Her husband is President, her party is in power, but a year after Pakistan’s twice-elected Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, was assassinated, there’s been no prosecution and little investigation of those who killed the Mohtarma.
It’s a national holiday in Pakistan on Saturday; a 10-rupee coin is being issued in the name of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto, but Pakistanis are still waiting for justice.
Displaying little confidence in its own institutions, the Pakistan Peoples Party government wrote to the United Nations seeking an inquiry into Benazir’s death, a killing that had once united Indians and Pakistanis against the spectre of terror.
According to a report in the Pakistani daily, Dawn, UN chief Ban ki-Moon and President Asif Ali Zardari “discussed the progress” on Pakistan’s probe request on December 3.
Meanwhile, her killers roam free.
The Daily Times reported on Wednesday from Rawalpindi that the Crime Investigation Department had issued the names of Baitullah Mehsood, Ubaidur Rehman, Faiz Muhammad, Abdullah alias Saddam and Ikramullah, as the five most-wanted “alleged terrorists” in the Benazir assassination case.
A reward of (Pakistani) Rs. 2 million is being offered for the arrest of these men.
Mehsood, as we know, is the leader of the Tehrik-e-Taliban, who has twice offered to fight along with the Pakistan Army against India in the wake of the 26/11 Mumbai terrorist strikes.
In February, the PPP rode the crest of an anti-President Pervez Musharraf wave and took control of the National Assembly. In August, the once-invincible Musharraf was forced out of office; in September Asif Ali Zardari was President.
It looked like the time of the civilians had come. But three months after he became President, Zardari, like his personal nominee for PM, Yusuf Raza Gilani, is looking weak and vulnerable.
Some analysts believe that Army Chief Parvez Kayani was, in fact, party to ensuring a smooth exit for Musharraf and Zardari’s election. And, now the Chief is extracting his pound of flesh.
“Has any prime minister who was elected unanimously or a president who secured a two-thirds majority ever looked so insecure that he had to repeatedly use questionable tactics to get his way through?” editor Shaheen Sehbai asked in The News on Friday.
“Why is it that despite such strong support in parliament, he is working overtime every day to keep and tighten his hold on those state institutions not yet under his thumb — like the ISI, the Pakistan Army and some parts of the media?” Sehbai wanted to know.
It looks from the outside that Zardari has lost the battle with the Army using the India bogey to shed its unpopular image that developed in the Musharraf years.
The Pakistani state and its leaders will mourn Benazir on Saturday, but what about some answers to her death?