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OSC: Urdu Press Roundup on Reaction to Benazir Bhutto Assassination
From a Sunday, December 30, 2007 entry on Informed Comment Global Affairs, a group blog run by Juan Cole, Manan Ahmed, Farideh Farhi, and Barnett R. Rubin
The USG Open Source Center excerpts and paraphrases editorials in the major Urdu-language Pakistani newspapers concerning the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.
Pakistan: Urdu Press Roundup on Reaction to Benazir Bhutto Assassination
Pakistan -- OSC Summary
Saturday, December 29, 2007
The following is a roundup of excerpts from editorials and articles on the reaction on Benazir Bhutto's killing, published in the 29 December 2007 editions of eight Urdu dailies:
Islam Editorial Questions Flawed Security for Benazir
Criticizing the government for not making foolproof security arrangements for Benazir Bhutto, the editorial remarks: "The situation has taken a worse turn in the wake of Benazir's death, as it has triggered demonstrations and protests across the country. It is hard to foresee how long this agitation will continue. However, what had to happen has happened. It is the responsibility of the government to take immediate steps to punish those involved in this incident. Police had timely foiled a suicide attack bid at the public meeting of Benazir in Peshawar just before the Rawalpindi rally. Rahman Malik (Pakistan People's Party, PPP, leader) had been making repeated complaints of flawed security for Benazir. Why was attention not paid to these complaints? If security arrangements for Bhutto had been beefed up on time, the tragic incident would have never happened."
Express Editorial Discusses Post-Benazir Pakistan
Urging the political leaders and parties to rise to the occasion to bring stability and security in the country, the editorial writes: " Benazir 's martyrdom is a moment of grief not for the PPP alone, but for all the political parties. The time to unite and wage struggle against terrorism and restore democracy has come. This is the only way through which dictatorship can be dismantled and extremism eliminated, if not, then the history that the incident of Liaquat Bagh Rawalpindi has written will continue to be repeated."
Khabrain Editorial Sees No Harm in Postponing Elections
Emphasizing that although situation has risen for the postponement of elections, the political parties will have to play their role for political stability in the country by participating in the elections, the editorial states: " Benazir believed in strong federation. She had been active for this and offered her life in this way. The best and only way to keep the mission of Benazir alive and strive for the realization of her cause is to take active part in elections instead of boycotting them."
Khabrain Article by S.M. Mumtaz Says Holding of Elections No Solution
Describing the assassination of Bhutto as great and irreparable loss for the country, the article comments: "The holding of elections appears to be impossible due to the poor law and order situation arising out of the martyrdom of Benazir. The grief of Benazir's martyrdom is not so trivial to be healed in a few days. It will take time to heal. Situation in the country may take a worse turn if elections are held before the situation normalizes."
Jang Editorial Asks Stakeholders To Rise Above Vested Interests
Discussing the political turmoil into which the country has plunged in the wake of Bhutto's assassination, the editorial maintains: "The establishment and the people can only counter antistate elements with confidence by creating a congenial environment. This atmosphere will be conducive by ensuring independent judiciary and responsible media. Every institution should discharge its duties with full freedom and responsibility. The nation has offered a big sacrifice in Benazir's martyrdom. It demands that the survival of Pakistan should be given top priority. The rulers and opposition leaders should not expose the country to more threats by pursuing power and self interests."
Jang Article by Arshad Ahmed Haqqani Urges PPP Workers To Show Restraint
Advising the followers of Benazir to not let their shock cause any damage to the country, the article says: "The horrible and sudden martyrdom of Benazir is one of the tragedies that Pakistan has been passing through for the past sixty years. The country is in the grip of internal instability that was never witnessed before. The people of Pakistan, particularly the people of Sind and Larkana, are in a state of shock. In this situation, the followers of Benazir can be requested to not lose their patience and observe restraint. They should prove their love for Benazir by making efforts to save the country from instability. They must not let their affection with Benazir weaken, instead strengthen it further."
Ausaf Article by Moazzam Raza Tabbasum Appreciates Nawaz Sharif's Reaction
Appreciating the reaction of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Nawaz Sharif at this critical juncture, the article says: "While the leadership of other political parties has declared Benazir as martyred and accepted that no one can fill the vacuum created by her death, Nawaz Sharif reached the Rawalpindi hospital soon after the tragedy and in his capacity as former prime minister and leader of the Punjab vowed to avenge Benazir assassination. This announcement is rightly being termed as a strong voice of sympathy for the PPP workers and people of Sind in this hour of grief and mourning."
Pakistan Editorial Discusses Claims of Al-Qa'ida Involvement in Bhutto's Assassination
Discussing the government claim that Al-Qa'ida is involved in the assassination of Bhutto, the editorial comments: "Al-Qa'ida has accepted the responsibility for Bhutto assassination. However, the PPP has not accepted this claim. Even independent media has also not confirmed it. The establishment was held responsible for what had happened to Zulifqar Ali Bhutto, Shahnawaz Bhutto, and Murtaza Bhutto. A party worker considers the same forces responsible for the assassination of Benazir. These forces have always proved their hostility for the Bhutto family. It is perhaps due to this very reason that public property is being damaged. This thinking is very detrimental to the federation, and if seen in this perspective it has suffered the most due to this tragedy. The country has now been deprived of such a charismatic leader who had deep roots among the masses of all the four provinces."
Jinnah Editorial Compares Bhutto With Nawaz Sharif
Emphasizing that Bhutto was the only leader in the country who was equally popular across the country and in the federation, the editorial states: "Although Nawaz Sharif does not have as strong roots among the people as Benazir had. His party is also a party of national level. The party has its followers everywhere and its leader Nawaz Sharif been a two-time prime minister. Whatever is said against these leaders, their popularity in the country is immense. We should be obliged to the Bhutto family for the nuclear and missile program, and give it a place that it rightly deserves."
Nawa-e Waqt Editorial Sees No Effective Step by Government To Tackle Situation
Asserting that the government has so far failed to give any line of action to pull the country out of the current political crisis and turmoil, the editorial comments: "Besides the international community, the national leaders have also termed the tragedy as conspiracy to sabotage the electoral process and plunge the country into instability. It is 100 percent true. It has now become impossible for the PPP to participate in the 8 January election. To express his solidarity with the PPP in the current critical situation, Nawaz Sharif has also announced an end to his election campaign and boycott of the elections."
Nawa-e Waqt Article by Zahid Hassan Chughtai Sees Bhutto, Sharif Winning Hearts
Emphasizing that Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif have won the hearts and minds of the people of Pakistan by adopting the path of reconciliation, the article says: "When Benazir talked against religious extremism, it should not have been taken as secular thinking or antireligious approach. Qaid-e Azam (Father of the nation) found this country on the basis of moderate ideology and in the light of eternal righteousness of Islam. There was no room for domination by clergymen or religious fanatics. The country's ideological foundation, however, came under terrorist attack and religious sectarianism, with thousands of innocent Pakistanis falling prey to it. Benazir also fell victim to the conspiracies hatched by such brute and undemocratic minds."