I was shocked and saddened as the story of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination suddenly popped up while browsing news at the dead of night on 27 December 2007. She was probably the only one able to put the house in order in Pakistan. Now that she is gone, it could well be the end of salvaging Pakistan from the hands of the Islamists. However, I held hope that this was probably the wake-up call, which Pakistanis might heed and rise up against the death-cult of the Jihadists.
After her death, Ms Bhutto has emerged as an icon of secularism and modernity in the Islamic world, a courageous political leader and a champion democrat, a champion of women’s rights, and a fighter against the Jihadists. Her death has been compared to Gandhi’s and her political struggle to Aung San Suu Kyi’s. She was going to replace the rogue dictatorship of President Musharraf to institute democracy and secularism in Pakistan.
In a thoughtful analysis, however, it turns out that the majority of these epithets bestowed on her career and legacy are not accurate. Her most devastating action, not only for Pakistan but also for the whole world, was her patronization of the Taliban militia in Afghanistan and fueling of separatist Jihad in Kashmir.
It is not right to put all the blame on her for the support that the Taliban and Kashmiri militants received during her tenure as Prime Minister (PM), because the Pakistan intelligence services (ISI) and the military are too powerful for the PM to call the shots alone. Yet, she must accept her share of eager complicity.
Let us explore the Jihadi world of Benazir Bhutto. As the Islamist separatist movement was heating up in Kashmir, she walked into the field to fuel the Jihad in Kashmir. In addressing a huge congregation, she said:
“The people of Kashmir do not fear death, because they are Muslim. The Kashmiris have the blood of the Mujahids [Jihadists] and Ghazis [infidel slayers]. The Kashmiris have the blood of Mujahideens, because Kashmiris are the heir of Prophet Muhammad, Hazrat Ali and Hazrat Umar.”
In inciting even the women of Kashmir to Jihad, she said:
“And the brave women of Kashmir ― they know how to fight and also to live. And when they live, they do so with dignity.”
“From every village [of Kashmir] only one voice will emerge, “Freedom.” From every school, only one voice will merge, “Freedom.” Every child will shout: Freedom, freedom, freedom.”
After becoming PM for the second time, she told William Dalrymple in 1994 about her support of the Jihadists of Kashmir: