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Guest Voice

Pakistan’s Wake-Up Call

By Farah Zahra

Pakistan’s “creeping Talibanization” has been in the national and international media for a while. Nonetheless, Benazir Bhutto’s assassination comes as a shock to the entire world. Before she went back to Pakistan from her self-imposed she publicly stated that she was aware of the risk involved and also that she was prepared to take the risk. Now that she has been assassinated, the question remains: What is next for Pakistan?

Will President Musharraf be able to calm down the whole nation by telling them that it is a ‘barbaric’ act of ‘a terrorist’? How do we discern where politics ends and terrorism begins in this country? Will the people of Pakistan and the world at large be lulled into a stupor where the usual phrase of “an act of terrorism” accounts for simply everything?

This has become an enigma for the whole world now that President Musharraf, who has been at the helm of affairs in Pakistan for nearly a decade, can do nothing but say that it is a ‘difficult situation’ and that he needs help – always read as United States help - in fighting terrorism. There have been a record number of bomb blasts in the country this year. Many commentators put down the Pakistani government’s inability to deal with these both because of the complex nature of the issue itself as well as the political mileage that the power holders want to extract out of this war as their raison de etre for remaining in power. This makes the “terrorists” almost seem to be a Supernatural force beyond the reach of the Pakistani Government. If that is indeed the case then the government should openly admit that it needs more than foreign aid for this cause and that it is unable to deal with this issue on its own. Pakistan has lost a lot of its own troops and a lot of foreign aid in this endeavor. But clearly there is something missing that is needed to tackle this issue more effectively.

The last few months saw Benazir Bhutto somewhat high-strung. Her remarks in Washington, D.C. regarding foreign access to A.Q. Khan and U.S. access to Pakistan for assistance in the war against terror could have been somewhat reckless for herself. Some analysts have stated that, "This is the security establishment, which has always wanted her out". Since al-Qaeda has already claimed responsibility this may raise some serious issues within U.S.- Pakistan relations. There certainly needs to be a reexamination and rejuvenation of the war on terror. There are now too many reasons to believe that the U.S. approach and Pakistan’s modus operands are faulty.

Benazir Bhutto’s assassination should not delay the elections. The Pakistan Government seems to be going ahead with holding elections as scheduled on January 8, 2008; Nawaz Sharif has decided to boycott the elections and the Benazir Bhutto’s party seems inclined to do so. What can possibly be achieved by this delay? A reversal of the actions taken by President Musharraf is not on the anvil – such those pertaining to the judiciary. Therefore, delaying the elections can only prolong the nation’s agony and create room for more chaos and anarchy. If the purpose for delaying the elections is not clear, then elections should be held on time.

The writer, a former research fellow of the John F. Kennedy School of Government, Harvard University, is a Pakistani defense analyst who writes for “The News”. Her email is defence.analyst@gmail.com.

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Comments (20)

Rafic Soormally:

SCOTLAND YARD’S WHITEWASH ON BHUTTO’S ASSASSINATION

It is a misconception that those who refute the official version of events, especially in matters of sophisticated planned assassinations and terror, are said to be conspiracy theorists when governments are the greatest conspiracy theorists of all; their conspiracy theories are used as a means to satisfy their own ends, such as slavery, military invasions, stealing of lands and resources, assassinations, world domination. [Ref. Great Britain, US, France, Israel].


Footage taken by various people have clearly shown that on 27th December 2007, while waving to the crowd through the sunroof of her bomb-proof vehicle in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto was accurately shot twice by a marksman, once in the head and once in the neck, and that as she collapsed below the sunroof level when a bomb went off clearly designed to create confusion and killed several of her supporters in the process. The explosion was not intended to kill Benazir Bhutto in her bomb-proof car. All the other occupants of the vehicle survived. Everyone who was with her confirmed she was killed by gunshot wounds.

The original hospital records originally reportedly entered the cause of death as the result of gunshot wounds but the hospital was later forced to change this version to that of injury sustained when her head hit the sunroof lever (which carried no trace of blood) when she allegedly ducked as a result of the bomb blast, thus confirming the dictatorship’s theory. No autopsy was carried out because the cause of death was so obvious. The government only came out with their theory after she was buried, and after the assassination scene as well as her vehicle were hosed down (within hours) upon orders from the top, thus destroying any evidence.

Dictator Musharraf and his other dictators became the prime suspects, especially given that Benazir Bhutto had previously exposed those in the dictatorship who she said were planning her assassination. But the dictatorship’s other theory was that this was the work of Al-Qaeda, the Talibans and their sympathisers, well in line with their supporting allies, the United States, Great Britain and Israel. However, intelligent Pakistanis did not buy those conspiracy theories and demanded the resignation of Musharraf and an independent United Nations investigation along the lines of the assassination of Rafic Hariri of Lebanon which was designed to get rid of the Syrians from Lebanon, but which assassination similar conspiracy theorists used to put the blame on Syria herself.

Knowing that he would not win the elections announced for 8th January 2008, Dictator Musharraf quickly decided to postpone the elections to the 18th of February 2008 and called for his Scotland Yard allies to ‘help’ in establishing how Benazir Bhutto died – by the gunshot wounds or when she allegedly knocked her head against the sunroof lever allegedly as a result of the subsequent bomb blast. By pre-arrangement, the pro-Israel Polish Jew David Miliband, British Foreign Secretary, willingly sent his team to Pakistan, including three specialists in explosives when the whole crime scene and Bhutto’s vehicle were completely hosed down. Musharraf personally briefed the British investigators.

SCOTLAND YARD’S WHITEWASH
Reporter Paul Joseph Watson unequivocally stated the following on 2nd January 2008 : « With the official government explanation for Bhutto's death (that she died after hitting her head on a sunroof) now completely discredited after footage emerged clearly showing a gunman firing at her before the explosion, Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf has been forced to bring in London's Scotland Yard to whitewash the ugly aftermath. » Whitewash it is when Scotland Yard conveniently concluded, on 8th February 2008, 10 days before the postponed elections, that Bhutto was killed when she allegedly knocked her head against the sunroof as a result of the blast, thus confirming Musharraf’s version. Otherwise, he would never have asked for their ‘help’. No post-mortem examination was carried out, no explosives were found or examined, neither Bhutto’s vehicle nor its sunroof was inspected, and witnesses were not interviewed. But the « British investigators said they had to rely heavily on X-rays and detailed examination of video footage of the attack. » In his support for Dictator Musharraf, the British government pathologist, Jewish-named Dr Nathaniel Cary, speculated that Bhutto died through « head injury sustained as a consequence of the bomb-blast and due to head impact somewhere in the escape-hatch of the vehicle », but makes no mention of the sunroof lever.

Bhutto's party has insisted that the former prime minister was shot and rightly suspects a government cover-up because she had accused President Pervez Musharraf's political allies of plotting to kill her. « We disagree with the finding [of Scotland Yard] on the cause of the death, » said Sherry Rehman, spokeswoman for the Pakistan Peoples Party, who escorted Bhutto to hospital after the attack. « She died from a bullet injury. This was and is our position. » In fact, one bullet went right through her neck coming out of the other side. The footage clearly showed her headscarf and hair lifting with the force of the bullet as she was shot almost at point blank range. Bhutto’s widower, Asif Ali Zardari, has rejected the Scotland Yard inquiry and demanded a wider-ranging United Nations-led investigation, which is also echoed by Human Rights Watch. Former Secret Service Assistant Director Bill Pickle previously told CNN that the killing of Benazir Bhutto was a "professional job". This is why it is so important to blame the sunroof lever and not the bullets fired from a professional marksman trained by the Pakistani Secret Services and their allies.

THE TRUE CONSPIRACY THEORISTS
It is indisputable that the United States and Great Britain conspired to invade Afghanistan and Iraq. In the case of Afghanistan, their decisions were based on conspiracy theories that Osama Bin Ladin and the Talibans, from the caves of Afghanistan, were responsible for the attacks on the World Trade Centre and the Pentagon on 9/11. In the case of Iraq, the dossier was proven to have been sexed up in order to justify the invasion of a sovereign country (an ex-ally) which never threatened the UK, but the Hutton Inquiry cleared Tony Blair in a clear whitewash and cover-up. The Brazilian Jean Charles de Menezes was alleged by government conspiracy theorists to be a kamikaze bomber and he was shot like an animal in the London metro by Israeli-trained ‘assassins’. CCTV footage was conveniently missing and they were also cleared in another whitewash.

Those who say that the CIA was behind the mysterious plane crash that killed General Zia, Pakistan’s last military dictator in 1988 who turned out of favour with the US and Israel for implementing Islamic law in Pakistan are accused of being conspiracy theorists. The European West had arranged to send Bhutto back to Pakistan to share power with their discredited ally Musharraf and to crush legitimate Islamic Parties in their own country. But Benazir Bhutto immediately became a threat as soon as she demanded Musharraf’s resignation and started to speak to Islamic Parties in Pakistan after Musharraf declared a State of emergency, sacked the High Court Judges and persecuted opposition parties. No Scotland Yard whitewash will be able to change that. The overwhelming evidence points to the fact that Benazir Bhutto was assassinated by a professional marksman in a carefully planned and sophisticated military-style precision attack like in the case of Jean Charles de Menezes and so many others.


M Rafic Soormally
8 February 2008
London

R L:

very interesting theses being presented here by many other than the orignal author who nevertheless seems to have opened a pandora's box. If politics are used for terrorism and terrorism used for politics then where is your country headed Ms Zahra? more importantly, what is the solution?

Omer Malik:

Some fellow obviously of Indan(Bharat) origing wrote to me how Pakistanis should forget islam and join their brothers - as the following emailed correspondence shows - I would hold back :)

Please follow the emails back and forth

Me writing to him finally -

you are sick man - and makes me glad I live in pakistan - please don't write to me again.

Omer Malik ------ wrote:


so why do u read this group? I am just curious - and I want your views on why Modi in Gujarat won again. I was hoping not as a moslem but as a decent human being that he wouldn't win.

Respected Mr. Malik

I have to read what people think, even if they dislike me, or especially because they dislike me. Pakistan is a dangerous land (by their own admission) and knowing about one's dangerous neighbours is a must. In fact some members of this group are typical examples of islamic arrogance and conceit.

Regarding Modi - we all know that islam and its agents and quislings have a long 1200 year history in the ISC (Indian SubContinent). One cannot do justice to socio-political events without taking into consideration history. If this history is long then politicians and most journalists will tend to override it. No one today has the patience, in this quick fast-food-for-thoughts world, to work through the details of past events.

History comes in many versions - especially india's history with its many invaders, conquerors, races, tribes etc. One has to learn 7 or 8 versions before making any comment.

If you have the patience (and time permitting) then we may engage in a debate. Narendra Modi is, in a certain limited comparative sense, what your hero Jinnah is to Pakistan. Many decent pakistanis are today "hoping" post-hoc that Jinnah had not won. M J Akbar, the muslim journalist in India, told muslims in india that they should remeber that they are the first class citizens of a first class country and not second class citizens of a third class country (implying obviously Pakistan). Javed Akhtar said of Jinnah: if Jinnah is a great leader then we dont need such great leaders.

So long the hindu behaved like an earthworm everyone trampled on him - now he wants to behave like a snake, a real poisonous snake. Now the muslims in Gujarat, atleast in Gujarat, don't go on a rampage. And many muslims voted for Modi.

Decency unfortunately is not always an antidote againt poison. Sometimes poison alone is the antidote. That is not my law but nature's law. Islamic fascism needs its deserved antidote.

Hindu fascism is a reaction to islam's inherent and successful fascism and imperialism of the past 1400 years.

G.Vishvas

Raja Yonus Khan:

I would like to draw your kind attention towards an important factor in the tragic murder of Ms. Benzir Bhutto on December 27.

So many stories and reports about the incident have appeared in the national and international media but no one noticed a total blackout in the city for about 20 to 30 minutes after the death of Ms. Bhutto. Yes! the electricity of the entire city, and particularly the areas adjacent to Liaqat Garden, i.e. the crime scene, was totally switched off by the WAPDA authorities. It was not as per the scheduled time for the normal load-shedding in those areas.

According to some people, during this complete blackout, the entire area from Liaqat Garden to the main Liaqat Chowk was cordoned off and some valuable and concrete evidence from the crime scene were removed. And when the light came, the remaining minor evidences were openly washed away, which was seen live on private TV channels.

Being a resident near Liaqat Garden area, I am a witness to all this and the incident could be got confirmed from other people of the area. The international investigators and PPP should also keep this factor in their consideration while conducting an inquiry into the incident.

Raja Younas Khan,
Rawalpindi

Yasmeen Ali:

Being a bystander, but, a nationalist and watching and hearing, the
situation UNFOLD. With the eulogist writing an unending stream of
eulogies, for the time being. Predictions are rife, imaginations are
running wild, accusations and counter accusations the call of the day,
since the 27th of last month.

The question, which irks, one the most, amongst the people, in that
bullet/bomb proof SUV, who was it, who had prompted her to duck out
from the safety of her armoured vehicle?

When, for all practical purposes, the speech had been delivered, and
the gathering/crowd dispersing.

The synchronization of a sniper, if any, or the pistol shooter, or the
bomb man, HAD TO BE TIMED TO THE SECOND!

A sniper, could have shot her when she was addressing the crowd at
Liaqat Bagh. A focal and a bigger, stationary target. Like it happened
in Liaqat Ali Khan's case. It was a clear target. The question is, why
should an assassin, await, a target so small and moving? Just a head
bobbing up and down or moving sideways constantly. That is if there
was a sniper at all.

The same goes for the bomb man and the pistol shooter. These answers
can only be answered by the actual person who had prompted her to move
in the manner above cited and hence is technically responsible for her
fate.

Now to quote a Tariq Islam, who wrote her obituary, on the same day
and same newspaper above quoted. The central theme of the obituary is,
the poem of Rudyard Kipling's "IF".

What, he fails to comprehend is, to fathom is the correct word here,
that, Kipling wrote that poem, as a dedication to his only son. When
the son came of an age and had joined the British Army as an Ensign in
the Infantry and had carried the Regimental Flag in the battle(First
World war 1914-1919). In the trench wars. He had died, while leading a
frontal attack on the Germans, while carrying the Regimental Flag, in
the hail of German bullets.

The two can NEVER be compared , a true soldier leading a frontal
attack against an enemy, entrenched in trenches and a politician out
on a political campaign.

That is why, the TITLE OF A SHAHEED, IS LIMITED TO AN ACT, of a
soldier in a battle/war, in the service of Islam and it's expansion
against the pagans.

Mixing the two, is indeed, an ACT IN VAIN!

As far as renaming, the boy, Bhutto-Zardari is concerned, I am here
indeed, at a loss for words! Now, Indra Gandhi, the only daughter of
Nehru, and a woman proud of the name and the family name married
Feroze Gandhi(1912-1960), of a parsi family of Broach, India. He was
not even remotely related to THE Gandhi by birth. But a political
activist himself, with Nehru, since 1930 and engaged to Indra in 1937
in Paris, France and himself (Feroze) a journalist by profession and
not a rich man at all.

About Indra, I can say, she did, what all she could for her father's
philosophy and the creation for an Akhund Bharat. She would have never
succeeded in her aims, but, for ZAB, and his tearing up of the Polish
Resolution in the full house of UN on 15th December 1971. Thus helped
her achieve her aim.

The point to remember here is, her progeny still carries like she did
herself, the name of Feroze Gandhi. It is, and never was Nehru-
Gandhi.

Asif Zardari,is a new entrant in the game and that too by marriage. If
Asif, is so, sure of himself and his grasp over the party's minions
strong, why fear? And why should his son not carry Zardari's name as
was the case of Feroze Gandhi?

Technically, Zardari clan, is an old Sindhi Jat clan.Whereas, the
Bhuttos are Bhutta's of Hisar East Punjab, but, new settlers in
present Larkana district, of old, it was called(CHANDUKA)and the only
family who held sway in this area for the last hundreds of years were
the CHANDIA'S. They were here even before the time of Arghuns and
Tarkhans 500 years back even before this in the records exist the
Chandia Pargunna in the Bukhar sarkar.

The two family name, is a concept, limited to, the European
aristocracy to represent two different established families, when
there is a danger of a line going EXTINCT only. And to keep the name
alive and the interests of two different set ups. Here, the Bhutto
name as already stated above is fairly new in the area above
mentioned. A new phase, in our thousands of years old history and the
Zardari name, though of our Indus Valley Civilization, had yet to
prove it's mettle...as a nationalist!

Trying to create a Dynastic Rule, then, simultaneously talking of a
democracy, does leave a sour taste in the mouth!

If the party in question, had been worth it's salt, and had evolved a
system, the nomination factor would have been a minor issue! It would
have been an automatic transfer to the next eligible party leader. In
the armies world over, where the systems have been perfected over
centuries, if a commander dies, in a battle or otherwise, the
next-in-line takes over.

Here, it is a system versus a rabble.

A demagogue may entice and arouse rabble, and make it into a mob, but
the act remains a temporary factor and a passing phase, an illusion
maker creates an illusion and thus mesmerises the crowd. But remember,
an illusion remains an illusion.

And that was the aftermath of 27th December, 2007, which was a part of
above stances quoted. It was an election fever, people already geared
up, with inflammatory speeches by the people, with their own axes to
grind and certainly not in the national interest.

Who may I ask will speak for those unfortunate people who had died,
and who will refund the over 200 banks looted and pumps and cars
destroyed? And the inconvenience to the thousands when transport had
stopped plying.Who will pay for all this?

Men and women, safely tucked away, arguing on the subject of a
nomination and a family name link -up as stated above? The poor who
died while this process was on, were they just a cannon fodder,
inflamed by fiery speeches and emotions misled?

Rationality is the answer and the logic based and rooted in our
culture and heritage.

Yes,, indeed, the "buck always stops, somewhere", it, in some cases
like a boomerang will make a U turn on the person who had prompted BB
to duck out of the bomb proof and bullet proof SUV.
Yasmeen Ali
Lawyer & Educationist

Vishvas Ghosh:

Brave words that you all write in pakistani liberal newspapers, they are not brave or honest enough.

The nemesis of Pakistan is the CIA - surely the US-CIA, but even more so the one composed of China Islam and Arabs.

China regards Pakistan as its vassal, tool and minion for its great power ambitions and mischief (and which great power can be great without mischief-mongering)

Islam is an obscurantist totalitarian fascist ideoogy and a tool of alien imperialism in the indian subcontinent since 1200 years. The good human beings among muslims merely serve to camouflage this fact. They are like a honey-coating on a clump of poison.

The arabs regard pakistan and its people as inferiors to be lied to and misused and held with disdain and then cover it all up in the name of islamic "brothehood".

Unless pakistanis free themselves from this triad CIA, unless they develop the courage and the intelligence to do so at all levels they are doomed and they will spell doom also for their neighbours.

There is a turkish saying "friend speaks bitter". The flatterer is never the true friend. Unless pakistanis get rid of the falsified narratives of history pumped into them in which the hindus (their real brothers and ancestors) are denigrated, vilified and humiliated and the muslim (arab, turk and afghan) aggressors plunderers and rapists glorified - I see no real betterment or chance thereof.

Hoping you do not react like typical muslims to this letter but as human beings who are ready to listen.

G.Vishvas

Yasir Shirazi:

It wont be a bad idea to send a copy of it to the President House in Islamabad as well (or maybe the Army House in RWP wherever HE lives).

Just one thought, watch "Charlie Wilson's War". The most ironic part in the movie was when the US Congressmen were willing to spend USD 1 bln to fight the Soviets but felt that USD 1 MILLION was "too much" to be spent on setting up schools in Kabul. Point being that everyone around us is fighting the bad guys of the present world on an adhoc basis.What happened to Benazir Bhutto was tragic but unless we can change Madressah culture, seems like such things would continue for a while.

Secondly, do you think that we are heading towards disintegrations (Pakistan NA KHAPAY)
Have a great day ( and if you are in Pakistan-a safe one too)

Yasir
y.shirazi@gmail.com
NYC

Bohdan Szejner, Rome, Italy:

In the ideal world, the elections should be held on schedule. But I stand by my original position that, given all that I know, with pain in my heart I say that elections must be postponed by four weeks. These elections are too important to be haphazard! No people can vote when in shock! No elections are fair when tires (and banks) are burning! The international observers, in mass, must descend on Pakistan in the next four weeks. Not tourists, but skilled observers speaking the Pakistani languages! This takes preparation and time! The people must be bused to the polling booths on time. The security must be neutral, not intimidating! And I caution: don't take for granted the security of Mrs. Benazir Bhutto's son! He must be protected, as no one has ever been protected! The Pakistani security forces are not to be trusted. The protection must be international! All this cannot be arranged before the January 8! So I say, the calls for "elections on schedule" are insanity!

mike:

i may not get there with you but i will meet you in the promise land. remember those words spoken by a person whom i believe knew his time was near. and now anothere person with forsight into there own demise. i dont know eithere people but we can all agree that they paid the altimite for what they believed in.

Imam:

BB washes her sin with her Blood!
(Repeating the previous message with some additions)

Benazir Bhutto always did politics as a daughter of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. ZAB’s failure or successes were always her political capital and she continued to spend it until she had become a political liability for the memory of the senior Bhutto. However, her violent death has washed her sins. She paid a heavy cost stay alive after her physical death!

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had also been criticized by his detractors and their list of allegations could be a long one but still his worst enemies had to agree that he did some substantial things for Pakistan. Even the worst critics of ZAB too had no choice but to concede that he gave the first almost unanimous Constitution to the country, nuclear programme and economic social and political empowerment to the people of Pakistan.

On the contrary one has to struggle to find out what Benazir Bhutto contributed to the process of legislation which Pakistan needed a lot specially against a backdrop where one finds huge deformities done to the constitution by the Zia-ul-Haq regime and his remnants. Benazir appears to be a miserable failure in that respect. Her supporters would blame rightist for her failure in this area.

Benazir Bhutto’s economic policies, which to many analysts, were nothing but the continuation of the World Bank/IMF economic reform packages, and they added miseries to the poverty stricken people of Pakistan. Privatization, cuts on public sector expenditures and price hike was also one of the hallmarks of her stints in power. Unfortunately, her energy policy also brought no positive change in Pakistan.

Apart from failures in terms of her achievements, her government and her leadership was riddled with serious charges of corruption and misgovernance. She may have got set aside her convictions in some corruption cases and managed to obtain a safe passage to return to Pakistan after cutting a deal with Pervaiz Musharrafe, but she still had to get a clean “chit” (verdict) from any court of law regarding the corruption charges.

Circumstances are obvious under which Benazir Bhutto assumed the leadership of the party her father had established. During The regime of Ziaul Haq the party’s survival was the topmost agenda of the Bhutto supporters. Benazir Bhutto was made co-chairperson of the PPP along with her mother Begum Nusrat Bhutto. But she knocked down her mother when there was no danger to the PPP.

Benazir Bhutto also failed in selecting good and talented people around her. While Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had around him people like Sheikh Eashid Ahmad, Dr. Mubashar Hasan, Hafeez Peerzada, Aftab Sherpao, His daughter Benazir Bhutto collected people of a stature who hardly be dubbed mediocre. In a nutshell, if Senior Bhutto had grand people around him Benazir had a company of sycophants.

But the events occurring on the earlier evening of December 27 not only changed the political landscape of the country, it also washed Benazir Bhutto sins. Benazir Bhutto's most tragic murder is one of the greatest calamities of Pakistan’s history. Though some rightist cynics in Pakistan are trying to blame government for her murder, there is little doubt that Bhutto was hated by Al Qaeda and its cohorts.

Her death at the hands of Al Qaeda and its cohorts has turned her into a fearless Symbol Resistance against Islamic extremism. While unleashing her attack against Islamic extremists, Benazir Bhutto pursued her own path, undeterred by lack of popular appreciation and understanding! She did not agree to those who advised her that she should open dialogues with the extremists.

No doubt that the tragic incidents of December 27 have also some positive aspects. In this way it has been a great blessing in disguise that Benazir Bhutto has been assassinated. She is a political martyr now. Suppose, had been alive, she would have been talked as corrupt politician who struck a deal with a tin pot dictator. She had almost died politically before December 27, 2007, but her violent death on the evening of December 27 resurrected her politically!

But one may fully support this point of view that the General Elections must be held on Jan 8 and PPP must participate in it. There could be a delay for a few days, but elections must be held as early as possible. A delay in elections would deepen the political crisis and not serve the political objectives for which Benazir Bhutto has laid down her life so boldly.

The boycott lobby of the All Parties Democratic Movement, now RE-joined by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, is unwittingly serving the agenda of the Jihadis. Associating Musharraf with Jihadis may suit politically to his detractors, but it would be a biggest blunder if we demand Musharraf’s resignation to help out Jihadis.

The “Shahdat” of Benazir Bhutto has unleashed such a tremendous amount of political energy in the form anger, emotions and activism not only among the PPP workers supporters, but also among the common masses of Pakistan. Al Qaeda has never been so much detested by the common masses of Pakistan as it is now.

PPP can sweep the election at this moment. Moreover, if elections are delayed not only that the law and order situation will slip further down, but the PPP will start its own process of destruction. PPP would be lucky if Asif Zardari did not push himself as next Prime Minister. He could possibly allow Makhdoom Amin Fahim to become premier.

The best tribute that PPP and the people of Pakistan pay to Benazir Bhutto is to continue their resistance against Islamic extremism. Benazir Bhutto’s last speeches and her whole plan to return to Pakistan had two obvious purposes: Restoring true democracy and fighting against extremism. Now her death has made her an embodiment of secular, democratic and moderate Pakistan struggling to survive the Islamic extremists.

For now, it won’t be inappropriate to say that despite our intense hatred for what the military has done to the state apparatus, we cannot afford to evict the present military setup from the establishment. Between the judges and the generals, there is little to choose, however, it would be useful to choose the ugly ones in uniforms than stupid ones in the high legal offices. One can quote an axiom on this but risk being blamed for being a partisan'.

The vacuum left in such a scenario (the worst such case in history) can be filled only by the jihadis. And wherever this neo-Khariji group has been active over the past 20+ years, we only see destruction & nihilism. No one is aware of any positive or constructive manifesto that this ideological group has. The objectives they aspire to are rhetorical and insubstantive apparently implying that Allah will create something out of the destruction that they create as their holy mission. Pakistanis will witness far worse in terms of atrocities and destruction of much else that they take for granted in their daily lives.

The best case scenario that we can hope as an outcome of elections can only be an arrangement for gradual transition of power back to the civil society. The journey will no doubt be long and hazardous mostly because the civil society does not exist. The illusion of it that some seem to have is in fact no more than a shared delusion. The creation of civil and democratic society in Pakistan that has power centres properly divided and governed can only be negotiated with some wise heads on all sides of the divisions that we have in our nation. This will take many years if not decades.

Unfortunately, the largest obstacle that has to be crossed for creating the civil society is the ruling paradigm: our society is feudal at every level in all strata of Pakistani nation, in their public domain as well as personal. Every person who has any semblance of power/control considers himself/herself as the exclusive repository of all things wise. There is no stomach for consultation or accepting a dissent. It is therefore near impossible to identify some wise ones in all of the major power brokers who are actively involved in the present political process. And identification of such a group is vitally important for any recovery to begin. Even after such a group is put together in a future parliament or similar establishment, there will be far too many opportunities for things to go wrong. One hopes to see internal dynamics being fully capable of achieving this even if external hands were not keen to derail things.

One probably gets the gist of the rather pessimistic views. But we do not expect much positive in the near future other than jihadis being contained within the borderlands and being denied a strong hold in one of the major urban centres. In the meantime, in the wake of the next elections, if a group of sane ones starts the process of reclaiming the state from the prevailing mayhem we can look forward to Pakistan stepping back from the precipice. Otherwise, sadly the state of affairs in next 5 years can be no different from what it is now in Somalia and many other Muslim lands.

And Benazir Bhutto did not die to make Pakistan another Somalia or Afghanistan!

(ENDS)

Imam:

BB washes her sin with her Blood!

Benazir Bhutto always did politics as a daughter of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. ZAB’s failure or successes were always her political capital and she continued to spend it until she had become a political liability for the memory of the senior Bhutto. However, her violent death has washed her sins. She paid a heavy cost stay alive after her physical death!

Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had also been criticized by his detractors and their list of allegations could be a long one but still his worst enemies had to agree that he did some substantial things for Pakistan. Even the worst critics of ZAB too had no choice but to concede that he gave the first almost unanimous Constitution to the country, nuclear programme and economic social and political empowerment to the people of Pakistan.

On the contrary one has to struggle to find out what Benazir Bhutto contributed to the process of legislation which Pakistan needed a lot specially against a backdrop where one finds huge deformities done to the constitution by the Zia-ul-Haq regime and his remnants. Benazir appears to be a miserable failure in that respect. Her supporters would blame rightist for her failure in this area.

Benazir Bhutto’s economic policies, which to many analysts, were nothing but the continuation of the World Bank/IMF economic reform packages, and they added miseries to the poverty stricken people of Pakistan. Privatization, cuts on public sector expenditures and price hike was also one of the hallmarks of her stints in power. Unfortunately, her energy policy also brought no positive change in Pakistan.

Apart from failures in terms of her achievements, her government and her leadership was riddled with serious charges of corruption and misgovernance. She may have got set aside her convictions in some corruption cases and managed to obtain a safe passage to return to Pakistan after cutting a deal with Pervaiz Musharrafe, but she still had to get a clean “chit” (verdict) from any court of law regarding the corruption charges.

Circumstances are obvious under which Benazir Bhutto assumed the leadership of the party her father had established. During The regime of Ziaul Haq the party’s survival was the topmost agenda of the Bhutto supporters. Benazir Bhutto was made co-chairperson of the PPP along with her mother Begum Nusrat Bhutto. But she knocked down her mother when there was no danger to the PPP.

Benazir Bhutto also failed in selecting good and talented people around her. While Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto had around him people like Sheikh Eashid Ahmad, Dr. Mubashar Hasan, Hafeez Peerzada, Aftab Sherpao, His daughter Benazir Bhutto collected people of a stature who hardly be dubbed mediocre. In a nutshell, if Senior Bhutto had grand people around him Benazir had a company of sycophants.

But the events occurring on the earlier evening of December 27 not only changed the political landscape of the country, it also washed Benazir Bhutto sins. Benazir Bhutto's most tragic murder is one of the greatest calamities of Pakistan’s history. Though some rightist cynics in Pakistan are trying to blame government for her murder, there is little doubt that Bhutto was hated by Al Qaeda and its cohorts.

Her death at the hands of Al Qaeda and its cohorts has turned her into a fearless Symbol Resistance against Islamic extremism. While unleashing her attack against Islamic extremists, Benazir Bhutto pursued her own path, undeterred by lack of popular appreciation and understanding! She did not agree to those who advised her that she should open dialogues with the extremists.

No doubt that the tragic incidents of December 27 have also some positive aspects. In this way it has been a great blessing in disguise that Benazir Bhutto has been assassinated. She is a political martyr now. Suppose, had been alive, she would have been talked as corrupt politician who struck a deal with a tin pot dictator. She had almost died politically before December 27, 2007, but her violent death on the evening of December 27 resurrected her politically!

But one may fully support this point of view that the General Elections must be held on Jan 8 and PPP must participate in it. There could be a delay for a few days, but elections must be held as early as possible. A delay in elections would deepen the political crisis and not serve the political objectives for which Benazir Bhutto has laid down her life so boldly.

The boycott lobby of the All Parties Democratic Movement, now RE-joined by former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, is unwittingly serving the agenda of the Jihadis. Associating Musharraf with Jihadis may suit politically to his detractors, but it would be a biggest blunder if we demand Musharraf’s resignation to help out Jihadis.

The “Shahdat” of Benazir Bhutto has unleashed such a tremendous amount of political energy in the form anger, emotions and activism not only among the PPP workers supporters, but also among the common masses of Pakistan. Al Qaeda has never been so much detested by the common masses of Pakistan as it is now.

PPP can sweep the election at this moment. Moreover, if elections are delayed not only that the law and order situation will slip further down, but the PPP will start its own process of destruction. PPP would be lucky if Asif Zardari did not push himself as next Prime Minister. He could possibly allow Makhdoom Amin Fahim to become premier.

The best tribute that PPP and the people of Pakistan pay to Benazir Bhutto is to continue their resistance against Islamic extremism. Benazir Bhutto’s last speeches and her whole plan to return to Pakistan had two obvious purposes: Restoring true democracy and fighting against extremism. Now her death has made her an embodiment of secular, democratic and moderate Pakistan.

Rafic Soormally:

BENAZIR BHUTTO KNEW HER ASSASSINS

« Benazir Bhutto was also my sister, and I will be with you to take the revenge for her death [..] Don't feel alone. I am with you. We will take the revenge on the rulers », said Nawaz Sharif to the supporters of Benazir Bhutto after her assassination on 27th December 2007.

The assassination of opposition political leaders and activists has always been the practice of tyrants, dictators and imperialist occupiers. Israel has long practiced such assassinations with the complicity of the United States. The Israeli Mossad have assassinated numerous Palestinian leaders and activists both from the Fatah Movement as well as Hamas, including the paraplegic Sheik Yassin who was a source of inspiration to Palestinians engaged in freeing their country from the heavily armed and violent Israeli squatters.

With the help of the United States, Pervez Musharraf took power in a military coup in 1999 by ousting the twice-elected Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif who Musharraf forced into exile to Saudi Arabia by using corruption charges against him as leverage. On the other hand, twice-elected PM Benazir Bhutto (1988 & 1993) was living as a fugitive in the UK and Dubai as she was fleeing corruption charges and was even sentenced by a Pakistani Court for failure to appear. During her eight years in Europe, Ms Bhutto was never offered to return Pakistan to hold the fault until Musharraf’s power seriously eroded. Seeing their grip on Pakistani politics slipping away, the US and the UK quickly brokered a power-sharing deal between Musharraf and Bhutto in Dubai under which Bhutto would have the corruption and theft charges against her dropped. The deal was sealed with a presidential order (National Reconciliation Ordinance) giving an amnesty to Ms Bhutto and other Pakistani corrupt politicians.

Failed assassination attempt
Upon Ms Bhutto’s return to Pakistan on 18th October 2007, she was greeted with a ‘failed’ assassination attempt while heavily guarded by Musharraf’s Secret Services, army and Police. Ms Bhutto’s herself asserted that the attempt against her life was orchestrated by “certain individuals who abuse their positions.”, that she even sent a letter to Musharraf giving the names of people in the “government and Pakistan security forces” who have been conspiring against her. And, earlier, she had even told the French magazine Paris Match that “I know exactly who wants to kill me. It is dignitaries of the former regime of General Zia who are today behind the extremism and the fanaticism.” People would recall that Zia ul-Haq was a ruthless dictator with whom the US forged a strategic alliance, together with the mujahidin (freedom fighters), who were none other than Osama Bin Laden and the Talibans, in order to defeat the Russian occupation of Afghanistan. The US also green-lighted Zia ul-Haq’s hanging of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the Father of Benazir Bhutto. When Zia ul-Haq was of no use to the Americans as he enforced strict Islamic law within Pakistan, he was also assassinated in a planned aircraft crash on August 17, 1988.

State of Emergency
Ahead of an expected ruling declaring unlawful Musharraf’s eligibility to run for President while still in uniform, Musharraf sacked the Pakistani Supreme Court Judges, banned political rallies and declared a State of Emergency while Ms Bhutto had briefly gone to Dubai. Upon her re-return to Pakistan Bhutto refused any contact with Dictator Musharraf and demanded that he steps down altogether and started to forge alliances with other political parties, including Nawaz Sharif’s party. This went against what Musharraf had expected from Ms Bhutto and he placed her under house imprisonment “for her own safety”, he argued. Other political leaders, including cricketer Imran Khan, and opposition activists were also arrested. Analysts affirm that from that time onwards Benazir’s Bhutto’s life was in grave danger as soon as she would start addressing the people as the dictatorship had already prepared the ground by justifying her house imprisonment “for her own safety”, hence attempting to shift the blame onto others.

The assassination
If Musharraf’s dictatorship knew Benazir Bhutto’s life was in danger, enough to justify her house imprisonment, one would have thought that they would have found it far easier and be better prepared to protect her life. But this was not to be the case. On 27th December 2007, after addressing the people at her first election campaign rally in garrison city Rawalpindi since returning from exile two months ago, Benazir Bhutto was shot twice by a trained marksman, once in the neck and once in the chest. Whilst one official who asked not to be named said “The attacker fired and then blew himself up”, Sardar Qamar Hayyat, an eye witness and a leader from Bhutto's party, said he was standing about 10 yards away from the vehicle in which was Benazir Bhutto who emerged from the vehicle’s roof to wave to her supporters when he « saw a thin, young man jumping toward her vehicle from the back and opening fire ». Mr Hayyat did not mention that the marksman blew himself up. Bhutto was rushed to hospital and taken into emergency surgery. She died about an hour after the attack. Former PM Nawaz Sharif was at her bedside and he later told both her and his supporters that Benazir Bhutto was her sister and that her assassination would be avenged against the rulers.

Although no one claimed responsibility for Bhutto’s assassination, only the so-called ‘Islamic militants’ are said to be the suspects, and not Musharraf’s dictatorship in which Ms Bhutto had already identified her would-be assassins and which, more than anyone else, knew of the danger she faced but was ‘powerless’ to protect her.

Benazir Bhutto’s supporters had no hesitation in holding Dictator Musharraf responsible for her assassination and accused him of complicity in the killing. They shouted slogans including "Musharraf is a dog" and "Long live Bhutto." Although Benazir Bhutto had said she was prepared to die for democracy, she wasted her life for a fascist democracy imported form European invaders who supported the dictatorship of Pervez Musharraf under which she was assassinated. Pakistanis must unite and look for a pro-Pakistan leader and rid the country of all foreign intervention. Pakistani people are bound to ask how many secret agents from the ISI, the Mossad, the CIA and MI6 were amongst the crowd when the trained marksman shot Benazir Bhutto in the neck and chest.

M Rafic Soormally
London
27 December 2007
rsoormally@yahoo.com

Dr. Shabir Choudhry:

Pakistan after Benazir Bhuttoo
Dr Shabir Choudhry
December 2007

Benazir Bhuttoo is no more with us but her legacy, like that of her father's legacy, will stay with us for many years to come and will dictate politics and future of Pakistan. All 'sins', past 'deeds', 'deals' and 'weaknesses' are washed away, and she will be remembered by majority as a symbol for resistance, democracy and a champion of human rights.

I hope after her tragic death she is presented as a popular Pakistani leader killed by unknown assassin rather than a Sindhi leader killed in Punjab, as already declared by some Sindhi nationalists. Nationalists in Sind already use 'Sind card' to propagate against the federation of Pakistan that a popular Sindhi Prime Minister (Zulfqar Ali Bhuttoo) was hanged and other Sindhi Prime Minister (Benazir Bhuttoo) was twice deposed, and another potential leader (Murtaza Bhuttoo) of Sind was assassinated by the Punjabi dominated establishment.

Rumours are wild as to who are killers of Benazir Bhuttoo. According to Italian independent news agency Adnkronos International (AKI), Al- Qaeda leader Mustafa Abu Al- Yazid from Afghanistan said: "We terminated the most precious American asset which vowed to defeat the mujahadeen,"

Many will discard this claim, and there are solid reasons for this. Al- Aqaeda would like to take 'credit' for killing of such high level target, as it would boost their power, ability and potential to take out their enemies. But question is why would Al- Qaeda kill her? People who support this view will say that she was killed because she was too pro West, and went there to safeguard their interests. In my view this is not true.

May be she was pro West and went there to protect the Western interests, but key point to remember is that she was not in power, and was not even close to getting elected. All the assessments before her death were indicating that there would be a hung parliament in which any one could have been 'chosen' to become a Prime Minister. One has also to remember that under the 17th amendment to the constitution, made by Musharaf, she could not have become a Prime Minister third time, and she needed a two third majority to change that. How could she have got this number of votes in a hung parliament?

Even if she had overcome all the obstacles and was elected Prime Minister of Pakistan, she would not have been much different to Prime Minister Jamali and Shaukat Aziz. One has to remember that Musharaf Sahib has changed balance of power, and now most of the powers are vested in the post of the President, and not Prime Minister which should be the case in a Parliamentary system of government.

We all know that Musharaf or his Prime Minister had an army of Ministers and they took pride in supporting and promoting American interest or 'War on terror'. They, in order to stay in power undermined the Pakistani or Muslim interest and have virtually made Pakistan a colony of America? They were responsible for many policies, which resulted in killings of thousands of innocent people in mosques, madrassaes and in other parts of Pakistan and Afghanistan. It was not too difficult for an organisation like Al- Qaeda to take some of them out, especially when they were not Ministers or Prime Ministers.

So question is why target a person who had not yet become a Prime Minister, and have not practically done much to support the Western policy in Pakistan? How she would have behaved after becoming a Prime Minister was merely guess or speculation. And question for Al- Qaeda leadership should have been (and they are clever and thinking people), why not go after those, who are former ministers now, but nevertheless were responsible for many tragedies, instead of going after some one who could possibly harm them in future?

So I would not waste my time finding killers of Benazir Bhuttoo in mountains of Tribal areas or Afghanistan, I would look for them in and around Islamabad. Her killers are embedded in the state apparatus of Pakistan, and aim of killing has nothing to do with her support for the West, as most of the government officials and pro government leaders take pride in what they have done to support the West.

Nenazir Bhuttoo also knew who her enemies were, and after the first attack on her life in Karachi, she while addressing a press conference the following day indicated that Pakistan's intelligence agencies were behind the attack. She said: " if something happens to me, I will hold them responsible rather than militant
groups like the Taliban, Al Qaeda or the Pakistani Taliban." She even demanded the removal of the Intelligence Bureau chief, Ijaz Shah, hinting at Pakistani intelligence agencies' linking with their desire to take her out.

In an interview on Venus TV soon after this tragic event I said: No doubt it is another black day in history of Pakistan. It is a sad day for democracy, justice and liberal politics. However it would be wrong to get in to blame game and accuse other countries. Killers of Benazir Bhuttoo are those who are against democracy, and against Pakistan. They have always hated and opposed her and have regarded her as a 'security risk'. This is a turning point in the history of Pakistan, and things will never be same again. Her death could pose a serious threat to already fragile federation.

In my view her assassins have given a deadly blow to the federation of Pakistan. She was, in view of many, a force that kept the federation together. Many thought she was symbol of federation and now that she is brutally killed what challenges are there to Pakistan as a nation state?

One has to see who will benefit from her killing, and surely it is not rag tag jihadi groups living in mountains of Afghanistan or in Tribal areas. Beneficiaries are surely those who were part of the previous government and take this interim period as holiday or absence from office. The ruling elite and agencies which did not like her return, realised that their favourites are not going to win if Banzir Bhuttoo and Nawaz Sharif are given free hand to contest.

But there was no danger from Nawaz Sharif. He and his brother were not allowed to contest elections. As the election - day was approaching closer it was becoming clear that Kings Party known as Q League was struggling and would not win many seats.

It must be noted that many commentators think Pakistan is at the brink of a full-scale civil war, some even say civil war has been going on since March of this year. And when we view this in the light of what has been going on in various parts of Pakistan, including Tribal areas, Balochistan, Swat and Frontier Province then they are not wrong.

Her tragic death will further weaken already fragile federation, and it will strengthen all those who are against the present government and against the policies and thinking of the ruling elite. This will lead to more trouble, antagonism, extremism and disillusionment. It will strengthen those who feel that Punjabi or military dominated establishment is treating smaller provinces unfairly and want to break away from the federation.

This disillusionment, anger and resentment could exacerbate the political situation of Pakistan, and could lead to a civil war resulting in more trouble, more deaths and more destruction. But I hope the common sense will prevail and people will restrain and learn from this tragedy and help Pakistan to become a stable, democratic and liberal country.

Writer is Chairman Diplomatic Committee of JKLF, Director Institute of Kashmir Affairs and author of many books on Kashmir. He could be reached at: drshabirchoudhry@googlemail.com

Sajjad:

The Mess.

Since 1953, all our leaders have been agents of the US or UK. They were all compelled, forced or purchased. To keep socialism and Russian influence out of Pakistan and to keep the continuation of the Jagirdari and Sardari system in place at the cost of millions of Pakistanis as toiling slaves for these families. Both the US and UK support these thug and corrupt leaders along with the religious leaders. They Mullah's kept the people mesmerized in a web of religious but self concocted tales and induced fear among the masses at the behest of the rich families. They also fully supported THEIR ARMY. The clergy and their gangs has always used force and blood shed when opposed or questioned. They always want their way, no matter what it takes. When threats fail, instead of dialogue or talks, they swiftly reach for the scabbard and pull the sword out.

The Mujahideen and the Taliban performed the same duty along with support of the Army and these purchased religious leaders whose coffers were over flowing with Rials and Dollars when they were attempting to push Russia out. When Russia invaded Afghanistan, the USA looked the other way and paid no attention to the invasion at that time. They were encouraged and persuaded by a conniving Army General who had killed the Prime minister in cold blood before. When Arabia and the US teams agreed to the Generals proposal, the Mujahideen were created and inserted in Afghanistan along with many Soldiers in civil clothing's.
Russia gone, America packed up its bank but the serpent which was trained, fed and fattened to the size of a Dinosaur, they left as a gift to Pakistan and her people to provide for. The many foreign Mujahideen the Mullahs had incited to a false Jihad from other Muslim countries also stayed behind.
The pockets of the Generals, the Mullahs and the various warlords where bulging with Dollars. Money made by selling weapons on mass scale to other insurgents from many countries as well. Whole truck loads were auctioned off near the border towns. Plus the foreign massive aid to Pakistan, much of which was gobbled up by the Politicians and the Army.
Mullah's had want to set up a theocratic state in Pakistan, this was their chance and time and opportunity. This is the reason why these thugs who opposed the creation of Pakistan migrated to Pakistan when Mr. JInnah finally succeeded in carving out Pakistan for the Muslims. The first were the Mullah Maudoodi and Mullah Mahmood. Both staunchly opposed Mr. JInnah and the Muslims who were for Pakistan. Now that we have a Shia theocratic state of Iran they are striving harder to create a Sunni State to counter that.

Bainazir had promised the people that more autonomy will be granted to each province so that a single province does not loot the others which has always been the case. In Baluchistan the Gawadar port and area around it belonged to the Baluchi's. Their lands were snatched and they were pressurized into selling them at a much lower rates to the Army thugs and thugs from Karachi. When there is perpetual mass injustice, any one who raises a voice for the unfortunate victims is quickly strangled. They know how to silence that voice. They have been doing this since the creation of Pakistan. Liaqat Ali Khan and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto had fallen victims.
These are the reason that our Judiciary has been fired upon, bashed up and finally locked up, Legislative under house arrest and a puppet parliament placed. Then the thug leaders blatantly lie and claim we are Democratic.

Pakistan's Army is not for the purpose of keeping our borders safe but for the purpose of subjugating the masses and to keep them serving as slaves for the Feudal lords and the industrialists. When assigned to the duty of the country's safety, the brave were those who made money and ran swiftly in the other direction. Only the brave poor soldiers fought.
How long will the carry on doing this mass injustice to the people of Pakistan?
How long will they sit on the crater of the volcano blocking the lava from erupting?
It is time that people get rid of the General's Junta and their coalition with the Feudal lords and the Mullahs. The Army men keep conquering Pakistani's all the time.

SAGE:

You are truly an idiot Rubin that you cannot see that Benazir willingly gave her life. not many people do that .... you should though, being the idiot you sound...

M Rubin:

So guys this is the end of civilization in Pakistan.... she was not the martyr she is suddenly made out to be by her death..she has become like Lady Diana.... what she was doing while alive in death she is the biggest hero on earth. Face given by god, color by god, and even her family was given by god so what the helllll!

RS:

In Pak everything is 'natural' and only the Army is 'Supernatural'!

Judy Sinclair:

I like the point by the author that we dont know exactly where politics ends and terrorism begins in that country...

Ahmed Rashid:

Life is not that simple in Pakistan ....
In anycase, 'dress' is important but that is not the crux of the matter is it?
We need to find out if the Pak Gov is taking the simple way out by putting the blame on Al-Qaeda and secondly if an autopsy can simplify the new three simultaneous attacks theory released on CNN by Farzana Raja the (PPP) party's spokesperson.

halozcel:

The solution for Pakistan,

-All madrassas(the centers of Talibanism) should be closed.
-People should follow the civilization,not the desert rules which based on the stone age mentality.
-The Nightmare shouldnt rule over Pakistan.

Dear Pakistani People,
Please,please come to twentyfirst century,you shall win.
Dear Pakistanis,
The Dress is important.Yes,the dress is very very important.Talibanism begins from the dress.Yes,Talibanism begins from the headscarf and the black wrap.
Dress up as the civilized men and live as the civilized one.
Please,dont give up to the nightmare.

PostGlobal is an interactive conversation on global issues moderated by Newsweek International Editor Fareed Zakaria and David Ignatius of The Washington Post. It is produced jointly by Newsweek and washingtonpost.com, as is On Faith, a conversation on religion. Please send us your comments, questions and suggestions.