I watched the news this morning in shock and dismay as I learned that Benazir Bhutto had been murdered in Pakistan. Having had the honor to work with Ms. Bhutto as she has fought for democracy in Pakistan, I was moved by her personal commitment and bravery to furthering freedom in her home country.
Even after living for several years in exile, Benazir’s return to Pakistan earlier this year was triumphant and buoyed by vocal supporters — as well as marred by violence. Speaking after the bombing attack on her life when she first returned, she told me that, yes, she was afraid of the assassins bent on killing her, she was afraid of being arrested again, but that she was more afraid of what was happening to her country and she was determined to restore freedom and safety in this land of her children.
I was recently asked to travel to Pakistan to serve as an observer of next month’s scheduled elections. It now remains to be seen whether democratic elections will take place as planned. The next few weeks will likely be confusing.
It is a sad day for democracy, as well as for those who saw Ms. Bhutto as a ray of hope in Pakistan’s dim prospect of becoming a strong democratic state.