Benazir Bhutto death anniversary: ‘We won’t take revenge, history will’

President Asif Ali Zardari and his son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari give speeches at Garhi Khuda Bukhsh.


Ema Anis/Ferya Ilyas/Sameer Mandhro December 27, 2012

GARHI KHUDA BUKHSH: Slain former premier Benazir Bhutto’s fifth death anniversary was observed across the country on Thursday.

The Muslim world's first female prime minister, Benazir, was assassinated in a bombing on 27 December, 2007 at the end of a rally in Rawalpindi.

A large public gathering was organised at Garhi Khuda Bux where President Asif Ali Zardari and his son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari gave speeches. Bilawal formally began his political career with his speech.

Zardari assured that free and fair elections will be held in the country, while Bilawal criticised the judiciary for not bringing his mother's killers to justice.

In other places across the country, people held vigils to pay tribute to Benazir.

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5:38pm

Zardari ends speech with his “Pakistan Khappay” slogan.

“We won’t take revenge, history will,” he says.

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5:23pm

President Zardari stresses that bravery is in tolerance and not in tyranny. “We do politics but we never did and will never let anyone else oppress the people.”

The president assures that free and fair elections will be held in the country. “We appointed an independent election commissioner for this purpose and passed the law for a care-taker set-up.”

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5:10pm

Bilawal’s speech comes to an end.

He says that the PPP will never let any dictator snatch away rights of the people, and his party is not afraid of any terrorists.

“PPP is not just a political party. This is our life,” says.

Bilawal chants slogans with the people gathered at the venue stressing that his mother, Benazir Bhutto, is still alive while her murderers are ashamed of themselves.

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5:03pm

Bilawal targets the judiciary, questioning how the judges have time to initiate cases on prices of petty things and other ‘small issues’, but do not have time to provide justice. “Many Pakistanis, like myself, are still waiting to find justice for their loved ones.”

“When you do not have time to bring the murderers of my mother to justice – who are already arrested – then where did you get the time to have a trial of her grave?” he questioned.

He alleged that the certain elements in the society are trying to dismantle democracy by playing up institutions against each other.

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4:58pm

Bilawal stresses that negativity will lead the country towards destruction and positive thinking is direly needed.

He says his government is aware of all the problems the country is currently going through. Speaking about Balochistan, Bilawal says that the government has taken historical steps for the province to ensure a better future. “Now the people of Balochistan will be able to use their own resources.”

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4:46pm

PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari takes the stage at Garhi Khuda Bukhsh.

Bilawal says there are two types of people in Pakistan – those who are on the path of the truth and are willing to give up their lives for democracy, and those who are liars and snatch away others’ rights to save their own lives.

“We are the ones who brought democracy and we will save it too,” he stressed.


A screenshot shows Bilawal Bhutto Zardari addressing the gathering at Garhi Khuda Bukhsh on Thursday.

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4:30pm

Former prime minister Yousaf Raza Gilani told the people present at Garhi Khuda Buksh that even though Benazir Bhutto is not present amongst us, her vision and ideals will stay with us forever.

Praising his party for its current reign, Gilani said the PPP is a symbol of federation.

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4:10pm

While addressing the people gathered at Garhi Khuda Buksh, Qaim Ali Shah said no party has as dedicated members as the PPP.


An INP photo shows civil society activists lighting candles during a vigil to commemorate the death anniversary of Benazir Bhutto and pay tribute to Bashir Ahmed Bilour in Lahore.

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4:05pm

There are just a few hundred volunteers of the Pakistan Peoples Party here today at Garhi Khuda Bux for the death anniversary commemorations of Benazir Bhutto.

Arrangements 

About 6,000 police and rangers have been deployed around the 38-acre spread of the ground and Bhutto mausoleum. The police mobiles are being used to distribute food to the people who have shown up for the historic day. Otherwise the arrangements are poor for visitors. Even guests look lost as no guides or ushers have been stationed here. Reception camps are usually set up from Hyderabad to Garhi Khuda Bux for these occasions but not this December 27.

We saw the first reception camp at Dhamrah, a small town some 15km from Garhi Khuda Bux. Buses and coasters for party workers also showed up, but their local leadership wasn’t leading them. Most of the ‘leaders’ came with protocol; the less affluent ones in Corollas, Coures, Mehrans.

From Bhutto 'culture' to Zardari 'feel' 

People are talking about how it feels like this year the Bhutto ‘culture’ has been supplanted by a distinct ‘Zardari’ feel. One small gauge of this are the banners which have five images – of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Benazir, Zardari, Bilawal and Faryal - two Bhuttos and three Zardaris. Also, very tellingly, the name of Owais Muzaffar aka Tappi, who is believed to be close to Zardari, has sprung up on hundreds of banners and billboards from Karachi’s Mai Kolachi Road to Garhi Khuda Bux. They state that he has sponsored them but his image is not part of the poster.

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3:1o pm

Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, while speaking to media, said people who believe in the vision of Benazir are present at Garhi Khuda Buksh.

He said the PPP believes in democracy and will continue on “this journey for prosperity and development of the country”.

He further said that the annual visit to the mausoleum signifies that the sacrifices of the Bhutto family are not forgotten and that the people will take their mission forward.

Bilawal 

Ashraf expressed confidence in Bilawal’s leadership and said Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) will prosper under him.

“Bilawal is the heir of ZA Bhutto's political philosophy,” said the PM. “This journey will continue. Bilawal has the bravery of his grandfather and mother. He has the sabar [patience] and courage of his father.”

Bilawal started his political career when he was born into the Bhutto family, added the PM. “BB is in his blood. He has vision. He is educated. He has a strong sense of understanding.”

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1:00pm

PPP Chairman and Benazir’s son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will officially launch into the political sphere today through a public address at Garhi Khuda Buksh.

President Asif Ali Zardari, MNA Faryal Talpur, Bilawal, Asifa and Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari have already reached Garhi Khuda Buksh.

Political leaders are coming to the town to visit Benazir’s grave and offer prayers.

Main ceremonies are expected to begin from 2pm onwards.

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COMMENTS (24)

Bewildered | 7 years ago | Reply | Recommend

@socko:

"Hatred among the punjabi pakistanis against Bhutto family is aptly visible"

Bhutto was made Bhutto because Punjabis overwhelmingly voted for him. Punjabis don't hate real Bhutto, but the corruption, loot, and plunder of later men and women who are just using the name of Bhutto and making fool the simpletons. It is narrow-mindedness of the hateful people who cannot see beyond their noses, but still blame the others for their own fault.

socko | 7 years ago | Reply | Recommend

Hatred among the punjabi pakistanis against Bhutto family is aptly visible and increasing day by day... if this hatred keeps on continuing and ppl dont try to empathise with ppl in other provinces, pakistan may be ready to see many more Bangladeshs emerging out... You ppl are taking the path of self destruction. It will not destroy others, it will destroy only punjabis, 'cause other provinces can sustain their economy, but punjab wont be able to due to all the corruption of mindsets in ppl of punjab provinces.

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