December 28, 2007


Benazir's death won't have long-term impact (A K Verma, December 28, 2007, rediff)

No individual leader in Pakistan has been a match for the accumulated problems of the country. Some of these problems have existed from the day Pakistan came into existence. A national identity, universally acceptable within the country, remains elusive. The polity and the ruling elites have not been able to reach a consensus on what should be the acceptable goals for the nation. Although the State is an Islamic republic, identifiable and articulate groups want it converted into an Islamist entity. The strength of such groups is on the ascendancy as Talibanisation creeps in on an incremental scale.

Benazir's assassination is the result of this phenomenon.

Benazir, as prime minister for the third term or just as the leader of the Pakistan People's Party, the most popular political party in Pakistan, in all likelihood, would have been unable to stem the tide.

The mutually antagonistic relationship between Islamist and non Islamist groups in Pakistan has reached a stage where no liberal and secular leader can be considered safe from risks such as faced by Benazir.

Benazir had created vast followings in the Sind and Punjab provinces but not in Baluchistan or the North West Frontier Province. In fact, no Pakistani leader has had popular support in all the four provinces simultaneously. An underlying cause is the absence of pervasive unity between different cultural and linguistic groups in Pakistan.

Language is often a major marker of identity of a group. In the absence of social justice and developmental equality, this marker acquires a deeper imprint. Even though emergence of Bangladesh from Pakistan as an independent nation highlighted this paradigm, Pakistan's politicians learnt no lessons. Every region of Pakistan places its own regional identity above that of Pakistan as a nation.

Posted by Orrin Judd at December 28, 2007 11:35 AM

She was elected as the prime minister for the country twice and she failed both times. If you have read 'Taliban - Militant Islam; Oil and Fundamentalism' by the respected author Ahmed Rashid, you will be aware that Benazir's government was the mastermind behind the nuisance of Taliban.

As the ruler of Pakistan she and Asif Zardari have done nothing but steal from an improvished nation to the tune of $2billion. Her nepotism cases are registered in Spain; Englen; Switzerland and Pakistan. It is with this i am reliefed that she has parted us. My only concern is who will repay the money she stole from the nation.

A traitor is dead.

Posted by: Ali Zaidi at December 28, 2007 2:48 PM

Ali, I concur, but I fear your country's treasure is gone and can't be recovered, however, even without it, you and your countrymen and women can make your country strong, free and prosperous. All it takes is the will.

Posted by: erp at December 28, 2007 5:46 PM

Language is often a major marker of identity of a group.

As vile as Michael Savage is as a radio host and person, his "Borders, Language, Culture" meme is robust.

Importing a "superior culture" is fine, but if they aren't "forced" to speak English, they will develop a seperate "culture" sooner or later.

Making all voting "english only" would probably suffice.

Posted by: Bruno at December 30, 2007 9:33 AM

Forced? It would take force to make them retain Spanish. The notion that they don't speak English just as quickly as past immigrants is a function of hysteria not of reality.

Posted by: oj at December 30, 2007 10:30 AM