The below is a letter to the editor that was not published today by the Observer:

When Benazir Bhutto’s father was executed by General Zia-ul-Haq, no western commentator could have pointed to the Islamist generalissimo as a herald of Social justice and expect to get away with it.

Yet this is precisely how William Dalrymple now explains and apologises for the “rise” of the Islamic right in Pakistan (“Pakistan’s flawed and feudal princess”, 30 December). The Jamaat-e-Islami were Zia’s most fervent and violent supporters; more recently they threatened to resign their assembly seats if Zia’s notorious Hudood ordinances on rape (whereby a rape victim could be stoned if she could not produce four male witnesses) were changed; and today
their totalitarian manifesto includes the death penalty for anyone who leaves Islam.

In any sane political discourse, uncoloured by cultural relativism, this politics is fascistic. The political Islamic movement offers the Pakistani people and the Middle East nothing that they haven’t already suffered under Zia, Musharraf or any pro-western dictatorship.

Maryam Namazie
Council of Ex-Muslims of Britain


  1. Maryam,I don’t think she had done any good for Pakistanis. Women were more suppressed during her regime and she did nothing even for the women. She herself was fascistic and dictatorial. Feudal lords, her husband being one, had a good time during her two terms.She should have got rid of the sickness of feudal lords. She and her husband were both corrupt. She failed miserably two times. What good could she do the third time?

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