Earlier this year, before her ill-fated return to Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto expressed her belief in the people of Pakistan and how much they deserved a bright future. It was her optimism, she said, that compelled her to go back despite the high personal risks. A couple of years ago I heard Ms Bhutto speak at a conference in Abu Dhabi.
The theme was leadership and her main inspiration, she confessed, was her father. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, founded the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and was a president and prime minister of Pakistan in the 1970s.
She spoke of how she felt the day he was taken from her home. The awful memories never left her. He was later executed.
There was clearly a single-mindedness of purpose that set her apart from the rest. She did not believe in a work-life balance – pushing towards a democratic future for her country, for the wider region. Such optimism to be almost naive.
And before yesterday she was so close to a return to the summit of politics in Pakistan – a country which, because of President Pervez Musharraf’s determination to rewrite the constitution, confounded international stereotypes to reveal how democratic, enlightened and courageous its people really are. But despite Bhutto’s strengths and weaknesses, she was an optimist in a region sorely in need of them.
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