by Dr. Jeffrey L. Seif
Benazir Bhutto, 54, was gunned down on 27 December 2007. Democratically elected as the first female prime minister of the Muslim country of Pakistan, on December 2, 1988, she served as a leader in an Islamic world where women are typically not granted access to power. She served her first term until August 6, 1990 and was subsequently reelected, holding the post again from October 19, 1993 through November 5, 1996. While making a fresh bid to influence Pakistani politics in 2007, she was mercilessly slain by Islamic extremists. In the same year, 40 suicide attacks have left 770 Pakistanis dead, and many others wounded–further evidence of a world on fire.
Ms. Bhutto’s lamentable death follows on the heels of the untimely deaths of other family members. Her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Pakistan’s first democratically elected prime minister, was ousted by an army chief and then executed, on what are understood to have been trumped up charges. His son, Shah Nawaz Bhutto, was poisoned in France some years later; and another of his sons, Murtaza–who wanted to take up the father’s mantle–was gunned down by police in Karachi. Benazir joins the list of slaughtered family members, individuals guilty of trying to make progress in a world noted for regression.
Educated at Oxford University and Harvard University, Benazir gleaned from the “West” but still beamed in the “East,” where she was construed by many as a moderate voice in a region cluttered by extremist and militaristic voices. A bright light in a darkened and tempestuous world, Benazir Bhutto held out the promise of a hoped-for, new day–an illusive dream, seemingly pushed back farther into the future as a result of her slaughter.
Her shocking death reminds all God-fearing women and men, as with people of good will, generally, that we truly live in a world wrought with many perils. In possession of nuclear capabilities as Pakistan is, the thought of anarchic forces getting the better of the country threatens both the people and the region–the world, in fact. Mindful of this, join me in praying that God helps Pakistan get the better of their day’s troubles, and that He hastens the Day when He returns as the “Prince of Peace,” and brings stability to a world where it is in very high demand but very short supply.