A Pakistani soldier keeps guard last Sunday near the volatile town of Mangora along the Afghan border.
We’ve heard and read what many Western news sources have had to say about the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and the ensuing turmoil in Pakistan. Now, here’s an eminent voice from within the country, veteran journalist Ayaz Amir, offering his take on his nation at a crucial crossroads.
The killing of Benazir Bhutto puts our national failures under a spotlight. We know we are in trouble. We know that if we stick to the path we are on it will lead to disaster. The perils of one-man rule are known to us. We know that tricks played to perpetuate the present order, now in the last throes of bankruptcy, will lead to more upheaval. We know that national unity is at stake and that our salvation lies in democracy. Yet we continue to march towards the brink.
Complete selflessness is hard to come by because the pursuit of power—another name for politics—is not a saintly calling. But there are times when self-interest must take the backseat to national duty. This is such a time for Pakistan although it is a moot point whether there are too many people around capable of thinking big or having a sense of history, two conditions which must be met if we are to come anywhere near statesmanship.