in the West, where they regarded her as an Anglophile liberal, than she was in Pakistan. She did done more harm than good for Pakistan.

  14. Sid — on 27th December, 2007 at 6:43 pm  

    I think General Musharraf, now out of military fatigues but still very much army, has more to gain from her death than the Islamists, who aren’t really in the game to win it, democratically, that is.

  15. douglas clark — on 27th December, 2007 at 7:57 pm  

    Just to agree with what Sam Ambreen said.

    Could I ask a question of the experts out there?

    The following is a list from:

    http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2007%5C10%5C22%5Cstory_22-10-2007_pg7_24

    May 8, 2002: Fourteen people, including nine French nationals and five Pakistanis, were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up inside a bus in front of Sheraton Hotel, Karachi.

    April 11, 2006: Forty-seven people lost their life when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a Sunni Tehreek gathering at Nishtar Park, Karachi.

    March 17, 2002: A suicide bomber blew himself up at a church located in Diplomatic Enclave, Islamabad.

    August 6, 2002: A suicide bomber attacked a church in Taxila.

    August 9, 2002: A suicide bomber attacked a church in Murree.

    December 25, 2003: Five people were killed when suicide bombers targeted a convoy of President General Pervez Musharraf in Rawalpindi.

    February 28, 2004: A suicide bomber blew himself up in a mosque in Satellite Town, Rawalpindi.

    May 7, 2004: Fifteen people lost their life in a suicide attack in Mithadar, Karachi.

    July 30, 2004: A suicide bomber targeted the car of Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz in Attock, killing six people, including the premier’s driver.

    October 1, 2004: A suicide bomber blew himself up in a mosque of Shia school of thought in Sialkot claiming 31 lives.

    October 10,2004: A suicide attack on a Shia mosque in Mochi Gate, Lahore, led to the death of five people.

    May 27, 2005: Twenty-five people were killed in Bari Imam Shrine, Islamabad, suicide bombing.

    May 30, 2005: Attack on a Shia mosque at Gulshan-e-Iqbal, Karachi, killed six people.

    February 9, 2006: Thirty-nine people lost their life in a suicide bombing in Hangu, NWFP.

    March 2, 2006: A US diplomat and his Pakistani driver and some others lost their life in a suicide bombing in Karachi.

    June 26, 2006: Six security personnel were killed when a suicide bomber targeted Aisha checkpoint in Miranshah, NWFP.

    July 14, 2006: A suicide bomber killed Allama Hassan Turabi, a prominent Shia leader, in Karachi.

    November 8, 2006: Forty-one cadets were killed when a suicide bomber blew himself up at Punjab Regimental Center, Dargai.

    January 22, 2007: Attack on an FC convoy in Mirali (Tribal Area) claimed three innocent lives.

    January 26, 2007: A suicide bomber blew himself up at Marriott Hotel, Islamabad, killing a security guard.

    January 27, 2007: Twelve people lost their life when a suicide bomber blew himself up at a Shia gathering in Peshawar.

    January 29 2007: Attack near Liaquat Park, D.I Khan, killed one policeman.

    February 3,2007: A man was killed when a suicide bomber rammed his car in a military convoy in Taank, North Waziristan Agency (NWA).

    February 6, 2007: Police killed a suicide bomber at Islamabad International Airport.

    February 17, 2007: Sixteen people were killed in an attack on a civil judge, Abdul Wahid Durrani, in Quetta, Balochistan. The judge survived the attack.

    March 29,2007: A person was killed in an attack on Army Drivers Training Center, Kharian.

    April 28, 2007: Thirty people lost their life and Interior Minister Aftab Ahmed Khan Sherpao were injured when a suicide bomber blew himself up in a public meeting in Charsada, NWFP.

    May 15, 2007: Twenty-four people were killed in a suicide bombing at Hotel Marhaba, Peshawar.

    July 4, 2007: Five army personnel lost their life when a military truck was targeted in Swat.

    July 12, 2007: One person was killed when a suicide bomber exploded himself outside the office of political agent.

    July 14 2007: Eighteen army personnel were killed when a suicide bomber attacked a military convoy near Daz Narai, Miranshah, North Waziristan Agency.

    July 15, 2007: Nineteen people were killed when a suicide bomber exploded himself at Police Line, DI Khan, NWFP.

    July 15, 2007: Eighteen people were killed when a bomber rammed his vehicle into a military convoy in Matta, Swat.

    July 14: 2007: Eighteen people were killed when a bomber attacked a military convoy in Miranshah.

    July 17, 2007: Five people lost their life when a suicide bomber exploded himself in Mir Ali, NWA. The same day a suicide targeted a lawyers convention in F-8 Markaz, Islamabad, killing 17 people.

    July 19, 2007: Five people were killed when a bomber rammed his car in Hungu police training center.

    July 20,2007: Attack on an FC check post at Boya, Miranshah, claimed two lives.

    July 27, 2007: A suicide attack at Aabpara, Islamabad, took 13 lives.

    August 4, 2007: Attack in Kurram Agency killed seven people.

    August 17, 2007: A suicide attack was carried out in Tank, NWFP, injuring three security personnel.

    August 18, 2007: Two attacks were carried out in North Waziristan Agency and Bannu killing one person.

    August 20, 2007: Attack in Hangu killed three persons.

    August 24, 2007: Attack in Miranshah claimed three lives.

    August 26, 2007: Attack in Swat killed four people.

    September 1, 2007: Attack in Bajaur Agency killed five people. Another attack took place in Jandola the same day. However, there were no fatalities.

    September 4, 2007: Twenty-five people lost their life in two suicide attacks in Rawalpindi Cantonment.

    September 14, 2007: Attack at an elite battalion of Pakistan Army in Tarbela Ghazi claimed life of 20 personnel.

    And it misses the worst, most recent cases, from:

    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/World/Pakistan/A_brief_history_of_the_state_of_Pakistan/articleshow/2656448.cms

    Also in October, Benazir Bhutto, former Pakistani prime minister, returns from exile to Pakistan. During a parade in the city of Karachi attended by thousands of her supporters, a suicide bomb attack kills more than 130 of her supporters.

    and

    December 21, 2007: At least 50 people are killed in a suicide bombing at a mosque in north-west Pakistan, apparently targeting Aftab Khan Sherpao, the country’s former interior minister.

    and now this

    December 27, 2007: Benazir Bhutto, former Pakistani prime minister, is killed by a suicide bomber who first fired shots at her before blowing himself up during an election rally in Rawalpindi, 14 km south of Islamabad.

    Could someone who knows what they are talking about please explain to me if there is a pattern to all this? It seems to me to almost be a kind of mutual suicide pact.

    It also puts 7/7 into some kind of perspective, I think.

  16. Jai — on 27th December, 2007 at 7:58 pm  

    Quite shocking news. I’m sure there are plenty of us here who, like me, grew up hearing about Benazir Bhutto fairly frequently via the British media and generally by virtue of being Asian (family discussions, general awareness of the subcontinent etc).

    Given the minefield of Pakistani politics and the various assassination attempts we’ve all recently been hearing about in the media, I guess unfortunately it was just a matter of time before one of the high-profile figures over there was successfully taken out. No doubt people like Musharraf, Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan are now being even more vigilant about constantly looking over their shoulders.

    My condolences to all the Pakistanis out there, especially those who were supporters of Benazir.

  17. Steve M — on 27th December, 2007 at 8:33 pm  

    Italian news agency Adnkronos International are reporting that Al-Qaeda have claimed responsibility.
    http://www.adnkronos.com/AKI/English/Security/?id=1.0.1710322437

    AQ’s main commander and main spokesperson said “We terminated the most precious American asset which vowed to defeat [the] mujahadeen”

    ‘American asset’ claims notwithstanding, this is bad news.

  18. Sajn — on 27th December, 2007 at 9:30 pm  

    What a load of tosh some of you are posting.

    BB was not an American asset, stooge or anything else. She was first and foremost the leading Pakistani politician. As with all politicians, she was willing to talk and work with any other party/individual or country if she felt it would benefit her or Pakistan.

    The allegations of corruption are exactly that, allegations. None have been proved thus far, which given the time and effort that both Nawaz and Musharaf spent in trying is saying something.

    And Cover Drive could you provide some examples of when Pakistani politicians have attempted to have their rivals killed?

    This is a tagic day for Pakistan, Pakistanis and especially the Bhutto and Zardari families.

  19. douglas clark — on 27th December, 2007 at 9:39 pm  

    Steve M,

    If that turns out to be true, and I suspect it is, it makes the Wests’ – post Afghanistan ‘Victory’ – strategy look like the utter mince it has always been. Why the hell did they not hunt these people down, no matter where they were? That would have been the point of 9/11, would it not? Finding and killing the perpetrators.

    But nos, we go and attack a country that had bugger all to do with it.

    No, I don’t understand it either.

  20. douglas clark — on 27th December, 2007 at 9:42 pm  

    Sajn,

    Perhaps you are competent to comment on my post at 15? I would be obliged for your insight.

  21. Leon — on 27th December, 2007 at 10:39 pm  

    Murdered is a bit of an emotive term…

  22. Farmer — on 27th December, 2007 at 10:46 pm  

    Leon – “Murdered is a bit of an emotive term…”

    OK, killed intentionally, contrary to law.

  23. douglas clark — on 27th December, 2007 at 11:02 pm  

    Leon,

    Correct me if I am wrong, but murdered seems accurate to me? Where the hell are you coming from? Expain how blowing your political opponent apart is not murder. Go on, try.

  24. Me — on 27th December, 2007 at 11:06 pm  

    While many will mourn Bhutto’s assassination, many before had died at her whims. While many Sikhs will remain respectful, few will mourn her loss due to her betrayal.

    http://thelangarhall.com/archives/30

  25. Ms_Xtreme — on 27th December, 2007 at 11:07 pm  

    Al-Qaida has taken responsibility for the murder.

    Is it just me, or the terrorist groups are jumping to claim responsibility to these types of things like they’re running for the phucking Miss America contest?

    Anyways, she was murdered – which is hardly an answer to anything at all. Tensions will grow more than they already have. Killing her will not resolve anything, yet segregate the community further.

    Lame.

  26. douglas clark — on 27th December, 2007 at 11:10 pm  

    Leon,

    I asked you a democratic question. You need to consider it.

  27. douglas clark — on 27th December, 2007 at 11:19 pm  

    Ms_Xtreme

    Anyways, she was murdered – which is hardly an answer to anything at all. Tensions will grow more than they already have. Killing her will not resolve anything, yet segregate the community further.

    Point. This is mad stuff, stuff I referred to at post 15. Seems some folk think this is okay?

  28. RAMIIE — on 27th December, 2007 at 11:32 pm  

    Sam
    You are being childish. Bhutto was corrupt. Her father owned her party and on his death the baton was passed to her. Hardly democratic. I guessed you would have felt OK had the PLP invited Euan to be labour leader on his father’s much welcomed (in my house at least) departure from office.

    *SIGH*

    RAMIIE

    Why can’t we call a corrupt nepostic dynasty a corrupt nepotistic dynasty as quickly as you would call a spade a spade?

  29. Morgoth — on 27th December, 2007 at 11:38 pm  

    Could someone who knows what they are talking about please explain to me if there is a pattern to all this?

    Here’s a hint. It begins with “I” and ends with “SLAM”.

  30. douglas clark — on 27th December, 2007 at 11:46 pm  

    Ramie,

    Whom I assume is Muzumdar, could even you admit that it was black fucking murder? Why not call a spade a fucking shovel? Because you can’t. It is relatively easy to say what you did:

    Why can’t we call a corrupt nepostic dynasty a corrupt nepotistic dynasty as quickly as you would call a spade a spade?

    It is a damn sight harder to apologise for the killers. Which you seem to be too ready to do.

  31. thabet — on 27th December, 2007 at 11:52 pm  
  32. Ms_Xtreme — on 27th December, 2007 at 11:53 pm  

    [i]Seems some folk think this is okay?[/i]

    Of course. There’ll always be opposing views from everything political to even how potato’s are cooked best.

    Morgoth – I disagree with you. You cannot judge an entire religion based on the actions of some extremists. Islam doesn’t condone killing outside of war – even that has to be justified.

    Please quit the ignorance.

  33. douglas clark — on 28th December, 2007 at 12:00 am  

    Morgoth,

    That is over simplistic, but thanks for trying. All 1.4 billion of them? If so, your attempt to rile all of them is as stupid as your chum, The Reverend Iain Paisley, who antagonised all Catholics. He was insane, you are too.

    And I’m as much of an atheist as you.

  34. ZinZin — on 28th December, 2007 at 12:03 am  

    Calm down Douglas, Morgoth is a well known master baiter. Just ignore him.

  35. The Dude — on 28th December, 2007 at 12:13 am  

    Murder begets murder and the one thing we can all be sure about is that any and all forensic evidence which resulted from the murder of Benazir Bhutto was washed away as quickly as the suicide bomber who pulled the trigger was blown to pieces.

    The point must surely be whether you agree with BB’s particular type of pro western secular politics or not that the politics of the gun and the bomb is not a go thing for anyone.

    Isn’t it funny how the BBC are bending over backwards on trying to pin this crime on Al-Qaida?

  36. Sid — on 28th December, 2007 at 12:23 am  

    Isn’t it funny how the BBC are bending over backwards on trying to pin this crime on Al-Qaida?

    I think they’re being “responsible”. They’re toeing the official line and that’s what all they’re needed to do, post-Hutton. More Islamist violence in Pakistan is great for Musharraf – being the custodian of Bush’s War on Terror in Pakistan which he can play up to, keep his arse in the driving seat and stave off real democracy. And the USA love having more mad Islamists to tilt against. Justifies the prolongation of US military bases stationed in Afghanistan and in Pakistan.

    There were at least 3 bomb attacks on high level Pakistani officials in the last few months. Including one near Musharraf’s HQ.

    Isn’t it more than a little convenient that the only one that hits the target is on Bhutto, a few months before the proposed election date?

  37. douglas clark — on 28th December, 2007 at 12:28 am  

    ZinZin,

    I know that. I just think Morgoth should be shown up for the fool that he is. I have a great deal of respect for his astrophysics, which is not to say, his sociology is worth a shite.

  38. digitalcntrl — on 28th December, 2007 at 1:02 am  

    Morgoth,

    That is over simplistic, but thanks for trying. All 1.4 billion of them?

    He was attacking the religion itself not all its 1.4 billion followers. Though given his demeanor I doubt he would differentiate. Nevertheless pretending that religion does not play a crucial part in this naive as well.

    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=odr2pJeSMqU
    http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=CY1haUHjUdU

  39. Refresh — on 28th December, 2007 at 1:06 am  

    Here is a fine piece from one of my favourites, Tariq Ali:

    http://www.lrb.co.uk/v29/n24/ali_01_.html

    I found it via CiF leader. It sets the scene perfectly-note his point about the cycle starting again.

  40. douglas clark — on 28th December, 2007 at 1:23 am  

    digitalcntrl

    Quite why would you side with an idiot? The point is moot, is it not? If 1.4 billion folk are all that daft, which they are not, then Morgoth would be right in his fears, would he not? The fact is that the 1.4 billion is as split as the rest of us.

  41. Sid — on 28th December, 2007 at 1:31 am  

    Refresh – a fine read by Tariq Ali, as always. Thanks for that.

  42. Avi Cohen — on 28th December, 2007 at 1:37 am  

    The root cause of all this is the mad rush to democracy which Pakistan isn’t ready for.

    At the end of the day the people who rooted for democracy above all else should shoulder the blame. The stupidity is that nation building is just that building and not a mad rush to set-up voting booths.

    Stability and building of institutions is what is needed and insane governments are still pushing for democracy.

    I didn’t like Bhutto but she didn’t deserve this. For those shouting that corruption allegations were not proved well the Swiss had a pretty good case.

    Also worth noting is the relatively mild reaction compared to what could have happened which just shows the people are fed up.

    It is time to realise that there is a long winding road to establishing democracy and not a motorway.

    Bush needs to understand that and stop bringing increasing instability to a volatile region.

    Those here who shouted that democracy is above all else should today reflect on the instability this mad drive had brought and the fact that today people died simply due to the failure to create the very institutions needed for democracy.

    It is time for the West to re-evaluate and tell those Yanks that this isn’t the way to bring forth democracy today. Today people didn’t just die but the push for a fast track to democracy via shortcuts and dodgy deals.

  43. douglas clark — on 28th December, 2007 at 1:53 am  

    Avi Cohen,

    I’m not at all sure I agree with you. Was Israel ready for democracy, and did it understand it, either? No, it did not.

    It is, frankly ridiculous, for an Israeli, to argue against democracy as an ambition for the Middle East. ‘Cause, quite frankly, you are only willing to see it on your own terms.

    Your arguement is ridiculous. Explain yourself.

  44. Sid — on 28th December, 2007 at 1:56 am  

    Are there any pro-democracy Pakistanis out there who don’t apologise for the marriage of the Islamists and the Military and their bastard children, with the usual “Pakistan isn’t ready for democracy” bollocks?

    Anyone? Anyone? Beuller?

  45. Avi Cohen — on 28th December, 2007 at 2:03 am  

    Douglas Clark,

    Frankly I am continually amazed at people who keep bringing up Israel or Germany or Japan or India. 2 successes (Germany and Japan)in a long long list of failures of creating democracy in a short period of time.

    Israel is still a project in progress until there is peace with its neighbour and it doesn’t control it neighbour.

    India is a democracy where many people don’t even know who they are voting for or even what they are voting for. So yes a democracy but with many people not part of its success. However they are making progress.

    My point is that this mad rush to democracy in the vast majority of cases doesn’t work. The West needs to support the building of institutions which can lead to this not just rush headlong into setting up voting booths.

    Any system including democracy needs a fair justice system, education for all, the spread of wealth, removal of corruption and so forth.

    Large parts of the world are fed up with the Western approach and this is why the West lost support in South America, Latin America, Asia, Middle East, Africa etc. The way things are done isn’t working.

    It shouldn’t be democracy first, it should be to build institutions first.

    It isn’t a sprint it is a marathon and there isn’t a need to take short cuts. Imposing democracy won’t work. We have just seen that with a utterly mad push to impose democracy in a country not even with a rule of law over all its territory.

  46. Sid — on 28th December, 2007 at 2:04 am  

    Anyone? Anyone? Beuller?

  47. Avi Cohen — on 28th December, 2007 at 2:09 am  

    Also quite frankly America lecturing the world on Democracy when it has a 2 party system with both parties holding similar views on many areas is a bit rich.

    Maybe George W Bush should teach young bro Jeb about the rights of voters to cast their votes in Florida huh!

    What about here in the UK where ole Tony had to live a lie for so many years as he felt that they wouldn’t accept a Catholic as PM. Wow great example for democracy huh!

    It isn’t easy and democracy even in Europe is still bedding in and world decisions are only taken when it suits the Security Council which hey is the worlds governing body run as a fucking dicatorship and not as a democracy. Hey were is that damn veto!

    Why not reform the UN to reflect world opinion?

  48. douglas clark — on 28th December, 2007 at 2:10 am  

    Sid,

    Sadly,

    Rumbold got it right, she was murdered. Perhaps because she was a democratic alternative. Flawed though she was.

  49. Avi Cohen — on 28th December, 2007 at 2:14 am  

    In Pakistan the west supported military rule when it needed and now it supported essentially a feudal family dynasty when it wanted. Hardly a success story.

    So build the things people need to have a better existence and then give them a voice to grow and prosper.

    Not say here is your voice cause this is what we like now live with it. That is what is happening.

    History shows us all the failures in this mad rush and the consequences of those failures.

    Do the Bhutto Billions in Swiss Bank Accounts belong to them or the people? Democractic choice charged with corruption – so what good the choice for the people?

    Build Nations.

  50. Avi Cohen — on 28th December, 2007 at 2:18 am  

    If she didn’t die of natural causes or suicide then she was murdered.

    One would think that bullet wounds and shrapnel when not launched by ones self constitute murder.

  51. digitalcntrl — on 28th December, 2007 at 4:19 am  

    Religious politics aside, I always wondered why India has become a relatively successful democracy while Pakistan has floundered in military dictatorship.

  52. Kulvinder — on 28th December, 2007 at 4:30 am  

    It is an unfortunate truth that the people of Pakistan have never had a leader they have deserved. The intrigue of Pakistani politics, and the manner in which its various heads of state and government have met their end is a sad indication of the perpetual instability its people have had to face.

    Benazir Bhutto was far from a perfect leader and the rumours of corruption that surrounded her are great scars on her legacy. But to ignore the context of how she came to power or how she ruled is ultimately to ignore much of her life. This was after all a woman who spent five years in prison as a political prisoner whilst her father was executed.

    For all the things she did which i fundamentally disagree with i cannot ignore the fact she still represented genuine hope to tens of millions of Pakistanis. A corrupt leader perhaps, but by Pakistani standards more benevolent than her detractors would admit. Given his actions over the past month it is laughable (though sadly so) for supporters of Musharraf to paint her as a one dimensional kleptocrat. Whilst she spent the last weeks of her life campaigning for a democratic future he was busy declaring a defacto martial state and clamping down on the voices of liberalism and freedom whilst evoking, though ignoring, the radical militants.

    Her greatest achievement the significance of which is all but ignored is that she was democratically elected as prime minister in an islamic state. For all the vitriol and racism that surrounds islam today, for all the tub thumping about the virtue of the west, for all the xenophobia that confronts Pakistanis it should be remembered foremost and above all that the people of Pakistan elected a female head of government at the very least 20 years before the US. They elected her without the national self congratulation that greeted Hilary Clinton being only a front runner in the primaries they elected her in a time when the webbased telecommunication revolution hadn’t started in the west and TVs were still luxury items in Pakistan.

    Regardless of what happened during her term in office the manner in which she gained political power cannot be taken away either from her or from Pakistan.

  53. Kulvinder — on 28th December, 2007 at 4:34 am  

    Here’s a hint. It begins with “I” and ends with “SLAM”.

    You are a wretched and pathetic man. Your misanthropism isn’t a reflection of humanity its a projection from you.

  54. douglas clark — on 28th December, 2007 at 6:56 am  

    Kulvimder @ 52,

    That seems a fair and intelligent analysis. I’d still like an explanation for 15 though. That is a ridiculous way to operate a political system. If you are a liberal, expect to be blown up? No wonder folk keep their politics to themselves.

  55. douglas clark — on 28th December, 2007 at 7:04 am  

    Or Kulvinder, even. Sorry about that.

  56. Cover Drive — on 28th December, 2007 at 7:09 am  

    And Cover Drive could you provide some examples of when Pakistani politicians have attempted to have their rivals killed?

    I am not making it up – it’s the harsh reality Sajn. It happens mainly at the local level and involves gun battles between rival groups: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4161512.stm

    As with all politicians, she was willing to talk and work with any other party/individual or country if she felt it would benefit her or Pakistan.

    The allegations of corruption are exactly that, allegations. None have been proved thus far, which given the time and effort that both Nawaz and Musharaf spent in trying is saying something.

    In 1995 Transparency International, a Berlin-based corruption-monitoring organisation, named Pakistan as the most corrupt country in Asia and the second most corrupt in the world behind Nigeria. Partly as a result of this, the IMF suspended a $1.5 billion loan to Pakistan. At the same time Amnesty International accused Benazir’s government of massive human rights abuse. According to their report, Pakistan had one of the worst records of custodial deaths, extra-judicial killings and torture anywhere in the world, despite which not one policeman had ever been charged with or convicted for abusing his authority.

    It was research by Imran Khan’s workers that led to the revelation Benazir owning a £2.5 million manor house in Surrey, a £3.5 million Chelsea townhouse, two luxury apartments in Belgravia and a Normandy Chateau. Benazir naturally denied all knowledge of the properties but the charges contributed to the President’s decision to dismiss her government.

  57. Laszlo Toth, Jr. — on 28th December, 2007 at 7:15 am  

    I’m not sure how religion enters into this at all. Surely the most likely suspect is Musharraf? Isn’t that who benefits the most?

    AQ may be trying to take credit for this, but so what? I’ll bet I could get five bums in Dallas to take credit for JFK, if I offered them enough whiskey.

  58. douglas clark — on 28th December, 2007 at 7:21 am  

    Sid @ 41,

    I think this final comment from Tariq Ali is worth highlighting here:

    As southern Afghanistan collapses into chaos, and as corruption and massive inflation takes hold, the Taliban is gaining more and more recruits. The generals who convinced Benazir that control of Kabul via the Taliban would give them ‘strategic depth’ may have retired, but their successors know that the Afghans will not tolerate a long-term Western occupation. They hope for the return of a whitewashed Taliban. Instead of encouraging a regional solution that includes India, Iran and Russia, the US would prefer to see the Pakistan army as its permanent cop in Kabul. It won’t work. In Pakistan itself the long night continues as the cycle restarts: military leadership promising reforms degenerates into tyranny, politicians promising social support to the people degenerate into oligarchs. Given that a better functioning neighbour is unlikely to intervene, Pakistan will oscillate between these two forms of rule for the foreseeable future. The people who feel they have tried everything and failed will return to a state of semi-sleep, unless something unpredictable rouses them again. This is always possible.

    That seems to me to be the problem. Along with mad suicide bombers, obviously.

  59. douglas clark — on 28th December, 2007 at 7:38 am  

    Avi Cohen,

    Maybe aye, maybe no. The EU has expanded based on the premise that the states it enfolds are democratic. It has had significant successes in relation to Eastern Europe, for instance. It will not allow membership to anything other than a democracy. It will chuck out any member that is not a democracy. I’d argue that that that is a great example of ‘soft power’. However most folk seem to see it is a plot. Maybe it is. If so, it is a good plot.

  60. douglas clark — on 28th December, 2007 at 7:44 am  

    I see, for instance, no reason why India should not be admitted to the EU. The idea doesn’t seem to me to be particularily geographic. It seems to me to be a state of mind.

  61. Desi Italiana — on 28th December, 2007 at 7:52 am  

    I don’t want to be mean, but at least Bhutto is out of the pic. I am NOT condoning any sort of violence which offs political exponents, it is wrong that she was killed, but for fuck’s sake, there are tons of bombings in Pakistan, hundreds of people get killed (I think it’s hundreds), and we don’t get the same global media reaction and moral outrage which elicit all sorts of eulogies. I think much of this “Oh no, Bhutto died” tamasha is because she was passed off as some “democracy” proponent by the Bush administration. What a joke! How meretricious! In angry moments, I’ve felt that Bhutto was just as pathetic at Musharraf, and I got tired of her trying to ingratiate herself to everyone when she never really spearheaded any opposition but simply piggybacked onto whatever various resistance movements that Pakistanis themselves had started long before her arrival into the picture.

    Perhaps this is an opportunity for Pakistanis to have a real, viable leader who’s not related to some feudal dynasty (Bhutto), cricket (Imran Khan), or the military, all of whom at as some point have alluded to or asserted the empty rhetorical device of “Islamic democracy.” Time for the middle class, privileged folks who live so far from the realities of the majority of Pakistanis to stop speaking for the “masses” while lining their coffers and feeding their power trips and let Pakistanis choose a leader who will truly serve their needs.

    Excuse my anger.

    Oh, and Merry Christmas :)

  62. Kulvinder — on 28th December, 2007 at 7:56 am  

    I’d still like an explanation for 15 though.

    Explanation for what? Using a starting date of 2002 and counting the number of killings that have taken place till now obviously evokes the 11th September 2001 as some sort of ‘starting point’ presumably to connect everything neatly with the ‘global war on terror’.

    That starting date is entirely arbitary though. If we take the life of Benazir Bhutto as timeline itself, she lost a brother in the mid 90s, another in the mid 80s and of course her father in the 70s. Is there anything we can conclude other than Pakistani politics is extremely turbulent? Not really no.

    There was political violence and death long before 2001. The problems precede not only the taliban but the soviet invasion of Afghanistan.

    Religion is one aspect of the trouble, but only one. If Islam were the sole dominant cause of all the tensions then everything would have been sorted out a long time ago, not least during the rule of Zia-ul-Haq when his islamisation policies would have ushered in a uniform interpretation of islam. The truth is far more complex, its a mixture of nationalism which at times is distinct from islam – almost secular, and the conflicting desires of various ethnic communities.

  63. Cover Drive — on 28th December, 2007 at 8:14 am  

    Desi Italiana #61

    Well said!

  64. douglas clark — on 28th December, 2007 at 8:18 am  

    Kulvinder,

    Fair enough, as far as it goes. I’d like an explanation for the suicide bombings though. My starting date was entirely abritary, it was based on what I’d read. You are no doubt right to say it has a further history. What I don’t understand is your apologia for it? I take it that you are apologising for these dead lunatics?

    How complex is murdering folk that you don’t agree with? It seems to me to be ignorant.

  65. Kulvinder — on 28th December, 2007 at 8:21 am  

    I see, for instance, no reason why India should not be admitted to the EU. The idea doesn’t seem to me to be particularily geographic. It seems to me to be a state of mind.

    Yeah but you’re seeing only religion – well really islam :)

    The differences between india and pakistan are, well, subtle. The dominant ethnic group in Pakistan are the Punjabis – and theres tension because of it. Pakistan has four provinces Balochistan, Punjab, Sindh, and the North-West Frontier Province.

    Balochistan never particularly wanted to be a part of Pakistan and Balochi nationlists (mostly pashtuns) aren’t exactly happy at the human rights violations carried out by the punjabi dominated military. Peter Tatchell has a fairly excellent article on this. Balochis have always been a bit of a handful for the Pakistan government. The NWFP meanwhile has been a complete nightmare, these are the real mad mullah tribalistic types, they’re out of sync with Pakistan let alone the rest of the world. The problem is the Pakistan military (again factor in this means Punjabis turning up…) can’t gain control of the area. Infact the tribes are so powerful and organised around the NWFP and what they call the neighbouring ‘Federally Administered Tribal Areas’ that they managed to kidnap and hold what amounted to two companies of pakistani troops – just think of the resources needed to hold those men and feed them etc whilst in captivity.

    That territory is to all intents and purposes a law onto itself. If the NWFP and Balochistan is taken out of the equation Pakistan becomes little more than Punjab and Sindh.

    On top of all that of course, ethnic sikhs are also Punjabis. I can’t speak hindi but i can speak punjabi. Thats obviously without bringing up Azad Kashmir.

    What im trying to give you a sense of a map of the conflicts that isn’t geographic. You have to look at where the ethnic groupings lie – not only where the physical borders are, or what the majority religion is.

  66. douglas clark — on 28th December, 2007 at 8:23 am  

    Or arbitrary, even.

  67. Kulvinder — on 28th December, 2007 at 8:34 am  

    What I don’t understand is your apologia for it? I take it that you are apologising for these dead lunatics?

    I don’t recall ever making an apology for what happened. Quite the opposite.

    I don’t however wish to pigeonhole what is a complex social issue into one about islam. I know that isn’t the case and it would be ignorant for me to pretend it was so.

    How complex is murdering folk that you don’t agree with? It seems to me to be ignorant.

    Would you be willing to die for a cause? What if you believed – however irrationally – that killing someone would be benefitial for your cause?

    Those are rhetorical question btw, the point im trying to make is they’re just killing themselves for ‘a cause’. We may disagree with them as to the cause itself but dying for a cause is hardly something alien to most people. The only difference between a kamikaze pilot and a suicide bomber is what constitutes a legitimate target. In either case they’d almost certainly agree political figureheads are fair game.

  68. douglas clark — on 28th December, 2007 at 8:39 am  

    Kulvinder,

    Thanks for that. I understood that Pakistani politics was complicated, but what you have said makes it a lot clearer.

    It does not, I would submit, argue against allowing India to become part of the EU, which I’d admit is a daydream at the moment. We need to get momentum around the concept that the EU is actually a force for good. This might be extremely hard. Given our press.

  69. douglas clark — on 28th December, 2007 at 8:55 am  

    Oh deary me,

    Kulvinder and I have cross posted. Whilst I largely agree with the Kulvinder of post 65, I am at a complete loss with this;

    Those are rhetorical question btw, the point im trying to make is they’re just killing themselves for ‘a cause’. We may disagree with them as to the cause itself but dying for a cause is hardly something alien to most people. The only difference between a kamikaze pilot and a suicide bomber is what constitutes a legitimate target. In either case they’d almost certainly agree political figureheads are fair game.

    No, Kulvinder. I took you to be an anarchist, in earlier threads. Anarchists do not kill themselves on behalf of the state, or their concept of it. That would be ridiculous.

  70. Avi Cohen — on 28th December, 2007 at 9:15 am  

    Douglas Clark,

    That is the point I am making that when EU Enlargement is taking place the EU makes sure the nations are building the institutions which have democracy and then when there is democracy they can be admitted.

    In the case of Pakistan there is no such attempt and yet there is a drive, still going on to have democracy.

    Thus the short route is being taken.

    No system can survive where certain institutions – basic institutions we expect here in the West – are not in place. I fail to understand why people haven’t learnt. Even after the murder of BB what did Bush and Brown say that elections should go ahead.

    Elections are pointless when the institutions are not in place as we have seen in Zimbabwe and Uzbekistan for example. As we are seeing in Pakistan.

    Surely the priority should be to push aid to help build the nation then work to democracy. Most of the aid being given is of the military kind which doesn’t solve the basic needs issue of the country. So we are going round in circles providing more military aid to counter growing extremism without trying to address the core issue which with respect is now decades old.

    Also I would like to highlight that with regards to Eastern Europe most of those states prior to Communism say 100 years ago had started to establish core institutions and were helped for many years on the road towards completing their transition. Almost a decade of help before they came into the EU recently.

  71. Avi Cohen — on 28th December, 2007 at 9:28 am  

    BTW I would like to highlight to all those that keep saying the Bhutto had allegations of corruption that the Swiss Courts had found her guilty of money laundering – ie. looting the country.

    The Swiss court is from a recognised Judiciary.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/3125277.stm

    Thus these are not merely political allegations of rivals. This is a serious issue.

    Now the USA brokered a deal with Musharaf to provide Amnesty for her. Thus the USA is not helping the situation.

    Would for example the EU find it acceptable to have a leader in the EU who has been found guilty of money laundering? The answer is no so why continue to impose and provide protection for such leaders in such volatile regions of the world.

    This is simply Western Complicity and negligence. This is why Africa is in such a state and lareg parts of Asia.

    As sad as this event is it shouldn’t gloss over the situation and dull our perception. BB also aligned with religous extremist when she needed to to stay in power. Thus her hurling accusations at Musharaf were quite frankly hollow.

    Pakistan needs new leadership and at the moment it didn’t need Democracy. Speaking to Pakistanis they felt that Musharaf had started to get rid of corruption and indeed many ex-Military who helped do this are under threat of death. There was some stability. So the USA in frankly stupid foreign policy pushed for democracy when it was clear the country wasn’t ready. Musharaf cornered agreed and mayhem is what followed. But to save face Bush continues to push for election at the price of the deaths of so many people to achieve a hollow victory which will simply not lay the foundations for stable deocracy or government leading to more chaos.

    This type of foreign policy with hollow victories is causing chaos.

    Also as a frank example the only time countries make progress in negotiations is when Uncle Sam is not present. The Israeli’s and Palestinians do well without the Americans but when they are there then little if any is made. That in itself should be a lesson to everyone in the West that when western self interest is injected it leads to anarchy.

  72. douglas clark — on 28th December, 2007 at 9:39 am  

    Avi Cohen.

    Point taken. But, hopefully you will see my point too. India is at least as democratic as the Eastern European States we admit. My point, if you could take it as that, is that the EU could spread soft power, wherever it wanted to. That is what it is good at. That is the alliance I’d like to see.

  73. douglas clark — on 28th December, 2007 at 11:06 am  

    It is, incidentally, why DK is a complete utter idiot.

  74. Mirpuri1 — on 28th December, 2007 at 11:21 am  

    Even though the assasination of Bhutto is tragic but we must focus on what her legacy was.

    Overall Bhutto was a failed leader who missed a great opportunity when she became leader to move pakistan to a more democratic future but instead she used her time as prime minster to siphon money from Pakistan for her family and her cronies. She was just another failed despot in the short history of Pakistan. Pakistan have not had a good leader since the death of Jinnah.

    The Western media today are portraying her as one of the great leaders of the world but in reality she falls well short of that.

  75. douglas clark — on 28th December, 2007 at 11:43 am  

    Mirpuri1,

    Maybe, but she doesn’t deserve to be dead, now, does she? This is the ridiculous extremism that seems to outsiders like me that makes my question at post 15 all the more relevant. You do not just murder someone just because you disagree with them. neither do you write an apologia for her assassins, which is what you seem to be doing.

    Focusing on her legacy! She’s been assassinated. Apparently with your approval. Or compliance.

  76. Refresh — on 28th December, 2007 at 11:50 am  

    Latest from Tariq Ali:

    A tragedy born of military despotism and anarchy

    The assassination of Benazir Bhutto heaps despair upon Pakistan. Now her party must be democratically rebuilt

    Tariq Ali
    Friday December 28, 2007
    The Guardian

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,2232700,00.html

  77. Avi Cohen — on 28th December, 2007 at 11:56 am  

    Douglas Clark,

    I agree with your point that India can be part of the EU, but is the EU ready for another brown skinned country after Turkey.

    Also I think nations need to be responsible in world leadership.

    If India joined would it at a later point refuse Pakistan or Bangladesh entry? They did this at the ASEAN.

    Hence you see countries can also be irresponsible when considering their own goals.

    Israel needs to play an active role in building Palestinian institutions and membership and vice versa but do we see that – no.

    From a personal point of view I think India is doing well in terms of democracy. Lets hope it continues to develop and enrich people’s lives.

    Also does India need to join the EU. They do a lot of business with SE Asia and the ME so they may see joining as a detriment.

    Longer term I think the Muslim world needs to wake up and form its own trading block to help it out of the mess it is in. This can help propel the Muslim world to advance education, science etc. The benefits for regional players such as Pakistan and North Africa are great and also for potential trading partners such as the EU, USA, India, China and Israel are huge.

    Sad this isn’t being pursued.

    I think we need a change of foreign policy.

  78. Refresh — on 28th December, 2007 at 12:02 pm  

    “I think we need a change of foreign policy.”

    I agree with that. It is an independent foreign policy that Pakistan needs – not be an agent for Washington. Pakistan should have always been unaligned. Like India.

  79. Jai — on 28th December, 2007 at 12:09 pm  

    Refresh,

    Have you been watching CNN, Fox etc about all this ? During one of the numerous discussions on the topic yesterday evening, it was suggested on one of those channels that the reason Benazir was successfully assassinated in an “army garrison town” (which should, theoretically, have been a more secure location) was because it may have actually perpetrated by rogue jihadi elements in Pakistani’s military.

    Extrapolating that, the murmurings about concerns for the security of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal have partly been based on the possibility of the aforementioned “rogue military elements” getting their hands on that too, sooner or later, if they were indeed behind what happened in Rawalpindi yesterday. People obviously have different opinions on the plausibility of this actually occuring, but it’s still a very worrying thought.

  80. Sid — on 28th December, 2007 at 12:15 pm  
  81. El Cid — on 28th December, 2007 at 12:20 pm  

    I suspect it is an al-qaeda operation which the Pakistani military has fostered and facilitated, with or without al qaeda’s knowledge. I doubt but do not rule out that the US military/Bush had a hand in this. The fact they may benefit from it is not proof of anything.
    Pakistani politics is ultra dirty and violent and this killing — happy leon? — is just the latest of many.
    But i don’t need a diet of croissants, clams, or curried mutton to be saddened by the loss of life or to recognise that Benazir was a brave lady and to salute her for that.

  82. Refresh — on 28th December, 2007 at 12:22 pm  

    Jai,
    No I haven’t really managed to catch any intelligent analysis on TV yet. Other than listening to John Simpson of the BBC, who was very clear in saying that whatever percolates at the top the institutions of Pakistan are solid, the state could not become or be considered a failed state.

    With regards the nuclear arsenal, I think it will be used to power a number of hypotheticals. Most of which support some seriously murky objectives, none of which are in the interest of Pakistan or the region (or the world).

  83. Avi Cohen — on 28th December, 2007 at 12:23 pm  

    Fox is simply a mouthpiece for the neocons to push their agenda.

    She died due to a number of failures not because of anything else.

    The nuclear arsenal and indeed the army is fairly resilient in Pakistan and it needs to step up and lead the way in progressing the country.

    Benazir was a target for a long time, over a decade and if the army wanted to get her they would have done so earlier but thinking this through is too much for Fox!

    If she hadn’t got out of the car again then the assasin wouldn’t have killed her. This alone shows that it wasn’t the army’s fault. Earlier in the day a senior member of the PPP said this as reported by the BBC who are better that Fox.

  84. Sid — on 28th December, 2007 at 12:43 pm  

    Avi Cohen:
    Pakistan needs new leadership and at the moment it didn’t need Democracy. Speaking to Pakistanis they felt that Musharaf had started to get rid of corruption and indeed many ex-Military who helped do this are under threat of death. There was some stability.

    Rubbish. How are you going to install new leadership without democracy. Have a new round of assassinations every decade? You are mouthing “reformist” language but insiduously supporting the status quo of military dictatorship coupled with Islamist warlord/tribal power bases remaining in power.

    There are real pro-democracy forces in Pakistan. Bhutto was not one of them really, she represented a feudal, urban but non-military elite who hold most of the country’s resources.

    For some reason the voices outside of Pakistan always side with either this group or the military strong-men. You say it takes time to strengthen democracy, but you’re not siding with the popular resistance to Musharraf which is calling for an independent judiciary and an autononous election referral commission.

  85. Refresh — on 28th December, 2007 at 12:44 pm  

    Dilip Hiro is another of my favourites:

    A tragedy foretold
    If the polls in Pakistan go ahead as scheduled, Benazir Bhutto’s party is likely to attract a sympathy vote

    http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/dilip_hiro/2007/12/a_tragedy_foretold.html

  86. douglas clark — on 28th December, 2007 at 12:44 pm  

    Avi Cohen @ 77,

    Taking my ridiculous view of what the EU ought to be about forward a step or two.

    You are quite right to point out that a member can black ball an applicant. If you care to recall, France did that to the UK. It didn’t stick though.

    If, and I’d be quite clear about that, if Pakistan became a genuine democracy, with the consequent losses for backsliding, I’d be happy to see it as part of the EU. The EU is an economic power, which it is better to be inside than outside. Ask the Turks, who are going through some pretty rigorous reappraisals of their common law.

    Me? I couldn’t care less about the amount of melanin in your skin. Should I?

    btw, perhaps Israel could sign up too?

  87. Sid — on 28th December, 2007 at 12:48 pm  

    Beuller? Beuller?

  88. Refresh — on 28th December, 2007 at 12:58 pm  

    I agree Sid.

    What is needed is the recognition that intervention of the type we have seen since the inception of Pakistan and India has helped no one.

    I opposed Zia al-Haq, and I oppose Musharaf. Zia for the judicial murder (sorry Leon) of Zulfikar Bhutto, and for his headlong jump into the Carter initiated insurrection in Afghanistan followed by the direct intervention of the Soviets and the hugely consequential wars and battles that followed.

    I think Tariq Ali described it all as Blowback.

    At what price for Pakistan? Over 2 million refugees hosted by the country for over a decade or two, a country which can barely support its own population.

    So Pakistan delivers the body-blow to the Soviet Union for the West, and finds itself in a spiral where it now takes the blame for the all the consequences. Whilst here in the west we insist our foreign policy is not adjusted one iota.

  89. Refresh — on 28th December, 2007 at 1:01 pm  

    Pakistan should have stayed on the sidelines and if Washington wanted to fight wars with the Soviets it should have done it on its own.

    It was not too dissimilar to other proxy wars Washington initiated, a good example would have been Mozambique where South Africa played the part of Pakistan.

  90. digitalcntrl — on 28th December, 2007 at 1:27 pm  

    @Refresh 89…

    “Pakistan should have stayed on the sidelines and if Washington wanted to fight wars with the Soviets it should have done it on its own.”

    Actually Pakistan was already giving aid and supporting the mujahadeen prior to start of US funding. General Zia, who took power before the Soviet invasion, was a committed Islamist and saw it as Pakistan’s religious duty to aid its muslim neighbor against the godless commies.

  91. Morgoth — on 28th December, 2007 at 1:35 pm  

    Kulvinder etc, keep on deluding yourselves. Keep on ignoring the elephant in the room. How many more must die before you admit what the problem is? You remind me of the Tudeh Party circa 1979. And alas, you’ll probably have the same fate.

  92. Sid — on 28th December, 2007 at 1:36 pm  

    forget the elephant in the room. what about the monkey on the thread (#91)?

  93. douglas clark — on 28th December, 2007 at 1:37 pm  

    Refresh,

    Could you clarify for me how Pakistan fought the Soviets? It seemed to me that they merely gave the Taliban a base, and allowed the Americans to equip them with modern day SAMs. Or, is there more to it than that?

  94. Refresh — on 28th December, 2007 at 1:41 pm  

    Digitalcntrl, Zia’s propensity is neither here nor there. He was assisted into his role as dictator, just as he was assisted in the judicial murder of Bhutto by Kissinger.

    Carter initiated the insurrection, enthusiastically furthered by Reagan and Bush Snr, exploiting religious sentiments was central to the policy. Otherwise they would have had to come and do the job themselves.

    Washington had always sided with the right-wing religious groupings – to the extent that they could not stand Zulfikar Bhutto and then Benazir Bhutto for their intentions of empowering the poor. Not that I want to get into defending the Bhutto policies as practised. See my earlier link to a Tariq Ali article.

  95. Refresh — on 28th December, 2007 at 1:46 pm  

    Douglas, providing logistical support, bases, training and housing refugees was all part of the war. Essential elements for an effective policy.

    The whole of Pakistan’s resources would have been subservient to the Afghanistan policy.

    I will seek out more information if I can find the time. Its a bit busy here at the moment.

  96. Refresh — on 28th December, 2007 at 1:50 pm  

    Douglas, here is a very good resource partially addressing this particular aspect:

    http://www.cooperativeresearch.org/timeline.jsp?timeline=complete_911_timeline&before_9/11=sovietAfghanWar

    And when you have time have a look at the whole thing.

  97. digitalcntrl — on 28th December, 2007 at 1:51 pm  

    “Could you clarify for me how Pakistan fought the Soviets? It seemed to me that they merely gave the Taliban a base, and allowed the Americans to equip them with modern day SAMs. Or, is there more to it than that?”

    Not exactly, the Taliban actually did not come to power till 1994, the US aided the mujahadeen who were a polygot of groups of various ethnicites (whose members were later formed into the Taliban, Northern Alliance etc.) whose only commonality was their hatred of the Soviets. The US mainly provided advanced weaponry, e.g. stinger missles, and money for small arms and other supplies.

  98. douglas clark — on 28th December, 2007 at 1:55 pm  

    Ah, Morgoth,

    You’ll be a happy chap, what with the most recent issue of Fortean Times, yes?

    You are reminded of the Tudeh Party? Who, exactly, has them at the forefront of their brain? Apart from your good self, obviously.

    If I could, for just a moment, take on the role of my heroine, she of the worlds’ sexiest voice, Mariella Frostrup. Could I just point out you worry too much? It’ll all come good in the end. Trust me.

    There are no elephants in the room. It is too much gin. Believe me, I know.

  99. douglas clark — on 28th December, 2007 at 2:02 pm  

    digitalcntrl,

    Thanks for that.

    Point taken about the mujahadeen. How quickly we – OK, I – forget the details. But it still gives Pakistan not much more than a walk on part, does it not?

  100. Kulvinder — on 28th December, 2007 at 2:06 pm  

    No, Kulvinder. I took you to be an anarchist, in earlier threads. Anarchists do not kill themselves on behalf of the state, or their concept of it. That would be ridiculous.

    #56. Besides dying for the state is just one ‘type’ of cause. I never mentioned what the cause had to be.

    Kulvinder etc, keep on deluding yourselves. Keep on ignoring the elephant in the room. How many more must die before you admit what the problem is? You remind me of the Tudeh Party circa 1979. And alas, you’ll probably have the same fate.

    You have no idea whats going on, you can’t be bothered to learn or read anything by anyone that does know. You just feel the need to keep posting without making any arguments. I have no idea why you bother but the comment section here has never been the the same as that on harrysplace or cif. Say something intelligent or go away.

  101. digitalcntrl — on 28th December, 2007 at 2:25 pm  

    “Point taken about the mujahadeen. How quickly we – OK, I – forget the details. But it still gives Pakistan not much more than a walk on part, does it not?”

    I think both the US and Pakistan saw an opportunity in aiding the mujahadeen against the Soviets, albeit for divergent geopolitical interests. America’s interest was to obviously weaken the Soviets. Pakistan’s intrest was two-fold. One was to co-opt the threat of Pashtun nationalism within their own country (basically in NWFP, waziristan, etc.) by appealing to Islamism. The second was to ensure that govt friendly to India was not present in Afghanistan as this would mean Pakistan would be surrounded on all sides by her enemies. Pakistan’s support of the Taliban till 9/11 was actually motivated by these same desires.

  102. douglas clark — on 28th December, 2007 at 2:26 pm  

    Och, Kulvinder, and I thought you were the real deal. Now you are just a poncy libertarian. When did that happen?

    Anyway, dying for a cause strikes me as being completely stupid, a sort of Darwinian solution.

    Would I put my life on the line for something I believed in?

    Probably, yes.

    Would I choose to die for something I believed in?

    Probably, no.

    I take it you can see the distinction?

  103. Avi Cohen — on 28th December, 2007 at 2:26 pm  

    I think a few of you may find this article interesting to understand what the pressures were leading to many of these problems:

    http://www.dawn.com/2007/12/26/nat19.htm

    Many of the extremists elements that exist are thanks to input from the West fighting the Soviets.

    Some extracts:

    “What he wants is to build a bomb,” the-then under secretary of state Philip Habib tells the meeting while talking about Mr Bhutto’s intentions for acquiring a reprocessing plant.

    “If you were in his place you would do the same thing,” Mr Kissinger responded. “I must say I have some sympathy for Bhutto in this,” he added.

    “We are doing nothing to help him on conventional arms; we are going ahead and selling nuclear fuel to India even after they exploded a bomb and then for this little project we are coming down on him like a tonne of bricks.”

    ….

    “Gentlemen, there are few countries in the world which by necessity or choice are still allies of ours. There is something indecent about our always proving that we are strong by kicking our allies in the teeth,” he observed.

    “The Pakistanis don’t even have the appearance of a credible defence. What they have asked for from us is piddling compared to what the Indians have. I don’t think it adds to the stature of the United States to force an ally to be defenceless.”

    Mr Kissinger then explained how he planned to convince Mr Bhutto to give up his nuclear plan.

    “First, the only way we are going to get him off this reprocessing plant is to give him a reactor … Secondly, we should tell him that we will take steps to enhance his conventional defence. We can’t tell Bhutto that he can’t have either a conventional or a nuclear defence. Non-proliferation is not our only objective in South Asia.”

    Commenting on the balance of power between India and Pakistan, Mr Kissinger observed: “An imbalance is being created in which Pakistan is totally dependent on India. There is no question that we can break Pakistan’s back because they have made the mistake of allying themselves with us.”

    This explains somewhat why things have emerged as they have.

    I still don’t think lessons have been learned as the same things are happening now with Iran.

    Pakistan has felt exposed for the past few decades and the help it needed to build wasn’t there.

    It still isn’t and this applies across the Muslim world. They need to be brought into the fold and not dictated to all the time.

    The EU has a big responsibility but Blair destroyed the chances of the EU being a major player. The EU now needs to stand up and push forward and not sabre rattle. Help these countries to build.

    Also increasingly India needs to play a key role which at the moment it is failing to do. It needs to develop as a player on the foreign stage.

    Israel is simply lost and too relaint on the US and Europe already. It needs to reach across to North Africa and the Muslim World rather than reaching out half heartedly knowing it has the US on its side. Rabin started this but then it was largely ignored and the price is now being paid. The potential dividends are huge and the task is not easy and is being delayed for far too long.

  104. douglas clark — on 28th December, 2007 at 2:31 pm  

    Refresh,

    Thanks for the reference, which I will read.

  105. Refresh — on 28th December, 2007 at 2:32 pm  

    Some excellent observations Avi.

    This

    ‘Commenting on the balance of power between India and Pakistan, Mr Kissinger observed: “An imbalance is being created in which Pakistan is totally dependent on India. There is no question that we can break Pakistan’s back because they have made the mistake of allying themselves with us.”’

    Sums it all up.

  106. Sid — on 28th December, 2007 at 2:36 pm  

    And then Kissinger went on to endorse Paksitan’s genocide in Bangladesh in 1971. That was the price he was willing to pay to balance the imbalance. Cunt.

  107. Sid — on 28th December, 2007 at 2:45 pm  

    Sorry, saw ‘Sexy Beast’ the other night and it’s obviously influenced me…

  108. Refresh — on 28th December, 2007 at 2:56 pm  

    “And then Kissinger went on to endorse Paksitan’s genocide in Bangladesh in 1971. That was the price he was willing to pay to balance the imbalance.”

    Yes, another fine mess.

  109. Refresh — on 28th December, 2007 at 2:57 pm  

    Sid, it also reminds me of their support for the Khmer Rouge.

  110. Vikrant — on 28th December, 2007 at 4:10 pm  

    And then Kissinger went on to endorse Paksitan’s genocide in Bangladesh in 1971. That was the price he was willing to pay to balance the imbalance. Cunt.

    Not to mention that he eventually won Nobel prize for… peace!

  111. Sid — on 28th December, 2007 at 4:31 pm  

    Yeah man, what a Nobel farce.

  112. marvin — on 28th December, 2007 at 4:49 pm  

    Al-Qaeda blamed for the murder, according to “breaking” news at the beeb.

  113. Ms_Xtreme — on 28th December, 2007 at 5:32 pm  

    Didn’t the spokesperson for Al-Qaida already say it was them?

  114. __ — on 28th December, 2007 at 6:18 pm  

    “Yeh bazi khoon ke bazi hai, yeh bazi tum he haaro gey.. Har ghar se Bhutto nikle ga, tum kitne Bhutto maro gey?”

  115. soru — on 28th December, 2007 at 6:28 pm  

    Considered analysis here

  116. RAMIIE — on 28th December, 2007 at 6:37 pm  

    “The root cause of all this is the mad rush to democracy which Pakistan isn’t ready for.”

    Have to agree with Cohen here. Democracy and the liberal establishment was never rushed in any of the western democracies. It evolved through blood, corruption, mass murder, african slavery,Englightenment ideas, Empire, loss of empires and the triumph of civil rights ideas from Granville Sharp to Martin Luther King.

    The blood on the Pakistan streets is just another milestone in that country’s march to wherever the collective will find peace with itself. Who is to say that White People’s five minute freedom every five years is right for them? Who is to say that in 100 years Americans wouldn’t be happier under a military dictatorship? All this hand wringing from the pampered adulturous/fornicating, guardian reading, public feminists, battered-settee revolutionaries and the clam and croissant brigade make me sick. Bhutto was no less corrupt than her father or Blair or Bush. All have sinned. Fact is the most honest man in Pakistan must be the General himself, Musharraf, who simply wants order, not an invitation to expound his views on The Late Show.

  117. marvin — on 28th December, 2007 at 6:47 pm  

    Yes Ms_extreme, we did hear al-qaeda claim responsibility yesterday according to AKI.

  118. Cover Drive — on 28th December, 2007 at 7:11 pm  

    Avi Cohen

    I agree with most of your comments. Politcs is so corrupt in Pakistan that if it really wants to become a successful democracy then the whole democratic system needs a radical overhaul. Most of the powerful politicians in Pakistan come from the wealthy feudal families such as the Bhuttos. To achieve any success in Pakistan politics you need plenty of money (to bribe the zamindars).

    As Pakistan is firmly within the US imperialist empire I do not think a radical overhaul of the political system is going to happen any time soon. Pakistan, because of its geographical position, will always be critical for US interests. India has never been part of the US imperialist empire – having been an ally of the erstwhile Soviet Union – but the US has India within its sights.

    Right now the US is dangling the carrot by way of the Indo-US nuclear deal. It suits the US fine to pump up India’s nuclear arsenal as a way of countering it’s future threat (China) to it’s sole superpower status. If India signs up to this treaty then India will effectively loose its sovereignty over its foreign policy. Any increase in India’s nuclear arsenal will not be seen positively by it’s neighbours including Pakistan and China and could trigger an nuclear arms race.

    The Pakistan lesson is: not to be completely subservient to US interests because it will lead to tensions both inside the country and externally.

  119. Desi Italiana — on 28th December, 2007 at 7:27 pm  

    Kulvinder:

    “Those are rhetorical question btw, the point im trying to make is they’re just killing themselves for ‘a cause’. We may disagree with them as to the cause itself but dying for a cause is hardly something alien to most people. The only difference between a kamikaze pilot and a suicide bomber is what constitutes a legitimate target. In either case they’d almost certainly agree political figureheads are fair game.”

    Hmmm….I don’t claim to be an expert on suicide bombings, but I don’t think it’s seen as “killing yourself for a cause.” I think it’s more like “we’re killing you for a cause.” Suicide bombings also take away the fear that one may get arrested and/or incarcerated for their said actions, ie you can’t arrest a suicide bomber because, well…he/she is dead. I think the mentality is that “we are a walking bomb amongst you,” and some point out the fact that it’s to instill a fear of terror that is akin to those who say that they are the victims of terror. There’s this book that is supposed to be an excellent reading by Talal something or other called “On Suicide Bombings.”

    But what I just pointed out cannot be used to explain suicide bombings the world over, so I’ll stop here.

    ___

    “Balochistan never particularly wanted to be a part of Pakistan and Balochi nationlists (mostly pashtuns) aren’t exactly happy at the human rights violations carried out by the punjabi dominated military.”

    “That territory is to all intents and purposes a law onto itself. If the NWFP and Balochistan is taken out of the equation Pakistan becomes little more than Punjab and Sindh.

    What im trying to give you a sense of a map of the conflicts that isn’t geographic. You have to look at where the ethnic groupings lie – not only where the physical borders are, or what the majority religion is.”

    Completely agree.

    ___

    Another reading for those interested in Balochistan is Federic Grare, and a few other reports. You can find links embedded in my post on Balochistan:

    http://italiandesi.wordpress.com/2007/10/29/balochistan-another-hot-spot-on-the-map/

  120. Desi Italiana — on 28th December, 2007 at 7:42 pm  

    ““The root cause of all this is the mad rush to democracy which Pakistan isn’t ready for.”

    “Democracy and the liberal establishment was never rushed in any of the western democracies. It evolved through blood, corruption, mass murder, african slavery,Englightenment ideas, Empire, loss of empires and the triumph of civil rights ideas from Granville Sharp to Martin Luther King.”

    I completely disagree, especially with the first quote which demonstrates a complete lack of historical knowledge and tunnel vision.

    First off, when you say this, you show that you know very little about political movements in Pakistan, even if they were so small that they did not come under your radar. There have been, since the founding of Pakistan, socialist and communist groups who have completely rejected what we see today.

    The second one is this: The problem here is that Pakistan has never been ALLOWED to let democracy flourish. One contemporary example, which is really obvious and I shouldn’t need to point out, is the US and the UK supporting the Musharraf regime, with or without his uniform.

    And w/r/t the US, Europe, and democracy, you fail to see similarities between the “West” and Pakistan. One could have very well argued that during all of those steps that the US and Europe took towards democracy, they were never really “ready.” There has been, and always will be, mass opposition and/or power opposition to democratic movements in any given location. The fact that there IS a democracy movement which has seen a lot of blood shed is totally discounted by this ridiculous notion that “The root cause of all this is the mad rush to democracy which Pakistan isn’t ready for.” No country is ever “ready.” None of those countries in the West was “ready for it.”

    Democracy is not something that is handed to you, or it does not take place when a country is “ready for it.” In order to gain democracy and keep it, people have to constantly fight for it.

    I’m saying this as an American who scoffs at how often we congratulate ourselves on being a “democracy” while our own practices make a complete fucking mockery of “democracy.” We like the label and throw it around, but we’ve lost the meaning long ago. We’re too complacent, and this is why democracy is slowly slipping through our fingers. This is why I say that it’s something that requires everyone to be vigilant about the fact that ‘democracy’ requires constant “on your toes” type of awareness.

  121. Clairwil — on 28th December, 2007 at 11:35 pm  

    Utterly horrible news. No Politician participating in the democratic process deserves to be killed. However flawed and corrupt Mrs Bhutto may have been she was a wife, a mother and human being and lets not forget the other people killed along side her.

    My condolences to everyone affected by this vile act.

  122. Sajn — on 29th December, 2007 at 12:02 am  

    Douglas in response to 20, there is no real pattern other than to spread terror. In my opinion you need to go back to the 80′s to understand why and how terrorism has spread in Pakistan, where it came from and why it has evolved.

    It was originally used by Zia to fan the flames of communal differences in Karachi and other parts of Sindh as a means of trying to eradicate the PPP. The strategy was a dismal failure but it spawned a whole host of imitators and also led to the mass influx of heavy weaponry. Zia also sponsored the so called militants by providing them with funds and facilities.

    The only problem with this was that these people didn’t really care about political differences but were more interested in being able to lay claim to the “Islamic” mantle by killing anyone who didn’t follow their creed. The manifestation of this was in numerous attacks upon Shias and their places of worship.

    The Shias naturally retaliated leading to a tit for tat series of killing which gradually abated (principle of MAD).

    This has in turn led to numerous attacks which do not follow any real pattern and where the culprits could be any one of a number. The Nishtar Park atrocity was one example with blame being passed around between the Shias, Wahabis and the MQM. Initially most assumed it was the Shia terrorists that did this but when the dust settled it was clear that it was either the Wahabis or an MQM offshoot.

    Similarly some of the attacks are more likely to have been carried by people with a particular political agenda (as opposed to the supposed Islamic militants).

    It is not beyond the realms of possibility that BB was martyred by political enemies rather than the AQ/Taleban twats.

  123. The Dude — on 29th December, 2007 at 2:00 am  

    This is how I see it. BB wouldn’t be dead now if the US and it’s State Department hadn’t sanctioned it. The moment BB turned against Pervez Musharraf after his failed coup, she was a dead woman. She rode the dragons tail for all it was worth but it was only going to be a matter of time before she got fatally burned. The US are not interested in a democratic Pakistan, that would be againt the interest of the US. The yanks wants whomever leads (whomever he may be) to be THEIR man and under their patronage. Democracy ( in the case of Pakistan) is a mere fig-leaf, an illusion, a means to an end. More than this, was that BB died because she was greedy, greedy for power. Being greedy can sometimes make you stupid and worse still….dead. She should have figured that she was signing her own death warrant the moment she went against the US brokered deal and called off ALL BETS with Musharraf. That was like sticking two fingers up to the US and that weas always bound to have deadly consequences.

  124. digitalcntrl — on 29th December, 2007 at 2:37 am  

    @ 23

    “This is how I see it. BB wouldn’t be dead now if the US and it’s State Department hadn’t sanctioned it. The moment BB turned against Pervez Musharraf after his failed coup, she was a dead woman. She rode the dragons tail for all it was worth but it was only going to be a matter of time before she got fatally burned. The US are not interested in a democratic Pakistan, that would be againt the interest of the US. The yanks wants whomever leads (whomever he may be) to be THEIR man and under their patronage. Democracy ( in the case of Pakistan) is a mere fig-leaf, an illusion, a means to an end. More than this, was that BB died because she was greedy, greedy for power. Being greedy can sometimes make you stupid and worse still….dead. She should have figured that she was signing her own death warrant the moment she went against the US brokered deal and called off ALL BETS with Musharraf. That was like sticking two fingers up to the US and that weas always bound to have deadly consequences.”

    Is this an honest analysis of the situation or what you want to believe is true?

  125. dd — on 29th December, 2007 at 3:20 am  

    “Pakistani former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has been assassinated in a suicide attack. Ms Bhutto had just addressed an election rally in Rawalpindi when she was shot in the neck by a gunman who then set off a bomb. At least 16 other people died in the attack and several more were injured.”电炉
    电磁流量计
    å¡«æ–™
    接近开关
    除尘器
    袋式除尘器“Pakistani former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has been assassinated in a suicide attack. Ms Bhutto had just addressed an election rally in Rawalpindi when she was shot in the neck by a gunman who then set off a bomb. At least 16 other people died in the attack and several more were injured.”

  126. RAMIIE — on 29th December, 2007 at 9:25 am  

    “Democracy is not something that is handed to you, or it does not take place when a country is “ready for it.” In order to gain democracy and keep it, people have to constantly fight for it.”

    I think that we are in danger of agreeing with each other. THere are lots of ppl on this site who think that in spite of its infancy – historical age, political immaturity,spiritual travails, nuclear pretension and irresponsibility-Pakistan is ready for Westminster style democracy. Dont make me laugh. Giving that lot the ballot box is like taking away the law and handing out petrol and matches to arsonists.
    Democracy needs the right soil and conditions (humaneleadership, respect and tolerance of others opinions,their religious views,idiosyncracies for example)which Pakistan and much of the “Third World” still lack. These ideas can only take root from trauma to social consensus – look at the histories of Europe- or where they are imposed by a dictatorship of democrats e.g. post WW2 Japan, Germany, Italy, Taiwan, South Korea,Turkey even post revolutionary England to a degree.
    Could Bhutto have introduced true democracy? Don’t make me laugh, again. Give Musharraf another thirty years and perhaps Pakistan will benefit.Her death is perhaps one of the best thing Pakistan could have hoped for.

  127. Desi Italiana — on 29th December, 2007 at 10:16 am  

    “I think that we are in danger of agreeing with each other.”

    No, we are not agreeing with one another. At least, I don’t agree with your comment.

  128. Golam Murtaza — on 29th December, 2007 at 10:39 am  

    I don’t think RAMIIE’s views are completely off the wall. But what is his problem with clams and croissants?! I don’t eat either but I am partial to pain au chocolat. It that a problem for you, RAMIIE?

  129. Trofim — on 29th December, 2007 at 11:14 am  

    Excuse me if I’m naive or insensitive, but I understand that from a Muslim point of view, everything that happens is God’s will, that is, if God didn’t OK it, it wouldn’t happen. So what’s the fuss all about? Everything that happens is OK. Right?

  130. The Dude — on 29th December, 2007 at 11:18 am  

    digitalcntr

    To answer your question I made up my mind the moment those firemen turned on their hoses to wash away the evidence and Frank Gardener of the BBC got out of his wheelchair to point his finger at Al-Qaida and Co for doing the dirty deed.

    Something else. 10 years ago it was argued that democracy couldn’t and wouldn’t flourish in South Africa. I rest my case.

  131. Ravi Naik — on 29th December, 2007 at 12:18 pm  

    “Give Musharraf another thirty years and perhaps Pakistan will benefit.Her death is perhaps one of the best thing Pakistan could have hoped for.

    Oh, I see what you are saying. Having 30 more years of dictatorship and murdering political opponents is how you make democracy flourish. You really thought this through, haven’t you?

  132. digitalcntrl — on 29th December, 2007 at 12:28 pm  

    Excellent description of Pakistan’s problems and Bhutto’s influence…

    http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=17680938

  133. RAMIIE — on 29th December, 2007 at 1:31 pm  

    Golam
    Pain au chocolat could pass

    (albeit with a glare)

    LOL

  134. Sid — on 29th December, 2007 at 2:25 pm  

    “Give Musharraf another thirty years and perhaps Pakistan will benefit.Her death is perhaps one of the best thing Pakistan could have hoped for.”

    I’m no longer surprised by those who continue to enjoy living in liberal democracies while preaching about the joys of military dictatorships and why people should accept to live in one.

    Surely this is one definition of the word ‘wanker’?

  135. j0nz — on 29th December, 2007 at 3:24 pm  

    I’m no longer surprised by those who continue to enjoy living in liberal democracies while preaching about the joys of military dictatorships and why people should accept to live in one.

    Woah. Sid you’ve become a Decent! So would you have gone in to remove Saddam?

  136. RAMIIE — on 29th December, 2007 at 3:42 pm  

    sid

    Hadn’t it been for Cromwell, where would the English be today?

  137. Chris McFinn — on 29th December, 2007 at 3:49 pm  

    Sad thing is that Bhutto was a naive woman, she knew the risks she was taking even after the karachi suicide bomb blasts. Yet pushing her luck she thought she was invincible and poped her head out of her safety car sunroof for her oppertunist strict islamic terrorist brothers to pump 2 bullets into her and blow her up.

    Pakistan is a failed state because it tries to reconcile islam with modernism and democracy. Two things which are alien and contradictory to islamic way of life. Jinnah’s pakistan was vision of secular moderate islamic state. Sadly this can never be when islam is involved.

  138. Kulvinder — on 29th December, 2007 at 4:00 pm  

    Woah. Sid you’ve become a Decent! So would you have gone in to remove Saddam?

    You asked Sid but i often get asked the same question so i thought it only fair that i also answer.

    There is a difference between advocating that a group of people have a right to self-determination and invading the territory that those people inhabite, killing them on the way in, whilst you’re there and on the way out. Democracy and freedom isn’t a black and white issue rather its a shade of progressive greys. We for instance have less freedoms than the US, and both the US and the UK have a system of governance that doesn’t allow its people the kind of intervention the Swiss facultative and obligatory referendums do. It would be absurd to start suggesting that that difference was a suitable basis for invasion. Most of the west for example ignores the fact Hugo Chavez was democratically elected.

    Since theres no definitive way of knowing exactly what the population in a distant land actually want its absurd to start suggesting that they would want the type of life you lead.

    To put the question back to you in another way. If the Iraqis choose an islamic theocracy (and its worth looking at what parties iraqi mps currently represent), would you shrug pack up all the war equipment and leave them to it, or would you stay there until they were civilised enough to learn whats good for them?

    After all the line between imperialism and freedom is far far finer than many are willing to admit.

  139. j0nz — on 29th December, 2007 at 4:46 pm  

    Kulvinder, your choice be de facto that the Iraqis continue to live under Saddams genocidal regime.

    Easy to do isn’t it? Let ‘em get on with it! Except out of all the countries surveyed, all those cosy liberal democracies, who was the most pro-Iraq war?

    A: The Iraqis

    Iraqis are the most convinced that the removal of Saddam Hussein was right, with 74% agreeing with the move.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/middle_east/4755706.stm

    Second to last paragraph (not very good as headline you see)

  140. Kulvinder — on 29th December, 2007 at 5:46 pm  

    Taking a poll after an invasion and saying the population agree with you is fairly easy. The point im making is it was virtually impossible to say that before the invasion. I’d rather not make it policy to seek justification for a war in hindsight.

    Besides the iraqis also mostly elected either sunni or shia islamists who aren’t exactly pro-american. To reiterate what i asked above if the iraqis eventually choose a theocracy that is against the United States would you advocate the coalition respecting their wishes and withdrawing, or saving the hassle of mounting another invasion and simply staying there until a ‘desirable’ outcome is achieved.

    Those of us on the airy fairy sides in cosy liberal democracies aren’t cautious because we are callous but rather we are fearful of what the ultimate implications will be if we continually assume we know best.

  141. Ravi Naik — on 29th December, 2007 at 10:08 pm  

    …your choice be de facto that the Iraqis continue to live under Saddams genocidal regime. Easy to do isn’t it?

    And your choice is the daily caos, terrorism, suicide bombers in Iraq. Yes, it is easy to play that game.

  142. j0nz — on 29th December, 2007 at 10:18 pm  

    Ravi, so you would prefer Saddam for the Iraqis, then? Because its bad now, we shouldnt have done it? This is about Bhutto, I thought.

    Sid, annoyed, rightly so, that westerners feel fine condemning others to military dictatorships. Because they dont have to live it.

    I was just pointing out the irony of those living in liberty, who are quick to say or think that others should live under dictatorship. Yes it’s wrong. In all cases.

  143. j0nz — on 29th December, 2007 at 10:24 pm  

    If the Iraqis choose an islamic theocracy (and its worth looking at what parties iraqi mps currently represent), would you shrug pack up all the war equipment and leave them to it, or would you stay there until they were civilised enough to learn whats good for them?

    Tricky one, but, at the end of the day, if the elections were fair and the Iraqis understood it, then they should live under Sharia. Though I believe the Iraqis are far to educated to want Sharia, and majority have lived under oppression long enough.

    So generally, democracy wins everytime, unless of course the democracy votes in Al-Qaeda, or some other severely aggressive and threatening regime, which I think probably unlikely.

  144. Kulvinder — on 29th December, 2007 at 10:54 pm  

    So generally, democracy wins everytime, unless of course the democracy votes in Al-Qaeda, or some other severely aggressive and threatening regime, which I think probably unlikely

    Ah but thats at the heart of the matter. People often completely overlook the fact Adolf Hitler did not use Blitzkrieg to actually get into office. The Nazis won the 1933 elections fairly and were one of the top three parties for the preceeding three elections. The way he subsequently gained his powers under the Enabling act was lawful and legitimate under the Weimar Republic.

    Its curious though you’ve made a distinction between allowing them to live under an oppressive theocracy and allowing them to live under an oppressive theocracy provided it wasn’t ‘some other severely aggressive and threatening regime’ (i presume threatening to us).

    An interesting dividing line; given the realpolitik of the Iraq war. We never invaded for the Iraqis.

  145. j0nz — on 29th December, 2007 at 11:07 pm  

    “We never invaded for the Iraqis”

    I did.

    But Kulvinder, theres a huge difference between someone saying, yes that’s fine, kill me, and chop me up and eat me, and somebody killing a random person, chopping them up, and then eating them.

  146. El Cid — on 29th December, 2007 at 11:12 pm  

    It is an interesting dividing line but it also brings us full circle. After all, ol’ Saddam clearly had an aggressive track record (2 wars show that). Unfortunately, there was no al-Qaeda-Iraq link until after the US invasion.
    Self preservation also partly explains US attitudes towards communism during the cold war even though it was also a cloak for naked imperialism, especially in LatAm.

  147. Kulvinder — on 29th December, 2007 at 11:38 pm  

    I did.

    Tony Blair listens to you! :)

    But Kulvinder, theres a huge difference between someone saying, yes that’s fine, kill me, and chop me up and eat me, and somebody killing a random person, chopping them up, and then eating them.

    Oh i quite agree. But theres also a huge difference between altruism and self-interest.

  148. Ravi Naik — on 29th December, 2007 at 11:43 pm  

    Ravi, so you would prefer Saddam for the Iraqis, then? Because its bad now, we shouldnt have done it? This is about Bhutto, I thought.

    It is much worse now than with Saddam, yes – so we should not have done it, specially with a retarded president who did not have a plan for reconstruction, or any idea about the pandora box he was about to open. Whatever is happening now, was predicted by several people, and this makes it almost criminal.

    No one here wants Saddam in power, but the US alternative has been a nightmare – and has increased terrorism and made us more vulnerable. If you accuse us of “wanting Saddam in power”, you on the other hand are supporting this quagmire. That in 2007 you still bring the neo-con narrative of 2004 just shows that you really don’t know what is going on in Iraq right now.

  149. Sajn — on 30th December, 2007 at 12:11 am  

    Cover Drive Re Post 56:

    ” I am not making it up – it’s the harsh reality Sajn. It happens mainly at the local level and involves gun battles between rival groups: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/south_asia/4161512.stm

    The above is not an example of politicians trying to have rivals killed but battles between their supporters. I know you might not make the distinction but I think it needs to be made.

    “In 1995 Transparency International, a Berlin-based corruption-monitoring organisation, named Pakistan as the most corrupt country in Asia and the second most corrupt in the world behind Nigeria. Partly as a result of this, the IMF suspended a $1.5 billion loan to Pakistan. At the same time Amnesty International accused Benazir’s government of massive human rights abuse. According to their report, Pakistan had one of the worst records of custodial deaths, extra-judicial killings and torture anywhere in the world, despite which not one policeman had ever been charged with or convicted for abusing his authority.”

    No one is denying that corruption is endemic in Pakistan or that BB was clean just that the claims are exagerated and not proven. Some of it is guilt by association with her husband but still needs to be proven in a court of law.

    “It was research by Imran Khan’s workers that led to the revelation Benazir owning a £2.5 million manor house in Surrey, a £3.5 million Chelsea townhouse, two luxury apartments in Belgravia and a Normandy Chateau. Benazir naturally denied all knowledge of the properties but the charges contributed to the President’s decision to dismiss her government.”

    Actually these charges had little, if anything, to do with her dismissal from power. (I would also question the veracity of PTI workers being the ones who did the research, as far as I am aware this was unearthed by NAB staff).

  150. douglas clark — on 30th December, 2007 at 2:22 am  

    Kulvinder,

    The resistible rise of Adolph Hitler is nothing like as clear cut as you are making it out to be. Hitler comprehensively lost two elections to become President in 1932. His National Socialist Party also lost seats in 1932 – between the elections in July and November, and was never anywhere near a majority.

    The leadership of a coalition government was given to him, and he exploited that ruthlessly. The Reichstag fire in early 1933, for instance, and the subsequent suspension of civil liberties and the politicisation of the courts, gave him the opportunity to be the dictator he had always wanted to be. Democrats should sup with a very long spoon indeed when they deal with demagogues.

    What I am saying is that a ruthless populist politician will not be constrained by any institutions. That is what is so dangerous about them.

  151. Kulvinder — on 30th December, 2007 at 3:34 am  

    What I am saying is that a ruthless populist politician will not be constrained by any institutions. That is what is so dangerous about them.

    I never meant to suggest otherwise.

  152. Cover Drive — on 30th December, 2007 at 6:58 am  

    Sajn:

    The above is not an example of politicians trying to have rivals killed but battles between their supporters. I know you might not make the distinction but I think it needs to be made.

    That’s basically what I meant – rival party workers involved in battles with each other.

    However, the death of Benazir’s brother Murtaza – who headed the rival PPP-Shaheed faction – still seems rather suspicious to me. Of course Benazir denied any complicity in that and her husband (Mr 10%), who was arrested for having a part in the murder, was released due to lack of evidence.

    Actually these charges had little, if anything, to do with her dismissal from power.

    Then why was her government dissolved? Wasn’t it because of corruption charges? Apart from the properties what about the millions stashed away in Swiss bank accounts?

    Despite her obvious failings I do feel sorry that she died in such horrendous circumstances. It’s no secret Musharraf and the military were less than keen about entering into a power sharing arrangement with her. It was the Americans who wanted her in power to give Pakistan a veneer of democracy while continuing to have the support of Musharraf as President.

  153. RAMIIE — on 30th December, 2007 at 9:46 am  

    THE READING OF THE WILL. WILL MELVYN BRAGG AND LORD ALI OBSERVE? O THE SHAME!

    So Bhutto’s 18 year old boy will read her will…and we will find out, amongst other things, who is her choice to lead her party…

    Political party/Dinner party… what the hell – the show must go on and only the host with the most will do, obviously.

    While I hate to be on any side of the road with the contemptible Sir Vidia, I must confess to wanting to hear his views on that one. They might just mirror my own.

    Can democracy ever be reconciled with such bare faced institutional corruption? Only in the curry favouring of the clam and croissant brigade – apologists for any satan who can quote Castro approvingly, or better still, hang a Constable in their reading room. They are the very stops of progress in developing countries (developing is a verb here, not a noun).

    And if not, where are those well learned voices calling Bhutto was she was..a vain, foolish, promiscuous little tart who used her position within the corrupt and bankrupt English literati to further her very private ambitions.

    I have no love for the vile Islamists or chauvinist “good” muslims either who support the veil, but at least I know what they want.

    RAMIIE

  154. Sid — on 30th December, 2007 at 10:46 am  

    j0nz:
    Woah. Sid you’ve become a Decent! So would you have gone in to remove Saddam?

    Kulvinder has taken the words right out of my mouth on that one in #138, as per Democracy by supporting pro-Democracy movements in a country versus bombing it back to the middle ages. The invasion of Iraq was probably the single most undemocratic activity by any country since the incident involving the deleting hundreds of thousands of black voters from the voting list in the US prior to the 2000 US elections.

    As for becoming a Decent? The Decent line in Pakistan has been a mixture of ignorance and toeing the pro-US policy. This means support of Musharraf and his proxy War on Terror. Not very decent supporting a military dictator is it? But then the US supported Saddam when he was a military dictator used poison gas on Iranian soldiers in the 80s – and that was “pro-democracy” then too, as far as I can remember.

  155. El Cid — on 30th December, 2007 at 1:33 pm  

    Ramiie makes a very strong point, although the reference to Constable was funny (obviously we are talking about the very elite of the criossant and clam brigade since I’m partial to Linguine a la vongole but only have a couple of framed Athena posters on the wall).
    Can democracy ever be reconciled with such bare faced institutional corruption?
    This reminds me of what has happened in democratic Russia after the fall of the Soviet Union. The greatest ever example of asset stripping which some western economists a decade ago described as necessary evil to help the country’s transition to capitalism but which has resulted in an aggressive plutocracy of robber barons.

  156. Sajn — on 30th December, 2007 at 1:50 pm  

    “However, the death of Benazir’s brother Murtaza – who headed the rival PPP-Shaheed faction – still seems rather suspicious to me. Of course Benazir denied any complicity in that and her husband (Mr 10%), who was arrested for having a part in the murder, was released due to lack of evidence.”

    Of course it was suspicious. In a country where anyone with noteable connections is virtually untouchable by the law, it is unbelievable that the police would have attempted to attack Murtaza in the manner that it did without some sanction from higher authority be that Zardari, ISI or some other powerful person/institution.

    “Then why was her government dissolved? Wasn’t it because of corruption charges? Apart from the properties what about the millions stashed away in Swiss bank accounts?”

    The corruption allegations were the excuse not the reason. If corruption was the reason then why were other politicians allowed to stand? Nawaz is also accused of corruption as are a whole host of other politicians yet only BB was sacked and investigated?

    “Despite her obvious failings I do feel sorry that she died in such horrendous circumstances. It’s no secret Musharraf and the military were less than keen about entering into a power sharing arrangement with her. It was the Americans who wanted her in power to give Pakistan a veneer of democracy while continuing to have the support of Musharraf as President.”

    It is not beyond the realms of possibility that the people responsible for her assassination were the ones who had most to lose from BB and Musharaf reaching an accommodation. The problem we have is that there is no real alternative to Musharaf as President and we need a strong Assembly dominated by PPP to strengthen national institutions so that we have an alternative within the next five years.

  157. Sajn — on 30th December, 2007 at 2:01 pm  

    The PPP have nominated Benazirs 19 year old son, Bilawal, as party chairman. Not sure if this is the best solution although I can understand why they have done this. The party needs someone to keep the workers united and the alternative (Zardari) would have been too divisive. The real leader will, hopefully, be Makhdoom Amin Fahim.

    Apparently they have also confimred that they will take part in the elections. There are also reports that PML(N) will (again) reverse their decision to boycott and will also take part. The Election Commission are to announce whether the elections will take place as planned (difficult as a number of poll stations have been destroyed in the last couple of days) or if they will be delayed for a few weeks.

  158. RAMIIE — on 30th December, 2007 at 4:23 pm  

    Thought I saw Benazir’s 19 year old son getting down at Annabelle’s nightclub last Friday..

    Lets hope he is a faster mover than his mother.

    LOL

  159. Yo Yo — on 30th December, 2007 at 5:57 pm  

    She was executed by the elites. It is sick. They say she was corrupt but i am sure so is the army.

  160. rupahuq — on 30th December, 2007 at 6:20 pm  

    Hi. Have done a post on this that’s generated some lively comments here if anyone’s interested:
    http://commentisfree.guardian.co.uk/rupa_huq/2007/12/subcontinental_sisters.html
    It’s an Asianwimmininpolitics angle

  161. Rumbold — on 30th December, 2007 at 6:31 pm  

    Excellent piece Rupa. It deserves a post of its own.

  162. Rumbold — on 30th December, 2007 at 6:32 pm  

    Can we put it up as a guest post here, or shall we just link to it?

  163. Leon — on 30th December, 2007 at 6:42 pm  

    Update your post with it.

    There’s an interesting piece about her here:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/story/0,,2233334,00.html

    Oh yeah Doug I’ll return to your question once I’ve worked out which stick you’ve got the wrong end of…

  164. Cover Drive — on 30th December, 2007 at 7:11 pm  

    Leon #163

    Excellent article by Mr Dalyrmple. Finally I see a balanced article in the British press that doesn’t just hail Benazir as a martyred democrat who was about to save Pakistan.

    I like this paragraph:

    Today, Benazir is being hailed as a martyr for freedom and democracy, but far from being a natural democrat, in many ways, Benazir was the person who brought Pakistan’s strange variety of democracy, really a form of ‘elective feudalism’, into disrepute and who helped fuel the current, apparently unstoppable, growth of the Islamists. For Bhutto was no Aung San Suu Kyi. During her first 20-month premiership, astonishingly, she failed to pass a single piece of major legislation. Amnesty International accused her government of having one of the world’s worst records of custodial deaths, killings and torture.

  165. Leon — on 30th December, 2007 at 7:27 pm  

    Yes a little perspective about her assassination would be very welcome.

  166. sonia — on 30th December, 2007 at 7:44 pm  

    this is all starting to go down the Diana route. lets leave the emotional drama out.

    never mind about Benazir as a person – that doesn’t concern us – (that is for her family and those who knew her as a person, and is of course, a tragic event for them) and – also her political past- never mind that now. the significance is that of the assassination of an opposition leader, one who may actually have won – that is the significant thing. and who what where and why.

    so the big questions are:what happens now? who benefits? is there going to be a ‘revolution’? what are the murky relationships going on behind the scenes?

  167. sonia — on 30th December, 2007 at 7:45 pm  

    good point leon!

  168. Rumbold — on 30th December, 2007 at 8:03 pm  

    Leon:

    Sorry, the question was directed to Rupa. I think that it needs to be a separate post, as it is a different issue, albeit one that is connected with Bhutto.

  169. Kulvinder — on 30th December, 2007 at 8:03 pm  

    Just to round it off heres Jemima Khan’s take on everything.

  170. Amritstar — on 30th December, 2007 at 8:19 pm  

    Bhutto’s tragically inevitable assassination -how many of us predicted it?- demonstrates that Pakistan is beyond remedy. Like Iraq the ‘democratic’ option so favoured by western leaders whose own ‘democracies’ are found so wanting , is not a viable option for Pakistan. Dictatorship sustained or tempered by assassination and propped up by dollars is the only form of government it has ever known.The Jinnah-Mountbatten experiment has been a disaster. Time to call it a day .Pakistan should be dismantled into its constituent states. It is only its 60 year role as stooge of Western policies -firstly in the Cold War and now the War on Terror that has kept it bankrolled.Bhutto supporters in Sindh have already suggested separation. A loose confederation with -dare it be said,is it possible – benign Indian involvement.? Time for some lateral thinking.

  171. RAMIIE — on 30th December, 2007 at 8:22 pm  

    SONIA wrote:

    “never mind about Benazir as a person – that doesn’t concern us – (that is for her family and those who knew her as a person, and is of course, a tragic event for them)

    AND

    “so the big questions are:what happens now? who benefits? is there going to be a ‘revolution’? what are the murky relationships going on behind the scenes?”

    Sir Trevor, I hear, is looking for a new, fresh faced inquisitor… could it be you?
    LOL

  172. Rumbold — on 30th December, 2007 at 8:28 pm  

    Ramiie:

    Actually, I thought that Sonia’s points were excellent. Certainly better than making unpleasant and unfunny ‘jokes’ about Bhutto’s death.

  173. Leon — on 30th December, 2007 at 9:04 pm  

    I think that it needs to be a separate post, as it is a different issue, albeit one that is connected with Bhutto.

    Fair enough, your post, your call.

  174. RAMIIE — on 30th December, 2007 at 9:12 pm  

    Rumbold

    Am I suppose to take your opinions seriously? Tell me whats so excellent about

    “never mind about Benazir as a person – that doesn’t concern us”…. as if the personal could and should be completely divorced from the political (and in Rumbold’s fevered brain the phrase personal accountability suddenly disappears from the English Language as it has already done in Pakistani politics).

    And, secondly, what can the CCB’s do about about “murky relationships going on behind the scenes” aside from fire off a post to CIF (which the editors would probably reject for being risibly speculative and dangerously ill informed?)

    Go ahead Rumbold..the floor is yours.

  175. saqib — on 30th December, 2007 at 9:55 pm  

    Amritstar:

    For all of Pakistan’s problems, at least we haven’t seen the massacre of entire communities, with state collusion as we witnessed in Gujarat in 2002.

    Let us also not forget that India has a long history of political assassination:

    Mahatma Gandi
    Indira Gandi
    Rajiv Gandi

    Nations have many problems, and the assassination of Bhutto, although tragic should not be overstated for its importance.

  176. Amritstar — on 30th December, 2007 at 11:31 pm  

    saqib – oh and we all know about the hush hushness of what goes on in Balochistan dont we?? Muslims killing Muslims, pretty common occurence even within ones own county.
    You need to learn to read some objective analyses of what construes a ‘massacre’ and will learn that Gujarat was a terrible communal riot affair!

  177. Amritstar — on 31st December, 2007 at 12:11 am  

    ..The economic cost of the death of Benazir Bhutto would bring about difficulties for the government to meet its growth, revenue and export targets which were already under pressure due to government’s reluctance to take hard economic decisions in the election year.

    The country has lost billions of rupees in revenues and exports besides colossal loss to property and life in two days of strike and riots after the death of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.

    All economic activities have suddenly stopped. Not only normal trading activities have halted but also the public transport is completely off the roads…

    Saqib, reasons for some of what I said reflected by dire financial straits as reported as above here:
    http://www.thenews.com.pk/print1.asp?id=88418

    Pakistan has been bankrolled by DOLLARS, like it or hate it through the years!

  178. saqib — on 31st December, 2007 at 1:36 am  

    Amritstar:

    I stand by my statement that Gujarat was a massacre, in fact it could be described as a genocide, which it seems you seem all to happy to dismiss as communal riots. Funny how community had thousands killed, women being systematically raped, children being slaughtered. Oh…and this is not the official government line, as you said to me get objective reports…this is what Human Rights Agencies report.

    The fascist Modi, who oversaw this has been punished by being reelected. This should not be taken to implicate most Indians who are a tolerant and peaceable people, but it does demonstrate that in their own ways, both of the major powers in the sub-continent have very real problems.

    Taking your twisted logic Amritstar, Kristalnacht was down to communal violence triggered by the actions of a rogue Jewish youngster who assassinated a German diplomat.

    And you didn’t respond to my comment about political assassination…i wonder why that was? Instead you have desperately scourd the Internet to find me an article.

    My only reason of replying to you was to challenge your arrogant posturing that Pakistan should be disbanded, as it was beyond the pale.

    The country is in crisis, not due to the death of Bhutto, but rather due to the corruption in the political system, which, as you have rightly identified has meant it has grown dependent upon foreign currency.

  179. douglas clark — on 31st December, 2007 at 7:28 am  

    Leon @ 163,

    Please, find an end of a stick to hold. What you said at 21:

    Murdered is a bit of an emotive term…

    is certainly wide open to misinterpretation. The woman was undoubtedly murdered. To describe the use of that word as emotive will, I think, take some doing. Anyway mate, a happy New Year when it comes to you and yours!

  180. douglas clark — on 31st December, 2007 at 7:47 am  

    Saqib @ 178,

    On Locke:

    http://www.cambridge.org/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=9780521842181&ss=exc

    Frankly, I don’t know enough to agree or disagree with this analysis. As an atheist, it is all a bit worrying.

    On 178,

    What you say is true. Which is why I am loathe to describe myself as an atheist, it sets up a false dichotomy. You are yet another person whom I find myself agreeing with, most of the time.

    Although you and Rumbold will have your Gods’ to answer for your love of the dreaded ‘Thatcher’.

  181. douglas clark — on 31st December, 2007 at 8:03 am  

    Sonia @ 166,

    That is the point, is it not? Who benefits? Or, more accurately, who thought they would benefit?

  182. Sofia — on 31st December, 2007 at 11:57 am  

    Hey all…i was in the states when I heard about Bhutto..totally surreal..especially some of the coverage over there…some news stations were talking about more US troops being sent to Pakistan and about cutting the foreign aid..it wasn’t so much about Pakistan and it’s people, more about America’s position, America’s aid, and America’s war on terror…

  183. saqib — on 31st December, 2007 at 12:16 pm  

    Douglas:

    Thanks for the link. I have responded to your questions on the other blog, hope i have clarified my position somewhat.

    As for the ‘Iron Lady’, I was being simply ironic, i am neither a fan nor foe of Mrs Thatcher. However, based on my reading of our Prime Ministers, post-war, it is difficult not to single out both Thatcher and Blair as being successful, simply if you look at their longevity in office.

  184. saqib — on 31st December, 2007 at 12:46 pm  

    The Dalrymple article is highly entertaining, and does make very good points. I love the quote:

    “For the Americans, what Benazir Bhutto wasn’t was possibly more attractive even than what she was. She wasn’t a religious fundamentalist, she didn’t have a beard, she didn’t organise rallies where everyone shouts: ‘Death to America’ and she didn’t issue fatwas against Booker-winning authors, even though Salman Rushdie ridiculed her as the Virgin Ironpants in his novel Shame.”

  185. Sid — on 31st December, 2007 at 1:12 pm  

    saqib:

    For all of Pakistan’s problems, at least we haven’t seen the massacre of entire communities, with state collusion as we witnessed in Gujarat in 2002.

    and

    I stand by my statement that Gujarat was a massacre, in fact it could be described as a genocide,

    First comment – are you joking?
    The Gujarat atrocity cannot be called a genocide in the true sense of the word, but it was premeditated and targetted and therefore is guilty of the same impulses of “ethnic cleansing”.

    You must really be ignorant of Pakistan’s own history of genocide and ethnic/faith democides with the aid of state collusion before you make statements like that if you make a statement like that. Your reading of Pakistani history seems to be an anodyne hagiography of its politciians.

  186. douglas clark — on 31st December, 2007 at 1:49 pm  

    Saqib,

    If you mean Liberal Conspiracy, then, yes, I’ve read, and largely agreed, with what you had to say. The point of my post, over there, was to encourage you to be clear. Which you most certainly were. I am, as you probably know by now, no religionist. But it would be hard, perhaps impossible, to disagree with your sentiments. Which, maybe takes us in the direction of describing folk as ‘good’ or ‘bad’. Which, I’d submit, is independent of ‘faith’. Quite clearly, you count as ‘good’.

    However, I’d agree with Sid that mass murder is not genocide. It was disgusting, but could we perhaps restrict the word to what it is really meant to be used for? Lest it becomes debased.

  187. Rumbold — on 31st December, 2007 at 2:02 pm  

    ‘Pogrom’ is probably as good a term as any, as the 2002 Gujarat massacres were directed against a specific group.

    Ramiie:

    “Am I suppose to take your opinions seriously? Tell me whats so excellent about

    “never mind about Benazir as a person – that doesn’t concern us”…. as if the personal could and should be completely divorced from the political (and in Rumbold’s fevered brain the phrase personal accountability suddenly disappears from the English Language as it has already done in Pakistani politics).”

    Sonia was pointing out that we should be concentrating on the consequences of the assassination, rather than mourning Benazir herself, as we did not know her. I thought that was pretty clear.

  188. Sofia — on 31st December, 2007 at 2:06 pm  

    anyone got an update on the saudi blogger who has been imprisoned?
    http://www.facebook.com/group.php?gid=8297166642

  189. Sofia — on 31st December, 2007 at 2:07 pm  
  190. saqib — on 31st December, 2007 at 2:16 pm  

    Sid:

    ‘The Gujarat atrocity cannot be called a genocide in the true sense of the word, but it was premeditated and targetted and therefore is guilty of the same impulses of “ethnic cleansing”.’

    Notice, if you read my post carefully, yes carefully, i used the word ‘could’, look it up in the dictionary to find what what it actually means if you are unsure. There again it would also help you with your lack of spelling prowess!

    Your definition of it as ‘ethnic cleansing’ is at one level absurd, as the people involved were essentially from the same ethnicity, but different religious communities. In reality, terms like ‘ethnic cleansing’ ‘genocide’ ‘pogroms’ are used interchangeably by people…it becomes a case of semantics (though I wouldn’t want to tread Leon’s assertion that murder is an emotive word in Bhutto’s demise)

    Whatever term we use the substantive issue is what actually happened; and on that point you actually concur with me, namely that it wasn’t simply ‘communal violence’, but in your own words was ‘…it was premeditated and targetted’

    ‘You must really be ignorant of Pakistan’s own history of genocide and ethnic/faith democides with the aid of state collusion before you make statements like that if you make a statement like that.’

    Not really Sid, because i was not talking about Pakistan but about India what happened their in 2002. Following your logic, no one can criticize another country, for at some point in history their own governments may have been guilty of crimes. Your comments is highly presumptuous about my reading of Pakistani history…i wasn’t even talking about Pakistan in the context of genocide, so how on earth did you infer this? Don’t you think, you are being a tad disingenuous?

    Sid, one of the most forceful arguments for Freedom of Speech is that people should be allowed to air their ridiculous views so that they can make a fool of themselves and be discredited…you are a perfect example of this.

  191. douglas clark — on 31st December, 2007 at 2:21 pm  

    Ramiie,

    It would be quite good if you took other folks opinions as seriously as you took your own. That would be a worthwhile bit of personal development for you.

    Just saying.

    Lest you come across as a complete idiot all the time.

  192. saqib — on 31st December, 2007 at 2:24 pm  

    Rumbold/Douglas:

    I would actually agree that ‘pogrom’ is the most appropriate word, (Infact i remember it being refrred to as such by the Independent at the time) however my main point was about what actually occurred and that it wasn’t simply ‘communal riots’ as depicted by Amritstar.

  193. saqib — on 31st December, 2007 at 2:34 pm  

    Sid:

    My apologies, i forgot i did mention

    ‘For all of Pakistan’s problems, at least we haven’t seen the massacre of entire communities, with state collusion as we witnessed in Gujarat in 2002.’

    So in that context you were quite right to bring in the Pakistan element, so i do apologize to you and accept to eat humble pie! (as long as it’s halal!)

    However i stand by my other comments.

  194. Sid — on 31st December, 2007 at 2:42 pm  

    Don’t you think, you are being a tad disingenuous?

    Not so much disingenuous as being a stickler for the precise use of the word “genocide”. You’re trying to argue that the Gujarat massacres were an example of genocide, when it wasn’t. And then in #175 you stated:

    “For all of Pakistan’s problems, at least we haven’t seen the massacre of entire communities, with state collusion as we witnessed in Gujarat in 2002.”

    And thats an atrociously glib and ignorant statement which means you’re willfully choosing to ignore the genocide in 1971 in East Pakistan or the anti-Ahmadiyya riots in Lahore in 1953. On the first count, you’re not the first Pakistani nationalist I’ve met who seems to benefit from a doubt-free view of the guiltlessness of the state of Pakistan in matters concerning Muslim-on-Muslim killings committed by Paksitani goverment forces with full collusion of the state.

    Your last comment is laughable in view these factual “errors” on your part.

    one of the most forceful arguments for Freedom of Speech is that people should be allowed to air their ridiculous views so that they can make a fool of themselves and be discredited…you are a perfect example of this.

    one of the benefits of Freedom of Speech on blog threads is that if you pass off your ignorance as knowledge, you’ll soon be caught with your pants around your ankles.

  195. saqib — on 31st December, 2007 at 2:53 pm  

    Sid:

    ‘You’re trying to argue that the Gujarat massacres were an example of genocide, when it wasn’t’

    No, that is clearly not what i said, rather i said to be precise

    “I stand by my statement that Gujarat was a massacre, in fact it could be described as a genocide, which it seems you seem all to happy to dismiss as communal riots.”

    In fact you agree with me on the point about ‘massacres’…so why are you arguing with me. And as i said in the previous post, i sued the word ‘could’.

    “On the first count, you’re not the first Pakistani nationalist..”

    Let me stop you in your tracks Sid, actually i was right, you do have this uncanny habit of being a tad pressumptious. I am against nationalism, as i am a self-confessed Islamist!

    ‘one of the benefits of Freedom of Speech on blog threads is that if you pass off your ignorance as knowledge, you’ll soon be caught with your pants around your ankles.’

    Well, as i admit, i got it wrong with the other comments. I have, however pulled my pants up again.

  196. Sid — on 31st December, 2007 at 3:00 pm  

    I am against nationalism, as i am a self-confessed Islamist!

    In that case, you also seem to suffer from a lack of self-knowledge, Saqib, old boy. The statement you made in #175 is as chest-thumpingly nationalist as anything anyone would say about the crimes of their country.

    My point is you seem to be quick to accuse countries of gencocide (somewhat incorrectly) while being willfully oblivious to real gencodes committed by your own country.

  197. saqib — on 31st December, 2007 at 3:08 pm  

    ‘In that case, you also seem to suffer from a lack of self-knowledge, Saqib, old boy. The statement you made in #175 is as chest-thumpingly nationalist as anything anyone would say about the crimes of their country.’

    Okay then, explain what is so nationalist about my post?

    ‘My point is you seem to be quick to accuse countries of gencocide (somewhat incorrectly) while being willfully oblivious to real gencodes committed by your own country.’

    Firstly, i repeat again, i used the word ‘could’, which you obviously do not understand.

    Secondly you state genocides by my country, actually my family is from India, Sid…again you are being presumptuous. Anyway, my country is Britain.

  198. Sid — on 31st December, 2007 at 3:10 pm  

    For all of Pakistan’s problems, at least we haven’t seen the massacre of entire communities, with state collusion as we witnessed in Gujarat in 2002.

    If you’re British, why are you using the first person plural (“we”) in your own statement about Pakistan?

  199. saqib — on 31st December, 2007 at 3:16 pm  

    Sid:

    ‘…you’re willfully choosing to ignore the genocide in 1971 in East Pakistan or the anti-Ahmadiyya riots in Lahore in 1953.’

    Why do you consider the ‘anti-Ahmadiyya riots’ as genocide’ and not the ‘Gujarat masacres’ if as you claim you are being ‘

    ‘stickler for the precise use of the word “genocide”.

    Surely, pogrom is more precise?

  200. Sid — on 31st December, 2007 at 3:20 pm  

    I didn’t say the anti-Ahmaddiyya riots of 1953 was genocide. But it was an example of, in your own words, “the massacre of entire communities, with state collusion as we witnessed in Gujarat in 2002″. Do you admit that East Pakistan in 1971 was a genocide Saqib?

    The real genocide in all of these examples is 1971 East Pakistan, which you seem to have clean forgotten when you said “at least we haven’t seen the massacre of entire communities, with state collusion as we witnessed in Gujarat in 2002″, after you had made a case for Gujarat to be a genocide.

  201. Amritstar — on 31st December, 2007 at 3:23 pm  

    Official figures quoted by govt and the so called secular media sources have mentioned figures being around 800 Muslims and 300 Hindus as killed during those post Godhra riots. Tell me who killed the Hindus?? Police firing as well as communal.

    Where do u get then that a so called fictitious ‘pogrom’ occured against a particular community??

  202. saqib — on 31st December, 2007 at 3:24 pm  

    Sid:

    It’s a figure of speech, i didn’t mean ‘we’ in the sense of ‘us’ i.e. pakistani, rather ‘we’ in the sense of people in general. Perhaps, on second reading it does give that impression, however it is still far-fetched to infer i would be a nationalist based on one statement.

  203. Amritstar — on 31st December, 2007 at 3:30 pm  

    Saqib, did you have anything to remark upon the Balochi issues?

  204. saqib — on 31st December, 2007 at 3:38 pm  

    Sid:

    Look, let me reclaim that statement about:

    “at least we haven’t seen the massacre of entire communities, with state collusion as we witnessed in Gujarat in 2002″

    I made it in haste, without thinking it through, as a positioning statement to Amritstar, where i wanted to demonstrate that although Pakistan has serious problems politically and economically ‘we’ shouldn’t call the Pakistan project a failure, India has also in recent times some rather unpleasant political occurrences. This is why i actually forgot that i made the statement and was baffled why you kept bringing Pakistan’s history into it. On the substantive point of that post i stand by that Gujarat was a massacre.

    ‘I didn’t say the anti-Ahmaddiyya riots of 1953 was genocide.’

    Okay, but you lumped it with the 1971 genocide, which i agree happened and occurred by a corrupt, secular leadership.

    Sid, you keep asserting i was making the case for genocide in Gujarat, i have clearly said i used the word ‘could’, obviously you possess a nuanced mind to appreciate different strands of arguments.

  205. saqib — on 31st December, 2007 at 3:42 pm  

    Amritstar:

    ‘Saqib, did you have anything to remark upon the Balochi issues?.

    No, as you have not commented on the assassination of the 3 Gandhi’s. Perhaps this is because it will force you to be less arrogant in the future.

    I have already made the case for Gujarat, by not relying upon figures of the state, but other Human Rights Agencies.

  206. Sofia — on 31st December, 2007 at 3:43 pm  

    I think this is turning in to a “they’ve killed more people than we have” situation which I don’t think is very productive…killing of minority groups, or those opposing/not sharing the majority politics/religion/ethnicity etc etc has gone on since the beginning of time. If this is about Saqib’s choice of words, then frankly I think this discussion is ridiculous…if this is about him saying ” at least in pakistan..” blah blah, then it was suffice to simply mention that the gujarat riot/massacre/pogrom..was one of many similar events that has taken place in the Indian sub continent at various times.

  207. Sid — on 31st December, 2007 at 3:46 pm  

    Saqib, we all make statements in haste. We should be willing to retract them just as quickly though, which you have. The “we” statement isn’t one that is as nationalistic as it was when I first read it, having re-read it, and your statements have been consistent. Happy new year mate.

  208. Sid — on 31st December, 2007 at 3:47 pm  

    Sofia, blowing love bubbles right back at ya.

  209. saqib — on 31st December, 2007 at 3:53 pm  

    Sid:

    I am happy we cleared that up, I genuinely forgot i wrote that and was very confused with your posts, mind you, i looked a real plum with my reply! Let’s us call it a pre-new year hangover! All the best for the new year as well.

  210. douglas clark — on 31st December, 2007 at 4:05 pm  

    Sid and Saqib,

    Posts 193 to 207. Now that is what I would think of as being ‘British’. A dispute resolved by reason. Love you both, – obviously in a friendy, non sexual manner – have a happy New Year.

  211. Amritstar — on 31st December, 2007 at 4:07 pm  

    Saqib, yes the Ghandis got assasinated as they were victims of their policies and the whole assassin thing is not just a south asian current either!
    All I am saying is that Pakistan is fragile and the whole experiment aint working too well unless a General comes in and does his thing for a few years.
    Its safe to say that Pakistani democratic govts have contributed to poison brewing, Khan and his bomb was a Bhutto driven thing, Sharif and his war mongering with Mush in tow during those Kargil times..
    However, terror has grown with Mush in power so what is the solution?
    How long can Dollars trump up the rogue state which is Pakistan??
    India, yes has its myriad of problems and internal and regional affairs to deal with. But it works and gets on with it.

  212. saqib — on 31st December, 2007 at 4:13 pm  

    Sofia:

    Thanks for some well-needed perspective, i think there was some genuine misunderstanding.

    It is however important Sofia, to distinguish between, what you call ‘riot/massacre/pogrom’. Riots have taken place in the UK in recent times, most notably in the summer of 2001, in Brixton in 1981, and let us not forget, between Muslim and Sikh youths in 1997. These riots, with all their nuances are a world away different from what took place in Gujarat in 2002 and the horrors in Bangladesh in 1971. This issue of state collusion has massive implications, for it can destroy the very fabric of trust which weaves a society together.

    This is why i felt it necessary to challenge the assertion that Gujarat were ‘merely communal riots’.

    Another reason why i did mention Gujarat was that the rationale for the creation of the state of Pakistan, (which Amritstar was saying should be disbanded) was that the Indian Muslims would suffer in a heavily Hindu-dominated India, because of the prevalent political and social situation. Ironically the creation of Pakistan was argued against by the religious scholars at the beginning, as they felt the new state would adopt an approach to secularism which would be anti-religion, and not merely separation.

  213. douglas clark — on 31st December, 2007 at 4:17 pm  

    Amritstar,

    I’d agree that Pakistan is, probably, the worlds most fragile democracy. What’s to be done about it?

  214. saqib — on 31st December, 2007 at 4:38 pm  

    Amritstar:

    ‘Saqib, yes the Ghandis got assasinated as they were victims of their policies and the whole assassin thing is not just a south asian current either!’

    I never suggested it was.

    It will take time in Pakistan to change the power structures and create a real political system which is representative, transparent and accountable, and free from the type of corruption we witness. Countries progress at different rates, it is all relative.

    India is, at this point far better of, however compared to Japan and South Korea, it compares unfavorably. No doubt, part of the problem for this is the hostilities between India and Pakistan, which if resolved would solve a lot of the problems.

  215. saqib — on 31st December, 2007 at 5:50 pm  

    What happened…has everyone gone to sleep.

    Ah yes, the new year party time, time to enjoin in sin and vice, of drunkenness, sexual frivolity and all manner of frivolity!!!

    Just kidding…the fundamentalist in me can’t resist sometimes. Anyway, all the best to everyone at PP for 2008.

  216. Rumbold — on 31st December, 2007 at 5:51 pm  

    Everyone is sleeping peacefully.

  217. Ours to keep — on 31st December, 2007 at 7:10 pm  

    sid

    And then Kissinger went on to endorse Pakistan’s genocide in Bangladesh in 1971.

    There was no genocide. The very idea that Muslims can commit genocide is a vicious attempt to demonise Muslims.

    This is a similar tactic employed by non-Muslims to claim that the early Islamic invaders, and after them the Mughals, committed atrocities on the non-Muslim populace of the sub-continent.

    Both are ridiculous suppositions, especially the Bangladeshi one.

    Not a single Bangladeshi Muslim perished or was raped by the Pakistani army.

    Happy new year.

  218. Sid — on 31st December, 2007 at 7:35 pm  

    Not a single Bangladeshi Muslim perished or was raped by the Pakistani army.

    Hope you manage to stay off the homemade hooch and the wife-beating in 2008 Muzumdar. Happy New Year!

  219. Sid — on 31st December, 2007 at 7:49 pm  

    Ah yes, the new year party time, time to enjoin in sin and vice, of drunkenness, sexual frivolity and all manner of frivolity!!!

    oh yes!
    Happy New Year to all.

  220. Desi Italiana — on 31st December, 2007 at 9:02 pm  

    Let me just say, before I get too drunk to post a message… Happy New Year’s to everyone!

  221. Refresh — on 31st December, 2007 at 9:22 pm  

    I hope everyone had a good christmas.

    Happy New Year to All.

  222. Ours to keep — on 31st December, 2007 at 9:37 pm  

    Hope you manage to stay off the homemade hooch and the wife-beating in 2008 Muzumdar

    And I hope that you manage to keep plying your hair with copious amounts of cooking oil and prostrating yourself before your Arab masters.

    May the pagan moon god bless your lice ridden Bangladeshi take away in 2008.

  223. RAMIIE — on 1st January, 2008 at 12:33 am  

    Happpy New Year, Picklers

    RAMIIE

  224. El Cid — on 2nd January, 2008 at 1:23 am  

    Belated happy new year to you all, without exception.
    However, being the super PC liberal-type — as you all know — I worry whether we are being inclusive enough.
    Can one truly be progressive and modern and celebrate the Christian calendar?
    As a rainbow-coloured burkha descends over Winterval, surely we should be eyeing a brave new world of redefined time. I accept that it takes 365 days and a bit for the earth to go round the sun — which is good of me — and that that is a good for a year. There is also a certain logic to having 12 months given the lunar cycle — don’t want to offend the ladies after all.
    But naming days after Roman/Norse gods and dividing time according to the estimated birth of Christ.. well, that surely has to go, doesn’t it?
    (Be careful what you wish for)

  225. Jai — on 2nd January, 2008 at 2:21 pm  

    Happy New Year, everyone.

    Considering how unpredictable ’07 was in general, it will be interesting to see what delights ’08 brings. No doubt it will be an eventful year, both economically and (especially) politically.

    I wonder where we’ll be this time next year, with regards to the situation in both Pakistan and the US.

  226. Don — on 2nd January, 2008 at 7:21 pm  

    ‘…it will be interesting to see what delights ‘08 brings.’

    Predictions anyone?

    Boris Johnson will offend an entire demographic, but it’s ok because he’s a floppy-haired upper-class goof and therefore qualified to represent London to the world.

    There will be a natural disaster and some religious figure will declare it as proof that god hates the same people he does.

    At least a third of the Daily Mail’s headlines will consist of a question to which the answer ‘No’ is obvious to anything with an IQ above that of a dish of kedgeree.

    Putin will release a sex-tape on the internet.

    Brown won’t.

  227. El Cid — on 3rd January, 2008 at 12:06 am  

    Democrat nominee Obama will be assassinated (not by white supremacists or by the U.S. state)

    A British bank will fall into Asian hands.

    Arsenal will win the champions league.

    And #10 on the “Merry Christmas” thread

  228. Genghis — on 5th January, 2008 at 11:26 am  

    She deserved it. Had it coming.

    Dont have a problem with corrupt people robbing the country blind being shot!

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