L’Affaire Bhutto: A Story Of Political Filth
January 2, 2008
Jemima Khan referred to Benazir Bhutto as a ‘kleptocrat in a Hermes scarf.‘
This is no Aung San Suu Kyi, despite her repeated insistence that she’s “fighting for democracy”, or even more incredibly, “fighting for Pakistan’s poor…”
It’s all totally bogus. Benazir may speak the language of liberalism and look good on Larry King’s sofa, but both her terms in office were marked by incompetence, extra-judicial killings and brazen looting of the treasury, with the help of her husband — famously known in Pakistan as Mr 10 Per Cent.
In a country that tops the international corruption league, she was its most self-enriching leader.
Benazir has always cynically used her gender to manipulate: I loved her answer to David Frost when he asked her how many millions she had in her Swiss bank accounts. “David, I think that’s a very sexist question.”
A non sequitur (does loot have a gender?) but one that brought the uncomfortable line of questioning to a swift end.
Of all Pakistan’s elected leaders she conspicuously did the least to help the cause of women. She never, for example, repealed the Hudood Ordinances, Pakistan’s controversial laws that made no distinction between rape and adultery.
What did Bhutto care about? (This Daily Mail story is so strange, it defies description)
She cared about what she looked like under her clothes. I introduced her to Victoria’s Secret, the sexy stylish underwear company, whose range she loved and always wore. She was very Americanised and wore her headscarf only when it was politically correct to do so.
“A stuffed Bengal tiger was among one of the more bizarre possessions which greeted visitors to the Surrey mansion.”
Someone call PETA.
Bhutto’s antipathy for the plight of her Muslim sisters should come as no surprise. Outside of Pakistan she would come to be known as ‘Oxford’s party girl.‘
The clocks of her alma mater Oxford University, where she once threw the best parties and drove a yellow MG, had just struck a quarter past one when Miss Bhutto succumbed to her injuries in a Rawalpindi hospital.
With her, for the time being at least, died the dynastic ambitions of a family which has dominated Pakistani politics for decades, in the way that the Kennedys and Nehru-Gandhis bestrode the United States and India.
And like those other clans, power for the Bhuttos came hand in hand with tragedy. Benazir’s father and two brothers were all killed.
She is survived by her three children and husband Asif Ali Zardari, who was known as “Mr Ten Per Cent” for the allegedly corrupt deals he cut while serving in his wife’s governments.
Miss Bhutto was born to privilege and political influence. Her grandfather was Sir Shahnawaz Bhutto, one of the highest ranking politicians during the British Raj.
…Benazir was known to family and friends, was a thoroughly westernised teenager, living a life of “idyllic ease”.
Though Muslim, she was educated in Pakistan by an English governess and Catholic nuns before, aged 16, being sent to study politics at Radcliffe College in Cambridge, Massachussetts.
That was hard for her at first, she admitted, because it was so cold and, without a chauffeur, she had to walk to school for the first time.
Still, she dressed in clothes from Saks Fifth Avenue and enjoyed a lifestyle similar to that of any spoiled daughter of a wealthy foreign potentate.
When Benazir graduated she went to Oxford to study international law and politics. Her ambition was to enter the Pakistani diplomatic service.
Her parties at Oxford were always well attended and liberally supplied with alcohol. Although she later denied it, Benazir loved to dance at these events, which would have been considered scandalous back home given that both sexes were present.
A contemporary recalls: “Her Oxford lifestyle was almost a parody of the rich Islamic girl released from the constraints of a rigid Muslim home. Stories of her exotic love life abounded.
(Bhutto behaviors were to influence Hillary Clinton. The Democrat candidate for president knows what to say whenever she has to attract voters and when to play the ‘poor me, I’m just another victim of men’ card. It’s no mystery as to why Hillary felt drawn to Sister Bhutto.)
“When she stood for the presidency of the Oxford Union, she skilfully used the rumours about her un-Islamic activities to flutter her eyelashes at the male voters.
“At the same time she rallied the feminists with the suggestion that she would be held back by the male chauvinists and reactionaries – even though they were the kind of men with whom she enjoyed her leisure time…”
In spite of her promises to improve the lives of the poor, little was achieved and in 1990 she was sacked by the president amid allegations of corruption…Once again Zardari, her investment minister as well as husband, was at the centre of sleaze allegations.
It was claimed that he had earned millions in illegal commission for brokering government deals on goods ranging from jet fighters to gold, and after three years in office Bhutto’s government was again dismissed in disgrace.
By then the former cricketer Imran Khan, a contemporary at Oxford, had become one of her sternest critics.
Shortly after the Bhutto government fell he told a rally: “The bowler has taken the first wicket, and you know whose wicket that was – Asif Ali Zardari, who holds the world championship for corruption.
“And the second wicket to fall was that of Benazir Bhutto, the world champion in telling lies, who has a shawl on her head, prayer beads in her hands, and thievery in her heart.”
When the cheers died down, he added: “Now, if you will let me be the bowler, and you take the catches, we can bowl them all out and rid Pakistan of this political mafia.”
Zardari was arrested once again. This time he spent eight years in jail being investigated, though never successfully prosecuted, on a variety of charges, including complicity in the shooting of his wife’s estranged activist brother Murzata Bhutto.
Documents were produced which showed that the family had secret bank accounts and offshore companies in the Isle of Man and Switzerland, and Miss Bhutto was accused of money laundering. In 2003 a Swiss court found her guilty and she was given a six-month suspended jail sentence.
Her £4.5million ten-bedroomed mansion and country estate near Godalming in Surrey was bought with the proceeds of her corruption, Pakistani prosecutors alleged. They launched court proceedings in the Isle of Man to recover some £ 750million.
Miss Bhutto denied all charges…
Hillary, Mark Penn and Benazir Bhutto make for strange bedfellows.
So let’s recap: Hillary Clinton lionizes Benazir Bhutto, supporting her return to the Pakistani political arena.
Mark Penn, adviser to Hillary takes money from Bhutto for his ‘influence.’
Penn also does work for Blackwater.
President Bush is accused of orchestrating Benazir Bhutto’s return to Pakistan (Of course, no one twisted her arm to return. Once corruption charges were dropped, she could hardly wait to get back. Apparently, Mr Bush was also capable of having 3 million Pakistanis welcome Bhutto, the unwanted and corrupt carpetbagger, but was unable to steal the last mid term elections).
President Bush is also accused of conspiring with Pervez Musharraf.
Mr Bush is accused of conspiring in support of both Musharraf and Bhutto. So far, no one has accused Mr Bush of conspiring with Al Qaeda- not yet, anyway.
American presidential candidates all speak highly of the corrupt Bhutto and bemoan her sad end.
The Bhutto Affair proves one thing. Politics is a filthy business. If you believe any of them are imbued with integrity, you are an idiot.