Tag Archives: BenazirBhutto

Like mother like daughters

Every day is women’s day.

The International Women’s Day is all about unity, celebration, reflection, advocacy and action – whatever that looks like globally at a local level. But one thing is for sure, International Women’s Day has been coming about for well over a century – and continues to grow from strength to strength.

This day was celebrated for the first time by the United Nations in 1975. The General Assembly adopted a resolution proclaiming a United Nations Day for Women’s Rights and International Peace to be remarked on any day of the year by Member States.

Obsession is, the domination of one’s thoughts or impressions by a persistent idea, image, or desire. Since I met with Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, I am obsessed with her fearlessness, her vision for democracy, her views on human rights and freedom of speech. Today Pakistan is celebrating the International Women’s day, I would like to share not a pleasant incident, but it is linked to her bravery.

On Nov 27 1991 a friend of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, Farhana Veena Hayat was assaulted by five gunmen at her residence in Karachi. Ms Farhana Veena Hayat was the daughter of Sardar Shaukat Hayat, a prominent member of the All India Muslim League and granddaughter of Sir Sikander Hayat, chief minister of united Punjab.

She accused the province’s home affairs adviser, Irfanullah Marwat, a son-in-law of the then President Ghulam Ishaq Khan, of having ordered the violation. She claimed the rape was politically motivated because of her friendship with Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. There were two other cases set out the limelight because of Farhana Hayat’s case, Khursheed Begum and Rahila Tiwana, a Pakistan Peoples Party student activist. All three women were connected with PPP.


She was raped to send me a message. This is the worst sort of male prejudice, male chauvinism to send a message to a woman political leader by raping her friend, her supporters: Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto led her Pakistan People’s Party, chanting “Fascists,” in an unprecedented walkout from President Ghulam Ishaq Khan’s ceremonial address to a session of Parliament. Firing tear-gas canisters and swinging batons, police later drove 2,000 Bhutto supporters away from the heavily guarded Parliament House. Ghulam Ishaq Khan denied any official complicity. He told the reporters that the charges against Irfan Ullah Marwat are nothing more than fabrication.

Initially, the Sindh. The government tried to sink off the case as one of audacity and assault. The police even refused to lodge an FIR. Benazir Bhutto, along with several political parties and women’s organizations, established a countrywide campaign demanding the arrest of the offenders but no arrests were made. Protests over the rape of Farhana Hayat reached a peak on 12 December 1991 when rallies were called in Islamabad, Peshawar, Lahore and Karachi

On Dec 12 1991 the Sindh government formed a one-man tribunal consisting of Abdul Rahim Qazi of the Sindh High Court to test the case. The tribunal’s report, presented to the Sindh government two weeks later and made public. The tribunal cleared Mr Irfan Ullah Marwat of any engagement in the rape and also concluded there was no political motive behind the rope.

Mr Irfan ullah Marwat remained highly controversial during the term of office of all powerful Sindh Chief ministers, the late Jam Sadiq Ali. The two, along with the former DIG CIA, Samiullah Marwat, were blamed by Benazir Bhutto for unleashing a reign of terror on the PPP leaders and workers, which reminded her of the days of the late General Ziaul Haq.

Mr Irfan Ullah Marwat, who was elected from the PS-114 constituency on the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz’s (PML-N) ticket, met Ex-President Asif Ali Zardari on 24TH February 2017 at the Bilawal House and announced joining the party. I just got blanked when I heard this news, couldn’t understand how to respond.

While I was in shock BB’s daughter came to the deliverance;

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All faiths and all societies have given parents an honourable status. From a purely material standpoint, we find ourselves indebted to our parents, I am sure it must have been very difficult for Miss Bakhtawar Bhutto and Aseefa Bhutto to show their disagreement publicly, but it was the training of their brave mother who taught her children how to show your disagreement without being rude. Our indebtedness to our parents is so immense that it is not possible to repay it in full. Bakhtawar Bhutto and Aseefa Bhutto you are an inspiration for millions this year and years to come. I hope you always will stand strong for the women of Pakistan.

We the people


Benazir Bhutto was one of the most charismatic leaders that Pakistan’s  politics had produced. Since her return home in 2007, she had been the target of at least three assassination attempts by elements linked to al Qaeda and the Taliban. She staged a series of mass meetings across Pakistan. She did that despite her aides  appeals for caution in the wake of a double suicide bombing that narrowly failed to kill her on the night of her return from exile in October 2007 which killed more than 130 people.

“We will continue to meet the public,” she said as she visited survivors of the bombings at a Karachi hospital. “We will not be deterred.” One cannot take part in democratic life from behind walls,I am not like bin Laden or Mullah Omar, to run and hide in a cave. I have to be with my people.

“I know death comes. I’ve seen too much death, young death.”  Benazir Bhutto

She  was one courageous ,secular and liberal women leader Pakistan will always be proud of,a daughter who knew the tribulations of cloistered confinement, a sister who outshone her brothers by carrying forward her father’s legacy,a young bride who supported her husband , a mother who did not let pregnancy get in the way of politics, an leader  who could easily move with her people regardless of their race, religion, gender  or status.

In 1988 she became the most powerful symbol in contemporary politics for women,as she became the first elected female head of the State in Muslim World.She exemplified  the normalisation of women in politics and immediately countered invisibility of women heightened under Zia’s military rule. She lifted press censorship.

When I met Mohtarmah Benazir Bhutto in December 1989 just a month before Bakhtawar’s birth she was coming back from Multan after monitoring Military excerci ses, I asked her why is she soft on Pakistani print media (in Zia’s regime newspapers were just pro-Zia while in her times it was totally opposite) ,she replied;

This is because of the suppression of 11 years of brutal military rule ,let them take out their frustration , this is the difference between democracy and dictatorship , we are here to strengthen democracy.

She left me speechless but in another interview she confessed ;

I can deal with political differences, but how do you deal with it when someone says I don’t like you because you’re a WOMEN and you have taken a man’s place. I found that my opponents reduced themselves to verbal abuse rather than discuss issues. My identity comes ultimately from being a women and I felt that my life has to make a difference to the lives of other women. I was brought up to believe that a women can do anything that a man can.

The Muslim extremists  not ( Islamists ) killed Benazir Bhutto. But they shouldn’t be allowed to kill Pakistan’s hopes for democracy. In her willingness to meet a violent  death,she may give courage to other women and convince them that its worth risking their lives for the future generation.

More power to ladies like Asma Jahangir,Bushra Gohar,Sherry Rehman,Hina Rabbani Khar,Saman Jaffery,Shereen Mazari,Nafisa Shah,Farah Naz Isphahani,Maryam Nawaz,Fauzia Kasuri,Marvi Memon,Sara Tarar,Sharmila farooqi,Syeda Shehla Raza and many more

June is the month of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s birthday ,may I request you all to celebrate her  by celebrating what she said in December 1988 ;

We gather together to celebrate freedom,to celebrate DEMOCRACY,to celebrate the three most beautiful words in the English language: “ We the people”