Desi in DC

October 2, 2007

What Right does the Pakistani Government have to Grant Amnesty to Benazir Bhutto?

A leading English Language newspaper reported that the Pakistani Government agreed to grant Amnesty to Benazir Bhutto. According to the report the government has agreed to quash corruption charges against Benazir Bhutto. What right does the Pakistani government have to grant amnesty to Benazir Bhutto?  BB’s crimes affected the country and its people; her crime was against her people, people who were ignorant and dense enough to elect her twice to power, not having learnt from their first mistake; people in a country where at least 60 % are illiterate. [I have given the country the benefit of a doubt by accepting a literacy rate of 40% while acknowledging that quite a few of these ‘literates’ barely finished 4th grade.

What right does the Pakistani government have to grant Amnesty to Benazir Bhutto? What kind of message are they sending across? Raid your country dry, and then live a comfortable life abroad, make contacts with the West, wait till a General comes along, if you wait long enough, your friends in the west, along with the general may be sweet enough to forgive you the crimes that never affected them in the first place? Is that the message that we want to send out to our future politicians?

For Benazir Bhutto, it is not just the crime of her corruption, but also the corruption that her husband participated in, but more importantly the heinous crimes that were committed on the city of Karachi during the reign of Benazir Bhutto.

I have just finished reading Kamila Shamsie’s book Kartography. (a novel about Karachi and its elites though the 80s and 90’s.) As I finished reading the book I was struck strongly by a sense of horror that how could we forget what Karachi was like?

As a child and a teenager growing in the 80’s and 90’s the one thing that I clearly remember is a time of peace and a time of violence. Newspapers have written constantly about the possibilities of Benazir Bhutto returning and how she was the “US Supported” candidate. While reading the book, I was transported back to Karachi in the 1990’s and a statement made by the then prime minister (BB) , that country was progressing and Karachi was only a city of 10 million people. This statement came at time when on an average 20 people were dying daily on the streets of Karachi. It was during BB’s reign that during the first 9 months of 1995 more then 1300 people were killed on the streets of Karachi, most of them young men belonging to the Mohajir community. Between the periods of June 1995 and Oct 995 more then 600 people were killed, with the rate of execution style killings rising. Bhutto was criticized by her own brother for the way she handled the situation. 

The terror that we grew up with, how can we have forgotten that so quickly? Are we really going to go back to those days? Karachi is not perfect, it has often been hijacked by those with power for their own means,  But those who grew up in the city can think of no other place as home and often wonder when will the city receive justice?

What right does the government have to grant amnesty to a person who has committed a crime against people who do not want to forgive her?

If she is innocent, let her fight her cases like everyone else. Although  no case has been proven against her in Pakistan, Bhutto has already been charged for Money laundering by Switzerland. In addition, countries such as France, Switzerland, Poland and UAE have already forwarded information regarding Bhutto and Zardari’s corrupt practices.  How can the West, that promotes ideas of freedom, democracy and transparency, keep pushing someone who is so corrupt, a fact not only stated by Pakistanis but also by European countries.

Over and Out

A very frustrated Pakistani!

PS: Can a case be filed against this decision??Our lawyers and politicians seem to be filing one for everything else, why not for a worthy cause?

 

References: Asia week summaries. http://www.pathfinder.com/Asiaweek/95/1229/newsmap/pakistan.html

Wikipedia

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2 Comments »

  1. Heya,

    Thanks for dropping by. I didn’t know about the CNN link – it seems interesting. Were we in Pats at the same time? When you start measuring time in decades, you know you’re growing old! 🙂

    Your blog is v interesting – it’s always good to make connections in cyber space.

    Comment by Cy — October 4, 2007 @ 3:15 pm | Reply

  2. Thanks!.. Yea I was a year junior to you. from SJC to Pats.. The CNN link was thru some website called the sphere.

    Comment by dcdesi — October 6, 2007 @ 12:33 am | Reply


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