Friday 30 September 2016
facebook.com/Outlookindia twitter.com/outlookindia digimag.outlookindia.com instagram.com/outlookindia youtube.com/user/OutlookMagazine

How Fire Works

There is a great deal of “inside” information to make this essential reading for those trying to make sense of Pakistan.
The Bhutto Murder Trail: From Waziristan To GHQ
By Amir Mir
Tranquebar Press/Westland | Pages: 208 | Rs. 499

Benazir Bhutto’s assassination outside Liaqat Bagh, Rawalpindi, on December 27, 2007, remains a whodunit with striking similarities to President Kennedy’s murder. Both waved to a cheering crowd when they were shot. Kennedy’s murderer, Lee Oswald, was eliminated before the trail could be followed. In Benazir’s case, the murderer, “wearing dark glasses, appeared on the left.  He suddenly pulled out a pistol and fired three shots”. He then blew himself up to reach paradise with lightning speed.

Advertisement

Amir Mir’s painstaking effort would be compelling reading if you like cliff-hangers. But the cliff, in this case, is overgrown with shrubbery—whatever suspense there may have been otherwise has been dissipated by the sheer passage of time. And yet you cannot put aside the book simply because the event it dwells on is four years old. Many more shots have rung out since then, including in the killing of Benazir’s close associate, Salman Taseer.   

Taseer’s murderer, Mumtaz Qadiri, was rather more brazen than Benazir’s killer. After having pumped Taseer with 24 bullets, he stood by the body, smiling. He believed that what he had done was in pursuit of God’s will. What is even more shattering is the spinelessness of the silent majority.

Maulana Fazlur Rehman of Pakistan’s Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam (JUI) shared a frightening story while he was in Delhi recently as a guest of the Dar-ul-Uloom of Deoband. A young man approached him in Peshawar with an extraordinary request: could the Maulana help him be promoted in the list of suicide bombers because his ailing parents were eager to see him go to paradise while they were still alive!

Advertisement

In the US, Benazir had promised to fight the war in Afghanistan to the end and hand over A.Q. Khan to the Americans.

A passage from Amir Mir’s book corroborates what the JUI leader was describing: “The pieces collected from the crime scene by the Punjab Police included one mutilated head (that of the suspected suicide bomber), both his legs as well as his hands on which he had applied henna”. What is the significance of henna? “The Holy Prophet used to apply it on his beard”, as Mir writes. Henna on the suicide bomber’s hands was a celebrative decoration before the journey to paradise.

Asif Zardari’s present presidentship is the unintended consequence of a deal that Pervez Musharraf, Benazir Bhutto and the Americans had struck after the blowback from the war in Afghanistan, which was beginning to consume Musharraf, George Bush’s reliable ally. The idea was simple: once Benazir became prime minister, popular anger on account of the war would be distributed in three directions: President Musharraf, the army and Benazir herself. It transpires that in high-profile late-night shows in Washington, Benazir had not only promised to fight the war to the end but had also promised to hand over A.Q. Khan to the Americans for interrogation.

Advertisement

Just imagine how this would have registered with the jehadists. Worse, Benazir had clearly misread the mood in Pakistan as her somewhat reckless arrival in Karachi and the attempt on her life demonstrated. As far as Musharraf was concerned, she was simply over-eager. He would have wanted her to return after the 2008 elections. Benazir says as much to the author. 

There is a great deal of “inside” information to make this essential reading for those trying to make sense of Pakistan.

What The Brook Saw: A Need For Pathetic Fallacy Bibliofile
Download the Outlook ​Magazines App. Six magazines, wherever you go! Play Store and App Store

Post a Comment

You are not logged in, please Log in or Register
  • Daily Mail
THE LATEST ISSUE
CLICK IMAGE FOR CONTENTS
REVIEW
Review
An up-to-date history shows how the idea of a beneficial Raj is a sham
MAGAZINE September 29, 2016
Review
McEwan’s ventriloquism gives voice to an unborn, modern Hamlet—seething, philosophising and sipping nectar
MAGAZINE September 29, 2016
Exerpt
A biography of Feroze Gandhi brings to life a fiery parliamentarian
MAGAZINE September 29, 2016
Review
Except for the excellent profiles, rehashed articles don’t serve Guha well
MAGAZINE September 21, 2016
Book Extract
The Honey Bee network gathers lessons in creativity from the grassroots
MAGAZINE September 21, 2016
read more>>>
OUTLOOK ON TWITTER
POLLS

More than a decade after India first started the procurement process, it has finally inked an €8bn agreement to buy 36 Rafale fighter jets from France’s Dassault. The original deal was to buy 126 Rafales to replace the accident-prone Russian MiG-21s. Ultimately, the government offered to buy only 36 ready-to-fly planes.

POLL STARTED ON: Sep 26, 2016
Quiz
Brazil’s Rio de Janeiro is hosting the 31st Olympic Games from August 5 to 21. This is the first Olympics being held in South America and is going on even as a majority Brazilians are unhappy with their rulers. Here’s a quiz on some random Olympic facts and related trivia.
QUIZ STARTED ON: Aug 11, 2016
Advertisement