Bhutto’s demise and Zardari’s rise

People were optimistic.

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They knew someone is coming back who’ll raise a voice for them.

Rapturous, they were looking forward to her return.

Benazir Bhutto was coming back.

In October 2017, Benazir Bhutto came back to Pakistan after 11 years in self-exile. She came back to her people who were eager to welcome her. The adulation was ubiquitous. It was there to be felt.

Since then, she went throughout Pakistan, addressed rallies and mobilized support. She went to people, charged their emotions and they stood behind her. They were fed up of the authoritarian rule and wanted change. They saw BB as the beacon of that promised ‘Change’.

However, this rekindled hope was short live and what followed was agony and miserable pain. Benazir was assassinated on 27 December 2007 at Liaquat Bagh.

This year will mark a decade since the incident took place.

A lot has changed since then. Benazir’s murder case finally went to a conclusion this year but the decision met with incredulity by the public as well as PPP’s leadership.

After a decade, the mystery of Benazir’s murder hasn’t been untangled.

She was a courageous lady who stood against adversities throughout her life. First she faced a dictator who hanged her father, then she was dauntless against extremism and finally in her last battle, against another dictator who was adamant not to allow her to return.

Her demise left a void which hasn’t been filled yet.

Following her assassination, things changed rapidly.

Democracy was restored. His party secured majority in the Parliament and formed government and a new leadership was in power

If not Benazir, then her husband Zardari.

Everyone was assured to give democracy its time. But, the PPP government that formed after 2008 elections failed to deliver on its promises.

Performance on every scale was abysmal. Energy, extremism, health, welfare and education, all the indicators were far from satisfactory and unfortunately the then incumbent government was indifferent to it.

Corruption cases piled up. Economy went downhill load shedding was rife and people were fed up.

However, the attitude that was most criticized was the interest of PPP’s government in Benazir Bhutto’s murder. They were in power. They had all the state machinery at their disposal. They did not take any interest in investigating the case and reaching to the perpetrators. The investigation conducted was even labeled as criminal negligence by the UN inquiry commission and Scotland yard. It was also termed as a headless inquiry not intended to name the culprits.

This led to speculation.

BB made it clear that if anything happens to her upon her return, the then President Pervaiz Musharraf will be responsible as he clearly refused to provide her security.

Pervaiz Musharraf accused BB’s husband Asif Zardari to have hatched the conspiracy of murdering her wife. He said that Zardari had most to gain from BB’s murder. He became President, yet he did not make any worthwhile efforts to find those who killed her wife.

Pakistan People’s Party blamed Tehreek- e-Taliban, Pervaiz Musharraf and Baitullah Mehsud to be the killers and stated that the chief conspirators have all been killed in drone attacks and Musharraf should be brought to the trail.

The disdained Naheed Khan also accused Asif Zardari for not taking up the case seriously and hijacking the party after BB’s death by sidelining staunch jiyalas.

However, mysteriously all the cogs of this mystery died one by one. Some were killed, some died in drones and rest were absolved. Only two alleged people got convicted and were sentenced and even they were later granted bails.

The politician of BB’s stature atleast deserved her killers to be named. It should have been ascertained who killed her and what were the motives. It should have put speculations to a rest. But, unfortunate it is that BB’s murder trial got such a tepid verdict.

The onus is solemnly on the PPP government that was formed after 2008 elections. They should have at least done more to find BB’s killers. Their interest in the case was condemnable they were not serious either.  Had they been serious, the case should have reached some kind of a conclusion in 9 years. The dissatisfaction they’re showing seems more like face saving. They have disappointed all those who laid their lives for PPP, for BB and for Democracy.

BB’s death was undoubtedly a huge loss for Pakistan.

Had BB been alive, Would Pakistan be in a better situation? Guess, that question will always remain unanswered.

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