It was a Thursday, last weekend of 2007. I had my wife’s family visiting us in Dubai. With the election campaign going at full throttle, I had planned to be in Karachi on 4th of January 2008, allowing me to cast my vote and hopefully celebrate a PPP victory. Thursday being weekend in Dubai, the plan was my family will come to my office in a cab and we’ll all go together after I got off from work to Global Village. The visiting kids were very excited and I was looking forward to a hectic but pleasurable weekend.
It was at 5.15 pm that I got a call from a friend saying Rawalpindi has had an attack. I checked on a website and it said PML-N Rally attacked, 4 killed. I said yeah unfortunate that there was an attack on a PML-N rally. He said, “nahee nahee, check karo Benazir par attack hua hay!”. One click of refresh said “Attack on Benazir rally, Benazir injured!”. Oh my lord!!! I just switched to BBC on the office TV and it said “Benazir attacked, while unconfirmed sources say that she may have been critically injured”. I immediately called up my mother in Karachi. All she said was “Yeh nahee ho sakta hay” and then the line dropped. With my eyes on the TV and ear on the phone, the worst possible fear came true within seconds “Benazir Bhutto Assassinated”. In 10 minutes time, the whole world had shaken. Pakistan had lost its leader. I had lost my leader. I prayed Maghrib and for her departed soul and walked out of the office. My family was waiting for me on the ground floor of the building. They had heard the news on radio. Everyone was so quiet. We just sat in our car and went back home. There has never been so much silence in my car. All the way I kept ringing my mother. There was no response. My youngest brother was at home, then 15 years old. He was all alone. I asked him where ammi was and all he said was “She was going to Bilawal House”. During this time, all the rioting and looting had started. So Benazir’s assassination and my family members safety worried me further. It was after 4 hours that I got confirmation that my mother was safe.
When we got home, all we did was watch TV and pray for her departed soul. Geo was running the minute by minute coverage and off course flashbacks of her life and her speeches. They also ran the episode in which Sohail Warraich spent a day with BB in London for his program “Aik din Geo kay saath”. Amongst the many questions asked, Sohail Warraich asked her that “aap Pakistan kee itni bari leader hayn, phir bhee London aur Dubai meyn rehna pasand kar rahee hayn. Iss kee koi khas wajah?”. She responded like a mother and said “Yeh shayad Allah ko manzoor hay kay mayn apnay bachon kay saath thora waqt guzar pa rahee hoon aur unn ko bara hota dekh rahee hoon”. On this response, I couldn’t stop crying. The charismatic leader was no more with us. Only her memories were. May she rest in peace forever.
She knew the dangers that faced her. She didn’t shy away from them. She looked at her death all the time and was prepared for it. On her death, all those who had hounded her i.e. the press, media and establishment started calling her a “Shaheed”. Her hounding still continues. Her family’s hounding continues. Her party is still victimized even though in power. They can hound her name, her party and her people but they cannot eliminate them.