Benazir Car

In April 2007, eight months before she was assassinated on December 27th, Benazir Bhutto made two additions to the autobiography she'd written in 1988, as discussed also in BENAZIR BHUTTO ON AFGHANISTAN.

The photo above, of Benazir Bhutto waving to crowds from her car, was taken just seconds before she was assassinated after leaving an election rally in Rawalipandi, the same city where her father had been assassinated in 1979.

I read the updated edition of her autobiography BENAZIR BHUTTO: DAUGHTER OF DESTINY (scanned on top of page) in the summer of 2010, and for the benefit of ORWELL TODAY readers have scanned and transcribed the following excerpts. ~ Jackie Jura

From back cover:

Benazir Bhutto was the prime minister of Pakistan
and the chairperson of the Pakistan People's Party.
Born in 1953 in Karachi
Bhutto was the first woman to lead a postcolonial Muslim state.
She served as prime minister of Pakistan
from 1988 to 1990 & from 1993 to 1996.
Bhutto is the author of Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West.
She lived in exile beginning in 1999 and
returned to Pakistan in October 2007,
two months before her assassination.

"Daughter of Destiny", the autobiography of Benazir Bhutto, is a historical document of uncommon passion and courage, the dramatic story of a brilliant, beautiful woman whose life was, up to her tragic assassination in 2007, inexorably tied to her nation's tumultuous history. Bhutto writes of growing up in a family of legendary wealth and near-mythic status, a family whose rich heritage survives in tales still passed from generation to generation. She describes her journey from this protected world onto the volatile stage of international politicis through her education at Radcliffe and Oxford, the sudden coup that plunged her family into a prolonged nightmare of threats and torture, her father's assassination by General Zia ul-Haq in 1979, and her grueling experience as a political prisoner in solitary confinement.

With candor and courage, Benazir Bhutto recounts her triumphant political rise from her return to Pakistan from exile in 1986 through the extraordinary events of 1988... her party's long struggle to ensure free elections; and finally, the stunning mandate that propelled her overnight into the ranks of the world's most powerful, influential leaders....

From her preface to the new edition:

page xx/3

"...Looking at the conditions in my country from the outside, I realize that the stakes in Pakistan are now highter than ever before. I am convinced that if the West continues to coddle military rulers in Pakistan who suppress liberty, a successor generation of terrorists will come after the Taliban and al-Qaeda, exploiting the name of Islam through violent confrontation with the West. It's not just Pakistanis who should care about the restoration of liberal, democratic government to Pakistan. That should be the goal of all in the world who seek to avoid a 'clash of civilisations'.

As I write this in London, I must confess that my life is as difficult as it is interesting. I live from suitcase to suitcase, travelling the world lecturing on Islam, democracy and women's rights before universities, business associations, women's organisations and foreign policy think-tanks. I continue to pound the halls of the House of Commons and Congress. I remain the Chairperson of the Pakistan People's Party. I visit my husband under medical treatment in New York. I prepare my children for their exams in Dubai. And I lead the combined democratic opposition of the secular political parties of Pakistan in fighting for free and fair elections, as mandated by the constitution of Pakistan, in 2007. It may seem much too full a plate. But that is the nature of my life, and I accept it. What follows is an account of how I got to this point, with the final chapter, 'Prime Minister and Beyond', covering events since this autobiography was first published.

I am honoured and I am blessed. God willing, I will return to my homeland and once again lead the forces of democracy in electoral battle against the entrenched power of dictators, generals and extremists. This is my destiny. And as John F. Kennedy once said, 'I do not shrink from that responsibility, I welcome it.'

From her added final chapter: Prime Minister and Beyond:

page 430/431

...So as I prepare to return to an uncertain future in Pakistan in 2007, I fully understand the stakes not only for myself, and my country, but the entire world. I realise I can be arrested. I realise that like the assassintion of Benigno Aquino in Manila in August 1983, I can be gunned down on the airport tarmac when I land. Afterall, al-Qaeda has tried to kill me several times, why would we think they wouldn't try again as I return from exile to fight for the democratic elections they so detest? But I do what I have to do, and am determined to return to fulfill my pledge to the people of Pakistan to stand by them in their democratic aspirations.

I take the risk for all the children of Pakistan.

It is not about personal power. It is about simple decency and respect for the right of men and women to live in security and dignity and in liberty. And now, in this new age of danger, extremism and terror, it is about something more. Democracy in Pakistan is not just important for Pakistanis, it is important for the entire world. In this age of exploitation and radical interpretation of my beloved religion, we must always remember that democratic governments do not empower, protect and harbour terrorists. A democratic Pakistan, free from the yolk of military dictatorship, would cease to be the petri dish of the pandemic of international terrorism.

So I plan my return from exile to lead yet another campaign. I pray that the democratic world will demand that General Musharraf provides the standards of fair and free elections; allow all politicial personalities and parties to freely contest them; allow international observers to monitor the balloting and counting; and above all, abide by the outcome. I know it sounds idealistic, and to some unrealistic, but after all these years, I still maintain my faith that time, justice and the forces of history are on the side of democracy.

Some people might not understand what drives me forward into this uncharted and potentially dangerous crossroads of my life. Too many people have sacrificed too much, too many have died, and too many people see me as their remaining hope for liberty, for me to stop fighting now. I recall the words of Dr Martin Luther King: 'Our lives begin to end the day we remain silent on things that mattter'. With my faith in God, I put my fate in the hands of my people.

~ Benazir Bhutto, April 2007


Benazir Bhutto survives assassination attempt (two weeks after returning to Pakistan as candidate in up-coming elections a so-called 'suicide bomber' explodes during motorcade, 100 men, women, children killed), Video interview, December 2007


As drones go plan to kill Colonel Gaddafi?, UK Express, Apr 24, 2011
The first missile from an unmanned US Predator drone aircraft was dropped on Libya yesterday, sparking growing certainty that Colonel Gaddafi is now seen as a legitimate target....Drones have proven to be ruthlessly efficient in wiping out America's enemies. Al-Qaeda’s Ayman al-Zawahiri was killed when a drone missile blew up his safe house in Pakistan five years ago. The use has been condemned by human rights groups, however. They are critical of the number of civilians killed when drones have been used on high-ranking insurgent targets, in what they describe as "Playstation" extra-judicial executions. Two years ago 14 women and children died when a drone struck a village target in North Waziristan, north-west Pakistan. Last December the Conflict Monitoring Centre in Islamabad issued a report claiming the US was deliberately ignoring Pakistani civilian deaths – 2,200 over five years – in drone strikes...

Predator PredatorBomb USA-Obama ok's use of armed Predator drones in Libya (UN warns civilians to stay away) & Libya condemns UN-USA launching Predator drone attack (violates UN resolution to protect civilians). CNN/Tripoli, Apr 22, 2011

PredatorProtocol Proper pilotless Predator drone protocol (raining all kinds of hell from console in basement), TheTimesWeLiveIn, Apr 2011

Pakistan demands USA-CIA end drone-bombings (Hellfire missiles killing civilians, not Taliban). Globe, Apr 21, 2011


Afghan war destablizing Pakistan: President Zardari [widowed husband of Benazir Bhutto], BBC, Apr 11, 2011
The Afghan war is "destabilising Pakistan" and undermining democratic development, Pakistan's President Asif Ali Zardari says. In an interview with the Guardian newspaper he said there was widespread concern at the pace of efforts to bring an end to conflict in Afghanistan. It comes as ties between Pakistan and the US struggle to recover after the row over CIA contractor Raymond Davis. Correspondents say it is one of his strongest statements on Afghanistan. "Just as the Mexican drug war on US borders makes a difference to Texas and American society, we are talking about a war on our border which is obviously having a huge effect," Mr Zardari told the Guardian. "I think it is maybe 12 years since America has become engaged in Afghanistan and obviously everybody's patience is on edge, especially the American public, which is looking for answers," he is also quoted as saying. Mr Zardari also said the security situation was undermining attempts to bolster democratic institutions weakened during the military rule of his predecessor, Gen Pervez Musharraf. "Democracy is evolving. It's a new democracy. It takes time to bring institutions back," he said....

Meanwhile, a recent White House report said Pakistan lacked its own plan to fight insurgents in the country. But President Zardari told the Guardian that this was not true and that most US politicians lacked an understanding of the situation. "The United States has been an ally of Pakistan for the last 60 years. We respect and appreciate their political system. So every time a new parliament comes in, new boys come in, new representatives come in, it takes them time to understand the international situation, " he said in the interview. Mr Zardari's statements are likely to meet with approval from Pakistan's security establishment, which increasingly feels the US is taking its Pakistani alliance for granted, says our correspondent.

For God's Sake!, Hindu Times, Jan 5, 2011
Amir Mir whose book “The Bhutto Murder Trail” is catching attention, tells Ziya Us Salam that the killers of Benazir Bhutto may never be brought to book....Considering a history of political violence in the subcontinent – Liaquat Ali Khan, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Indira and Rajiv Gandhi, Mujibur Rehman have all fallen prey to violence – was Benazir Bhutto's decision to come back to Pakistan and contest elections more reckless than brave? I ask this as she was aware of animosity at the highest level, as she disclosed to you in a private chat.

"No, I don't think her comeback decision was a reckless one. To tell the truth, she was a woman of immense personal courage and bravery. Knowing well the threats to her life, she risked her life to win democracy in Pakistan. Hardly 24 hours before she was assassinated in Rawalpindi, her husband, Asif Zardari, had begged her on the phone from the UAE to stop holding election rallies and let him take her place. Zardari had called her after a suicide bomber was caught at the venue of the Peshawar public meeting she had addressed on 26 December 2007. ‘I told her, “For God's sake, be careful,” but she said, “What can I do? I have to go and meet my people.”

Then, while recalling her homecoming, Benazir writes in her posthumous book, “Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy and the West”, "When I returned, I did not know whether I would live or die. I knew that the same elements of Pakistani society that had colluded to destroy my father and end democracy in Pakistan in 1977 were now arrayed against me for the same purpose exactly 30 years later. But I knew that those who believed in democracy and my leadership were awaiting me in the streets of Karachi.

Exactly a year after her murder, her husband Asif Zardari went on record saying that he knew who were responsible for the killing. What has prevented him from revealing the names? What is the ‘appropriate time' he is waiting for?.... I would like to quote Benazir's last speech which she had delivered on October 18, 2010 at the Liaqat Bagh in Rawalpindi, a couple of hours before being martyred. She said: “It is no longer important if I become the prime minister for the third time. What is important is that I have risked my life while coming back; but I had to return because my country is in danger. I feel that the people feel concerned about the state of the country under a dictator. That is why I have returned home.”....

Killing PPP governor Taseer politically-motivated: Zardari
Khaleej Times, Jan 6, 2011
Karachi - President Asif Ali Zardari on Wednesday said murder of his close confidante and Punjab governor Salman Taseer was politically-motivated and committed by anti-democratic forces. “Salman Taseer’s murder is a political one and work of anti-state elements and of those who are against the rule of law and democracy to take roots in the country,” Zardari told Sindh ministers and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leaders after a meeting held here at Bilawal House. He also warned that the murder of Salman Taseer was meant to scare PPP’s rank and file but warned that the party leaders, workers and supporters cannot be cowed down by such dastardly acts and the party would continue to pursue Bhuttoism for which Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto sacrificed their lives alongwith hundreds of other party leaders and workers. “PPP is a party of martyrs and it will not deviate from the ideology of its late founder and prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and will never budge from Bhuttoism,” he said....

Taseer — Pakistan champion of secular democracy [devotee of Benazir Bhutto]
by Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Pakistan Daily Times, Jan 6, 2011
The ghastly assassination of Punjab Governor Salmaan Taseer is a great loss for the nation, the government and the Pakistan People's Party. Taseer was brave, courageous and daring - a great man, who spoke for the rights of the people, including minorities. He was totally committed to the high ideals and the egalitarian vision of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto. He was held in highest esteem by those who respected his boldness to proclaim loud and clear that he believed in liberal and secular politics. He was targeted for elimination for having defended the rights of minorities against the flawed blasphemy law introduced by Gen Ziaul Haq to terrorise the people into submission to his totalitarian rule. I have had the distinction of knowing Salmaan Taseer closely for 30 years as a valiant fighter for democracy. He braved the worst persecution and prosecution at the hands of anti-democratic forces in power. He was tortured and given third degree treatment for his commitment to democracy.

His tragic demise - a sacrifice in blood - at this critical juncture, when Pakistan is carrying on a battle to do or die to defend Islam's pristine values of compassion and tolerance, to save the county from falling a victim to extremism - has carved for him a permanent niche in the hall of fame of those great leaders who preferred death to surrendering to the obscurantist forces. As such, he has become immortal.

Besides being a political activist of highest calibre, in his prime of life, Taseer was not only at the top of his profession as a chartered accountant of international fame, he as well made his mark as a leading entrepreneur and contributed immensely in objective and bold journalism through his newspapers Daily Times and Aaj Kal, and TV channel Business Plus. The entire nation shares the pain and profound grief of the bereaved family and stand by them in this tragic hour. We shall always remember him by rededicating to his high ideals and pledge that his commitment to truth will be the agenda to follow - to pull out extremism from its roots in society.

His sacrifice will be remembered as a landmark in the ongoing battle for survival of Pakistan and to return to the Quaid's vision. We will have to separate religion from politics. Those anti-state elements that create and nurture extremists and jihadis, and the politicians and people in the media, who support religious extremists and incite violence as accomplices to extremism, shall have to be isolated. This is the need of the hour. If we remain complacent and follow a policy of appeasement of running with the hare and hunting with the hound - we will end up sliding down the eddy of doom, everyone will perish.

Salmaan Taseer, it is rightly observed, was deeply pre-occupied with the consequences of the support to extremists from the days of Ziaul Haq. As a brave man and a devout follower of the Quaid, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto - a victim of terrorists and those in power behind them - his warnings were very apt: "Beware of the mullahs. They have to be confronted or they will take over our lives." Taseer was a trusted associate of martyred Benazir Bhutto. According to leading columnist and author Ahmed Rashid: "Taseer could talk for hours on his favourite subject: the price that Pakistan had paid for jihad and the need to turn back from this 'deadly legacy'."

When Bhutto took to challenging the well-entrenched forces of the status quo, Taseer became his staunch supporter and later after Bhutto's judicial murder, he joined his daughter Benazir Bhutto to continue the democratic mission of her father and to save Pakistan from falling into the hands of religious extremists godfathered by General Zia. Seeing political commitment in him, Benazir put up Taseer as a PPP candidate in the 1988 general elections.

Throughout his life, Taseer remained a dauntless and fearless follower of Benazir and opposed tooth and nail all the anti-democratic forces, including Zia's 'baqiyat' (heirs to Zia's legacy). He made his mark as an outstanding secularist in the country when there were very few who could speak out for fear of intimidating religious extremists. In an interview with Financial Times in November last, he insisted - with both pride and defensiveness - that Pakistan would not go the way of Afghanistan. "Pakistan is a vibrant democracy," he stoutly believed. Taseer never felt fear. He was warned many times, but he always brushed the death threats aside with contempt. Following Benazir's footsteps, he preferred to do or die for the cause that was dear to him - secular democracy, empowerment of the poor, women and less privileged.

Bhutto's husband blames 'the establishment' for Benazir's murder (scorns gov't claim of Al-Qaida)
by Saeed Shah in Naudero, Independent, Jan 1, 2008
Asif Zardari, husband of murdered Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, has called for President Pervez Musharraf to resign and warned that the country could turn into another Somalia. He also poured scorn on the government's claim that al-Qa'ida was behind the attack on Ms Bhutto. Instead he blamed "the establishment, which is bigger than Musharraf himself". "I don't think we're as yet a threat to Al-Qa'ida. We weren't in government. Why aren't they killing off the existing structure of the government? Why would they come after us?" he said. "There are definitely some in-house games going on, which either nobody is aware of or are scared to unearth," he said, speaking from his wife's home in her ancestral village of Naudero, where he and the children continued to mourn her loss yesterday. He said that the government's claims of al-Qa'ida involvement was simply "muddying the waters". He described Pakistan's role in the so-called war on terror, which he described as "shadow boxing". "That shadow-boxing is going to turn into a giant and take over the country one day," he said.

Mr Zardari, 51, and his son Bilawal, 19, were made co-chairmen of the People's Party, after Ms Bhutto's assassination, replacing her at the head of Pakistan's most popular political group. Asked whether she was killed because of the election and the evidence she said she had of the government's election-rigging, he said he thought that this was one of the motives. "I think this assassination is larger than just these polls. This election is definitely one of the reasons. That they didn't want her coming into power because these shadow-boxing games could not go on." He warned that Pakistan was hurtling towards disintegration, a failed state. "My fears are of Pakistan being totally broken up," he said. "Being converted into Somalia. I think that is a great possibility. And I think that everybody, every intellectual, is not really paying attention to it because they have got their head in the ground, like ostriches." Underlining the severity of the threat, he continued: "Somalia had 30 million population. We're 175 million. Somalia did not have the Afghan arms on the border. Somalia did not have hundreds and thousands of madrassas [Islamic schools]." See CIA IN SOMALIA TOO & SOMALIA HELL IN HORN

Benazir Bhutto laid to rest (in pictures). BBC, Dec 28, 2007

Benazir Bhutto last rally (in pictures). BBC, Dec 27, 2007

Pakistan's Benazir Bhutto assassinated (vowed to fight for workers' rights) & Bhutto had several enemies in Pakistan (but bulletin blames al Qaeda) & Bhutto accused Pakistani intelligence (in previous attempt on her life). SMH/CTV/BBC, Dec 27, 2007. Go to Reality Control & Old World Destruction & WHO YA GONNA BLAME? OSAMA!

Benazir Bhutto, 54, dies, New York Times, Dec 27, 2007
Rawalpindi, Pakistan — Benazir Bhutto, the Pakistani opposition leader and twice-serving prime minister, was assassinated Thursday evening as she left a political rally here, a scene of fiery carnage that plunged Pakistan deeper into political turmoil and ignited widespread violence by her enraged supporters.... She was a leading contender to become prime minister after the Jan. 8 elections, campaigning as an advocate for Pakistan’s return to party politics after eight years of military rule under Mr. Musharraf, who relinquished his military post only this month. She also presented herself as the individual who could best combat growing militancy in Pakistan. Her comments condemning militancy and suicide bombing had made her a target of Qaeda-linked militants in Pakistan. Her homecoming procession in Karachi was attacked by two bomb blasts that killed 150 supporters and narrowly missed killing her....

Much of the rage over her death is nonetheless likely to be directed at Mr. Musharraf, who kept her out of power for over eight years and had shown her only a grudging welcome at first, and later outright hostility.... There were differing accounts of the attack. Zamrud Khan, a member of her party, said Ms. Bhutto was shot in the head from gunfire that originated from behind her car in a building nearby. Seconds later a suicide bomber detonated his bomb, damaging one of the cars in her motorcade and killing some 15 people on the ground, Mr. Khan said.... The assassination is likely to deepen suspicion among Ms. Bhutto’s supporters of Pakistan’s security agencies. Ms. Bhutto has long accused parts of the government, namely the country’s premier military intelligence agency, the Inter-Services Intelligence, or ISI, of working against her and her party because they oppose her liberal, secular agenda.




Jackie Jura
~ an independent researcher monitoring local, national and international events ~