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Benazir Bhutto Victim of War on Terror?

By Dr Shahid Qureshi : –

Benazir Bhutto was the victim of so called of war on terror and its aftermaths? Since the arrival of Benazir Bhutto on 18th October 2007 more than 200 innocent people including security officials and more than 700 injured, not to mention millions of dollars losses to the businesses and properties as result of her death. What were the factors and forces behind her re-launching into Pakistani politics?

To get the safe passage into Pakistan’s active politics we don’t know what promises were made and tasks assigned to her? Those who were involved in the negotiations with Musharraf suggested that Ms Bhutto had one point agenda ‘withdrawing of the corruption charges’. The National Reconciliation Ordinance (NRO) was the baby of those of negotiations.

No doubt Benzair Bhutto was from a rich and wealthy feudal family close to the British Raj, on the other hand her husband Mr Asif Ali Zardari ‘Mr nobody’ never missed any chance of making money in her both governments according to reports. One analyst said, ’she died defending Asif Zardari’s corruption resulted in her self exile of eight years and compromises she had to make”.

“I (Ghunva Bhutto) wanted her (Benazir Bhutto) just explain to me the killing of Murtaza” (by the police in Karachi while she was the prime minister of the country) said Murtaza’s wife Ghunva Bhutto on 30th December 2007 in an interview with Burkha Dutt of Indian channel NDTV. Fatima Bhutto pointed finger to Mr Asif Zardari for the murder of her father in an article published in The News.

Critics say that Benazir was continuously trying to sell herself to the guarantors of the deal? Her inner anxieties and tensions were obvious like she never switched herself off. Why? What made her so vulnerable, weak and compromising that she kept on making mistakes and nobody around her intervened? Who told her to open the roof of the bullet and bomb proof car? No one can imagine a bomb proof car with a soft roof window? She was responding to the cheering of PPP supporters when opportunists’ terrorists struck her.

Aljazeera TV asked me in an interview after the death of Ms Bhutto what was President Musharraf was not already doing which; Benazir could do for? It is a million dollar question and sometimes US put too much pressure on its friends who collapse as a result be it Musharraf or Benazir, I responded.

So what were the motives and intentions behind her assassination? Some believes she become irrelevant in the fast changing dimensions of War on Terror? Ms Bhutto was very much concerned about her security and had no trust in the security services of the very country she wanted to rule? May be for that reason Ms Bhutto requested foreign intelligence agencies CIA, Scotland Yard, and even Israeli agency MOSSAD for protection.

“Mossad Snubbed Bhutto’s Protection Request”, on 28th December 2007 an Israeli website: www.israelinationalnews.com, reported that “Slain Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto “desperately” asked the CIA, Scotland Yard, and Israel’s Mossad to assist in her personal protection in the weeks before her assassination, Maariv reported Friday. Bhutto said that President Pervez Musharaf’s men would not let her protect herself adequately: she was not allowed to use dark-paned windows in her motorcade or use equipment for location of roadside explosives. She suspected Musharraf wanted to make her an easy target for assassins. In Israel, discussions were held on the subject between the Foreign Ministry, which supported the request, Mossad, and other bodies involved with protection of VIPs. No decision was reached because Israel was concerned about upsetting the Pakistani or Indian regimes. The paper reports that Bhutto sent an e-mail to one of her confidantes in Washington, an American named Mark Siegel, in which she said that if something happened to her, she blames Musharraf. She asked Siegel not to make the e-mail public unless she was assassinated.” On the other hand almost all the international leaders, UN Security Council, including Israeli leadership condemned the killings.

The Jerusalem Post reported on 28th December 2007, ‘Israeli leaders paid tribute to slain Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, even though Israel and Pakistan do not have diplomatic ties. “I saw her as someone who could have served as a bridgehead to relations with that part of the Muslim world with whom our ties are naturally limited,” Prime Minister Ehud Olmert told The Jerusalem Post. He said the assassination was a “great tragedy,” and that he received the news “with deep sadness.” Upon her return to Pakistan two months ago, Bhutto had stopped in London and, through a mutual acquaintance, relayed a message that she would “in the future like to strengthen the ties between Israel and Pakistan,” Olmert said. He called Pakistan a “very important country,” and said he hoped the assassination would not lead to anarchy there, which would not bring “anything positive to the region or beyond.”

President Shimon Peres said he was shocked by Bhutto’s killing. “Benazir Bhutto was a brave woman, who did not hide her opinions, did not know fear, and served her people with courage and rare capability,” he said in statement. “I had the chance to meet her on several occasions, in which she expressed interest in Israel and said that she hoped to visit upon returning to power,” Peres said. “Benazir was a charismatic leader and a fighter for peace in her country and across the world.”

Ambassador to the UN Dan Gillerman recalled a meeting he had with Bhutto just prior to her return to Pakistan. “My wife and I had an intimate dinner with her and her husband,” he said. “We spent over three hours with them. She was an incredibly impressive person, one of the most impressive in terms of her intellect, charm, and charisma that I’ve ever met.” Gillerman said Bhutto was interested in normalizing relations with Israel. “She was interested in me relaying that information to Washington and the US, which I did,” he said. “We were in touch since that meeting by e-mail several times and she expressed concern about her personal safety.”

Gillerman said Bhutto had spoken about her fears of Pakistan falling into the hands of Islamic extremists. “She shared with us her plans to return Pakistan to democracy,” he said. “She was very well aware of the problems facing her; she knew she was endangering her life by returning. I think she met with us to share with Israel, and through Israel, both her plans, fears and dreams.” A Foreign Ministry official said the possibility of sending a representative to Bhutto’s funeral was “not even on the agenda,” because of Israel’s lack of diplomatic ties with Pakistan.

According to Wolf Blitzer of CNN (former spokes-person for American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Bhutto left him a letter that blamed Musharraf in the event she was assassinated. Questions are being asked why with Wolf with Blitzer and with one of her most trusted personal or political allies within her own party, family, or staff?

Ms Bhutto was in power circles for long time and knew people in the know world wide. People say may be she was reckless in keeping information safe and rattling many cages by spreading misinformation and made herself target of both friends and foes. She was openly singing from the hymn sheet of lobby that is against Pakistan’s nuclear program. It was quite reckless on her behalf being twice PM of Pakistan in saying that ‘mullahs are going to takeover the Khauta nuclear plant’. The nuclear plant which Pakistan protected from both India and Israel not to mention the reported beating of French diplomat by security who stepped the line and went to Kahuta plant for fresh air?

She admitted assisting Indian Prime Minister Rajiv Ghandi against ‘Sikh insurgency’. “Does India recall how I helped curb the Sikh militancy? India was in a mess and Rajiv asked for help.” She told Outlook Magazine published on 31st December 2007. Does anyone remember that it was I who kept my promise to Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi when we met and he appealed to me for help in tackling the Sikhs? Has India forgotten December 1988? Have they forgotten the results of that meeting and how I helped curb the Sikh militancy?”

Bruce Boyle wrote on 30th December 2007, “By the way, I heard this from a call-in on C-span, and have not directly checked this out, “that in an interview with David Frost Benazir Bhutto said that Osama Bin Laden was assassinated at the end of 2002” and “claimed she knew who did it, when, and how,” and suggested that the subsequent bin Laden videos and audio tapes (reportedly “released by Al Qaeda”) are, in fact, “high tech constructs and slick patch jobs produced by a third party.”

One London based senior military analyst says, ‘the fear of US intervention in Pakistan is widespread in the country. The military is aware of the dangers and is on guard but the political class is still focussed on ‘who next’.

A senior Pakistani military officer said that, ‘we will not tolerate anyone stepping the line”. Well people of Pakistan need lot of reassurance and would be on the back of its armed forces if they are given breathing space to live?

(Dr Shahid Qureshi is senior award wining investigative journalist and writer on security, foreign policy, and terrorism based in London)

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