hearts and thoughts are with the Pakistani people as they mourn
the death of Benazir Bhutto.
We extend our deep sorrow to her family and the millions of supporters
who for decades have seen the Bhutto family as a source of inspiration.
We also extend our condolences to the families of the other Pakistanis
who were killed in this heinous crime.
at CODEPINK were in touch with the
former Prime Minister when we were writing our book Stop
the Next War Now. In fact, Bhutto graciously contributed
an essay that was a plea to counter extremism and "a clash
of civilizations that can lead to Armageddon, where there will be
no winners on earth."
Bhutto's death proves anything, it is the utter failure of Musharraf's
regime and the utter failure of the Bush administration's policy
of supporting Musharraf.
Pakistani civil society has long been calling for Musharraf to resign.
Now leaders like former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif have added their
voice to that call, publicly holding Musharraf responsible for Bhutto's
death and demanding he step down.
agrees that Musharraf is the biggest obstacle facing a democratic
Pakistan today. He is not capable of either fighting extremists
or building a society that respects the rule of law. CODEPINK
cofounder Medea Benjamin and activist Tighe Barry recently had a
taste of his dictatorial ways when they were kidnapped and carjacked
at gunpoint by government agents, and then deported for supporting
the pro-democracy movement. Click
here for a piece by Medea Benjamin on Bhutto's death.
US government must use this time to radically change its policy
towards Pakistan. The
Bush administration has been a staunch supporter of Musharraf, providing
his regime with over $10 billion in financial aid since 2001. Musharraf’s
use of US funds to crack down on the country’s democratic forces
has led to growing anti-American sentiments among the nation’s
moderate, secular forces. Please
click here to sign our petition calling on the U.S. government
to withhold assistance until Musharraf steps down and a caretaker
government restores the independent judiciary, lifts restrictions
on the press and sets up the conditions for fair elections.
should also begin to focus our attention on one of the key underlying
causes for the growth of extremism in Pakistan: the extreme poverty
that persists, especially in the tribal areas where al-Qaeda is
Bhutto spoke about this in the essay she wrote for our book. Her
words were poignant then, and are even more poignant upon her death:
neglect of rising poverty against the background of religious
extremism can only complicate an already difficult world situation.
The war against terrorism is primarily perceived as a war
based on the use of force. However, economics has its own
force, as does the desperation of families who cannot feed
and greed cannot become the defining images of a new century
that began with much hope. We must refocus our energy on promoting
the values of democracy, accountability, broad-based government,
and institutions that can respond to people's very real and
very urgent needs."
in Pakistan or in our home countries, we can pay tribute to Benazir
Bhutto by dedicating ourselves to building a world based on tolerance,
cooperation and fulfilling the urgent needs of the human family-which
are the pillars of a more peaceful world.
Dana, Desiree, Farida, Gael, Gayle, Ileana,
Jodie, Medea, Nancy, Rae, and Tighe