BENAZIR BHUTTO was hailed by many in the Western media as Pakistan’s last hope for democracy and a crusader against the military dictatorship of Pervez Musharraf. Her assassination, consequently, has been talked about as a blow to Pakistan’s hopes for democracy and stability.
The media, predictably enough, was following the U.S. government’s lead. Soon after Bhutto’s death, George Bush denounced the “murderous extremists who are trying to undermine Pakistan’s democracy” and called on Pakistanis to continue “the democratic process for which she so bravely gave her life.”
Some Pakistani liberals have joined in. Writing for the Huffington Post, Hussain Haqqani, a Boston University professor and former advisor to Bhutto, referred to her as “the outstanding icon of Pakistan’s struggle for democracy” and “the Pakistani establishment’s nemesis.”
But even a brief look at her life and legacy yields a different story.
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