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 opens in new window

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 opens in new window

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 opens in new window

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.

Next Story : What The Brook Saw: A Need For Pathetic Fallacy
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
THE LATEST ISSUE
CLICK IMAGE FOR CONTENTS
REVIEW
Review
The timeless hills, the brooks and forests, the creatures that inhabit them and the small stories of innocents among them carry a whiff of old India
MAGAZINE February 16, 2017
Review
Setalvad’s indefatigable fight for justice for the victims of communal riots takes precedence in this memoir over her personal life
MAGAZINE February 16, 2017
Review
Mata Hari was modernity’s first exotic beauty and celebrity. Her tragic, dignified life has now inspired the best-selling Paulo Coelho.
MAGAZINE February 16, 2017
Review
Varied ideas line up, but never freeze into formations. That isn’t the mission either. After all, dance keeps evolving all the time.
MAGAZINE February 09, 2017
Review
Managing China through Pakistan, while keeping the border peaceful, is held up as India’s goal. That, and acquiring more military muscle.
MAGAZINE February 09, 2017
read more>>>
Advertisement

OUTLOOK TOPICS :

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9

or just type initial letters