SRINAGAR: The assassination of former Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto sent shock waves across the occupied Kashmir Valley with common people strongly condemning the killing. ‘It is a tragic incident. An act of terrorism aimed to weaken Pakistan,’ said Syed Ali Geelani, the chairman of the All Parties Hurriyat Conference. ‘We are in a state of shock. It is an act aimed at starting a civil war in Pakistan. We condemn the barbaric act and express solidarity with the bereaved family and the people of Pakistan,’ said Mirwaiz Umer Farooq, chairman of the moderate All Party Hurriyat Conference.
It is a shocking act of terrorism. I hope and pray the government of Pakistan deals with terrorism effectively and firmly,’ said Professor Abdul Gani Bhat, former chairman and now spokesperson of the moderate Hurriyat.The moderate Hurriyat has called for prayers for Bhutto in the Valley Friday.Politicians apart, the common Kashmiri received the news of the assassination with absolute shock.
‘Her death is a tragedy not only for Pakistan, but for Kashmir as well. Her death is definitely aimed at weakening Pakistan.’We need a strong Pakistan to resolve the Kashmir problem,’ said Sajjad Ahmad, 24, a university student.
‘It was first her father, then two of her brothers and now Benazir herself. The family is finished and because the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) was essentially a family oriented party, the future of the PPP as such is uncertain now,’ said Prof Muzaffar, who teaches in a local college here.Some locals are now even expressing doubts whether elections in Pakistan can be held at all after Bhutto’s murder.’How do you go on with elections in a situation like this? I pray for Pakistan’s stability,’ said Mushtaq Ahmad, 39, a businessman here.
Sheikh Showkat Hussain, an intellectual while expressing shock over killing of Benazir said it won’t have any impact on Kashmir issue. President of High Court Bar Association Nazir Ahmad Ronga described Benazir’s killing as a political catastrophe. “It is a barbaric act aimed at hindering the restoration of democracy in Pakistan. People of Pakistan should exercise restraint and fearlessly participate in upcoming elections for restoration of democracy. This will be a great tribute to Benazir,” Ronga said.
“It came like a great shock that Benazir Bhutto had such a tragic end. She had tried to make Pakistan a democratic state when she was in power. As far as Kashmir issue is concerned she has been instrumental in ending the armed struggle in Kashmir. Her death will not have any impact on the Kashmir issue because she was not a part of the process any more as she was not in power in Pakistan,” said Zahoor Ahmad of Bohri Kadal in Shehr-e-Khas.
“Whosoever has done it shows cowardice on their part. Prevailing economic scenario of Pakistan is already under distress and with the assassination of Bhutto this would further weaken its economic position. The Foreign Institutional Investors flow to Pakistan is going to get badly affected by the move,” said a management professional Khurshid Ahmad Pandow.
Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad said “The killing of Benazir was not assassination of an individual but of democracy in Pakistan which would impact the politics of the sub-continent.”Democratic Party (PDP) Patron Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has said the terrible disaster has not only struck the Bhutto family but the peace-loving people of the whole South Asian region. In a statement issued here this evening, the PDP Patron said the heinous murder of Ms Bhutto has not only added another tragic victim to the family, but has left the whole world in general and the people of the sub-continent in particular in great shock and agony. ‘I am shocked to hear this sad news. She was a brave lady who worked hard for her country. I hope Pakistan and the people there are able to bear the shock,’ said Farooq Abdullah, former chief minister and patron of the regional party, the National Conference.-SANA