Monday, August 26, 2013

My Email Exchange With Benazir Bhutto, Two Days Before Her Murder

By Eric Margolis

Pakistan’s former military dictator, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, was indicted last week on charges of murdering former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, and for treason. Never before has a former Pakistani ruler been tried for serious charges.

Benazir Bhutto was killed during a bomb attack on her convoy in Rawalpindi during an election rally in December, 2007. She had just returned from exile in Britain and Dubai and was campaigning to regain power as prime minister at the head of her powerful People’s Party.

I had known Benazir for many years and was horrified and shaken by her death. I also knew her accused killer, Gen. Pervez Musharraf, making this a very personal case for me.

Though I’d been a frequent critic in the past of Benazir and her corruption-embroiled relatives, in recent years I’d drawn close to the embattled leader at a time when she was down and out in exile. Some of my readers in Pakistan accused me of being “bewitched” by Benazir. Not bewitched, just deeply impressed by this brilliant, intense, regal woman.

I’d just finished drawing up a proposed new political platform for the People’s Party that emphasized independent policy, an end to feudalism, and reconciliation with tribal and Islamic militants on the Northwest Frontier (today Khyber Pakhtunkwa).

Two days before her killing, we had been exchanging emails in which I warned her not to appear in public except behind bullet-proof plexiglass, as do India’s leaders. We discussed various types of body armor.

“Eric, I’ve got to appear before my supporters. That’s the way we do it in Pakistan,” she replied, brushing off my warnings.

Over the phone, she told me, “if I am killed, the murderers will be the Chaudry brothers from Punjab.” Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi were two of Musharraf’s most important backers and wealthy political barons.

Read the rest here.

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