Transition to Quaid and Benazir’s vision

Courtesy:- Wajid Shamsul Hasan

Just five days before Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s fifth anniversary of martyrdom (Dec 27) yet another high profile secular politician— KPK’s Senior Minister Bashir Balour— was assassinated by the terrorists. Today Pakistan stands at a critical juncture. It is confronted with a battle for survival and the nation shall have to get tough to face the tougher challenges.
A frontline leader of ANP Balour Sahib had always been known for his commitment to democracy. In these crucial times he had emerged as a symbol of dauntless courage and determination for combating terrorism undeterred by three previous attacks on him. His death is an irreparable loss to Pakistan in general and KPK in particular when a brave leader like him is needed most.

Bhutto had cast the dye against religious extremism when she challenged the terrorists by spearheading the struggle for restoration of democracy and to revert to the liberal vision of the Quaid. She preferred to die rather than surrender to the terrorists. To salvage the country from falling in the hands of Taliban she had nurtured and nourished the path to fight back with her noble blood. Bilour has followed in her footsteps.

The current challenges look insurmountable. However, with brave leaders our march towards making Pakistan a modern social welfare state would succeed. The nation has shown uncompromising resilience to defend its liberal and progressive ideology against obscurantist forces.

However, as ANP Chief Asfandyar Wali Khan has rightly said:” If extremists and terrorists can unite from Kabul to Karachi then why not the Pakistani nation gets united against these evil forces.” Such a unity, indeed, is the need of the hour. All political leaders, institutions and the masses should join hands to fight this war as their own and eliminate forces of darkness.

Some leaders are still living in a denial mode about Taliban. They should get out of their fixation. We are fighting against who are outright barbarians. They have no commitment to Islam. They just kill the innocent with impunity. Malala Yusufzai was lucky, but the anti-polio health volunteers were not. They were killed for helping save our children from the crippling disease.

While remembering Bhutto, I fondly recall that she was a unique personification of angelic innocence, remarkable maturity and was incomparably brave. She made the journey to Pakistan knowing that it would be fatal. General Musharraf did not want her back. So did the religious extremists. She returned home to be welcomed by millions of her people who had been anxiously looking forward to the return of their saviour.

Likes of Musharraf who felt threatened by her were hell bent not to let her come back. They used the extremists to eliminate her. Some day conspiracy would be exposed as to who the bigots were employed to kill the first Muslim woman prime minister ever by the invisible entities since their vested interest ran contrary to her commitment for the empowerment of the masses.

On 5th death anniversary the best tribute to her and those hundreds and thousands who sacrificed all they had for salvaging Mr Jinnah’s vision of democracy and an egalitarian society would be to sincerely rededicate ourselves to the ideals of the Quaid, martyred Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto.

The current period of transition from dictatorship to democracy has been one of major achievements of President Zardari and his coalition partners. Not only the PPP government is about to complete its 5-year tenure, it has established an electoral democracy and supremacy of the Parliament. It has brought about landmark constitutional amendments guaranteeing perpetuity to the federation. By surrendering the powers that made president in Pakistan more powerful than the US and French presidents Zardari restored the glory of 1973 Constitution. By standing aloft against the anger and violence of the masses following Bhutto’s murder, he saved the country from disintegration.

No doubt certain events in Pakistan are reflective of ominous signs. We have lived through daily forecasts of government’s demise followed by election postponement mantra by some of those who appear in discussions on media. Now the latest are the increasing acts of terrorism, threats by bionic politicians who have crash landed in national politics out of nowhere (though with a dubious past), serving ultimatums of long marches, wanting replacement of the elected government by an interim set up of their choice and even putting off elections if need be to— what they call— “implementation of the Constitution in letter and spirit”. Such shady elements are also trying to drag the army and judiciary into their sinister scheme of things.

The next elections would be a decisive battle for continuity of democracy and Pakistan. They have been ensured to be free, fair and transparent. And they would be held as scheduled under no threat and no ultimatum. PPP leadership has established its credentials by relentlessly fighting successfully on various fronts. As such the continuity of the PPP in government would ensure strengthening of democracy, greatest good of the largest number, guarantee peace, progress and prosperity. It would foster resilience of the people and prove that ballot is the best weapon to defeat the bullets of obscurantist forces.


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