Benazir Bhutto: Comments

Pervez Musharraf

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf has condemned the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. He said it was a terrorist act.The Pakistan president has appealed for peace. He has also announced three-day mourning in the wake Benazir’s killing.

 Nawaz Sharif
Thursday, December 27, 2007 (Islamabad)

Nawaz Sharif describes Benazir Bhutto’s assassination as the most tragic incident in the history of Pakistan. ”I myself feel threatened,” says Sharif, whose party temporarily suspended the electioneering in the wake of the assassination. ”Are things in control now? Had things been in control, would this have happened?” he said, adding that Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf would have to give answers.

     I also feel unprotected and the lady must also have been feeling very unprotected,” Sharif said.Criticising Musharraf, he said, ”If Musharraf can spend crores on his own security, could he not spend some amount on the security of Bhutto.

Mr Wali Ahmad has made a comparison of the tragedy bound House of Bhutto in Pakistan and the House of Nehru -Gandhi in India.

Thursday, December 27, 2007 (New Delhi)The assassination of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto draws a bloody parallel with the Gandhi family of India.The Bhutto clan across the border and the Gandhis in India — arguably the most important political lineages in their respective countries — have lost generations violently to political vendetta and religious fanaticism.

     The two families have also been deeply associated with each other in Indo-Pak relations.A young Benazir was famously by her father Zulfequar Ali Bhutto’s side when he signed the Simla agreement with Indira Gandhi in 1972. Seven years later, Zulfequar Bhutto was sent to the gallows by General Zia-ul Haq on April 4, 1979. He was hanged despite international appeal for clemency.In India five years later, then prime minister Indira Gandhi was killed in 1984 by her own bodyguards.

     Her son and political novice Rajiv Gandhi stepped into her shoes, coming to power after a huge victory in the elections held after his mother’s assassination.

     Benazir Bhutto first became Pakistan’s Prime Minister in 1988. She had a lot in common with the equally charismatic Rajiv across the border. Both were educated abroad, in England in fact, were articulate and impressed the world as leaders at a young age. In 1991, Rajiv was assassinated in Tamil Nadu by a suicide bomber during an election campaign. Another violent death in a family already rocked by the death of his younger brother Sanjay Gandhi in 1980 in a plane crash.

Benazir lost brother Murtaza to a police encounter in 1996 and another brother Shahnawaz under mysterious circumstances a decade before.

On Thursday, Bhutto too was killed by a suicide bomber while campaigning for elections.

The assassination of Bhutto draws the curtains down to the two families on either side of the border

Pakistan:Benazir Bhutto Assassinated

Benazir Bhutto Assassinated

Benazir Bhutto Assasinated

This is a terrible time for Pakistan. A terrible time for Democracy.Violence appears to have over taken all norms of behavior.

This is a senseless crime by criminal elements, who Definitely do not have the interests of Pakistan.

      This is  NOT the handiwork of a small group of individuals. Clearly these criminal elements could not have carried out repeated attacks without active support of powerful elements in Pakistani Government (ISI, Army) and  Pakistani Society.

      Perfect security for any VIP is never possible especially when he or she has to mingle with crowds. Mrs Bhutto has been crying from the roof tops that she is a prime candidate for assassination and she must have adequate security.

       She had even named persons who she said were most likely to foster these attacks The incident of 18th  October had only confirmed her statements.

           The Government of Pakistan must have ensured that she has adequate protection, at least officially, so that the administration cannot be faulted. But no specific action was taken against individuals whom she had mentioned.

          ISI and the Army have no love lost for any civilian who might take over and run the Government of PakistanPakistani Army has often been termed as the ‘Rogue Army’.

          The ISI is a Frankenstein establishment under no body’s control. It has its own aims and objectives. It has Billions of US $ and arms at its disposal, thanks to American Aid, and its dealings in narcotics. It has many fanatics trained, equipped and brainwashed over many years through the Afghan War and later.

         ISI raised, funded, trained and equipped the Taliban, initially for the US and later for the funds and the power to destabilize the Government of Afganistan, and Kashmir valley. ISI has been always headed by a trusted Lt General from the Pakistan Army.

           Interactions between the Army, ISI and the Terrorists are regular. In fact the Taliban can be considered to be an extension of the Pakistan Army. Subsequent to 9/11 there has been a drastic change in US attitude towards terrorism.

          US has no objections to terrorists operating freely anywhere in the world. But Americans will not spare their government if American lives are involved. So they have been pressurizing Pakistan to control their minions.

          Taliban has always  had a free run in the NW province of Pakistan. Today Taliban terrorists have grown bold and do not always listen to their erstwhile masters , ISI.

          So far Musharraf has been able to con the US. The Army has been able to hoodwink the Pakistan Public.

           However the actions of Gen Musharaf in the recent past has aggravated the tensions between Jehadists in the North West and the Army. People of Pakistan are also being alienated by what they feel is the General’s kow-towing to the evil USA.

     Bhutto had stated that she will put down terrorists. This made her enemies among the Taliban groups,and obiviously the ISI.

           In fact Many in Pakistan feel that the Army was always out to eliminate Benazir Bhutto. Public will demand justice.

          Musharraf is going to under tremendous  pressure. The Army is going to be under tremendous pressure. A scape-goat is needed.

          Day break 28 Dec is going to bring people on the streets. The mobs will howl. Some heads will have to roll. Whose will it be? Small heads of minor functionaries wont do. 

         Will it be Musharraf? Can he stay without declaring emergency?      Army may well consider him a liability and allow him to proceed to US or UK or Saudi.

           Elections now will have little meaning. Nawaz Sharief has already been side lined. Now PPP is without a leader. Civilians have lost another round.

      What will it mean for India?

RTI : Delhi Police Attempts to Scuttle

RTI Delhi Police Attempts to Scuttle

Please also see blog of 17 Nov 

     INFORMATION IS the key to any batt1e, and no one knows this better than government officials.

    So what do they do when the Right To Information (RTI) Act ensures that they can’t refuse information legally? Create other sorts of roadblocks to discourage the public from asking uncomfortable questions.

     In the latest instance, three Delhi Deputy Commissioners of Police (DCPs) have asked for ‘fees’ from an RTI applicant who sought details of impounded vehicles that lie dumped at police stations in the city The law is clear on the ‘fee’ for RTI applications: Rs 10 at the time of filing an application. If an applicant needs data from official files, it will be supplied free of cost. But if he needs photocopies of files etc, then the cost is calculated at Rs 2 per page. In case, the information is available in electronic form, it will be Rs 50 per CD.

     The information has to be made available within 30 days of the application. Instead of asking for the legal fee, the three DCPs asked the applicant to deposit Rs 50,000 as ‘fees’, which includes photocopying charges and per day salaries of the officers given the job. Interestingly, this demand was made after three other DCPs had already supplied the same information to the applicant without asking for any extra fee, paying only for photocopying charges.

     This kind of corruption is not new. Similar cases have been reported from other states too.

     An RTI activist was threatened at gunpoint by a police officer in Behalf while in Uttar Pradesh, a similar ‘fee’ was demanded from activists looking for information on National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (NREGA) workers.

But people have managed to use the Act to get their work done in other government departments without paying bribes. That is probably where it hurts the babus the most.

   It is understandable that government officials are stretched and information gathering is an additional burden. But that should not be used as an excuse to demand payment to a government servant, whose salary is being paid by the tax-paying public. This also undermines the progressive piece of legislation that hopes to redefine the patron-client relationship that exists between babus and the public.

     The attitude only shows that changing a feudal mindset is not an easy job. The battle has only begun.

extracts fro HT of 27 Nov