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Benazir Bhutto, a leader par excellence

By: Hafsa Ali

Since 1988, after being selected the first female prime minister of the Muslim world she was on the path of plight and misery. Her position though enviable yet as painful as walking through the fire. Her voyage did not begin from the day she took oath as a prime minister, it started long before with the martyrdom of Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Everybody in Pakistan was sure that the girl would tire on the path of politics which was not only difficult but proves fatal for even experienced politicians. But she knew that progress was neither automatic nor inevitable, every step toward the goal of justice required sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals as quoted Martin Luther King junior.

The King, at an other place in his well known speech, I have a dream, said, ‘Unearned suffering is redemptive’ and she knew it well. once in an interview she said, ” Adversity has tempered my character. My husband was in jail in Pakistan for 8 years without a conviction and I had to bring up small children as single parent in exile besides looking after my ailing mother. Scores of members of my party were killed. We paid a heavy price for democracy. This experience has strengthened my commitment for building a tolerant society which respects human rights, allows a free media, has a transparent and corruption free government which tackles the social and economic issues of the people, brings peace internally by undermining the forces of extremism and builds peace regionally.”

Her determination, perseverance and struggle made her prominent in the world and she turned from a weak girl into a mighty voice which was not only heard but given importance by even the international community. then we witnessed how daringly she continued in hard times and she never looked back till her death as a proud martyr. Her determination even forced her staunch opponents to confess her greatness as a politician.

Her quality of being rational was well-known and she was considered an ambassador of peace. She was democratic in her very nature and believed in dialogue. Feeling such humane ability the Italian Prime Minister Romano Prodi on his martyrdom had said, “I express my sadness and that of the whole government following the death of Benazir Bhutto, a woman who wanted to fight her battle until the end with just one weapon—that of dialogue and political discussion.”

Her killers tried to kill her but they misjudged her as she had turned into an inspiration and nobody can kill inspiration. They might thought that with her martyrdom she would die but of course they did not know martyrs never die.

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