1. I have to start off with my recent perceptions of her. She was a corrupt politician who was more interested in her political legacy than in the welfare of her nation and people. President Bush said today that Bhutto was someone who fought against terrorism. She did so, conveniently, post 9-11. During the mid 1990s she was openly pro-Taliban as the Pakistani government was one of the few nations in the world that recognized that neo-Khawarij regime.
2. Her death could cause major problems for Pakistan, but I think Musharraf will be smart about this and will likely move to some sort of martial law system in order to curb violence and unrest. He needs to postpone elections only briefly because otherwise his opponents will claim he is attempting to block the political process.
3. I was surprised somewhat by the coverage of Bhutto in the US press this morning. CNN changed her picture three times this morning around 8:45 AM. Every picture tried to portray her as some sort of fallen angel. Again, this is a woman who sold out her people in order to increase her bank account as well as killing her political opponents.
4. Pakistan and Democracy: what happens now? Nawaz Sharif is a nobody. Musharraf is on thin ice. Who will lead Pakistan? It’s a very grim situation there, but one thing is for certain: most Pakistanis are moderate people who are inclined to Western values of democracy and freedom in their truest sense. They are progressive and liberal in many facets. Extremism does not have a great hold in Pakistan, but what should be rightfully feared is that someone in the military who is pro-Taliban & al-Qaeda will take over as Musharraf did. I don’t think that’s a likely possibility, but it is a possibility nonetheless. Pakistanis need to regroup and really rally for democracy.
5. I am disgusted with the US media. Their coverage of Bhutto as some sort of martyr is despicable and inappropriate. Man, she really did a good job of portraying herself as some sort of beacon of hope for Pakistan. This woman was liable to be arrested at any moment by Interpol because of all the money laundering she and her husband were involved in with 3 to 4 different countries. She was a crook, plain and simple, yet our wonderful press is making her out to be the next Mother Teresa. This is like if Michael Vick was trying to run for Senator of Georgia ten years from now and then he was murdered and all anyone was talking about was how great a football player he was without any mention of his dog fighting crimes. This is so Orwellian.
6. Bhutto’s legacy: The impression she has left is one of a woman standing up for democracy and fighting against extremism. This is how she will likely be seen until Armageddon. Dissidents and progressives who actually know something about her history will know better. She fought for democracy when convenient for her, but when she was in power assassinations of opponents and corruption were the way of life for her. She was a crook and while she did not deserve such a horrible ending to her life we should all remember that this is a person who cared only for herself and her bank account.
7. My research at Harvard led me to believe that Bhutto would not last long in Pakistan. Unfortunately for her my research proved correct. Musharraf barely made it out alive on two major assassinations attempts a few years ago, while he has had many others. Musharraf’s security was arranged by the Pakistani Army and the attempts on his life demonstrated that the Army had been infiltrated by Taliban and al-Qaeda sympathizers. So if he had the best security around and was almost killed then how could Bhutto possibly stay alive? She didn’t as we unfortunately see today.