Saturday April 13, 2024

Remembering Daughter of the East

By Bashir Riaz
December 27, 2016

Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was the glorious face of Pakistan and was a source of bright future for our country. She was not only one of the youngest head of states in the world but she was the first woman to serve as the head of state in any Muslim country in the world. She was brutally martyred on 27th December, 2007 in Liaquat Bagh Rawalpindi. Although 9 years have gone by since this tragic event, yet the memories of BB Shaheed are quite vivid and still alive in the minds and hearts of people of Pakistan. Due to this reason, 27th December is remembered throughout the world and great homage is paid to her political and national services. She was a national and International leader of great repute and laid down lasting and effective impressions on the national politics of Pakistan and irrespective of political affiliations every one shed tears on her Shahdat (martyrdom).

If we look at the life of SMBB, we see that soon after Chairman S.Z.A Bhutto's elected Government was overthrown through martial law, she started facing tough and difficult time. Her life became a tale of struggle and she became the youngest political prisoner of our country. The song of her bravery and courage became a melody and spread throughout the world. An unarmed young girl faced all sorts of cruelties and tyrannies of Zia ul Haq's draconian regime. She faced difficulties including arrests and forced exiles. She also had to go through the pain of losing her brothers and most importantly of losing her father. As a daughter she wasn’t allowed to even wish her father farewell. However, she faced all these difficulties with great courage and never compromised on the dignity and honour of Pakistan. She did not waver on her commitment towards democracy in her beloved homeland. Thanks to the wisdom and memories of the people seminars are arranged and being held throughout the world in the educational and political institutions to pay homage to SMBB. Recently, Benazir Bhutto Leadership Programme was launched at Harvard University, of which she had been a student as well, keeping in view her vision, political struggle and contributions. The Programme is aimed to support students from Muslim countries around the world. This is a great honour for Shaheed BB and Pakistanis are proud of this.

A great deal has been written on her political struggle and further more would be recorded by historians. But in her long journey, besides those problems and difficulties which she faced, was her role as a wife and a mother. Mohtarma BB was a trustworthy and loving personality. During the period her husband was in prison, she organized massive movements and raised her voice on International forums.BB was a soft spoken and kind hearted lady. She used to feel the pain of others, who were suffering. When the Agencies levelled allegations of corruption against Asif Ali Zardari, she was advised to get a divorce from him, but she rejected these suggestions. A Government Envoy also advised her do the same and she replied to him," Do you want to ruin my life? "Do you want that I should destroy my life and the future of my children". She was deeply hurt by this and said, “After all, what more do they want?”

As a matter of fact SMBB was fighting on every front. Her own family life was in danger and her political career was also at stake. She was being made to believe that all the allegations of corruption and the consequence thereof in the form of difficulties are due to Zardari. But she faced all these allegations with great courage and fortitude. She appeared twice in the courts in Switzerland and exposed the fabricated story of necklace and the jeweller appeared personally in the court and admitted and said, "He had never met or seen SMBB."

SMBB used to say that all the cases were falsely framed against her. A drug case was framed against Asif Ali Zardari. The then, interior Minister Chaudhry Shujat Hussain confirmed this and said that it was totally false.

Being a mother, she looked after her children in the capacity of a father as well, as her husband was in prison for 11 years and she was praying throughout this period for her children and husband and this was the most difficult period of her life. She remained calm, cool and was patient and was hopeful and confident. This shows her strong and finest character of a humble, faithful wife and caring mother. This is the reason that her children have achieved social and political understanding.

BB Shaheed was not in favour of Bilawal taking part in politics without the completion of his education. Her first priority for Bilawal was to complete his education. After completing his studies from Oxford, Bilawal has started taking active part in the politics of Pakistan and now he is holding the responsibility of Chairman of the party. By his entering into politics a storm has started in Pakistan and he is now practically busy in re-organizing the party throughout Pakistan. 

It is true that people who were with BB, will not be with Bilawal. But he has a prerogative of being a son of Shaheed BB and now people have lot of expectations from him, as they had great trust in the leadership of SMBB. Similarly, he will enjoy the trust of the people as he carries the legacy and inheritance of his mother. This is the same trust which was transferred to BB after the martyrdom of SZAB. Some people may regard this as political inheritance. But in fact, it is a matter of political understanding and love of the people, which is the continuation of the same trust and confidence given to the people of Pakistan by SZAB. Now, Bilawal has appeared on the horizon as a symbol of political hope and People's rule.

Surely he will be the future political successor of BB, as he has deeply studied the ideology, political wisdom and views of SMBB. Bilawal has paid great tributes to SMBB in which he said," I'm the son of Shaheed BB. I believe in the politics of truth and I do not go back on my word. It would be worthwhile to mention here that no government could have been formed in 2002 elections without the participation of PPP. Unfortunately some members of the party joined Musharraf's Government to enjoy power. Shaheed BB was shocked due to this. SMBB had reservations and doubts that if PPP won the elections of 2007, the same scenario of 2002,elections could be repeated. Thus, using her experience and political acumen and sagacity she decided to come back and take part in the elections. She didn't care about dangers to her life and proved that she was the true and real successor of her father and ultimately sacrificed her life for the sake of people and Pakistan. She lived for the people of Pakistan, with the people of Pakistan, and died with the people of Pakistan. Zinda hai Bibi zinda hai!

(The writer is the senior adviser and press secretary of Bilawal Bhutto Zardari)