$11-Million Monument to Benazir Bhutto: APPROVED

By Shirin Sadeghi for The Huffington Post

This week, as flood waters ravage Pakistan’s land and 20 million of its people, and after Pakistan’s own president, Asif Ali Zardari, managed to muster only $58,000 of his own vast wealth to the flood relief (a donation nearly doubled by Angelina Jolie), yet another devastating blow has hit Pakistan: news that the government has now approved an $11-million statue of the President’s assassinated wife, Benazir Bhutto.

And yes, this is Pakistani taxpayer money.

The statue itself will cost 4.7 million dollars, and it will be built on land that is worth another 5.9 million dollars. Apparently, Mr. Zardari, whose personal wealth is estimated to be more than 1 billion dollars, just couldn’t afford to donate the land or the statue in honor of the mother of his children.

His government decided the people of Pakistan could afford it, though. People who, according to the World Bank, have an average per capita income of $870 annually.

Admirably, the people of Pakistan have taken it upon themselves to try and stop this misguided use of funds in the midst of a national disaster. A legal action failed, but now a petition is available online.

Another day, another battle in the Pakistani people’s war for a representative government.

    • Zargham Durrani
    • September 16th, 2010

    The greatest memorial to Benazir Bhutto is what lies in the hearts of
    the people of Pakistan.She certainly would be the first to demand that
    all resources of our nation are directed to helping our people which
    is what our government has implemented, as Shirin Sadeghi fully
    understands. How many times, and in how many ways, will Benazir Bhutto
    continue to be murdered? Now during this moment of national tragedy
    should we not unite and suspend the politics of hate that feeds
    uncivil discourse?. It would be no doubt a great tribute to a
    courageous lady, who rendered everything for Pakistan and People of
    Pakistan. I wonder how mean people like Shirin Sadeghi are? how quick
    they are to forget the services of this lady for this soil who at
    least rendered her life for this country. There is no suspension in
    releif activities for the flood affected people, Government is fully
    engaged and vigilant in rehabilitation of affected people. I want to
    ask Shirin Sadeghi that should we forget our national heroes in time
    of trouble and turmoil?

    • Ashfaq Abbasi
    • September 16th, 2010

    Shirin Sadeghi’s post regarding Monument to Benazir Bhutto is not only
    heart burning but unfortunate. He is no doubt a hate monger who do
    nothing except twisting the facts and figures. Sadeghi’s post has
    nothing in it except a recycling, with a clever twist, of information
    from the announcement about the plans to build a memorial to honor the
    former Prime Minister announced two years ago. The twist in the story
    is somehow connecting the cost of the project to the current flood
    situation, thereby intentionally making the government look
    insensitive and indifferent. Given the polarization in Pakistan, those
    who hate the government and who have fought against democracy and
    supported military dictatorships throughout our history would readily
    believe that President Zardari has probably insisted on diverting
    resources from flood relief to building such a memorial. Those who do
    not have a visceral, historical hatred of the PPP democratic
    government would mostly likely dismiss this charge for what it is,
    disinformation which is part of a destructive political agenda. The
    government of Pakistan has made it clear that all nonessential
    projects throughout the nation have been suspended until the flood
    needs of the flood victims have been addressed. The greatest memorial
    to Benazir Bhutto is what lies in the hearts of the people of
    Pakistan. How unfortunate that we don’t hesitate to criticize the work
    for a lady who no doubt spent even a single minute for this soil and
    people. She was the lady who motivated people to stand up against
    extremism and said she was the first politician who “fearlessly” spoke
    against parochialism.She was the first lady who broke the glass
    ceiling as the first elected woman leader of Muslim world.Benazir
    Bhutto represented aspirations of the Pakistanis for modern democracy,
    empowerment of the poor and an inspiration for the intelligentia.She
    was a tolerant leader and had full faith in democracy, an inspiring
    figure for the people desiring change in their lives. But the people
    like Shirin Sadeghi can not understand this as their aims are heinous.

    • Akhan
    • September 21st, 2010

    The above comments are a regurgitation of an article in the Huffington Post by a PPP die hard which is doing the rounds on almost every blog/article which talks about the monument being made to Benazir. These comments show yet again that this current Government has no idea what the reality is on the ground- no idea exactly what the average man thinks of them. This is a Government which has so little credibility that the word “democractic” in reference to them is laughable.

    The people of Pakistan are not angered by the fact that a monument is to be built to commemorate Benazir, their anger has nothing to do with Benazir. The people are angry because approving the use of Rs.1 billion of state funds at this time when over 20 million of your people are suffering the worst conditions imaginable due to the floods and we are begging every country to donate, shows a distinct lack of compassion on the part of the Government. More importantly if our own Government has no compassion for its people, then why should anyone else. This is not the time for building monuments, for anyone. This is the time for building our country, before it is too late. As for the PPP die hard who wrote the above comments in response to the Huffington post article – my comment would be to stop complaining – are you not a so called democractic government? If so, then this is democracy for you, it’s a two way street – get used to hearing the voice of your people, because its only going to get louder now.

    • We at Pakistanis for Peace agree with you completely AKhan. There is not many Pakistanis who are opposed to the statue of B Bhutto, however this is not time for it and at such an immense cost. Common sense is missing on the part of Zardari’s government. All they seem to do is think of themselves and their party and not the people of Pakistan.

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