Thursday, December 27, 2007


Benazir Bhutto was shot dead today...Shot in the neck and chest as she was getting into the car..We were formulating our strategy on how to make our coverage of the Himachal Pradesh election results extensive when news of a bomb blast at Benazir Bhutto's political rally was first broken on our tickers... Within half hour we were told Benazir was injured...the jaded journalists in us including yours truly, immediately ruled that Benazir would have gotten herself admitted at the hospital to earn a couple more of political brownie points that would help her mount a stronger challenge in the upcoming General Elections there...after all, she was campaigning for democracy at this rally in Rawalpindi too... But our jaws dropped when Pakistani channel ARY flashed that Benazir Bhutto had succumbed to her injuries....The next two hours went in a flurry of activity...the news room buzzed...wire copy was converted to scripts, reactions from all across the world sought, collated and put on air...old footage was taken out of the library...No one had anticipated such an end to Benazir...No one was prepared.....Adrenaline kept us rolling...and then endless amounts of coffee... It was like a personal brush with death, after all we had lived her happiness with her, as she stepped back on the soil of pakistan after her self imposed exile for over seven years, dressed in the colours of Pakistan...a striking woman who within a day of surviving an attempt on her life during the rally marking her return, had started her crusade against Musharraf....We had reported on how she was seen to have been growing soft on the dictatorship in Pakistan, thanks to a personal pact with Musharraf...But then we changed tracks and gave her credit for redeeming herself in the eyes of Pakistanis by denouncing the emergency...and vowing to fight Musharraf all the way... Even as the emotional reaction to assassination started to subside, there were voices heard in the news room, rationalists who were already talking about how astrologers had predicted that she might not survive till February...Another point to astrological predictions, the argment continued.... Someone said she was a corrupt lady...corrupt to the core...But did that matter at this juncture? She was no more...For her kids, she was just a mother...she was not a corrupt administrator..The visuals of grief among her party members and then at her home in Dubai spoke of personal bonds forged over the span of 54 years... That kind of grief isnt crafted, right? But there too there were doubts...Perhaps a different kind of blood ran in the veins of politicians? She had after all publically said many times that her life was constantly under threat, that her children were prepared to hear about their mother's death...Can children be that prepared? Or are politician's children different? They are my musings...I feel bad...No human being, however corrupt deserves such a cruel end...No life should end this way...Not even a chance to give her youngest daughter a parting reassure her that her mother will be there with her in spirit atleast... As each interview of hers is played out across different channels, the images linger...a young gawky Benazir, by her father's side...a her husbands side...with her children... Terror won....Whoever hatched the conspiracy...the world a leader with charisma...three children lost their mother...Its a loss...Death leaves a chill behind...a desperate need to take stock of life....before Time ran out...

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