Why kill Benazir Bhutto? Because she was pro-America? So is every major politician of Pakistan, tied to one or another faction of the US establishment. Musharraf himself is closest to the US. Nawaz Sharif through the Saudi Royals has indirect links with the Bush administration. The reason for singling her out must lie elsewhere.
However much Benazir's severest critics might have carped against her none could deny her courage. She took the battle to her enemies. She campaigned in areas dominated by militants. More important, she recognized most clearly the ideological aims of her enemies. She articulated most explicitly the ideological response to frustrate them. She was a threat they could not tolerate. Like abject cowards they killed her. Like a true warrior she died in battle.
Before returning to Pakistan Benazir outlined her political aims. She said: 'Learning from Europe following World War II, we will build democracies and common markets, we will open up markets, we will open up roads and we will open up endless opportunities for the people of South Asia.' This would have blocked Al Qaida plans to carve out an Islamic state from areas of Pakistan and Afghanistan that could serve as a launching pad for global jihaad.
Benazir understood that a divided response by nations of South Asia could never defeat the terrorists. They have global ambitions and a unified command structure to coordinate terrorist attacks across entire South Asia. No South Asian leader apart from Benazir had expressed these views as explicitly. She must have been perceived as an unacceptable threat. She had to go.
Will the election in Pakistan be held now? Should it at all have been announced before the war against terrorism was won? Readers would recall this scribe warned against premature polls. It had been suggested instead that a national consensus government comprising all political parties of Pakistan be formed to oversee the army's war against terror. President Musharraf's decision to impose a fraudulent emergency targerting members of the civil society was likened to the role of a suicide bomber. It remains to be seen what happens in Pakistan next. The prospects could not be more grim. The need for India to be united could not be more urgent.