Friday, October 19, 2007

Pakistan: Where Next?

What a contrast a few short hours and miles makes. Benazir Bhutto arrives to great celebration at Karachi airport to thousands of supporters but as the party atmosphere of many filled the streets an hand grenade followed by a suicide bomb attempt killed upwards of 130 people many of them part of Ms Bhotto's security detail. She had only made half her intended route to a rally marking her return.

Her return is an attempt to return democracy to Pakistan and rein in the militancy that has grown there since 9-11. Of course she knows the risks she has taken, Al Qaeda and Osama Bin Laden have both issued death threats against her should she return.

In a area of the world sadly reknowned for politcal assasinations this stands out as the greatest single act of carnage in Pakistan. Even General Musharraf said the attack was a "conspiracy against democracy". So the war against democracy has a new target, this time close to their hinterland, and has taken yet more innocent victims.

If a Pakistani who says enough is enough and is seeking to change the outlook is targetted we know that our own leaders have to try harder to understand and seek a solution which doesn't cause total antagonism. If that moment has not already passed.

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