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‘Sad day for democracy’

By Clint Chan Tack Friday, December 28 2007

YESTERDAY’S assassination of former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is a “sad day for world democracy.”

This was the response of this country’s Honorary Consul to Pakistan, Amjad Ali, to the slaying of the 54-year-old Pakistani opposition leader and 20 others in a suicide bombing in Rawalpindi, Pakistan yesterday. The Opposition UNC Alliance and the Anjunman Sunnat ul Jamaat Association (ASJA) yesterday joined Ali in condemning the “brutal assassination” of Bhutto.

Ali told Newsday the Pakistani consulate in Diego Martin was flooded with calls throughout the day from Pakistanis living in this country who were shocked to learn about Bhutto’s assassination and were trying to find out about it. He said he has not received any formal communique from Islamabad about Bhutto’s death and is awaiting word from this country’s Foreign Affairs Ministry to know whether there would be some means whereby persons could express their condolences for the former Pakistan prime minister.

Ali said, “It is a sad day for the world democracy. We hope and pray that the election process continues and the country is allowed to choose a new government as planned. It is clear that because of the turbulence in Pakistan, a tough and forceful leader is necessary until the country settles itself and the terrorists are under government control.”

In a statement, Opposition Leader Basdeo Panday (who is currently on Christmas vacation in London) said Bhutto’s death should make people in this country “take heed of the disaster of dictatorship” and make a conscious effort to “fight for civil equality the way she did.” He hailed Bhutto as “an example of courage, wisdom, intelligence and advancement for a society desperate for such a forward thinking leader.” “Her murder is not just a loss and blow for Pakistan but for all democracies across the world. It begs the question in this country: How close are we to that state?” he declared.

In a statement, ASJA said, “We of the ASJA strongly condemn any act of this kind and/or terrorism and we are non-supportive of any criminal activity towards human life, particularly towards women. As Muslims are commanded by God Almighty to be the protectors of our women.” ASJA said Bhutto was a very knowledgeable leader who carried out her duties as prime minister in the best interest of the people of Pakistan and she was “a role model especially to women of the Asian continent and to the world at large.”

“She struggled for the betterment of the Pakistani people and she died in this cause, indeed she was a living example of what Islam teaches as regard the liberation of women. As the world looks on this tragedy, we mourn her passing with hope that the persons involved in this inhumane act should be brought to justice at the earliest possible point in time,” ASJA stated.

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