Search
Fana Google

www.fanawatch.com welcomes you





Person With A Mission
Debate
Personalities
Conference
Controversy
Human Rights
States
Children World
Photography
View-Point
Reaction
Economy
Reminiscences
Gender
Monuments
Arts
International
Polity
Seminars
Books
Obituary
Law
Nation
Miscellaneous
Opinion
History
Elections
Society
Health
Documents
Science
Literature
Media Watch
Interviews
Religion
Muslim World
Profile
Education

Year 2006
Year 2007
Year 2008
Year 2009
Year 2010
Year 2011
Year 2012
 Home  About Us Feedback Photo Gallery Contact Us

International
Last Updated: October 19, 2007
On Board Benazir Bhutto's Flight
By Owen Bennett Jones

They were all on board. Her trusted confidantes, her boisterous party activists, her old friends from Oxford days and, of course, journalists from all over the world on hand to transmit her message to Western capitals and to Pakistan itself.

The reporters had haggled to get on EK 606. For slots on the flight, they had cajoled the Pakistan Peoples Party's media managers in London and Dubai.

For the tickets, they had had to deal with an utterly chaotic travel agent in Oslo. And as for the visas, it was a case of hoping for the best at any Pakistani embassy willing to give one. Why had they gone to such trouble? Because, by common consent, Benazir Bhutto is good copy.

'Better future'

They all knew the story before they got on board - the charismatic leader returning to her ardent supporters, the corruption charges and the denials, the extraordinary political deal with President Pervez Musharraf and the soaring rhetoric about restoring democracy, the forthcoming election and behind it all, the echoes of what happened to her father under another military ruler.

And if the journalists knew their story, Ms Bhutto knew her script. It was never in doubt. "I have reports from Karachi," she declared in a first-class lounge at Dubai International, "that over a million people have gathered at the airport."

By the time she had got on board EK 606 that number had increased to one and half million. They had turned up, she said, to show their support for democracy.

"This is the beginning of a journey for a better future for all the people of Pakistan." Just five weeks ago another former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif used almost exactly the same words, when he arrived in Islamabad on his way, as it turned out, to Riyadh. But there was no-one on hand to listen to him. A combination of lethargy within his Pakistani Muslim League Party and army checkpoints meant he played to an empty theatre.

Ms Bhutto's preparations were more thorough. Months of secret contacts with Gen Musharraf meant that even if the army thought her return premature, it would be tolerated. The threat that had kept her away from Pakistan for nearly a decade - that she would be arrested the moment she stepped foot in the country - had been neutralised.

Dancing in the aisles

And her party leadership in Pakistan had organised huge numbers to greet her. The flight itself turned into a contest between rowdy activists and exasperated cabin staff. Repeated appeals on the aircraft public address system for people to take their seats fell on deaf ears. The passengers were more interested in chanting pro-Benazir slogans, dancing in the aisles and trying to get a world with the leader herself.

Eventually Ms Bhutto emerged from her first-class seat and inched her way down the aisles amid a mob of cameramen, reporters and activists. "I am feeling very excited and overwhelmed," she said. "There are so many messages; so many press interviews, and now that I am homeward bound," she added, "I believe I can truly say that miracles do happen." (Courtesy BBC, October 18, 2007)

---Owen Bennett Jones, a former BBC Correspondent in Islamabad, presents Newshour on the BBC World Service and is the author of “Pakistan : Eye of the Storm”

 


Health
Debate
Polity
History
Literature
Languages
Nation
Technology
Controversy
Monuments
Youth
Media
Human rights
Terrorism
Elections
Books
Mishap
Arts
News
States
Environment
Economy
Education
Science
Gender
Conferences
Obituary
Society
Religion
Law
Personalities
International
Muslim World
Sports
Miscellaneous
Media
Year 2006
Year 2007
Year 2008
Year 2009
Year 2010
Year 2011
Year 2012
Home About Us Feed Back Contact Us
Copyright 2007 FANA Watch.com All Rights Reserved.