News Release

Pakistan

SAMEER DOSSANI
Director of 50 Years Is Enough, a group that scrutinizes major international financial institutions, Dossani, a Pakistani-American, said today: “While the death of Benazir Bhutto is the latest in a long and tragic line of blood that has been spilled in Pakistan’s history, it should not detract from our analysis of her legacy. Benazir Bhutto, like nearly every politician in Pakistan today, saw her role as twofold: first to implement the interests of her political backers in Pakistan, which in her case were the feudal lords from the southern state of Sindh, and second, to implement the interests of the U.S establishment, Pakistan’s primary benefactor for over 30 years. … We should not forget that she was among those leaders who sacrificed Pakistan’s own economic and political development in order to remain on good terms with the U.S.”

ANITA WEISS
Recently back from Pakistan, Weiss is currently in D.C. and is available for a limited number of interviews. She is co-editor of the book Power and Civil Society in Pakistan and is professor of international studies at the University of Oregon. She said today: “The heinous assassination of Benazir Bhutto leaves Pakistan with two critical political voids. Pragmatically, there was to have been an election on Jan. 8 that would have resulted in the Pakistan People’s Party winning the majority of seats in the National Assembly and Pervez Musharraf, as president of the country, would have invited Benazir to form a government. She, along with her party, was the only national political figure of consequence who was freely allowed to campaign; there were either obstacles set up for other leaders or parties or else other viable contenders were boycotting the election. Musharraf, prodded by the U.S. government, was on board with this scenario as it would have also legitimated his own political position.

“Of perhaps even greater importance is the symbolic void this assassination has left. For the vast majority of people in Pakistan — even those who supported other political leaders and parties — Benazir Bhutto represented her father’s legacy, the promise that someday the state would care for all people in the country.”
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JUNAID AHMAD
President of the U.S.-based National Muslim Law Students Association, Ahmad was last in Pakistan this August. Ahmad is a member of the Pakistan-based People’s Rights Movement, a progressive political confederation of social movements.
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DAVID BARSAMIAN
Barsamian, a radio journalist and founder of Alternative Radio, has been in Pakistan since Nov. 30. He said today: “Pakistan is showing characteristics of a state that is falling apart. The military basically is in control. The intelligence agencies exercise enormous power. The assassination was predictable. … Musharraf sacked the Supreme Court Chief Justice in March. Since then he has taken more autocratic measures supposedly to curb extremists but in fact aimed at the moderate opposition, lawyers, judges and the media.” Barsamian’s latest book is Targeting Iran.

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020 or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167