Benazir Bhutto's Former Aide Differs from her stance

Masood Sharif reminds Benazir of 1979 tamed judiciary By Umar Cheema
The News,December 11, 2007

ISLAMABAD: Benazir Bhutto’s former intelligence chief, Masood Sharif, said on Monday he quit the PPP because of party leader’s apologetic stand on restoration of independent judges, entirely forgetting the judicial murder of her own father by a tamed judiciary.

In an open letter to Benazir, the second such letter after the one written to her by Ghazala Minallah, the daughter of Justice Safdar Shah who had vetoed ZA Bhutto’s hanging, Masood Sharif, a key character in the ZA Bhutto trial, slammed her so-called advisers for giving unpopular advice to her.

The former DG IB said he had been forced to disclose the reasons behind his decision to quit the PPP. He saluted the independent judges, leading lawyers like Aitzaz Ahsan and others, and defiant media, especially Geo, terming them ‘super souls’ and urged Benazir to stand with them, instead of taking a timid line.

He said Aitzaz and his colleagues have now become household names and Benazir should take pride as he was her party member. “Break out of the shell. Break the shackles put around your ankles by people around you,” he said urging Benazir to become part of solution, instead of aggravating the problem further.

He said Benazir’ political posturing had taken the sting out of her political standing, as well as that of the PPP. The Bhutto legacy that we all were ready to sacrifice for to any extent stands neutralised by Bhutto’s daughter. He said Benazir has been surrounded by opportunists who want to come into power, by all means, and were pushing her towards political disaster.

Sharif urged Benazir to change her political course, abandon the ill-fated and ill-advised political strategies, and it is high time for this change. He said the public that has been mourning judicial murder of Bhutto, is calling on her daughter to switch political course for the PPP and march in step with them.

If Benazir decides to ignore this clarion call of people, they are going to give their verdict against the PPP in the forthcoming controversial elections, he said. He said Benazir’s decision to go contrary to the public wishes on judgesí issue, war on terrorism and blindly following the Bush administration on extremism in disregard with ground realities were major points of his concerns.

He said many people were still feeling ashamed of being silent spectators on the 1979 Bhutto hanging. Now when judiciary is literally being manhandled and beaten into submission and when the majority has chosen not to remain silent again as in 1979, Benazir should stand with them, he writes.

“Synchronise your voice, without fear of any sort at all, like you used to in the past, with the throttled but very strong, powerful and volcanic voice of the poor, downtrodden and honourable Pakistani citizens,” he urged Benazir in his letter.

He put questions to Benazir Bhutto: Can there be a fair election when the country’s independent judges and top lawyers Aitzaz Ahsan and his colleagues have been put to lock as if the were pickpockets?

About the role of media, especially Geo TV, he said it had now become symbol of freedom by not submitting to the unjust demands of the government spelt out under the garb of the code of conduct.

“I hope Geo never opens up as anything other than what it was like, or better still.” Sharif has also criticised Benazir’s support for the Bush administration’s war against terrorism and extremism. He said now when there was strong realisation around the world about this war being fought in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, Benazir must listen to the voice of the time.

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