Today, yet again, we witnessed an act of savagery that now passes as part of the regular political discourse in the Middle East and neighboring Muslim countries. The culprits in Bhutto's assassination are probably al Qaeda or one of its associates from the North West Frontier province bordering Afghanistan. Also high on the short list is the ISI, Pakistan's all powerful intelligence agency. These suspects are not mutually exclusive as the ISI seems to play both sides of the political divide in Pakistan. Bhutto's courageous and vocal opposition of Islamic extremists put her in the crosshairs of al Qaida and their backers, but it was also her very public endorsement by the U.S. that made her politically radioactive.
Despite Benazir's checkered political past, there is something about her that has intrigued me. I am not sure what it is exactly; her intelligence, her charisma, her good looks or the fact that she was a powerful Muslim woman who shatters the stereotypes. It is perhaps a combination of the above. Whatever it is, there was the hope, the promise that she might...might... bring a new approach to the politics of a critical Muslim country the fate of which is now intricately linked to that of the Middle East.
An objective review of her stints as prime minister would suggest that I am wrong in having been hopeful about her. However, her last time in office was over a decade ago. She deserved a second chance; she certainly did not deserve this end.