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Why the Masses are Like Sheep… Benazir, Musharraf and Pakistan’s Corrupt Politics

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benazir-corruption.jpg*Update: See results from this comprehensive poll on Pakistan politics. Nawaz leads the pack interestingly. Courtesy “Procrastination” blog.*

Compare Pakistani masses to American masses.

In 2004, the majority of American masses re-elected a President whose vocabulary is limited to about 50 choice words, you’ll. A President who has consistently made bad decisions for this country, starting with wars costing the lives of hundreds of thousands of innocent souls.

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In 2007, a large chunk (not the majority thankfully) of Pakistanis still believes in the corrupt, sell-out figure of Benazir Bhutto. But, I find the Pakistani situation more repulsive and sadder for several reasons:

  1. Pakistan was apparently established as a “Muslim” country. Ok, I am not being greedy in asking for an Islamic scholar as the leader of the nation, but at least give me a practicing Muslim? I mean Benazir doesn’t even represent the majority Sunni sect of Pakistan. Though I think that matters little because the Sunni Prez dictator currently in power isn’t doing much better either. Besides the dupatta facade on her head, has Benazir shown any signs that she even practices an iota of Islam?
  2. OK, so she isn’t a practicing Muslim. She must be a good secular leader, right? WRONG. Benazir’s corruption and swindling of the country in her past prime-ministership is of historic proportions. In fact, Benazir’s feudal-lord husband, Zardari, was notoriously known as Mr. 10%. Every investment in Pakistan had a tax of 10% that went to Zardari! Here are some more documented examples:
    1. A Treatise on Benazir’s Stolen Opulence
    2. Swiss Magistrate has enough evidence to indict Bhutto & here
    3. Benazir’s £4m Surrey mansion
    4. Bribes to Benazir’s husband
    5. Benazir Bhutto and tales of Corruption
  3. So, why do so many people still support Benazir? The masses are like sheep. When the going gets as bad as it is now with Musharraf, the grass always starts looking greener on the other side. Though in this case the grass is probably deader on the Benazir side.
  4. What about the suicide attack? What happened in Pakistan with the suicide bomb attack on Benazir’s caravan is extremely sad and unfortunate and must be condemned unequivocally. May Allah forgive the innocent souls and grant them paradise. And may Allah give comfort and patience to their families. Yet, the bomber is another example of the masses being like the sheep. In the case of the suicide bombers, many uneducated, poor or brainwashed individuals become like the sheep for the wolf of terrorism who guides them one by one to their self-murder and the murder of other innocents. Interestingly, the masterminds always survive… a clear sign of hypocricy, cowardice and deceit.
  5. BUT there is enough blame to go around. Bhutto was asked by the butcher-dictator himself, Busharraf, to take the helicopter ride to her home. But Bhutto placed politics and her ambitions to once again swindle Pakistan OVER the lives of innocent Pakistanis. How? While Bhutto herself was safely stationed in an armored vehicle probably capable of surviving a nucleur attack (!), the people on the street weren’t. Didn’t she know that an attack would kill bystanders and that it wasn’t about HER but about the people who weren’t in armored vehicles? Of course she knew. But why should she care… after all, isn’t this the same woman who hasn’t cared about the people before, gladly using and allowing her husband to use Pakistani resources for her own self-enrichment
  6. Of coures, Mushurraf now needs Bhutto for his own God-forsaken survival as President. He needs her because enough of the sheep who were previously blinded by his “enlightened moderation” were swayed finally to see some light by the open killings of Muslims in the Red Mosque. So, all of a sudden, without any due process and without any trials, all of Bhutto’s corruption cases were “dropped”. You say what? Yes, all of the corruption charges are actively being persued to be dropped by Musharraf. How low can you go? I mean, is this like a board-game where you can forgive whoever you want to and punish whoever you want? How shameful for Pakistan and Pakistanis. Though there is still some hope that Benazir will face the music for her past crimes because the Supreme Court still has some juice left in it.

So, as I said the masses are like sheep. There is the usual “herd mentality“. People get excited and pulled into the support of people and circumstances that they otherwise would not have, if they thought for themselves. How Benazir could become the leader again of Pakistan is quite simply unbelievable. How people can so easily forget is unforgiveable. How dictators can do anything to keep themselves in power is an oft-repeated historical factoid.

As I was saying, how the masses are like sheep is unavoidable. The question then really is: where are the honorable and upright shepherds?

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Abu Reem is one of the founders of MuslimMatters, Inc. His identity is shaped by his religion (Islam), place of birth (Pakistan), and nationality (American). By education, he is a ChemE, topped off with an MBA from Wharton. He has been involved with Texas Dawah, Clear Lake Islamic Center and MSA. His interests include politics, cricket, and media interactions. Career-wise, Abu Reem is in management in the oil & gas industry (but one who still appreciates the "green revolution").

32 Comments

32 Comments

  1. Amad

    October 20, 2007 at 9:52 PM

    I will ask though: what is the alternative? Personally, I would take Nawaz … at least he has some “Muslim” in him… but he too seems to have a bag full of corruption charges.

    Pakistan almost needs to start over… fresh blood. Imran Khan anyone? :)

  2. iMuslim

    October 20, 2007 at 10:07 PM

    Point number 5 was on my mind today… she was warned of a terrorist attack, yet she entered Pakistan like a sports team returning victorious from the cup final (not like the England Rugby team, unfortunately) – huge bus with her face plastered on the side – why not draw a bullseye while you’re at it? Total disregard for the safety of her supporters. Just plain selfish and reckless – is that an indicator of her future policies?

    The Pakistani government is becoming a big joke, a’authobillah. And what’s even more funny/ironic/pathetic: it has the fully backing of the disciples of “democracy”, the UK & US governments! {repeatedly bangs head on table}

  3. amad

    October 20, 2007 at 10:47 PM

    Compare the situation to India. Minus Kashmir, India is 10 years+ ahead of Pakistan with a system that WORKS! Same ethnic people, similar start, yet such different stages the two find themselves in. What a difference good governance makes!

    I cannot think of one effective good leader that Pakistan has had since its founder. Not that there is a dearth of good leaders in Pakistan, rather it is the feudal and corrupt political system that has kept them out.

    AND also the lack of education— keep people uneducated and they’ll continue to be like sheep!

  4. SaqibSaab

    October 20, 2007 at 11:29 PM

    What’s sad is PPP told so many who wanted a “ticket” to join to bring as many people in buses as they can to the gathering. Apparently, it was just those people that suffered from the bombing, while Bhutto and company were supposedly aware of the bomb threats. :(

  5. Ibrahim

    October 20, 2007 at 11:55 PM

    assalamu alikum

    Allah knows best, but to me this was all drama and set up and most everyone I’ve talked in Pakistan think the same. It helps nobody but BB and Mush. If you really want to kill a politician in Pakistan, due to many number of sellouts and lack of real security, you usually successed, i.e. Liaqat Ali Khan, Ziaul Haq and many lesser known ones.

    The reason India is “ahead” is because it chose a system (secularism) and went with it—and I think it’s more than 10+ years ahead. On the other hand, Pakistan is fighting between having a theology (even if a semi-theology) and a secular country. Plus, “external” forces are always on the move to destabalize this country unlike India. This is not to say that the blame doesn’t lie with the Pakistanis who have allowed themselves to get manipulated. The thing is more than any other Muslim country (except maybe SA) Pakistan’s government has to a certain degree accepted Islam in its governance (although by force; mostly notably during Ziaul Haq’s time). Of course, many people never liked that and hence the termoil is created.

    And, this tension has been from the word go. Jinnah spoke through both sides of his mouth. When talking to elite (at some social club like Karachi gymkhana or something) he talked like a secularist. But, when talking to common folks and the masses, it was all about Islam this and Islam that although in his heart he was a secularist.

    So, you can see the elite who has always ruled Pakistan has never been in touch with the masses except in Zia’s time to a certain degree. And, this is mostly because nobody has listened to their wishes.

    The elite seems to get some sort of support from the masses but it’s an illusion. The “masses” consist of poor people (and Pakistan has one of the highest illetracy rate among Muslim countries). Just lure them with the words “housing schemes, free land for cultivation…i.e. Makan (home), roti (food), kapra (clothing)). Exception to this is probably MQM (an ethnic party based out of Karachi made mostly of middle class), but its leadership was staunchly secular (which they hid or was not noticed initially due to ethnic slogans) while its mass was not so much.

    Almost every single supporter of BB who died two days ago was a poor person…literally farmers from the villages or those who moved to cities from the interior. In the streets of Karachi, the rate is being said to be Rs. 500…meaning, these people were given Rs.500 for coming out. Even my friends told me that a private channel correspondent asked a supporter why he was there and he didn’t have a clue that BB was coming. Yes, most people knew BB was coming but this goes to show what was the real motivation. Another of my friend asked: Which shareef (read educated/sensible/normal middle class…shareef is just the way of saying this) people are dancing or milling about on the streets of Karachi at 1:00 am (the time of the blast).

    May Allah forgive those who died, have mercy on them, enter them in Jannah and give patience to their families. And, give BB and the rest of politicans what they deserve.

    Lastly, I hope those who’ve lived most of their lives outside Pakistan would make mature statements about the situation/country because, with all due respect, they have little clue and sitting in the West and being more wordly is no gurantee of knowing the complexities and realities. I myself am careful because I’m not currently living there so can’t directly experience what the realities.

  6. inexplicabletimelessness

    October 21, 2007 at 12:58 AM

    as salaam alaikum

    subhanAllah really sad :(

    yeah, I think i’d take Imran Khan! Junaid Jamshed would be cool too. :)

  7. alwaysred

    October 21, 2007 at 2:58 AM

    I was wondering that myself Br Amad. What about Imran Khan? I don’t know much about him but from what little I have heard him say or what I’ve heard about him, it seems to be better than all these three other clowns combined.

    Aside from this, right now, whats going on in Pakistan is OBVIOUSLY being dictated from certain International Players.

    I mean the whole Red Mosque fiasco was a performance as everyone knows to SHOW and DEMONSTRATE that ‘oh look we’re going after the ‘terrorists’. Yes these people had strange ideas, but they werent terrorizing anyone in the country.

    The whole battle the government is raging against the Taliban or the tribes on the frontier is another theatrical performance being put on. These people aren’t doing anything to Pakistan or terorrizing people. But the government is being dictated to do this. I’m not saying Pakistan can’t be tough like it got in Nawaz Sharif’s time and say ‘take back your aid, but stop telling us what to do’, but this is whats happening from my understanding.

  8. Islam Blog

    October 21, 2007 at 11:25 AM

    “No people who appoint a woman as their leader will ever prosper.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, 13/53).

    Words of wisdom said centuries ago being lived out today in Pakistan.

    Not that Pakistan has fared any better under its male rulers. But this sort of does away with the so called ‘Islamic nation of Pakistan’ label.

  9. coolguymuslim

    October 21, 2007 at 12:51 PM

    Imran Khan = Nader of Pakistan…everyone knows he would be the best…but alas it can never be…

  10. muslim_gal

    October 21, 2007 at 1:00 PM

    That front page is pretty sexist. I mean granted shes corrupt but shes still a poltican and a woman of authority, but having a rather lush airbrushed pic of her and refering to her ‘booty’ is degoratary imo. I wonder if newsweek would have refered to angela merkal or hilary clinton or another high positioned female politican in such a fashion.

    anyhow, the number of dead people after the bombings is something like 130+. Sad state of affairs. May the dead rest in peace.

  11. talib

    October 21, 2007 at 1:08 PM

    “Besides the dupatta facade on her head, has Benazir shown any signs that she even practices an iota of Islam?”

    actually she was seen after landing in pakistan making dua with her hands up..that should count as a religious practice.

  12. amad

    October 21, 2007 at 1:13 PM

    thank you talib … we have 2 practices now :)

    That was a cover pic in the Sunday Times… the booty of course refers not to her body part but the money she swindled from Pakistan’s people. I dont think Merkal or Clinton has done 1% of the country-robbery that Benazir’s clan has been involved in, so in some what it isn’t about her being a woman, its about her being a criminal.

    I get the pun though… if people find it offensive, I have no problem taking it down.

  13. amad

    October 21, 2007 at 1:17 PM

    I am a bit biased to Imran… as a kid I grew up idolizing him (yes, yes, I know that sportsmen idolization is not a healthy Muslim thing)… but he did change his bad habits… starting praying 5 times and actually seems to have the country’s interest at heart (based on his outward actions).

    I would take Imran Khan ANYDAY and that would be the change that Pakistan needs and would greatly benefit from. As “coolguy” said, usually the best people don’t have the political shrewdness to make it all the way to the top. And that is one of the biggest flaws of the “democratic” system, where the SHEEP are allowed to choose their leader. Instead of letting a shoora system with a group of the country’s top intellectuals, scientists, scholars, etc. deciding the country’s future.

    That’s a different topic for a different day.

  14. Ibrahim

    October 21, 2007 at 3:46 PM

    About BB makign duaa: Don’t forget the praying beeds on her hand, which has been there since the first time she was thrown out of the govt.

    How does one know he prays five times a day or other things? On the face of it, he is a secularist as they all are. He might have left his bad habits but he hasn’t demonstrated the other side after that. It’s a tragedy that he is the best option available (I don’t think he is the best option left)!

    People who want to support Imran, I have two words fo you: Sita White.

  15. AnonyMouse

    October 21, 2007 at 4:06 PM

    I must admit total igorance of Pakistani history and current affairs (aside from some very basic facts) :S

    It is truly sad what’s happening in both Pakistan and other Muslim countries around the world… I think the question on everybody’s mind is, “What can we do?!”
    The politics is so dirty and corrupt that it would be a struggle to even get “up there” in terms of becoming someone with real influence, and once someone *did* achieve that position, they’d probably end up no better than those currently in power :(

  16. Ali M.

    October 21, 2007 at 4:18 PM

    it’s all in the disease of the heart and the desire for material possessions.

    maybe we can try mandating 3 years of tasawwuf as a prerequisite for becoming primeminister and 5 years of it for president.

    very unlikely…but quite needed.

    After all, the caliphate involved some leaders who dint even want to be leaders out of modesty, who would sleep on the sand, eat bread dipped in water and recite the entire Quran in one rakah. And their accomplishments are still felt today.

    i know my suggestion is very simplistic, but indeed it was the simplicity of the earliest muslim generations that raised their rank not only in the aakhira but the dunya aswell.

    May Allah swt protect us from the evil within us and the evil outside us. Ameen

  17. Amad

    October 21, 2007 at 9:24 PM

    Ibrahim, Imran’s “born-again” Muslim is a well-known fact. He used to be involved in all sorts of major sins before that, and that is also well-known, including Sita White. But, we have to take a man’s word in these matters. He has not been seen publicly to be engaged in any of the fawahish as he was before, and his writings also tell of this story.

    Again, let’s talk in RELATIVE terms. What is the alternative??

    You can listen here when he talks about Islam in his life:

    David Rao: As a practising Muslim do you find a conflict meeting the demands of showbusiness and your obligations to Islam?

    Imran Khan: I have never found any conflict because there is none. Part of Islam is a constant reformation of character. You ask God five times a day to show you the right path. That’s a dynamic concept. The external part of Islam is being a good human being. Politically, we want a welfare state which looks after human beings. A state where the leader leads by example. When the leader wants people to make sacrifices – and Pakistan needs sacrifices because right now it’s bankrupt – he starts from himself. He doesn’t live the life of a Mughal emperor. Unfortunately we complicate Islam with so many sects. We need to get back to the pure Islam where you have a holy book – the Koran – and the way of the Prophet to guide you.

    An article by Imran here:
    http://www.themodernreligion.com/ugly/selective-islam.html

    Here are some select quotes from an interview with Islamica magazine (unfortunately the interviewer tried to inject some sectarianism, which Imran for the most part kept away from):

    We have been so defensive about Islam, like this current government of General Musharraf ’s, under the slogan of “enlightened moderation.” It is basically a term to appease the American government
    .
    I stand for an overall reform of education. So why have they just taken the madrasas?

    The Rightly-Guided Caliphs in the state of Medina established complete justice.

    Basically what we have is a westernized elite which, on the whole, has no idea about Islam, and they look upon Islam through western lenses. Their Islam is like General Musharraf ’s Islam. It is not original. It is how the West perceives Islam.

    The problem is that we have a parasitical ruling elite.

    Whatever it asks of Iran why does it not ask of Israel? The U.S. has asked Syria to withdraw from Lebanon and yet … there is Israel occupying so many territories of Syria, Palestine, and Lebanon. Why is a U.N. resolution not effective when Israel is concerned?

  18. Ibrahim

    October 21, 2007 at 10:30 PM

    I understand you are talking in relative terms. I believe that once a person repents, you must treat him as if he has done nothing wrong…regardless of Allah actually forgave him or not becaus only Allah knows, as scholars have said. But, you know, he has always evaded the question of Sita White and his daughter (on talk shows) in the face of very damaging evidence. And, I never read any direct repentence from him. Still, I’m not sure he needs to publicly repent or not.

    I admit I had never read what you have quoted, and this is something that will force me to look into this matter. Come to think of, he divorced his wife too, which points to him not being compatible with her anymore.

    However, he needs to say and SHOW a lot more than this to convince me, and I think I talk on behalf of many, if not a majority. Also, what you quoted is all in terms of politics and governance.

    As a side note, there are two “logistics” problems with him getting to the top. This issue of having a daughter with Sita White will be brought up every single time by the very people who themselves could be involved in zina! And, in a country like Pakistan that would be a killer. There is so much dirt that can be brough him on him if he ever becomes a serious contender. Second, and this is a big reality: He is very much disliked in Karachi, by which you alienate a big chuck of your middle class society (religious or otherwise). And, this removes a good chuck of people he wants to attract.

    Still, this is all talk and not much will come out of it. The elections are already rigged and decided. So, there is no chance he is becoming a PM. It will be a surprise if his Tahreek-e-insaaf party wins more than one (his) seat.

  19. Sama

    October 22, 2007 at 12:00 AM

    A minor correction to your observation. The whole idea that this was a suicide attack is balogne. Check out what Dr. Shahid Masood -a superb journalist — is saying about this whole ordeal. They’ve got his videos on pkpolitics.com

  20. jalees

    October 22, 2007 at 1:13 AM

    The Holy Prophet-peace of ALlah on him-once said that one who resites Kalima is Muslin so it is a lame excuse to say one is sunni and shia.Are sunnis capable of doing what a shia Iran is doing or what the father of Benazir did for Pakistan in the form of Atomic Bomb.we all r Muslims an belong to the tribe of Aqaji so we should concentrate on saving our tribe ratherresiting the formuula of other to kill or hate ourselves.When we r disgraced we call shia to take we sunnis out as we did in 1071 by calling Bhutto after a shameful end in war.When smyngton/pressler amendment was killing us we called a shia a now when again the forces against us r pouring from all side,we r calling her.WHy?Please get out of the old discussion of sunni and shia.If we dont we all will be wiped out.I hope i have not hurt anybody.It is the Kalima Tayyaba which binds us nothing wlse

  21. Shakil

    October 22, 2007 at 9:09 AM

    Her return to Pakistan has been orchestrated by the US and Britain to save Musharraf. They have arranged the unholy political marriage between the woman who presided over the most corrupt regime in Pakistan’s history and the man who has the greatest record of betrayal in its history

  22. Umm Reem

    October 22, 2007 at 10:55 AM

    Don’t forget, she has performed Umrah/s as well! :)

  23. muslim_gal

    October 22, 2007 at 11:41 AM

    amad: i didnt really read the article or anything so i wasnt really aware of what context they were referring in. anyhow, no need to take it down.

  24. Talib

    October 22, 2007 at 1:10 PM

    Thanks umm reem…there you go amad, we have a total of 3 islamic practices. Seriously though i think there was a political agenda to this blatant attack in the middle of a crowded street.

  25. Sis Shaykha

    October 22, 2007 at 2:35 PM

    Asalaamu Alaaikum,

    Yes, fingers of blame should be pointed both ways.

    Sad is the condition of the ummah, May Allah forgive us and guide us, ameen

    I was really saddened to see all those poor people die, i mean i just can’t defend that. Most of them are ignorant of politics, and are only there for *hope* that she will be better to them even though she *will not be*. They are just miskeen, most of her party went unharmed, of course she doesn’t have a cut or bruise on her. May Allah forgive them (dead) for their sins, and May Allah enter them into jannah, ameeen
    May Allah also forgive the person who did this, ameeen

    :(

    Ma’Salaama

    P.S. Here is another religious sign: she prayed at her father’s tomb/grave…wait a sec you’re not supposed to do that!!!

    Plus every other act of shirk in Pakistan, and other lands. We MUST do some “clean-up”in our countries insha’Allah. Quran and Sunnah will be our tools….

  26. Amad

    October 22, 2007 at 2:40 PM

    P.S. Here is another religious sign: she prayed at her father’s tomb/grave…wait a sec you’re not supposed to do that!!!

    how can we forget that Musharraf travelled to India to pray at the tomb at Ajmer shareef in April 2005. I guess that trip didn’t help him too much! As Imran Khan said, its all “political Islam”… I don’t think they care about what is Islam or not as long as it is popular!

    http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2005/04/16/musharaff-india050416.html

  27. Amad

    October 23, 2007 at 8:07 AM

    Check out the poll on Pakistani politics… finally some data! I added it at the top of the post.

    As expected, our favorite politician Imran Khan, just doesn’t have the numbers and the support.

    But interestingly, Benazir is trailing Nawaz now. And thankfully the Pakistani population, even the sheep, are starting to recognize Musharraf’s moral bankruptcy and his popularity has dived faster than even Bush’s!

  28. mcpagal

    October 24, 2007 at 7:34 AM

    It’s not much of a choice really, the main options for the Pakistani people seem to be corrupt and power hungry to the extreme. I’m guessing that whichever one of them wins is the one that most successfully rigged the election. It’s like they say about power – the people who most want it are the people less suited to have it.

    I don’t get why all the front runners are dredged up from the past, either – is it impossible for someone new to gain popularity? Maybe the Pakistani people are thinking along the lines of ‘better the devil you know’.

  29. Pingback: muslimmatters.org » Pakistan’s Puppet Dictator Declares State of Emergency (Musharraf Won’t Let Go)

  30. jalees

    November 5, 2007 at 4:46 AM

    What the so called pious sunni and other sects have done that benazir is doing more bad?Please forget this discussion.She is daughter of Bhuttoo who was gallowed for Atomic bomb project!Please try to understand the enemies r not fater sunni and shia or whatever,they r after every one who has a Muslim name so leave these absurdities and learn to save yrself.

  31. Pingback: muslimmatters.org » Updates (12/28): Benazir Bhutto Killed in Terrorist Attack

  32. Pingback: muslimmatters.org » The “Official Narrative” Has Been Laid Down for us- On the Assassination of Benazir Bhutto

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