A tribute to Benazir Bhutto on the 5th death Anniversary

Mike’s
Speech at the 5th Anniversary commemoration by Pakistan People’s party in
Dallas, as an Indian. http://worldmuslimcongress.blogspot.com/2012/12/a-tribute-to-benazir-bhutto-on-her-5th.html

As
you commemorate the 5th anniversary of Benazir’s death, in effect, a
blow to democracy, I offer my heartfelt condolences to Pakistan and her
people.

Benazir
fulfilled the aspirations of Muslims around the world. She became the first
Muslim woman elected to lead a Muslim state; Pakistan. The year 1988 remains a
historical event in Islamic history.

Ever
since Prophet Muhammad declared that men and women are each other’s partners,
each others garments, each others protectors, each others respect, it gave a lot
of hopes to women. Indeed, he liberated women from the shackles of slavery and
chattel hood.

He
went on to say that she had the freedom to worship the creator as the man does,
she can even disobey her husband when it comes to faith. Women’s liberation took
root then, but it died down after his death.

Even
though the Prophet said to treat your women right, it was not obeyed by
many. For that matter how many people in their
religion follow Jesus, Moses, Krishna or Buddha? He wanted the
governance of people by their elected representative and not a monarch or a
dictator. The first 30 years after his death remained democratic, elected
Caliphs, though not through a ballot but was with majority consensus. But that
vision was shot by Yazid, the brutal monarch who usurped the power and declared
himself the king with absolute powers, just like President Morsi did in Egypt.

Turkey
became the first Muslim Democratic nation in the world after a gap of nearly 13
centuries; the next Muslim democracy was Pakistan in 1947. Qaid-e-Azam Jinnah’s
vision was ahead of his time in the contemporary world. Although he was
envisioning a pluralistic democracy for Pakistan, he must have been influenced
by Prophet Muhammad’s Madinah treaty, where the Jews, Christians and others
lived their faith and had the freedom to speak, worship and assemble.


Benazir
gave hopes to Muslim women by becoming the first Muslim woman leader in 13
centuries, and paved the way for those women who aspired to become the Aisha’s
and Fatima’s to lead their communities.

She opened the door for Muslim
women leaders in Bangladesh and Indonesia to become the 2nd and
3rd heads of the states. As a single Muslim woman she met with the
Muslim heads of the states and they did not flip over that, she set the new
standards and established the acceptance of woman leadership in Muslim states,
no Muslim nation would have allowed that, Pakistan did, while we don’t even have
one in the United States yet.

Had
she lived, she would have rubbed off that influence on the Muslim Monarchs
around the world to go back to the beautiful civil 7th Century Arabia, where
women were equal partners in life and not chattels. With her untimely death,
that dream for Muslim women in Pakistan is shattered, but not gone. Some one
will pick up the mantle and I hope these events highlight the courage of women.

Of course nothing comes without sacrifice. You may not agree with the
politics of Benazir, but agree and acknowledge her sacrifices, including but not
limited to enduring humility and disgusting conditions of living in the wretched
jails – because she believed in Democracy for the people of
Pakistan.

As
an Indian and as a Muslim, it was my hope to see a democratic pluralistic
Pakistan, with least conflicts between the two nations just like Canada and the
United States. Politically the Indian Muslims differ with the Pakistani Muslims
on the issue of Kashmir. The Indian Muslims do not want another division based
on religion, but the Pakistani Muslims claim their right to Kashmir. We believe
differently and we will leave it at that. When Democracy takes firm footing in
Pakistan, most of the issues will heal away. In Democracy there are no personal
gains in redrawing the state lines.

Benazir
gave a lot of hope to everyone; women in particular, there was a hope that she would uplift the
women back to the freedom that was prevalent during the times of the prophet,
the man who was Rahmatul Aalameen (Mercy to mankind) to women and the
minorities.

A
nation is judged by how it treats her weak, voiceless, women, children and the
minorities. Both our nations have to rise above. In India we need to bring closure to the
Babri Masjid issue, the Sikh Genocide, the Gujarat Massacre, Discrimination
against Dalits, the exodus of Kashmiri Pundits, Old wounds from Aurangzeb rule,
Unfair Quota system, harassment of Christians and other minorities. They are not
going to go away without a heart to heart dialogue.

Pakistan has severe
problems in this area, the absence of rule of law causes fear among her people.
The harassment of Hindus, abduction of Hindu women destruction of their places
of worship, blatant violation of rights of Ahmadiyya, Shia and Christians go
unabated and this will tear the country further apart. The first responsibility
of any nation is to protect its unprotected. Right now, it appears no one in the
governemt wants to do anything.

As
an Indian American, I just want to assure you that a majority of Indians want to
see a prosperous peaceful democracy in Pakistan, just like a majority of
Pakistanis want goodness for India.

Patriotism
is not dying for the country, or making an enemy out of neighbors, it is rather
upliftment of the own and wishing well for the neighbors. A stable democratic
Pakistan is good for the Pakistanis and good for Indians.

I hope that
Benazir’s death will become symbolic in keeping the flame of democracy alive and
hope she continues to inspire Muslim women around the world. Events like this
help. The women who were barred from driving cars in Saudi need a Benazir, the
Malalas need a Benazir so women can get their education and produce a better
society.

I
am here to pay my khiraj–e-akheedat (a reverent tribute) to Mohtararama Benazir
Bhutto.

More
pictures on facebook at: https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=2611840231275&set=a.2611839911267.69778.1713098878&type=3&theater

Pakistan
Paindabad.

Mike
Ghouse committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions
on issues of the day. Mike is an Indian American Muslim. His information is at
www.MikeGhouse.net

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