Benazir’s meeting with Shimon Peres raises question: whose agenda is she following?

Developing Just Leadership

Zia Sarhadi

Rabi' al-Awwal 02, 1420 1999-06-16


by Zia Sarhadi (World, Crescent International Vol. 28, No. 8, Rabi' al-Awwal, 1420)

Aware that if she were to return to her native Pakistan, she would end up in prison on corruption charges, Benazir Bhutto, the Pakistani opposition leader, has decided to ‘languish’ in Britain. She has a number of properties there of which the Rockwood Estate in Surrey gained much publicity.

The twice-elected, and twice-sacked, prime minister of Pakistan is also a frequent flyer to the US. She knows where the real masters of Pakistan reside. At the end of May, she appeared before World Bank officials in Washington. Benazir was all sweet reason and accommodation. She candidly admitted to making numerous mistakes while in office but appealed for another chance. She promised not to repeat these mistakes if she ever returned to power.

This was strange, coming from a person who considers herself the ‘daughter of the east’ and a natural-born leader of the people of Pakistan. But stranger things were to emerge from her fertile mind. In an Op-Ed piece in the New York Times on June 8, Benazir called for a Camp David-style arrangement to resolve the Kashmir dispute. She also proposed that the dispute be put on the backburner until a number of confidence-building measures were in place between India and Pakistan.

That is not news. Last January, Benazir had said even bolder things than this. At the meeting of Indian and Pakistani parliamentarians in Islamabad, she had suggested a confederation between India and Pakistan, common currency, common president, a common market, and open borders in Kashmir. With so much in common, why bother having separate countries? This was music to the ears of the hardcore Hindu nationalists in India.

But her June 8 piece stands out for one thing in particular: she publicly admitted to having met Shimon Peres, the former Israeli foreign minister. She wrote: “Recently, I met with Shimon Peres, the former foreign minister of Israel, at the University of California at Berkeley and realized that the process of reconciliation now going on in the Middle East - particularly between Egypt and Israel, and Jordan and Israel - may provide a replicable model for conflict resolution between India and Pakistan.”

The significance of her meeting with Peres needs elaboration. Pakistan does not have diplomatic relations with the Zionist State of Israel. The people of Pakistan reject the occupation of Palestine by the Zionist invaders. That Pakistani officials may have had contact with Israeli officials is not in doubt, but these have never been publicly admitted, much less boasted of in the international media. For Benazir, the leader of the opposition and still aspiring to become her country’s prime minister, to do so is to cross a red line.

What motivated her to go public about her meetings with Peres? Benazir is aware that her chances of returning to power in Pakistan depend on the pleasure of the Americans. She also knows that America is controlled by the Zionists. Going public about her meeting with Peres is a clear signal that if the powers-that-be in Washington were to help her to return to power, she would repay them by changing Pakistan’s policy towards the Zionist State, possibly even recognising it.

The Zionists have made no secret of their animosity to any manifestation of ‘Islamic power’, even if it rests in the hands of the secular elites of Muslim lands. Pakistan’s nuclear program is a special target of the Zionists. As long ago as 1993, Ariel Sharon, the former Israeli defence and foreign minister, had proposed to India that the two countries launch a joint attack against Pakistan’s nuclear facilities. Even if Benazir had close personal relations with Israeli leaders, that would not influence Zionist thinking about targeting Islamabad’s nuclear facilities.

That Benazir should stoop so low as to kowtow to Zionist officials, and be so brazen as to flaunt their names in the New York Times, is perhaps the most telling exposure yet of the true distance between the leader of the ‘Pakistan Peoples’ Party’ and the people of Pakistan.

Muslimedia: June 16-30, 1999

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