Friday, December 28, 2007

Bhutto butée

You've doubtless heard the news that the former prime minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, has been assassinated. The killing occurred after an election rally; she was shot twice, once in the neck and once in the chest, before being rushed off to a hospital. Her killer then committed suicide by blowing up an explosive device on his person. At least twenty other people are also dead, and more deaths are being reported as a result of anti-Musharraf rioting: some elements view Pervez Musharraf, the current president of Pakistan, as directly or indirectly responsible for Bhutto's murder.

Bhutto's past is a checkered one, as I learned from scanning some online news and encyclopedia articles. She was twice prime minister of Pakistan (1988, 1993), and twice brought down on corruption charges related to money laundering and under-the-table deals involving gold importation, fighter craft, and other matters. She was nevertheless a fighter for women's rights, and while she had earlier supported and funded the Taliban in the 1990s, she changed to a more anti-Taliban stance. Bhutto's education was largely Western, primarily in the US and the UK. Her family has long known turmoil; she exiled herself from Pakistan, and her father, also a former prime minister, was hanged on charges of conspiracy to commit murder.

I can't say that what I've read of Bhutto makes me much of a fan of hers, but I see hints that she was a voice for modernization and for the plight of women in a country with conservative public morals. My thoughts go with Pakistan, though, as the country endures another-- yet another-- wave of violence.


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1 comment:

rwellor said...

"fan of hers"

is a comment/idea that almost means nothing. I'm not slashing at what you say, just noting that Pakistan is an unbelievable tribal place. And ALL politicians there are doing their work for personal gain.

Bhutto no less than Musharraf. The difference is that Bhutto had some, what I would call "crazy modern notions," like voting, and women being allowed to have opinions..

Crook?

Sure.

Father Idolator?

Sure.

Better than any other politician in Pakistan?

I'll have to hear some pretty serious evidence to change my vote from "YES."