My political leanings may have changed, but I still love you BB

Published: December 27, 2012
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For me, she is forever loved, forever missed.. PHOTO: REUTERS

For me, she is forever loved, forever missed.. PHOTO: REUTERS For me, she is forever loved, forever missed.. PHOTO: REUTERS

Maybe it has to do with the fact that she was a woman. She was a flame snuffed out much before it’s time….an everlasting Shakespearean tragedy. Perhaps, the candle in the wind. Maybe it is because I am a Sindhi, and somewhere it is in my blood and bones to have a soft corner for the Bhuttos (please leave the Zardari clan out of that allegiance).

Maybe it was her grace and eloquence. Maybe she was the rebel against forces of oppression that I wanted to be when I grew up.

She was my hero when I was an emotional little school girl with a scrap book of photographs that had cut-outs of BB’s pictures from various newspapers. Benazir Bhutto was a thin, frail, lone crusader who was fighting a battle against the formidable Zia. She won over the hearts and minds of people by the millions. That is when I fell in love with BB.

That love has not fizzled out. Today, it is five years since that horrific day when we lost her at the hands of a shocking act of cowardice. And it still slows down my inner pace and I have inward moments of silence when I think of her. Benazir Bhutto is still important to me. In my heart, I have a maternal sense of protection when her children are criticised. A voice inside me thinks of her children who do not have a normal life, they did not choose to be the children of their parents, and did not choose to be placed on alters either.

Just like BB once wrote:

“….This is not the life I chose; it chose me.”

While my love for BB has not changed, my political leanings have. In her life and times, before she actually came into power in particular, I, as a childish and myopic idealist, believed that everything should be painted red.

I thought that PPP’s brand of politics was the answer to the woes of the Pakistanis.

I thought that BB’s coming into power would mean everything restrictive this nation had suffered at the hands of dictatorship would be washed away. A new tomorrow. As a school girl, I knew too little and dreamt too much.

BB, beauty and grace in a female form with a signature white scarf covering her head, as she was sworn in. I won’t forget that day. I don’t wish to. But I wish to God I could forget the many disappointments that followed; the corruption, the scandals, and her inability to live up to the dreams of those who were responsible for bringing her into power. The disillusionment that our BB, an emblem of courage, would cave into forces that pressured her — forces known but not named.

I watched out hawkishly at her political graph throughout those years, wishing I could be apathetic, but was unable to be so. The first tenure, power snatched away; the second tenure, her time away from home.

What about her growing children?

BB in the UK, BB in Dubai.

Like millions of those who loved her, I waited and watched, breath abated, hoping one day she would fight all forces of evil and be the answer to our prayers once again. That if she got another chance, she would have learnt her lesson. That she was still a better option compared to the others. For no matter what, BB stood for democracy. Her tenures, despite the disappointments, had shown considerable improvements in certain areas that were close to her heart – health, education, and more women-friendly legislations and development work.

Through it all, BB remains BB for me. I cringe when her name is taken disrespectfully. The day of her death is a slow and sad day for me.

When I look back at the last three months of 2007, I remember her return to Karachi with Imam Zamin tied to her arm on one side and her tear-filled eyes on the other. Her hands were raised towards the skies, in what I believe was a genuine, earnest dua (prayer) thanking God for her return home. When I reminisce, my heart becomes sore, as grief overcomes and a sort of sadness completes me.

A resplendent looking BB, a bit heavy-set, ready to take on the mantle again, in a purple dress, garlanded, climbing the rickety stairs leading to the stage, shouting hoarsely, snuffed out moments later.

Assassinated.

Killed…BB becoming yet another name in the list of unfortunate young dynastic politicians gone too soon.

I still believe in democracy, though I may not have blind faith in her party anymore. And when I speak in the first person, I speak for many Pakistanis who I know have gone through the same metamorphosis. Allegiances and loyalties can be diehard but only up to a point. After that, sensibility and the inherent human mechanism of self-defence take over.

BB has gone. My love for her has not. For even though now I will vote not for the arrow but will vote for “change” as they are calling it, I know that when we lost her, we lost one of Pakistan’s most beautiful minds. She meant well. For me, she is not the saint they are making out of her at Garhi Khuda Bukhsh.

For me, it is a woman who tried to make this country better, and was sincere for the most part, but maybe did not succeed too well. For me, she is forever loved, forever missed.

Read more by Farahnaz here or follow her on Twitter @FarahnazZahidi

 

Farahnaz Zahidi

Farahnaz Zahidi

Farahnaz is a writer and editor, and has worked as the Features Editor with The Express Tribune. Her focus is human-centric feature stories. She now writes as a freelancer, and works in the field of marketing and corporate communications. She loves literature and traveling. She tweets on @FarahnazZahidi. Her work can be seen at chaaidaani.wordpress.com/

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • http://salmanzq.blogspot.com/ salmanzq

    This piece reflects my own feelings that it almost felt like I had written it myself! Truly sad – Pakistan and it’s heroine.Recommend

  • Hanif

    Well written, we still love BB, the eloquent and graceful lady which represented Pakistan on world stage. May her soul rest in peace. Recommend

  • Parvez

    Extremely well written, you have, I am sure, managed to convey the thoughts of many.
    After reading her brilliant last book ‘Reconciliation’ which is said to be written entirely by herself, I do believe that she underwent a certain radical change in the months before she was killed and if given the opportunity she would have done some good for us.Recommend

  • Tipu

    @Farahnaz : Beautifully written. I respect your feelings, your love and admiration that you got from BB’s life. However, lets be straight, BB was not devoid of mistakes and shortcomings and the worst part of it was that she didn’t even try to rectify them as you have mentioned in your article. As somebody said “The final test of a leader is that he leaves behind him in other men the conviction and will to carry on”. When I read it, I don’t find anything in myself, neither the conviction, nor the will. She belonged to that particular breed of politicians who liked power and they were in it for power. Lets accept it, after her demise it was bound to be either Zardari or Bilawal or Assefa or Bakhtawar who could have taken over the party and the country anyway? What good in it was for me, for you or for anyone else to shout slogans of BB ? What good in it is for me,for you or for anyone else to see our own children dying of hunger, poverty, the injustice and the anarchy, devoid of even the basic necessities of life with no future, no hope and opportunity while the likes of Bilawal and Sharifs and the rest of the clan keep ruling us for centuries? I feel deep regret for her children though and how I dearly wish she had not married this one person we now know as the president of our unfortunate country. May her soul rest in eternal peace.

    Ciao
    A former Jiyala from PunjabRecommend

  • http://pakistani-revival.blogspot.com Ovais

    Damn it love her for what .. can you actually name one thing she did for pakistan or women of pakistan .. and trust me i can give you a list for ayub khan , zia nd musharraf …Recommend

  • sattar rind

    we are not sopped howling and our heart is crying for her ….Recommend

  • huma ijaz

    You writing has reflected beautifully what a lot of us and our generation went thorugh with BB coming to Pakistan and getting us out of dark time of Zia martial law. I can never forget her as she has influenced my own character as a woman and as a person of being strong and dreaming to succeed like no other. What a woman she was as Jalib said about her “dartey hain ek nihati larki sey” (they are scared of an unarmed girl). The truth is that they were and are alll scared of such persons but it is also the truth BB in her death gave this message that no matter what comes people like you and me will continue against all those who want to silence us. Recommend

  • Sane

    Millions of salutes to BB for making electricity so costly to afford by a common man. And many uncountable ‘blessings’ she showered to this country.Recommend

  • Ahmad Hashmi

    This is a sign of a diseased and declining nation to keep on parsing their corrupt and failed leaders for no purpose…Recommend

  • Morons

    “That she was still a better option compared to the others”

    Your article prove that the Pakistanis are emotionally driven public with no political rationalism. Why did you never considered to widen your options by allowing common countrymen to compete the fuedals? Thankfully, the media is now politically educating the public showing both the faces of these corrupt leaders.Recommend

  • Zohair

    Her eloquance, her grace, her beauty????…what about Her Corruption, Her Depriving millions of Pakistanis, Her looting Pakistan (Sharif, Ayub, Zia and Musharraf did the same…she is in the same category as them….Destroyers of Pakistan).Recommend

  • 3footninja

    @Zohair:
    ppp jiyalas don’t know how to think. they are an ignorant bunch. you cannot expect any better of them, as this this blog very rightly proves.Recommend

  • S

    Wow, how easily we sell our souls and our nation for grace and beauty. Your standards for a good leader are hilariousRecommend

  • Kaalchakra

    Well written. Imran Khan is just beautiful a man as Benazir was a woman. Let’s all support Imran Khan now. Recommend

  • Outraged

    Yeah because a corrupt leader is so worthy of love. tear leaks from eyeRecommend

  • X

    ridiculous article. you should read up on history before you start to idolize such a ‘leader’.Recommend

  • CommonSense

    Read your first sentence and couldn’t take you seriously after that.Recommend

  • Adeel

    Didnt even bother reading ur full blog. I guess u were either not born in 1990s or were too young to make sense out of things. BB’s time was a massive disaster in all aspects. Social, Economic and Law n Order. Lives had no worth, extra judicial killings in Karachi, kidnappings in Sindh and then the government patronage for the latter. Deals like Hubco and Messy Ferguson. the list will just go on an on. I think she is one of the most over-rated leaders of Asia. She did nothing but only had stuff like “Daughter of the East” and “First Female PM of Muslim world to show” Recommend

  • Yusuf

    I stopped paying attention at ” She was a flame snuffed out much before it’s time “.

    Your article, though well written, is childish and more of a rant.

    Your knowledge of Bhutto’s life and her accomplishments is severely lacking, and is basically a collection of fond ” memories ” and stories told by loved ones.

    We as a people and Nation, don’t need ( read deserve ) democracy.

    What we need is a Dictator, with an Iron Fist and Zero Tolerance approach. Recommend

  • afzaalkhan

    Well written. Never one to have any love for PPP or shall I say Bhutto family. It never stops me from admiring her grace and courage. I remember the joy I felt when she won the 1st term and her 1st press conference though having on the other side of political spectrum felt she was one of us. She might not have given good governence and her failures are too many to list but she was one of us and she remained one of us. Dying among us, that alone should be enough to remember her with kindness and fondness regardless how much we differ politically from her. RIP and God Bless your soul.Recommend

  • justME

    @farahnaz, please be respectful when u use the word ‘leader’. Bhuttos can be called anything but a leader. Quaid-e-Azam used to charge 1500 rupees in 1940 for one presence in court, HE was the man who donated 500,000 to University of Peshawar. and when he died he didnt have anything to give. these are the leaders. bhuttos were feudals and they will always be the same they will never be leaders. when this so called BB died, everyone was shocked because the PPP criminal jialas burnt half of karachi, although she was KILLED in pindi,
    P.S when someone is hung, murdered or anything …….. they are not SHAHEED, the word for the them is the same as used for people dying everyday in Karachi …….. KILLED.Recommend

  • Thank goodness!

    @Zohair:
    @3footninja:
    @Outraged:
    @X:
    @Adeel:
    Thank the powers that be for people like you! My sentiments exactly!! How anyone can fondly look back at her is baffling!

    Come on people of Pakistan, she NEVER had your best interests at heart, nor will her offspring. Wake up!! You’re capable of bringing about change, DO IT!! Get rid of her memories and stop the rampant psychological and political violation these people bring.

    Author:….just wow! You’re lack of independent thought astounds me! Words cannot describe how much I will never be able to grasp Bhutto sympathisers. Have they not screwed you over enough? No? Roti, kapra aur makaan? Where??! Empty promises! You just hold on to the fact that maybe it was because she was a woman. Yeah? Ridiculous article.Recommend

  • Raza

    Why has my comment not been added? there was nothing wrong with it.Recommend

  • Sane

    @Moderator

    Thanks for wiping out my comments.Recommend

  • Aftab Iqbal

    There is lots of people admire her, but no body can tell you what she did for Pakistan, NOT only even all Bhutto Family, her Father split Pakistan in to 2 Pcs. she also came back Pakistan to destroy more, her brothers were both criminals, her husband were 10%, and now 90%, he & she looted billions of Pakistan dollars, we gave her twice leading the country, and she promise to USA enemy No. 1 of Pakistan to hand over our beloved Scientist Mr. A. Qadeer Khan, if you people avoid all these things then well?
    what her husband and his part PPP doing to the country everybody now very well,
    after 5 years of so called Democracy, I am pessimistic about the Pakistan survival,
    that’s beautiful country Allah give us, after 65 years, people sufring, poverty keep increasing very day, when you watch all Pakistani Channels, you feel the whole country is burning. my duwa to Allah to protect this country for these internal enemies.Recommend