Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto: You’ll never die (Opinion)

By Abdullah Zahid.

When I was 3, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s daughter, Benazir Bhutto was murdered. Gradually, when I grew up, my parents told me about Benazir, her demonstration for the amendment of the state and her great strides for women empowerment and equality in our country – everything we are still fighting for today.

When I got older and became deeply interested in politics, media and history, I read about the rare and gifted leader who bridged religions, genders and continents, Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.

Today, writing about a leader who was larger than life, excelled beyond the established norms and challenged misogynistic rightwingers of Pakistan with a smile, is making my heart race. Her spectacular services for the state of Pakistan are inconceivable to pen down.

Shaheed Benazir Bhutto was the ultimate face of bravery – from saying farewell to her father from a prison cell to being in one herself, witnessing both her brothers being poisoned and murdered, tear gassing, lashings, fallacious cases, state persecution, character-assassinations, dragged from one court to the other, with small kids (one toddler, the other in her lap), her husband imprisoned for 11 years, and still determined to continue to fight for truth, justice, positive citizenry, broader equality, human rights, women gender ecology, and democracy in Pakistan.

Benazir Bhutto set forth her political journey as a ray of hope and resistance to the repressive, regressive, Islamist regime of General Zia ul Haq. He imposed stifling dictatorship, hanged Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto – the first democratically elected prime minister – on trumped-up charges, and inured Pakistani society under the most authoritarian regime our country has ever seen. Benazir’s entry in politics carries a powerful message about how women across party lines can make the difference.

Benazir Bhutto – the heartthrob of Pakistan’s downtrodden and the voiceless – spent a lifetime striving for a democratic, prosperous, tolerant, peaceful and egalitarian Pakistan. There are countless occasions when her life was going through various complexities but regardless of these intricacies she strived to put forward satisfactory efforts for the amelioration of the state.

The services of Benazir Bhutto for the rectification of our country incorporate initiating ballistic missile technology to strengthening national defence, from purveying land to landless women farmers to the establishment of First Women Bank, to establishing separate women police stations to initiating anti-polio vaccination, creating employment opportunities to striving for basic rights for the poor and marginalised, she spent each and every minute in service of her life for Pakistan.

Prior to that, she was the only leader among the entire bunch of expedient politicians of Pakistan who represented liberal and progressive voices at national and international level. She remained the only politician who clearly supported 2007 Red Mosque Operation. She embodied the federation and unity of Pakistan. And guess where she’s now?

Mother of Bilawal, 32, Bakhtawar, 30, and Aseefa, 27, became a surpassing illustration of how motherhood was not an impediment in the way of becoming the most renowned woman in the history of Pakistan. From her first election campaign when she was pregnant with Bilawal, to raising her children alone in Dubai (her husband Asif Ali Zardari was incarcerated in Pakistan), her interminable striving in raising her children and the consequences of her strenuous endeavors have made her a perfect mother.

Monitoring their education, congregating the highest degree of benevolence, an affinity for humanity in her children, she made sure that the nourishment of her children does not get agitated due to her diligent political career. In one of her interviews, she articulated that she endeavours to dedicate herself proportionately to her children as she does to her political career.

Despite the threat to her person, and after the scars of October 18thstill fresh on bodies and minds, she was determined to lead the nation over her personal safety. She was desperate to salvage the nation from the crisis and work for the people’s welfare.

I, frequently, in my spare time cogigate that if she would had been alive today, situation in the region could have been much calmer, meliorated, amended and different. It will be decades before the world sees a leader of her charisma and calibre.

“Ae Aameron, tum zinda hokar murda ho/Wo murda hokar zinda hai (Oh dictators, you are already dead while you live/ She is alive in her death).”

I think we need to remember her personal and political legacy, the fact she was brave, substantial, technical and vigorous. Despite of the fact that her life was gathered around with many problems and obstacles, she never lost hope. She continued to do exceptional, eminent and gratifying efforts till the last breathe of her life.

The more the state slips into authoritarianism and dictatorship, the more Shaheed Benazir Bhutto is missed. The name Benazir is embedded in people’s consciousness and they will protect it.

Benazir Bhutto’s sacrifice would only make the difference when there would be justice for all in Pakistan. So, the wages are loud, beware of the clouds.

Rest in peace, BB, because of your contributions to Pakistan, you’ll never die.

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