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US: Turning a blind eye to Pakistan’s dictator?

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Nelson Alcantara  Dec 28, 2007

(eTN) - Finding who is involved in yesterday’s murder of Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto may as well be called a game of connect the dots, albeit a very dangerous and obviously a deadly one. Who would want her dead, right? Well, she was after all only hoping to recapture the premiership in the upcoming January 8 parliamentary elections.

According to local reports, Bhutto was leaving a campaign rally in Rawalpindi when a gunman opened fire striking her twice then blew himself up killing another 20 people.

Why was Bhutto such a threat for the premiership? The popular Pakistani politician had already occupied the prime minister’s chair twice before being dismissed on corruption charges. She had been in exile for eight years until her return this past October.

There is talk of civil war as a result of the recent events in Pakistan. What is the United States government’s next move then? Shouldn’t the country that heralds itself as a staunch defender of freedom and democracy do something? United States citizens should care, if not the government, because millions of the taxpayer's dollars have been given as “aid” to Pakistan in recent years. US President George W. Bush yesterday dismissed Bhutto’s assassination a “cowardly act.” One wonders if this sufficient action given that this US administration cited its anti-dictatorship stance as a reason for de-establishing former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein’s government. Perhaps, to be fair, this US administration should recognize that it is not doing enough to put pressure on the already all-too-powerful Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to quell the violence and guarantee a fair election.

What more obvious reason does this US administration need to act? A popular candidate for the parliamentary election is dead. Abiding by the very definitions that this administration has concocted on what makes a terrorist, the gunman who shot Bhutto then blew himself up clearly has all the markings. Obviously, US State Secretary Condoleezza Rice’s allusions in the media have done nothing to dissuade the power-hungry Musharraf.

Do you see a dictator when you see one?
Musharraf, who recently traded in his army uniform to conform to Pakistan’s constitution prohibiting the head of state to be a member of the armed forces, has dreams of ruling the country far longer than he is allowed to by Pakistan’s rule of law, and he doesn’t seem to care what it takes as long as this is done. He has already declared Martial Law in the past. Now, with Bhutto’s death as excuse, Musharraf is now contemplating canceling the January 8 elections. Without a formidable candidate for the prime minister seat, what’s the use of having an election in the first place? The gunman who killed Bhutto may have just handed over absolute power to Musharraf.

Bhutto’s assassination has sparked violence in the already volatile streets of Pakistan. So far, it is being reported that nine people have died from the violence that ensued after her death. She was of one of Pakistan’s most ferocious politicians and who may have also been the last hope for democracy in the nuclear-armed US ally.

Tourism’s contribution to Pakistan’s economy is minimal, but it is growing. Visitors are lured by the country’s diverse cultures, peoples and landscapes which range from ruins of ancient civilizations to several mountain peaks over 7000 meters.

US: Turning a blind eye to Pakistan’s dictator?
Photo by Metro



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