Pakistan's opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated today, in a combined shooting and suicide bomb attack during a political rally of the Pakistan Peoples Party in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.

Many blame Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf for Bhutto's death and call the pro-western former prime minister a martyr for democracy. But they can't sell that story to me.

As a wire editor, I followed the news of Bhutto's return to Pakistan in October, after eight years of exile; the deadly bombing in Karachi, Pakistan, that "welcomed" her return and left at least 136 people dead; and of course, Musharraf's re-election bid in October and his state of emergency declaration last month, which ended Dec. 15.

One thing that eludes me is how little Bhutto's corruption scandals were mentioned when the western (especially the U.S.) media covered her return -- the fact that she once was one of the most corrupt leaders in Pakistan. She was involved in laundering, drug, and bribery schemes that led her to place millions in Swiss bank accounts and dummy corporations in the Caribbean. Her husband, Asif Ali Zadari, was known in Pakistan as "Mr. 10%."

And about democracy. U.S. has been working hard to install democracy in countries like Iraq, Iran and yes, Pakistan. But is democracy for everyone? I'm not saying democracy is not needed there, but are they ready for it? If the idea of true democracy has not been fully understood by the leaders, how can one ask for a truly democratic country? The western fascination for democracy as the universal cure, and the western insistence on this one-without-second option as I see it, is a myopic spectacle of today's world. What about education, free trade and press freedom? Sure enough, there are others things that need to come with (or even before) democracy.

What's next for Pakistan? Why not let the Pakistanis decide?


[Read More]

- Wikipedia on Benazir Bhutto: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benazir_Bhutto
- BBC Obituary on Benazir Bhutto: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/2228796.stm
- Who Benefits from Bhutto's Death? http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22411054/






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h.sheena

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