O-Level students get up close and personal with the textbook BB
KARACHI, Oct 22: Most youngsters who are part of Pakistan
Peoples Party (PPP) or support it have mostly only encountered Benazir Bhutto on
the pages of books or on the Internet. But this has not deterred many of them
from backing her because their elders have made sure they are well conversant
with the party's ideology.
"The number of children that you must have
seen on TV during the rally should be a good enough example that we PPP fellows
grew up in an environment that enabled us to respect BB the same way as we
respect Fatima Jinnah," said Haseeb Chandio, an O-levels student.
Nineteen-year-old Jam Usman, an A-Level student, recalled staying up all
night waiting for the poll results to be announced. "My father has been with the
PPP for as long as I can remember. I have grown up with the excitement of
elections and seeing MNAs and MPAs from all over the province coming in to see
my father at odd hours." Usman comes from a well-known political family and has
a strong sense of loyalty towards the PPP, the reason for which, he says, is not
Benazir herself. "It is not so much Benazir who is an icon for me, but it is the
party, which has been a part of my upbringing even though it has remained
relatively inactive over the last few years." He said in his immediate and
extended family, every child grew up a staunch PPP supporter and had some kind
of a direct link with the Bhutto family. He hopes to follow in the footsteps of
his father and uncles who are all politicians and become one himself one day.
However, this sentiment seems to be part of only those who have grown up
with politics as a way of life. Others do not know much about Benazir as a
leader and do not have any particular liking for the party either.
is making all the right promises and saying all the right things, and I don't
see anyone else getting as much importance at the moment but hearsay tells me
differently about her when she was in power. Of course what matters is not what
she has done in the past but what she can do for the future," said Hussain
Ghaznavi, another A-level student. He felt people really wanted her to return
and it seemed like the right thing at the moment because Musharraf, who he
believed had done a good job as president, was also in agreement with
Most of Hussain's fellow students were also supportive of President
Musharraf and believed Benazir Bhutto could be the perfect choice if they were
One of them, however, felt skeptical a woman could
lead. "I don't think a woman as a leader is a very good idea," said Talib Rizvi.
"Women are generally more emotional and even Islam says two women make one
witness. It's just the way God has made them and I for one don't see a woman in
charge as a very good idea." He substantiated his rationale by using Benazir
herself as an example. "She had her chance twice and hasn't been seen since and
now suddenly she is back for the elections. Isn't that a little dodgy?" he
questioned. Talib also commented on the slogan "Benazir aaye gi, rozgar laye gi"
and said what good would jobs do for the people who had lost a family member
because of the bomb blasts at Bhutto's reception rally. "If people keep dying
because of the rallies she will be conducting over the next two months, what do
the poor stand to gain from the jobs she creates if she comes to power? The
people who have died have families who are now suffering in so many ways, all
because they felt the need to support not the country but a leader who may or
may not come into power in the next two months. That's very irresponsible."
Tazeen Bari, 18, said she didn't know Benazir except for the general
history of Pakistani leaders but after the bomb blasts and the death of so many
people, she thinks Benazir should be disallowed from even contesting the
elections. "I am horrified at how a political leader can put the lives of
innocent people at stake just to make a show of her popularity. Her speech could
have more effectively been communicated through a press conference as was done
later on anyways."
However, 16-year-old Aurangzeb Ghaznavi had a very
important point to make. "If people don't start thinking for themselves and just
follow in the footsteps and schools of thought of their elders, which are fast
becoming obsolete like our politicians, the next generation to come into power
will repeat the mistakes and it will become a vicious cycle." Daily Times
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