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Questions Concerning the Murder of Benazir Bhutto

Owen Bennett-Jones: Who killed Benazir Bhutto?, 6 December 2012

... In her posthumously published book, Reconciliation, Benazir Bhutto named a man who she believed had tried to procure bombs for an unsuccessful attempt on her life in Karachi in October 2007: I was informed of a meeting that had taken place in Lahore where the bomb blasts were planned … a bomb maker was needed for the bombs ...

Midnight’s children come to power

Rajnarayan Chandavarkar, 30 March 1989

Nehru: The Making of India 
by M.J. Akbar.
Viking, 609 pp., £17.95, January 1989, 9780670816996
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Daughter of the East 
by Benazir Bhutto.
Hamish Hamilton, 333 pp., £12.95, November 1988, 0 241 12398 4
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... When Rajiv Gandhi and Benazir Bhutto recently signed their Islamabad accord, the similarities in their lives and backgrounds immediately attracted widespread attention. They were born, after all, to the same, Western-educated, international, urban élite in the Indian sub-continent. They were both, more and less, midnight’s children, although the younger Benazir might be more accurately attributed to the early hours of the morning ...

One Screw Short

Owen Bennett-Jones: Pakistan’s Bomb, 18 July 2019

Pakistan’s Nuclear Bomb: A Story of Defiance, Deterrence and Deviance 
by Hassan Abbas.
Hurst, 341 pp., £25, January 2018, 978 1 84904 715 9
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... cheaply.An indication of quite how tight a grip Pakistan’s military kept on all this is that Benazir Bhutto knew nothing about it until well into her first term as prime minister – and even then found out only by accident. In the autumn of 1989, as she told Abbas and others, she was at a conference in Tehran when President Rafsanjani invited her ...

‘I am the destiny’

Eqbal Ahmad: Pakistani politics, 18 June 1998

The Terrorist Prince: Life and Death of Murtaza Bhutto 
by Raja Anwar, translated by Khalid Hasan.
Verso, 254 pp., £16, January 1997, 1 85984 886 9
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Memoirs of a Bystander: A Life in Diplomacy 
by Iqbal Akhund.
Oxford, 500 pp., £15.99, June 1998, 0 19 577736 0
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Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and Pakistan 
by Rafi Raza.
Oxford, 420 pp., £15.95, April 1998, 0 19 577697 6
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... In London last month Benazir Bhutto called on Pakistan’s prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, to respond without delay to India’s nuclear tests. ‘It’s an opportunity for Pakistan to detonate nuclear weapons,’ she said, claiming that her own government had known of India’s intentions and had ‘prepared a contingency plan’ for Pakistan to react ‘immediately ...

Daughter of the West

Tariq Ali: The Bhuttos, 13 December 2007

... this is equally true in political life became clear in the recent attempt by Washington to tie Benazir Bhutto to Pervez Musharraf. The single, strong parent in this case was a desperate State Department – with John Negroponte as the ghoulish go-between and Gordon Brown as the blushing bridesmaid – fearful that if it did not push this through both ...

The Filthy Rich Election

Tariq Ali: Pakistan’s New Rulers, 20 June 2013

... the shenanigans of the provincial assembly in Sindh where the Pakistan People’s Party, led by Benazir Bhutto’s widower, Asif Zardari, is the single largest bloc. The day before the assembly was due to be dissolved in advance of the general election, the provincial government ordered all the banks to stay open (it was a Saturday) so that money could ...

After Lahore

Tariq Ali: It’s not just cricket, 26 March 2009

... television sets. No cricket for them. Who did this and why? Many questions (as with the murder of Benazir Bhutto) will remain unanswered. Who unleashed these monsters and, more important, was any intelligence operative aware of what was being plotted? Pakistan’s intelligence-gathering agencies, civilian and military, employ more than a quarter of a ...

‘What does one do?’

Tariq Ali: The Floods in Pakistan, 23 September 2010

... she then announced that she wanted to set up a relief fund in the names of Bilawal and Bakhtawar Bhutto (two of the three children of Zardari and Benazir Bhutto), one of the businessmen rose and explained calmly that they were all concerned about the situation, and were prepared to contribute generously, but not in ...

Next Door to War

Tariq Ali: After Benazir, 17 July 2008

Descent into Chaos: How the War against Islamic Extremism Is Being Lost in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Central Asia 
by Ahmed Rashid.
Allen Lane, 484 pp., £25, July 2008, 978 0 7139 9843 6
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Crossed Swords: Pakistan, Its Army, and the Wars within 
by Shuja Nawaz.
Oxford, 655 pp., £16.99, May 2008, 978 0 19 547660 6
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... To recapitulate. After Benazir Bhutto was assassinated last December, her will was read out to the family’s assembled political retainers. Her 19-year-old son, Bilawal, inherited the Pakistan People’s Party, but until he came of age her husband, Asif Zardari, would act as regent. The general election, postponed following her death, took place in February ...

Short Cuts

Daniel Soar: The Hitchens Principle, 21 March 2019

... evening light as Hitchens buttonholes the Pakistani-born driver on the ‘the virtues and vices of Benazir Bhutto, while surreptitiously using a bottle of Evian to put out a small but smoky fire that he had set in the ashtray’. But the real point of the profile, which came out a year before the big religion-bashing meetup, was to try to answer the ...

‘Try and disarm us, if you can’

Tariq Ali: Old friends and new enemies in Lahore, 15 April 1999

... restaurant a jovial moustachioed figure came over to greet us from an adjacent table. His wife, Benazir Bhutto, was abroad on a state visit. Senator Asif Zardari, State Minister for Investment, was responsible for entertaining the children in her absence and had brought them out for a special treat. An exchange of pleasantries ensued. I asked how ...

The General in his Labyrinth

Tariq Ali: Pakistan, Afghanistan and the US, 4 January 2007

... and all it could see in the Awami League’s victory was a threat to its privileges. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, the leader of the Pakistan People’s Party, which had triumphed in the western portion of the country, should have negotiated a settlement with the victors. Instead he sulked, told his party to boycott a meeting of the new assembly that had been called ...

Taliban v. Taliban

Graham Usher: India in Afghanistan, 9 April 2009

... to be responsible for scores of suicide attacks inside Pakistan (including the assassination of Benazir Bhutto). He is also thought to have recruited hundreds of Afghan fighters, among them ‘agents’ from the Afghan and Indian intelligence services – ‘Pakistan’s enemies’, in the words of a senior officer. An enemy in Bajaur, the Taliban is a ...

She says nothing

Gavin Jacobson: Rohingyas, 1 December 2016

The Rohingyas: Inside Myanmar’s Hidden Genocide 
by Azeem Ibrahim.
Hurst, 235 pp., £12.99, May 2016, 978 1 84904 623 7
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The Lady and the Generals: Aung San Suu Kyi and Burma’s Struggle for Freedom 
by Peter Popham.
Rider, 440 pp., £20, March 2016, 978 1 84604 371 0
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... lesson in the slipperiness of the concept of heroism, and the folly of hero-worship’. Unlike Benazir Bhutto, say, or Havel, Suu Kyi has never been a natural politician with an eye for strategy. She has never been very interested in politics. As the daughter of General Aung San, she had public life thrust upon her in 1988 when seasoned activists like ...

Pakistan at Sixty

Tariq Ali: The Trouble with Pakistan, 4 October 2007

... troubles and so the helpful State Department has pushed out an over-inflated raft in the shape of Benazir Bhutto. In fact, the threat of a jihadi takeover of Pakistan is remote. There is no possibility of a takeover by religious extremists unless the army wants one, as in the 1980s, when General Zia-ul-Haq handed over the Ministries of Education and ...

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