I wrote that ‘Benazir Has Bottle’, and that she represented the best hope for Pakistan. My opinions were partly based on knowing her a little at university in the 1970’s. If she was in a room, there was little point in remaining there for long, as there was only one person of significance present. She spoke loudly and often insensitively to the people around her and I usually took the presence of Benazir as a cue to depart. Despite her snobbish characteristics, she had the best people as her friends, who supported her endlessly in her constant attempts to free her father from jail.
She regarded herself not so much as a democratic politician, but more like a Queen, as one who was entitled by birth. As such she enjoyed the hostility of the rest of her own family, with her mother and her brothers operating against her. Her charm and beauty, and ability to speak to ordinary people were the basis of her power, as well as her name. As such she resembled Princess Diana, as a figure who stood above the crowd and could inspire the love of millions, whatever the reality of her true nature.
As with Diana, only in death does she enjoy the retrospective support of her family. Both had remarkable courage. Both knew that others were planning their demise and refused to bow to the threat. The influence of both of them will live on beyond the grave. Pakistan will not give up the dream of democracy that Benazir bequeathed, and the ending of the power of the state bureaucracies. In Britain too, the influence of Diana as a person who cared and would stand up for what she believed was right, will stay with people.
By killing the inspirational people that they detest and fear, the nonentities that order their deaths will find that their influence ends up becoming all the greater.
I send my condolences to Pakistan and salute the passing a great woman. She is gone, but her influence on future events lives on. It was a privilege to have met a her on the few occasions that I did.