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Dear Mrs. Bhutto

Hi! How are you?

Whether one likes you, your politics, or your closeness to the United States’ ruling elites or not, one has to acknowledge, grudgingly though, that you (unlike George W. Bush, the facilitator who helped break your self-imposed exile and who visits Iraq or Afghanistan unannounced) courageously/foolishly took out a procession despite the deadly threats against your life. Threats became a reality: you are still alive-but over 130 people died premature deaths. The murderers will try again. Survival rate, nobody knows.

Whatever.

Seems like President Pervez Musharraf has cooled down a bit; election date announced is mid February 2008. The instant thought that strikes most people’s minds is that not much is going to change even if you are back in power-that is, if the emergency is lifted and you get elected.

Your previous records of supporting the Talibans, not doing much about the draconian Hudood laws-which were especially cruel to women, and the un-reigned corruption during your rule in 1988 and in 1993 doesn’t excite many people to see you coming back to power.

(Flagrantly corrupt Nawaz Sharif was a step ahead of you. He once said: “I want to implement complete Islamic laws where the Koran and the Sunnat are supreme.” As if the Land of the Pure wasn’t screwed up enough.)

Margaret Warner of PBS TV (November 5, 2007) asked you as to why your People’s Party was not out on the streets to join others in demonstrations against the emergency imposed by Musharraf. You could have counter-questioned her: “When George W. Bush stole the election in 2000, did you or any other reporter asked Al Gore the question: ‘Why is the Democratic Party not taking to the streets?'” But you know well that Master should never be questioned.

You were gauging the wind and when you found it favorable your party announced its intention to protest on Friday.

Millions of Muslim women fed up with the Muslim fundamentalists (militants, radicals, or whatever name one gives) and the corrupt politicians looked at you, and still look, with hope and inspiration when you first came to power in 1988. And the first greatest blunder you committed was to show up with your head covered. It is one thing to wear a scarf or a Palestinian head-gear, or anything else once in a while as a fashion statement; it is altogether different to make it a permanent fixture because of a fear of orthodox and fundamentalist elements.

This time around you want to bring “democracy” and fight the “terrorists.”

Forget the democracy. The capitalist class in the US has not permitted the United States to become a true democracy-instead it has been turned into what I’ll call “Commercialistan.” So what chance Pakistan stands to be a genuine democracy. The US ruling class doesn’t want to see democracy in Pakistan, or for that matter anywhere else.

However, if the elections are held and your party grabs enough parliamentary seats, the premiership would be yours. So then what you can do is to fight the Islamic militants. They are Bushites: either you follow our dictates or we get you. They are never satisfied unless all their demands are totally met. Remember, your Dad started giving in to the demands of the religious parties: banning of gambling and alcohol, discontinuing construction of a casino, replacing Sunday with Friday as a holiday, declaring Ahmadi Muslims (a minority) as non-Muslims, etc. His hanging or rather killing by the US supported military dictator General Zia-ul-Haq was celebrated loudly by the religious parties, among others.

Your death at the hands of religious loonies is almost inevitable-unless some drastic changes in the wake of the Emergency imposed by Musharraf succeed in curtailing their bloody power. But if the intelligence agencies in Pakistan are after you, as you claimed the attack on your convoy was carried out by some of its members then may Bush Protect You. So why not do a few things which could benefit millions of women before you say your final Bush Hafiz to this world.

The first thing you should do is to discard your head scarf permanently and wear shalwar/kurta which are well-fitted. Then resume wearing saris which you have worn in the past. It’s because of the religious nuts, who think it’s a “Hindu” dress that you must have stopped. (Remember, your mother do wear saris.)

The second thing is to stop all PDRP (public display of religious piety) and/or utterances of “A” word, that is, Allah, in public places. Allahic acts, like intimate acts, should be restricted to private places because in Pakistan there are many people who belong to other religions, or are atheists, agnostics, or are simply strictly secular Muslims. (This also applies to other South Asian countries.)

Then channel all your energy towards repealing the inhuman zina law whereby a female victim of rape is required to produce four witnesses; upon failure she is declared an adulteress. Now which bastard is going to violate a woman in presence of others; unless they are accomplices?

And fight the barbaric practices of murdering and beheading women in the name of “Islam,” “honor,” and what not. Also put a total halt of parading women naked when one or other village clan or tribe has a score to settle against its enemies. In short stop crimes against women.

If you accomplish only these things; it will not only be a great boost to millions of women in Muslim countries but it would also give them back some dignity as equal members of society.

To some people history provides a historic chance to bring about a major or a minor revolution and thereby changing peoples’ lives forever.

If you become Pakistan’s Prime Minister, you’ll be at such a historic juncture. Either you can carry on with the same old shit or do something really great and give history a chance to sing your heroism.

Bush Hafiz or May Bush Protect You.

B. R. GOWANI can be reached at brgowani@hotmail.com