Benazir Bhutto, along with several dozen others, was assassinated in a gun, bomb attack in Rawalpindi, Pakistan earlier this morning. This was the second assignation attempt on her life in the past several months, where in the first instance well over a hundred were killed. While the exact cause of death is not exactly known, the security authorities cris-cross from bullets or shrapnel to neck and chest, to having stricken her head against her car sunroof “to dodge a bullet.” No autopsy has evidently been carried out, or if performed, it is neither acknowledged not is its outcome publicized . Irrespective of the cause of death, however, indications are the level of security provided by government for her had steadily eroded to almost none since her arrival from Dubai two months ago. Some speculate that this will not be the last political assassination in the regressively destabilized country of Pakistan, but simply the prelude for many to follow.
Benazir, a Harvard-Oxford educated aristocratic elite, who had served twice as the first woman prime minister in an Islamic state, was the eldest child of the former premier Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a Pakistani of Sindhi descent, and Begum Nusrat Bhutto, a Pakistani of Iranian–Kurdish descent. Her father also lost his life after a bitter political battle in Pakistan.
The unfortunate bloodshed necessitates the prompt realignment of the U.S. and allied resources away from the Lebanon-Israel or the Persian Gulf corridors to “ground zero” Pakistan where the terrorist forces are born, bred, and tolerated by the collusion of the government there.The growing volatile circumstances in Pakistan will once again confirm the far overdue, nonetheless, meritorious and urgent need to rethink our strategy in the region as a whole. Our foreign policy in the region must, therefore, be realigned to a factual, on the ground Reality check, rather than manipulating reality in Washington to fit the agenda by special or lobbying entities. Such fundamental policy rethinking requires a bold leadership in Washington which does not any longer envisage problems in the so-called [Middle East] as a Palestinian-Arab-Israeli, Shiite-Sunni, Persian-Arab, Kurdish-Turkish, Christian-Moslem, or Pakistan-Afghanistan conflicts, but rather a people-to people predicament that can only be resolved through the ultimate home-grown empowerment of the masses anchored on education, socio-economic equity, and political parity. In such equation, Iran or its alleged proxies in Iraq or Lebanon can not any longer be deemed as the culprits, but rather Iran should be brought to the table of negotiation as equal respectable partners. Such critical engagement will not only contribute to the regional stability but that in the long run should serve the ultimate aspiration of Iranian people for true independence, freedom and democracy. As paradoxical as it may seem, this is the only dire hope of re-establishing the U.S. credibility and regaining our respect worldwide.