Sakset/Fra hofta

Å lese om Bhutto-klanen er som å lese om de blodige oppgjør om makten i fortidens Istanbul eller Roma, med en dose moderne mafia på toppen. Dette er Pakistans Kennedy-klan hva nimbus angår, og de dreper hverandre. Søster dreper bror.

William Dalrymple, forfatter av boken om Mughal-India, har skrevet et utførlig essay om Bhutto-familien, med utgangspunkt i Fatima, datter av Murtaza Bhutto, Benazirs bror. Ali Zulfikar Bhutto, den sosialistisk-orienterte statsministeren som startet atomprogrammet, og som ble hengt av general Zia ul-Haq, hadde fire barn. Bare ett er nå i live.

Vi vet ikke mye om Pakistan, dette landet med 160 millioner innbyggere. Regimet er totalt korrupt. Dalrymples essay forteller hvordan, og man forstår hvor vanskelig det er å komme seg frem ved ærlighet.

Fatima har gjort det til sin oppgave å grave frem sannheten om farens død. Han ble skutt utenfor sitt hjem i Karachi i 1996. Trolig var det søsteren Benazir og mannen Zardari som sto bak. Murtaza hadde vendt tilbake fra eksil og bød Benzir konkuranse ppå hjemmebane.

Selve attentatet var rene likvideringen, og akkurat som med Benazir 11 år senere, fikk heller ikke han noe hjelp, han ble fraktet sent til sykehsu, og åstedet ble spylt for bevis med en gang.

As the convoy neared home, the street lights were abruptly turned off. The police snipers were ready in position; some had climbed up the trees lining the avenue to get clear shots. Their guns were loaded, the roadblocks had been erected, the surrounding lanes sealed off. The guards outside the different embassies nearby had been told to retreat within their compounds in expectation of trouble. By nine o’clock, all 80 police were in position, commanded by four senior officers. There was complete silence, but for the occasional buzz of static on the police radios.

It was September 20, 1996, and Murtaza Bhutto, Benazir’s younger brother, was returning late from campaigning in a distant part of Karachi. He had come home to Pakistan the previous year after a long period in exile to challenge his more famous sister for a role in the leadership of the family party, the Pakistan People’s Party, or PPP. Benazir was then the prime minister, and Murtaza’s decision to take her on had put him into direct conflict not only with his sister, but also with her ambitious and powerful husband, Asif Ali Zardari.

Murtaza had an animus against Zardari, who he believed was not just a nakedly and riotously corrupt polo-playing playboy, but had pushed Benazir to abandon the PPP’s once-radical agenda fighting for social justice. By doing so, believed Murtaza, Zardari had turned their father’s socialist-leaning party into a political moneymaking machine for the PPP’s wealthy feudal leadership. But Benazir was deaf to the voluble complaints being made about Zardari, which had led to him being dubbed «Mr Ten Per Cent». Instead of reprimanding him, she appointed her husband minister for investment, so making him the channel through which passed all investment offers from home and abroad.

According to witnesses, when the leading car drew up at the roadblock, there was a single shot from the police, followed by two more shots, one of which hit the foremost of Murtaza’s armed bodyguards. Sizing up the situation immediately, and guessing that the police wanted to provoke his guards into retaliating, Murtaza immediately got out of his car and urged his men to hold their fire. Even as he stood there with his hands raised above his head, urging calm, the police opened fire on the whole party with automatic weapons. The firing went on for nearly 10 minutes.

In the silence that followed, as the wounded men lay bleeding on the ground, the police circled the bodies with pistols, administering the coup de grâce to several of the prostrate figures with assassin’s shots to the back of the neck. One of Murtaza’s aides, Ashiq Ali Jatoi, the Sindh president of Murtaza’s faction of the PPP, was standing up cradling a broken arm and begging to be taken to hospital when he was shot at point-blank range in the back of the head. It was all over in quarter of an hour, leaving seven men either dead or dying. The remaining more lightly wounded men were left to bleed on the road for nearly an hour before being taken for treatment.

Two hundred yards down the road, inside the compound of 70 Clifton, the house where Benazir Bhutto had spent her childhood, was Murtaza’s wife Ghinwa, his daughter, the 12-year-old Fatima, and the couple’s young son, Zulfikar, then aged six. When the first shot rang out, Fatima was in Zulfikar’s bedroom, helping put him to bed. She immediately ran with him into his windowless dressing room, and threw him onto the floor, protecting him by covering his body with her own. When the firing had stopped, Ghinwa had tried to leave the house, but the police told her to stay inside as there had been a robbery nearby. After another 45 minutes, an increasingly worried Fatima called the prime minister’s house and asked to speak to her aunt. Benazir’s husband, Asif Ali Zardari, took her call. Fatima recalls the following conversation:

Fatima: «I wish to speak to my aunt, please.»

Zardari: «It’s not possible.»

Fatima: «Why?» [At this point, Fatima says, she heard loud, stagy-sounding wailing.]

Zardari: «She’s hysterical, can’t you hear?»

Fatima: «Why?»

Zardari: «Don’t you know? Your father’s been shot.»

Fatima and Ghinwa immediately left the house and demanded to be taken to see Murtaza. By now there were no bodies in the street. It had all been cleaned up: there was no blood, no glass or any sign of violence at all. Each of the seven wounded had been taken to a different location, though none were taken to emergency units of any of the Karachi hospitals.

«They had taken my father to the Mideast, a dispensary,» says Fatima. «It wasn’t an emergency facility and had no surgeons or any facilities for treating a wounded man. We climbed the stairs, and there was my father lying hooked up to a drip. He was covered in blood and unconscious. You could see he had been shot several times. One of those shots was from point-blank range, at the back of his jaw, and it had blown away part of his face. I kissed him and moved aside. Then my mother sat with him, speaking to him, holding his hand. He never recovered consciousness. We lost him just after midnight.»

I Pakistan kan hva som helst skje. Når en av landets fremste blir drept, nekter politiet å motta anmeldelsen fra enken. I norsk forestillingsverden finnes ingen berøringspunkter, ingen målestokk for Pakistan.

The two bereaved women went straight to a police station to register a report, but the police refused to take it down. Benazir Bhutto was then the prime minister, and one might have expected the assassins would have faced the most extreme measures of the state for killing the prime minister’s brother. Instead, it was the witnesses and survivors who were arrested. They were kept incommunicado and intimidated. Two died soon afterwards in police custody.

In due course the police who were part of the operation were all promoted, except one, Haq Nawaz Sial, who was instead found shot, having «committed suicide»; his wife says she saw a gunman running away from the scene of the alleged self-shooting. This Fatima interprets as another killing by those behind the operation, who feared that the man would talk. «I rang my aunt several times to ask why none of those who did the shooting had been arrested,» says Fatima. «She just said, ‘Fati, you don’t understand how this works.’ There were never any criminal proceedings. Benazir claimed in the West to be the queen of democracy, but at that time there were so many like us who had lost family to premeditated police killings. We were just one among thousands. Nobody got justice.»

Benazir var statsminister da Murtaza ble drept. Seks uker senere var hun ute. Mannen Zardari skulle tilbringe 11 år bak murene, uten dom, men med mange tiltaler mot seg, blant annet for fire mord. Denne mannen, som internasjonalt har vært kompromittert, er i dag Pakistans sterke mann. Han er leder av partiet PPP sammen med sønnen. Forrige måned ble han omfattet av et amnesti, som bla. USA har gått inn for: National Reconciliation Ordinance satte strek over fortiden:

The NRO was a highly controversial law signed by President Musharraf under pressure from the US, which dismissed all outstanding charges against political figures, and which Benazir insisted on being passed before she agreed to return to Pakistan. To cap it all, the man Zardari has appointed as law minister, whose duty it is to oversee the cases against Zardari, is Zardari’s former defence lawyer and personal attorney.

Fatima får kanskje aldri vite sannheten om farens død:

«In Pakistan we live with this historical amnesia,» Fatima told me recently. «Such are the difficulties of the present that there is a strong urge to forget those of the past. But there are those of us who are not willing to forget.

Fatima er mest opptatt av hva de blodige oppgjørene og korrupsjonen gjør med landet:

«There is much to be done. Power in Pakistan never changes hands – it’s only the victims who change. The people of this country are so dispossessed – they have no access to justice or basic necessities. There is so much corruption. We have to teach the people to stand together and protect themselves.

Fatima Bhutto: living on the edge

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