Mohtarma: A Critique

William Dalrymple in Outlook India:

Benazir_pm_20080114 The West always had a soft spot for Benazir.

However the very reasons that make the West love Benazir are the same that leave many Pakistanis with second thoughts. Her English may be fluent, but you can’t say the same about her Urdu which she speaks like a well-groomed foreigner: fluently but ungrammatically. Her Sindhi is even worse: apart from a few imperatives, she is completely at sea. Equally, the tragedy of Benazir’s end should not blind us to her as astonishingly weak record as a politician. Benazir was no Aung San Suu Kyi, and much of the praise now being heaped upon her is misplaced. In reality, Benazir’s own democratic credentials were far from impeccable. She colluded in massive human rights abuses, and during her tenure, government death squads in Karachi were responsible for the abduction and murder of hundreds of her MQM opponents. Amnesty International accused her government of having one of the world’s worst records of custodial deaths, killings and torture.

Within her own party, she declared herself the lifetime president of the PPP, and refused to let her brother Murtaza challenge her for its leadership. When he was shot dead in highly suspicious circumstances outside her home, Benazir was implicated. His wife Ghinwa, and her daughter Fatima, as well as Benazir’s own mother, all firmly believed that she gave the order to have him killed.

More here. (Thanks to Dr. Talaha Ali)