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Thursday, January 03, 2008

A Pakistani Tragedy: The Life and Death of Benazir Bhutto - M. Shahid Alam

That Benazir Bhutto was a 'precious American asset' ­ perhaps, even the 'most precious' ­ few anywhere would deny, least of all the Americans. It is widely known that her return to Pakistan was brokered by the United States. She could return to Pakistan's politics ­ and, most likely, to the prime minister's office ­ by dropping her opposition to another term of five years for President Musharraf. Indeed, Benazir Bhutto instructed the members of her party not to resign from their seats in the national assembly but abstain from voting. This defeated the opposition's plan to deny the quorum necessary for the deeply flawed presidential elections.

One of the most remarkable developments in Pakistani politics since the events of 9-11 is the transparency ­ shall we say, daring ­ with which the United States now intervenes in Pakistan's affairs. Conversely, Pakistani leaders also work openly to advance American interests in Pakistan. In an earlier era, the Americans generally took care to conceal their meddling in Pakistani politics. As a result, only the politically astute understood the depth of their influence over Pakistan. Now, this knowledge has become commonplace.

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