WASHINGTON, May 19: American journalist Seymour Hersh has rejected news reports that quoted him as saying a ‘special death squad’ working under former US vice-president Dick Cheney killed Benazir Bhutto.
The award-winning journalist described as “complete madness” the reports that the squad headed by Gen Stanley McChrystal — the new commander of US army in Afghanistan — had also killed former Lebanese prime minister Rafique Al Hariri and a Lebanese army chief.
“Vice-President Cheney does not have a death squad. I have no idea who killed Mr Hariri or Ms Bhutto. I have never said that I did have such information. Continue reading
Filed under Pakistan, USA
by Raza Rumi
It was only yesterday that we were mourning for the loss of an icon of our times. The much loved, and passionately hated Benazir Bhutto whose tragic murder in broad daylight was the greatest metaphor of what Pakistan has turned into: a jungle of history, ethnicity and extremism. Little wonder that Bhutto’s worst enemies cried and lamented the loss of a federal politician whose life and times were as unique as her name. The populist slogan – charon soobon ki zanjeer (the chain of the four provinces, literally) could not have been truer than the most tested of axioms. As if her death were not enough, the state response was even more brutal. Why did she participate in public rallies? On that fateful day of December 27, 2007, why did she invite death by sticking her neck out – literally and metaphorically? This was tragedy compounded by invective and betrayal. After all, had she not received a tacit understanding from the then military President, General Pervez Musharraf?
The official machinery then went to work in a super-efficient frenzy. Within hours, the murder scene had been washed away, right opposite the Liaqat Bagh in Rawalpindi where Pakistan’s first Prime Minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, was also shot dead. If anything history repeated itself with a bang – only to restate that Pakistani Prime Ministers are dispensable accessories of the power game. The misogynistic thirst for blood-letting once quenched, patriarchy dictated that the autopsy of a woman became an issue of honour, confusion and violation of the law. How telling, that the laws of the land remain subservient to the imperatives of culture and tradition. Continue reading
Filed under Benazir Bhutto, Democracy, dynasties, Media, Pakistan, Politics, public policy, Sindh, south asia, state, Terrorism, violence
Posted by Raza Rumi
An anonymous contributor at the Friday Times talks about how the murder of a family member raised painful questions about Pakistani society
When an incident occurs which should never have taken place – an anomaly, a tragedy – the first question that springs to mind is, who is to blame? It has been two years since my uncle’s body was found, decaying in his own blood, two years since he was murdered in his house, in his own sanctuary. I have had enough time to distance myself from the tragedy and view the events in a more rational way. But is there anyway to rationalise the murder of an innocent man, whose only crime was that he could not afford to live anywhere but in a small apartment in an unsafe area of Karachi?
As I sit safely in America and think about his murder, I am confronted with the question of my own identity. Who is a Karachiite? I strive to answer this question. To me, a Karachiite is a jaded individual, who invariably knows someone who has been the victim of a crime or is a helpless victim of fear and loathing himself. Yet tragedy and fear never strike hard enough until they hit home, and that is when you realise how real crime is. It’s not just some cool scene from a pyscho thriller flick. Continue reading
Alam kay iss jazeeray mein
Jahan sab per ujar gaye
Aur saari musafitan be-nishaan ho gayee
Teri tasveer neechay gulab mehaktay hain
Ham, teray qaatil, teray qasoorwar
Doshee thehray Continue reading