Third time a charm? The Bhutto’s and…Pakistan tips from bad to worse… December 31, 2007Posted by WorldbyStorm in International Politics, Uncategorized.
What can I say? The appointment of Benazir Bhutto’s son Bilawal and husband as respectively chairman and co-chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party is surely evidence of the bankruptcy of that party as a vehicle of political change. Because the calculation that is being made is so obvious, so overt, so cynical, as to be unconscionable. And it clearly goes along the lines of ‘use the name’.
As the Guardian reports:
When Bilawal read out his mother’s political will it emerged that her first choice was her husband, Zardari. But the party elders deemed that fresh blood was needed.
With his political inexperience, shy demeanour and Armani glasses, Bilawal was not the obvious candidate to lead his mother’s party. During the press conference Zardari deflected reporters’ questions away from his son, pleading that he was at a “tender age”.
One feels that tenderness is not a feature of the Pakistani political system at this point in history.
His son’s name would be changed, he said, from Bilawal Zardari to Bilawal Bhutto Zardari – a key piece of branding in Pakistan’s tribal-feudal political system.
“We will avenge the murder of Bhutto through the democratic process after winning the elections,” he said.
“God willing, when it is the People’s party’s reign, when the People’s party government is formed, then we would have taken revenge for Bibi’s blood and that blood would not have gone to waste.”
But this is all awful stuff. Benazir Bhutto was party president for life. Quite a title, but one which had real effect. The appointment of Zardari and Bilawal is a neat piece of dynastic politics. But one which merely cements further elite groups within an already perilously flawed political system.
Who can know the mind of Benazir Bhutto now? Christopher Hitchens has argued that she had an Electra complex. But was that complex strong enough to wish this upon her 19 year old son? And it is fascinating and depressing to note that party elders forced the son into the limelight. Where are those within the PPP who genuinely hold a left line? Are they satisfied with this political coup de main by the Bhutto family? And shouldn’t any one who does hold a left perspective think long and hard about belonging to a formation that would continue in this line? Myself and Mick Hall have been discussing the issue of Bhutto herself over the last day or two. While I disagree with some of his thoughts on the matter today’s events certainly support his broader thesis of a political system beyond repair. But… since that is the analysis of commentators as diverse as Hitchens and Tariq Ali then perhaps we should expect no progress at all…