Benazir Bhutto is dead. She was murdered today in Rawalpindi, along with a score of her supporters, by a suicide bomber.
I had my doubts about Bhutto – who didn’t? She was probably corrupt, probably on the take. But she was a liberal, with pro-western and democratic values, and she was a woman with whom one could do business. She was the first female to become prime minister of an Islamic state, and I do believe at heart that she wanted the best for her people.
She didn’t deserve to die like this, and make no mistake, the people who killed her would willingly kill all of us – all women who dare to uncover their heads, to speak in public, to have ideas of our own. They want nothing less than a theocracy in Pakistan, which would place women firmly under the boot heel of men.
Bhutto returned to her country knowing full well the risk she was taking. Her father was executed by the state. She herself spent years in prison – many of them in solitary confinement. The very day she got back saw the deaths of around 140 people – and she narrowly escaped injury herself – when her cavalcade was suicide bombed. To come back showed enormous courage but she believed Pakistan needed her – and she was right, she was her country’s best hope.
Heaven help them now.