Daddy begged mother not to go to Pakistan: Bakhtawar Bhutto

By Hamid Mir

ISLAMABAD: In a rare interview on the eve of her father becoming the next president of Pakistan, the politically active 18-year-old Bakhtawar has revealed the existence of a political plan her mother had written a few days before her assassination.

She revealed to me in Islamabad that before her death, Benazir Bhutto had written a political plan, in her own handwriting, which she accidentally found in her purse after her death. “Removal of Musharraf was the first point in the plan. There are many more,” she said.

Bakhtawar says her father is determined to implement all the points written by Benazir in her political plan. The excited daughter of Benazir is planning to raise the slogan of ‘Jeay Bhutto’ in the presidency when her father Zardari takes oath as the strongest man in the country.

“This will be my revenge for the death of my mother,” Bakhtawar told me in Islamabad as she waited for her father’s election and take over of the country’s highest political office. Bakhtawar says the history of Pakistan could have been different today if Benazir Bhutto had listened to Asif Ali Zardari exactly one year ago in Dubai. Her father tried his level best to stop Benazir Bhutto from going back to Pakistan because he never wanted to lose her.

In one of the conversations in Sept 2007 in Dubai, Zardari begged Benazir Bhutto to delay her return just for the sake of her children, who could not afford to lose their mother, but Benazir Bhutto was determined to come back at any cost.

Young Bakhtawar is a witness to that historical conversation. She confirmed to me: “Yes, my father begged my mother many times that she should not return to Pakistan. My father was sure that enemies of the PPP will definitely target my mother but my mother never listened to him because she had already spent 10 years in exile and she wanted to come back before the elections. She had a debate with our father but she won the debate with strong arguments.”

Bakhtawar is sharp and intelligent like her mother. She was born in 1990 when her mother was the prime minister of Pakistan. Now she is learning politics from her father, who would soon be the new president of Pakistan. She is staying with her father these days and witnessing the whole political exercise for the elections of the new president. She is lucky as well as unlucky because her family paid a very heavy price for this kind of politics.

She was a few months old when her father was arrested in 1990. He was released in 1992 and arrested again in 1996 to be released in 2005. Bilawal, Bakhtawar and Assefa spent their childhood without their father and they finally lost their mother on Dec 27, 2007.

After the presidential election, she will go back to Dubai for completing her studies. She is waiting for the oath-taking ceremony of her father as the president of Pakistan. She thinks that oath-taking of her father as the president will not only be a change of the face but it will be the beginning for the change of the whole system.

Bakhtawar revealed that removing Musharraf was the top priority of her late mother. She said: “After a few days of the assassination of our mother, I was just checking her purse and I found a paper in it. My late mother had written some points as an agenda of the PPP after coming into power. The first point was to remove Musharraf.”

Bakhtawar said her mother had lost half of her trust in Musharraf after the bomb blasts on her rally on Oct 18, 2007 in Karachi. The rest of the trust was lost after the imposition of emergency on Nov 3, 2007.

Benazir Bhutto was sure that Pervez Musharraf could not contribute to resolving the ongoing problems of Pakistan, she said, adding, “My mother was in fact of the view that Musharraf was part of the problem and must be removed.”

The Bakhtawar story of a political plan on a piece of paper written by Benazir was also confirmed by Asif Ali Zardari. “Bakhtawar had found a paper from the purse of her mother and it was clearly written on the paper that removal of Musharraf will be the top priority of the PPP after coming into power and we have implemented the plan of Benazir by removing Musharraf,” claimed Zardari.

Bakhtawar is also aware that a big test of her father will start after becoming the president of Pakistan. She said: “There are big challenges and big problems, I am sure my father will try to raise new hopes in the hearts and minds of my generation for a better and prosperous Pakistan.”


Source: The News, 6/9/2008

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