This day 25 years ago: Benazir's Predicament

Two court judgements in Pakistan have caused more political embarrassment to prime minister Benazir Bhutto than all her misjudgement of the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. The liberals in that country, whose leadership Benazir Bhutto aspires to are reassessing the social and political orientation of their country in the light of what “The Dawn” has described as “the tale of two verdicts”. The death sentence awarded to two Christians (one of them a 14-year old boy) in a blasphemy case impinges on Pakistan's social and political order in the context of Benazir Bhutto's claims of being the ruler of a modern state. Needless to add, the blasphemy case verdict has brought irreparable discomfiture to the Bhutto regime in general and Bhutto in particular. While the international community (U.K. and the U.S. in particular) is agitated over the verdict of a sessions court in Lahore which has awarded the death sentence to a Christian boy and his uncle, the human rights establishment in Pakistan is out to restore some kind of sanity to the Pakistan society which is emotionally worked up with the tacit encouragement in the fundamentalist lobby. Benazir Bhutto would like to control the fundamentalist hysteria and make common sense with the human rights activists that have ravaged Karachi and other places. This is her dilemma.

The death sentence has been appealed against and the Lahore high court has started a hearing on the appeal.

Also Read: This day 25 years ago: For God's sake, go