Benazir Bhutto Assassinated (Updated)

Initial reports are coming in and SM will certainly pass on the message. First, CNN Reports

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (CNN) — Pakistan former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was targeted in a deadly suicide bombing Thursday. Media reports quote her husband saying she suffered a bullet wound to the neck in the attack.

…The attacker is said to have detonated a bomb as he tried to enter the rally where thousands of people gathered to hear Bhutto speak, police said.

Some first guesses at implications..

While President Pervez Musharraf has promised free and fair parliamentary elections next month, continued instability in the tribal areas and the threat of attack on large crowds has kept people from attending political rallies and dampened the country’s political process.

Campaigners from various political groups say fewer people are coming out to show their support due to government crackdowns and the threat of violence.

Today’s violence come less than two weeks ahead of January parliamentary elections and as many days after President Pervez Musharraf lifted a six-week-old state of emergency he said was necessary to ensure the country’s stability.

Stay tuned.

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Updates:

  • Getty’s image archive of the event makes for some powerful browsing..
  • MSNBC: “A party security adviser said Bhutto was shot in the neck and chest as she got into her vehicle, then the gunman blew himself up.”
  • Sky: “Sky News correspondent Alex Crawford said from Pakistan the country’s upcoming January elections would “most likely be postponed or cancelled” because of the attack.”
  • “What’s worse, that Musharaff may have had a role in this or that he was powerless to stop it?”
  • CNN’s obit on Bhutto
  • State Department – “It demonstrates that there are still those in Pakistan who want to subvert reconciliation and efforts to advance democracy.”
  • Very informative blog entries from NBC’s correspondant in Pakistan-
    But if you are any one of the 99.9 percent of the rest of the 165 million Pakistanis, you hardly notice the emergency law anymore….But most Pakistanis don’t feel it. Musharraf wants it that way…Most analysts here say Musharraf has damaged his reputation, perhaps critically. But so far, he hasn’t pushed people to the streets. Shops are open. Banks are open. Markets are full. Prices are the same as before emergency law. [link]
    With her white veil, bejeweled blouses, flawless English and flair for drama and theatrical timing, Benazir Bhutto has painted herself as lady liberty, a lone woman willing to risk all and stand up to Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf and his emergency rule…. But Pakistan is not Myanmar, and Bhutto is no Aung San Suu Kyi [link]
  • Excellent NYT article on Bhutto’s dark side
    Ms. Bhutto, 54, returned to Pakistan to present herself as the answer to the nation’s troubles: a tribune of democracy in a state that has been under military rule for eight years, and the leader of the country’s largest opposition political party… But her record in power, and the dance of veils she has deftly performed since her return — one moment standing up to General Musharraf, then next seeming to accommodate him, and never quite revealing her actual intentions — has stirred as much distrust as hope among Pakistanis.
    …”She believes she is the chosen one, that she is the daughter of Bhutto and everything else is secondary,” said Feisal Naqvi, a corporate lawyer in Lahore who knows Ms. Bhutto … her view of the role of government differed little from the classic notion in Pakistan that the state was the preserve of the ruler who dished out favors to constituents and colleagues..
  • World Reaction including India –
    In India, which has long had a thorny relationship with its neighbors in Pakistan, an Indian Congress Party spokesman told the Press Trust of India, “… we must express our deep concern at anything that disrupts and disturbs the even keel of democratic governance in Pakistan… it is not only anti-democracy but also generates instability.”
  • Belmont Club
    …meaningful elections can occur only when the armies — in this case the Pakistani Army and the armed Islamic militants — are committed to the processes of democracy. When every group under arms within a society is determined to settle the question of power by combat the role for the ballot is small indeed. The next few days will show whether the Pakistani Army — for it will surely not be the Taliban — can rededicate itself to electoral democracy. Pakistan needs its George Washington. Unfortunately it only has its Pervez Musharraf.

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Some of Vinod’s thoughts -

  • Both Musharaff and Bhutto are considered Pro-US / Pro-West / Secular leaders
    • Especially relative to the Islamists
    • And importantly, relative to the general population
    • Bhutto moreso than Musharraf
  • So, Jihadist forces (who are both anti-Musharraf and anti-Bhutto) are a likely culprit
    • To them, Bhutto was a powerful ally to Musharraf (rather than a rival) and potentially more dangerous in the long run
      • Knocking out an important ally wins them almost as much “cred” as taking out Musharraf directly
      • Bhutto was “more dangerous” because she was even more vocally Pro-West as well as a woman
    • “Pro-Musharraf forces” are getting the initial blame by some … but my gut leans skeptical
      • The jury is still out on whether this is a net gain or net loss for Musharraf’s interests
      • It certainly feeds the perception that he’s not in control of the country
  • Given their similarities, what are the substantive differences between Musharraf and Bhutto?
  • One key difference was their respective views of the general Pakistani population; Musharaff was a bit more of a “realist” ; Bhutto presented herself as an “idealist”
    • Musharaff feared that the populism writ large would lead to an illiberal democracy
    • Bhutto was more willing to turn to the electorate to ..
      • lead the country to more democracy (if you think she has Good Intentions)
      • secure more power / perks for herself (if you think she has Bad Intentions despite the lofty rhetoric)
    • By contrast, Musharraf feared that Bhutto’s push for “more democracy” would backfire, leading to “less liberalism” rather than realizing her (stated) intentions…
    • Perversely, Bhutto’s assassination is a perfect example of illiberality that gives Musharaff the license to enact repressive, authoritarian policy.
    • Given these similar goals but different assessments of the starting line, Musharraf sees himself as a Kemal Atatürk ; Bhutto saw herself as Indira Gandhi or Joan of Arc
  • Another difference stems from background – Musharraf came up to national leadership via the military while Bhutto through politics
    • If you believe the best hope for the country is to follow the “Turkish Model” [more info...] , the Pakistani military is comparatively more professional and a modernizing force relative to the rest of the civil service
    • So, arguably, Musharraf is potentially a more effective, less corrupt manager than a career politician.
      • of course, a “manager” and a “national leader” are 2 very different things
      • … as are “how well” you deploy power vs. “what you do with it”

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401 thoughts on “Benazir Bhutto Assassinated (Updated)

  1. More confusion : From the article posted on the news tab – “….The villain in the government’s version — Al-Qaeda leader Baitullah Mehsud — has also spoken out. “I strongly deny it. Tribal people have their own customs. We don’t strike women,” Mehsud’s spokesman Maulvi Omar said by telephone from an undisclosed location…”

  2. 340 · Amrita said I don’t think this is a good time for arguments about Balkanization, you included, Jangali Janwar

    Personally I did not see anything that hinted of balkanization in JJ’s post.

    But in the larger perspective isn’t Pakistan’s Balkanization the BIG fear — Pakistan splinters, no single person will be in charge, and the nukes fall into the hands of an Islamic fundamentalist group.

    Otherwise,given that Pakistan counts for even less than India in the US, the hit on Bhutto would have probably got less than a quarter of the coverage it currently has in the US media.

    In India too, people in the past would have been celebrating this — the PM who pumped material to the Kashmiri terrorists and built up the Taliban for ‘strategic depth’ getting her come-uppence — killed either by the same terrorist culture she supported or by the soldier (s) who she employed to get that job done for her.

    Instead the reaction in India is just the opposite — people are scared that Pakistan’s instability will have a ripple effect in India.

  3. Thanks Dizzy. Let me pose this question to you: Assuming Bhutto had survived and was elected to lead the country, are the nukes safer under Musharraf currently or under Bhutto who may not have enjoyed the unequivocal support of the military? One can only speculate. As it pains me to say this, I feel more secure with Musharraf guarding the nukes than Bhutto as he seems to have firmer grip on the army and the ability to protect these weapons.

  4. Whats obscene is that these creatures who are well represented in this forum (Moornam, gujudude, various tambrams et al) have the gall to pose as ‘nationalists’!

    Dev, I request you to be more specific in future than saying “various tambrams”. There are a lot of commenters & readers here who self-identify as tambrahm, but not with caste superiority. You do a disservice by lumping everyone together and not treating individuals as individuals.

  5. 346 · Dev said

    Sepia Mutiny are a bunch of confused hypocrites. a combination of barry bonds, karl marx, neo-neo-pseudo-secularists, audrey hepburn wannabes, islamo-fascist apologists, khalistani supremacists, ethanol farmers of north dakota, and conflicted second genertation mix breeds of low caste south asianimmigrants.
    Repulsive, selfish, callous casteists like you are by far the worst enemies of India. Whats obscene is that these creatures who are well represented in this forum (Moornam, gujudude, various tambrams et al) have the gall to pose as ‘nationalists’!

    Beware, Prema! The Sacred Threaded Tigers of Tambramistan do not take dissent lightly. Tatiana was eliminated because she violated Claws-20(b) of our Veda, er, constitution.

  6. Aargh.. can somebody fix the quote functionality in nested blockquote situations? And delete my comment #356, please?

    Repulsive, selfish, callous casteists like you are by far the worst enemies of India. Whats obscene is that these creatures who are well represented in this forum (Moornam, gujudude, various tambrams et al) have the gall to pose as ‘nationalists’!

    Beware, Prema! The Sacred Threaded Tigers of Tambramapuram do not take dissent lightly. Tatiana was eliminated because she violated Claws-20(b) of our Veda, er, constitution.

  7. Dev:

    Repulsive, selfish, callous casteists like you are by far the worst enemies of India. Whats obscene is that these creatures who are well represented in this forum (Moornam, gujudude, various tambrams et al) have the gall to pose as ‘nationalists’!

    Completely agree with you!! I too would be glad to see the back of those various Tambrams, Patels, Kammas, Kapus, Jats, Rajputs, Lingayats, Khatris, Thevars, Gujjars, and their kind. Truly, those people are racsict, fascist, casteist scum who will never be as enlighted as you or I.

    I am so glad to finally find someone else who does not discriminate or judge people, and make sweeping comments on them, on the basis of their caste.

  8. More confusion : Just watched CNN news channel. They showed the inside of the van and there was so much blood on the seat. I doubt that there can be so much blood by just her head hitting the lever as she is ducking. Nor can it be just due to some internal brain injury/concussion….It is getting more mysterious.

  9. As it pains me to say this, I feel more secure with Musharraf guarding the nukes than Bhutto as he seems to have firmer grip on the army and the ability to protect these weapons.

    You might be right, and Nawaz with his track record and Saudi ties is even less appealing.

    But things have been consistently become worse for a few years now. Musharraf has been cutting deals with terrorists, trying to destroy all alternative power centers and has been promoting the growth of islamic fundamentalist parties.

    In the mean time Musharaff has been exploiting the apres moi le deluge card for 6 years now. This cannot go on for much longer without long term consequences. I truly hope some razor sharp minds in the CIA and State (and to a lesser extent RAW) are looking at plans B-Z right now.

  10. Please delete my last post as the quote functionality did not work as intended.

    Dizzy,

    The deluge card has definitely been played for all its worth. Without sounding too obvious, with Bhutto’s death, the prevailing question for Pakistan (and to a lesser extent the US and India) seems to be where can Pakistan find a strong enough leader to act as a real option and counterweight to Musharraf and yet maintain control over the army and maintain nuclear security. As some of the commentators here have mentioned, Pakistan is a country that is strong enough for a democracy. What kind of democracy, illiberal or otherwise remains to be seen. Other than Sharif, does anyone know of a leader in Pakistan who can fit the bill?

  11. More images – check these four photographs from Dawn News TV. It seems now that there was a second person standing beside the first person who took the shot and who possibly detonated the bomb. This is really getting murky.

  12. Benazir’s murder was very bad. The army has one big hindrance gone now. But I am not sad about the Pak army people now being targets of suicide bomb attacks. As shall you reap so shall you sow. Just look at the following excerpt about the Bangladesh Liberation war from Wiki:

    A planned military pacification carried out by the Pakistan Army � codenamed Operation Searchlight � started on 25 March to curb the Bengali nationalist movement[30] by taking control of the major cities on March 26, and then eliminating all opposition, political or military[31], within one month. Before the beginning of the operation, all foreign journalists were systematically deported from Bangladesh[citation needed]. The main phase of Operation Searchlight ended with the fall of the last major town in Bengali hands in mid May. The operation also began the 1971 Bangladesh atrocities. These systematic killings served only to enrage the Bengalis, which ultimately resulted in the secession of East Pakistan later in the same year. The international media and reference books in English have published casualty figures which vary greatly, from 5,000–35,000 in Dhaka, and 200,000–3,000,000 for Bangladesh as a whole.[7][32] According to the Asia Times,[33] At a meeting of the military top brass, Yahya Khan declared: “Kill 3 million of them and the rest will eat out of our hands.” Accordingly, on the night of 25 March, the Pakistani Army launched Operation Searchlight to “crush” Bengali resistance in which Bengali members of military services were disarmed and killed, students and the intelligentsia systematically liquidated and able-bodied Bengali males just picked up and gunned down.

    Although the violence focused on the provincial capital, Dhaka, the process of ethnic elimination was also carried out all around Bangladesh. Residential halls of University of Dhaka were particularly targeted. The only Hindu residential hall � the Jagannath Hall � was destroyed by the Pakistani armed forces, and an estimated 600 to 700 of its residents were murdered. The Pakistani army denies any cold blooded killings at the university, though the Hamood-ur-Rehman commission in Pakistan states that overwhelming force was used at the university. This fact and the massacre at Jagannath Hall and nearby student dormitories of Dhaka University are corroborated by a videotape secretly filmed by Prof. Nurul Ullah of the East Pakistan Engineering University, whose residence was directly opposite the student dormitories. [34] Hindu areas all over Bangladesh suffered particularly heavy blows. By midnight, Dhaka was literally burning, especially the Hindu dominated eastern part of the city. Time magazine reported on August 2, 1971, “The Hindus, who account for three-fourths of the refugees and a majority of the dead, have borne the brunt of the Pakistani military hatred.”

    Compare this savagery to the magnanimity of the Indian army that pardoned 90,000 of these POW bastards.

    Also Hindus first cleansed from Sindh, then East Pakistan and now Kashmir. Where’s the outrage?

  13. Otherwise,given that Pakistan counts for even less than India in the US, the hit on Bhutto would have probably got less than a quarter of the coverage it currently has in the US media.

    DizzyDesi, I read your post about 3x but still am not following. Are you saying that Pakistan is a low-level player in American politics AND media coverage, or something different?

    With respect to balkanization in Pakistan, again, were there to be some kind of internal/regional division, I seriously doubt that Bhutto’s assassination is the “tipping point” or catalyst. Tension between Sindh, Baloch, and Punjab (and along many different identifiers within those groups) has been a feature of Pakistani politics for a very long time. So far it hasn’t pushed “Pakistan to the brink of civil war” (I am of course, excluding Bangladesh, but given that we’re talking about contemporary, i.e. West, Pakistan I think it’s fair to restrict the analysis to the last 20 years). A much more relevant factor, in my opinion, is the spillover Pakistan has been juggling for years now after the initial invasion of Afghanistan. Bhutto’s assassination is entirely irrelevant to that.

  14. Badal,

    For the sake of the thread, I think it would be a service to the general dialogue to refrain from posting on items that are not related to Bhutto, the future of Pakistan/Pakistani politics, etc. We do not need to entertain a pissing contest between India and Pakistan for the title of “worst human rights offender” in its treatment of its religious minorities.

    I appreciate all the thoughtful and constructive commentary, and I would really like for the dialogue to continue and not face a shut-down for indulging in spurious commentary.

  15. OK Camille let’s stay on the topic and talk about your extremely ingorant comment # 292, particularly the following excerpt: This was the rhetoric promoted in the West and in Western media, as though Bhutto were some “golden child” under self-exile because of the big bad processes of military rule and fundamentalism in Pakistan. Her exile was fueled, in no small part, by her tremendously incompetent time in office, her flagrant abuse of power, and her nepotism (which is not necessarily unique to other Pakistani PMs or other world leaders).

    Listen I have read your comments on other issues and have generally found them intelligent but this one is a glib exception. First, just read these two articles:

    http://www.newyorker.com/archive/1993/10/04/1993_10_04_082_TNY_CARDS_000365108?printable=true

    This one is from 1993. The Islamists and the Army hated her then too. She was determined to push back fundamentalism then too. She faced several death threats then too not the least because she was a woman with ambition. Read how the army was so uncooperative and condescending. Those who have suggested here that she aided the Taliban are wrong. Taliban, Kashmir, Jihad were the Army’s creation and as much as she disliked it all, the ISI and the Army won’t let her touch these agendas. And as for her being dismissed for corruption, well she hasn’t been the only Pakistani PM dismissed by the Army midterm. Even Sharif who himself was a protege of Zia was dismissed. A lot of the corruption that is alleged in South Asia is actually fundraising for party purposes since there isn’t a Western style transparent and accepted form to achieve the same. Anyways the Bhuttos have had enough of their own money from their vast landholding and other business interests. Benazir could have easily led a life of comfort and professional satisfaction in the West without worrying about her imminent death. She chose not to. Yes she did have a sense of entitlement as a Bhutto. But that’s not necessarily deplorable. As long as she meant well for the people of Pakistan, particularly the poor and minorities. They adored her. They looked up to her and she chose not to abandon them. This is a very South Asian thing which some of you just don’t get it whether it is the Gandhis or the Bhuttos. They are not saints and they are not very democratic either when it comes to intraparty affairs but their commitment to their country and people is unshakable. Read about the times she spent in solitary confinement in a dungeon. And here I am reading comments by people with a little knowledge on how she was basically a power hungry, corrupt and opportunistic woman. Shame on you. She was very young in her first term and was prematurely ejected ( only 20 months ). She never really got much of a chance, besides in Pakistan the popularly elected leaders’ hands are always tied by the military.

    And then read this current piece by a very respected Pakistani journalist who often criticized her:

    http://www.dawn.com/weekly/mazdak/mazdak.htm

    But to me the most remarkable thing about Benazir has been her daring words that she’ll fight Islamic extremism. I haven’t seen another leader outside of the West have the courage to openly say they’ll fight this most evil scourge of our times.

  16. And while I am responding to you Camille I thought I’d bring up the matter of your blogging on that langarhall site. I read a piece recently there by a Jodha which claimed that Sikhs won’t be shedding any tears over Benazir’s death because she had their blood on her hands. So I was surprised because I had never heard of it and followed the link she provided. All I found was that she had recently told in an interview that she helped the Indians contain the Sikh militancy. OK so getting tough on terrorists is bad? Or do we even need a debate now on how evil and cruel the Khalistanis were and how stupid their whole agenda was? What surprises me more is that someone as bright as you actually contributes to that blog.

  17. Is it true that Benazir held a British passport in addition to her Pakistani passport? Not trying to rile anyone up, but I’m just curious because I heard this from several Pakistani friends but I haven’t been able to find any evidence of it

  18. I am wondering as to who is that person/organization that got all these nice photos and videos of the assassin from the most strategic angles ? Is it some random guy or any govt. or media orgnaization ? Whatever maybe the past abt Bhutto-Pak etc. in the next year or so there is a big headache looming ahead for Pakistan, US and India. For Pakistan it is abt overcoming all the contradictory troubles that are pulling itself apart. For US it is the war against terror and for India to handle the spillover mess. And note there is going to be elections in all these three countries in the near future ( 2008-2009 )

  19. Hi Badal,

    I didn’t say that Bhutto was power-hungry and corrupt, I said that her administration was mired by incompetence and corruption. I understand that people have widely divergent feelings on both the woman herself and her time in office. I think our disagreement may not be over her actions, but rather, over a conversation of whether the ends justify the means. She was certainly a trailblazer in her time, and, given that I don’t know her personally, I take it on faith that she truly believed in a (relatively) secular, democratic Pakistan. That said, in my opinion, unadulterated, uncritical praise is often undeserved, particularly of politicians. My point in bringing up the specifically Western-bias towards Bhutto was to offer a more contextualized view of her administration and her subsequent exile. My only point was that Benazir Bhutto was not without her faults, and it is just as important to discuss the ramifications of the limitations or “mistakes” during her time in office as it is to discuss her successes. She may have stood against “fundamentalism,” as you describe, but she was also notorious for her flagrant and extralegal abuse of power in incarcerating/torturing political dissidents and for her use of her position to offer “kick backs” and benefits to supporters and close friends/family. As I also mentioned, this was not unique — other leaders, including Pakistani PMs and the current U.S. administration, have acted similarly. Are any of the statements I’ve made, in that regard, untrue? Given the large amount of slant in coverage re: Pakistan and its politics, I know that I would benefit from more information, not less, and am happy to amend my statements if I’m in the wrong.

    Also, I am happy to talk about my involvement in The Langar Hall via e-mail, if you like, since I don’t think that the Mutiny is an appropriate place. If you are hesitant to do that, I’ll try to address your concern very succinctly (but will not bring it up again): the Langar Hall is a very new blog, and its purpose is to put folks from many different backgrounds and viewpoints in conversation with one another in order to create a dialogue. We often disagree with one another (kind of the point), and I am sure that the post you’re citing was not attempting to speak for ALL Sikhs. However, it’s also not unreasonable to speak to an opinion which may differ from the Indian/Indian-American mainstream (and I use that term very intentionally) because of the Sikh community’s unique ethno-religious history and experience in the des.

  20. Priya,

    Hats off to you for staying on track with the developing story. Is exhuming one’s body against Islamic principles? On its face the Pakistan Govt.’s “offer” to exhume BB’s body seemed to be a pretty savage response to those who had just buried her and said she had bullet wounds to the head. Of course, you don’t get that much blood all over a car seat from a skull fracture. I know this because I once has a serious one– and you don’t die right away from it, even if it’s as bad as the skull X-rays they published and the brain damage was beyond recovery.

    Toyota says it couldn’t happen.

  21. DizzyDesi @ 357

    Completely agree with you!! I too would be glad to see the back of those various Tambrams, Patels, Kammas, Kapus, Jats, Rajputs, Lingayats, Khatris, Thevars, Gujjars, and their kind. Truly, those people are racsict, fascist, casteist scum who will never be as enlighted as you or I. I am so glad to finally find someone else who does not discriminate or judge people, and make sweeping comments on them, on the basis of their caste.

    I’m glad someone finally pointed this out. SM seems to have become a Tambram bashing site. And no one calls them on this. It is ok for nala to go into excrutiating detail on his “reddiness” and razib it seems, can say whatever the hell he wants (for instance, further upthread, another unqualified dig at Tambrams). I suggest all this hating can be directed by joining the appropriate branch of the DMK.

  22. Here are how I think events can unfold: 1. There will be many factions fighting, but none of the factions really have an agenda, except one that involves venting their Muslim rage.
    2. This is a good opportunity for the Baluchis to secede, so they may try to secede to remove the “yoke of Punjabi imperialism.”
    3. Sindhis – same as the Baluchi’s aspiration, but a lot more muted. Please read Professor Gul Agha’s belief on why he believes that Sindh should secede from Pakistan. 4. NWFP – This is more complicated. First of all, the Taliban is really the “National Association of Pashtun Peoply Yoke” – NAPPY. However, none of the Taliban’s (i.e. Pashtun Nationalists) demands included secession from the country of Pakistan and/or Afghanistan. So the ramifications is significant: Perhaps the Pashtun Nationalists want to conquer the Pakistanis? Expect more and more uprising in NWFP, but what would they uprise against – Pakistani occupation? Their Islamabad/Swaat Valley Military Campaign?

    So basically, it’s going to be the very heavily armed NWFP who wants to Talibanize the Sindh and Punjab province, and they will get help from about 50% of the power-hungry simple-minded military. The other 50% of the military will aid the Sindhis and Punjabis, and it’s this faction which will have the backing of Western Nations and India.

    Expect to see many Pakistani refugees lining up at Amritsar, New Delhi, etc. Under the veil of brotherhood will the Sikhs provide their Lahorey brothers langar and shelter, but believe me, this is an accident waiting to happen. The Pakistani refugees can create a nation-within-a-state entity which destabilizes the entire nation (i.e. Palestinian refugee camps in Lebanon and Jordan).

  23. Here are possible scenarios of things to come with regards to Pakistan and India: 1. A civil war breaks out in Pakistan with many different factions. Each faction, however, doesn’t have a central agenda or central idealogue. They are just fighting to vent off frustration. The leaders of these factions would, by in large, be the military, and the heavily-armed Pashtuns (which is to say – ALL PASHTUNS) of NWFP. I am not sure how the progressive, urban, anti-Islamicists would vent their idealogue, but for sure, many would immigrate since they have more money. 2. Although the Baluchis want their independence, I’m not sure how they would vie for this. They only constitute about 18% of the total country’s population, but they are probably nicely armed. They would see this as a good opportunity to creat their own Baluchistan.
    3. Many Mohajirs in Sindh and Sindhis want independence. Please read what Professor Gul Agha has to say about this. He is an Paki-American professor in the DC area by you Sepia Executives. These Sindhis are not so armed, and I’m not sure how they would do battle with the military. Any uprising in Sindh would be crushed, I would think. 4. NWFP – now this is a very interesting province to speculate on. First of all, the Taliban is the “Pashtun Nationalist Party”, but they haven’t come to terms with my moniker for them yet. I think that the Pashtuns of Afghanistan have different aspirations than their Pakistani counterpart. But it’s to my belief that the Pashtun Taliban want to conquer/unify Afghanistan and Pakistan.

    Frankly, I’m worried about the following: 1. About 50% of Pakistanis empathize with ObL. However, the term ‘empathize’ is somewhat vague, let’s assume it means “appreciate Osama bin Laden.” Anyways, it’s possible, but not inevitable that a leader of Pakistan can emerge as a pro-Taliban, pro-Al Qaeda, anti-Western, anti-Indian candidate. He would be like a Sunni Ayatollah who would want to pick a fight with India, and he would probably try to agitate the Muslims of India, but with only limited success. The reason why this “Sunni Ayatollah” would come to power is complicated, but it would involve bringing security/stability to a very dangerous and volatile Pakistan – identically the way that the Taliban came to power in dangerous/volatile Afghanistan in ’94. Also, the people would be scared to challenge our Ayatollah. 2. I’m not sure how the issue of nuclear wars would pan out. But I do think that the Pakis would do a lot of grand-standing. It’s interesting how the governmental center of Pakistan will really be the NWFP, and specifically, it will be Waziristan. This area is not very target-rich, as Rumsfeld would say. If a nuclear-war broke out, all of India’s big/industrial cities will be targets. However, bombing Lahore (which is too close to India anyways), Islamabad, Peshawar, Karachi won’t really alleviate the Taliban Central Government, since they are really (in bulk) in NWFP. 3. I think that the Pakistani Civil War ’08 would incite a LITTLE violence in PoK. The Paki-Kashmiris would really revolt, but not against Indian rule. Random acts of violence would happen in PoK, but not a coordinated military front, since these jihadis would be doing their warring elsewhere – probably in NWFP, Afghanistan, or somewhere in Punjab Pakistan.

  24. Boston Mahesh, your doomsday scenarios presume that the Indian State is powerless and can’t lift a finger to protect itself. Despite all its problems India is a functioning state with a strong military and quite capable of taking care of itself, where Pakistan is concerned.

  25. 38 · Priya said

    not the best of the thing during this tragedy but nevertheless history is repeating itself in “strange” ways in that region Soviet invasion then and US war on terror nowgolden temple then red mosque nowemergency by indira then and emergency by mushrraf nowassasination of indira then and benazir now

    To add to the above list now we have 19 yr old Bilal and his father taking up the mantle just as Rajiv was annoited after Gandhi’s assassination. On a lighter note I am wondering whether the sub-continent should go through some leadership training program to try to get rid of their fascination for dynasties. I was hearing the news it seems that Bhutto’s will was read out where she appointed her husband as the successor, who in turn transferred power to his son. Is a democratic party some kind of asset to write up a ‘will’ as to who will be the successor ? Maybe I think the sub-continent has still not gotten over the colonial rule wherein the British would annex a princely state if there was no male successor. What was very funny was CNN discussing whether Huckabee has any foreign policy experience to become President and Huckabees’ campaign manager talks abt his travel in 50 countries and there a similar question asked by NDTV to Bhutto’s husband abt his son’s expereince andh his father says that his son got admission to Oxford on his own merit and that has got straight A’s throughout his academic career ! Why are politicians and news channel so dumb ?

  26. so did anyone else look Bilawal up on facebook? can’t find him, his priv settings must be set really high :-( , or maybe pops made him take it down

  27. SM seems to have become a Tambram bashing site. And no one calls them on this. It is ok for nala to go into excrutiating detail on his “reddiness”

    Uhh… what? I don’t bash TamBrahms; I understand that orthodoxy leads many TamBrahms to have more cultural trappings and identify more strongly with that moniker, but I personally find it distasteful if famous diasporic people caste-drop a la Padma Lakshmi (supposedly) because I think it reflects poorly on me as a diasporic Hindu.

    Anyway, both your descriptors of me are inaccurate, but the only one I care to correct is to say that dude, I’m a girl.

  28. I’m glad someone finally pointed this out. SM seems to have become a Tambram bashing site.

    What? There’s a Tambram bash and nobody told me? Let’s ring in the new year by kissing under the karuveppilai.

  29. 378 · Yogi said

    Boston Mahesh, your doomsday scenarios presume that the Indian State is powerless and can’t lift a finger to protect itself.Despite all its problems India is a functioning state with a strong military and quite capable of taking care of itself, where Pakistan is concerned.

    Hello Yogi,

    You’ve made an EXCELLENT point there. I’m convinced that the Indian Armed Forces – which is the 4th greatest in the World right now – can more than anything take care of itself.

  30. “Despite all its problems India is a functioning state with a strong military and quite capable of taking care of itself”

    Is that why India’s military was defeated by the LTTE?

  31. Is that why India’s military was defeated by the LTTE?

    shhh, you’ll ruin the party!

    India Shining! India Shining!! India Shining!!!

  32. Oh please- Yogi was responding to Boston Mahesh’s ‘doomsday scenarios’ in which India is left in a precarious position and is completely powerless when it comes to defending its national security in wake of possible political crisis in Pakistan. Pointing out that India has a military is a far cry from the ‘India Shining’ crowd. If anything it’s been poor decisions in the past (namely by Congress) that have led to inefficient use of the capable military.

  33. Is that why India’s military was defeated by the LTTE?

    I said Indian military is capable of defending itself from Pakistan. In Sri Lanka IPKF was trying to intervene in an internal power struggle and the Iraq example shows you that it has been far from easy for even the strongest military in the world to intervene and impose its will on the different factions. The two situations are completely different.

    Thanks Nala and Boston Mahesh for elaborating the point I was trying to make.

  34. And please before someone else misrepresents what I have said, I hope that the situation in Pakistan sorts itself out and there is no standoff between India and Pakistan, that is the last thing we need now. A strong confident Pakistan not held hostage by its military rulers is in India’s best interests too. Unfortunately for both India and Pakistan it still hasn’t happened.

    Hope everyone has a great 2008, happy new year to all.

    Signing off now.

  35. Things are getting really weird. More videos from more angles. Who the hell is this creative guy/organization who keeps coming up with these videos. Why not give a citation as to the source of these videos ? Well the govt. has the gun why can’t it be traced ? And interestingly autopsy was refused by the police .

  36. By trying to cover up the cause of death and lying about what really happened, the government in Islamabad lost all its credibility…regardless of whether they had anything to do with this assassination or not (and possibly they didn’t). But if they weren’t involved, I see no reason to hide the true manner in which she died or the true causes. Don’t make up bullshit about sunroof levers or whatever, that NO ONE believes, and which doesn’t even seem plausible or possible. Anyone care to speculate as to why (if they didn’t do it) the gov’t. would create these fabrications?

  37. Toyota even came out with the statement that it was highly unlikely that the lever could kill someone. Is it me or you want to cringe whenever a Pakistani general opens his mouth to international press… it seems lack of debate in military society makes them feel smarter than they really are.

  38. Things are getting really weird. More videos from more angles

    Oliver Stone must be working on a script as I type this…It was not one bullet, but two bullets – the second one hit the lamppost, recoiled back to the roof, turned 32 degrees…

    More on how this event will skew the 2008 US elections in the favor of hawkish candidates…Considering that Madrid bombings influenced the Spanish elections in favor of liberal candidates, such events within the mid-east will bound to have the opposite effect of elections going in favor of hawkish candidates in the US/India/Britain etc. If that hypothesis is indeed true (and OBL benefits from the rest of the world becoming more hawkish), we may see more of this.

    Globalisation works in strange ways.

    M. Nam

  39. Amitabh,

    I’m in complete agreement with you. A rational reason other than the government’s connivance with the attack is the government’s unwillingness to reveal how poor or lax security was at this event. In other words, they didn’t want to be shown as incompetent. Therefore, leading to further support to the idea that Musharraf is unable to contain the insurgents within his country. It is a bit of skewed logic to think its better to have her assassination be the result of a blast into a lever rather than having someone shoot her at close range. That’s the only thing I can come up with. Once again, if the Pak government did not have anything to do with her death, their lack of transparency post attack does nothing to disprove the conspiracy theorists.

  40. Oh please- Yogi was responding to Boston Mahesh’s ‘doomsday scenarios’ in which India is left in a precarious position and is completely powerless when it comes to defending its national security in wake of possible political crisis in Pakistan. Pointing out that India has a military is a far cry from the ‘India Shining’ crowd. If anything it’s been poor decisions in the past (namely by Congress) that have led to inefficient use of the capable military.

    nala,

    barking up the wrong tree here. The IPKF, which is what the comment referred to, could neither defeat the LTTE militarily nor make inroads with the subject population to achieve some sort of ‘hearts and minds’ victory. They couldn’t even keep the peace either, which judging from the second letter of the acronym, was certainly part of their mission. You can certainly argue that tactical decisions were made which limited their effectiveness in either objective, but they didn’t get anything done other than earn the eternal enmity of JVP fodder down south and the people they screwed over in the north.

    besides, they haven’t been tested in an all-out conventional war in ages. How can anyone say the Indian army is ‘strong’ without a test?

  41. How can anyone say the Indian army is ‘strong’ without a test?

    Well know one knows or can predict the future, we can and do project the future based on past performance. India’s past military engagements with Pakistan have not ended well for Pakistan, including the last one in Kargil which brought in its wake Musharraf to power and the one in 1971 which resulted in the formation of Bangladesh.

    When I said the Indian army was strong, all I meant was strong enough to defend itself from any threat from Pakistan to its sovereignty if the occasion arises, we don’t have any reason to believe otherwise I don’t think.

    MM, I do agree with you about India’s experience in Sri Lanka. It was an unmitigated disaster. It was a war of choice, and India/Rajiv Gandhi had no business meddling there. He did however pay with his life for that mistake.