Sindhi version of book on Benazir assassination launched
LARKANA: Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Syed Khursheed Shah and Pakistan Muslim League-Functional MPA Mehtab Akbar Rashdi launched the Sindhi version of Qatil Kaun, written by well-known journalist Suhail Warraich, at a well-attended ceremony held at the local press club on Saturday. Appreciating the author’s efforts in compiling various aspects of the Benazir Bhutto assassination case, Mr Shah termed the 800-page book “a comprehensive account of the incident”.
Mr Warraich, he said, covered almost all aspects of the assassination of the towering political personality, who believed in consultation and taking along her workers in making tough decisions.
Describing former prime minister and Pakistan Peoples Party chairperson Ms Bhutto’s services and contribution towards not only saving but strengthening democracy as unmatched, Mr Shah said he had the honour of working with her as a worker. He brushed aside the impression that Ms Bhutto did not like to listen and consult.
Peeping into the past, the opposition leader recalled the days when the PPP had only 17 seats in the National Assembly and its chairperson was under tremendous pressure to quit the elected house with veteran politician Nawbzada Nasruallah being of the same opinion. At that time, Ms Bhutto employing her far-sightedness decided not to become part of the conspiracy aimed at NA dissolution. She believed that quitting the NA would pave the way for the third force to enter.
Mr Shah said he had advised Benazir Bhutto during the post-1997 scenario to fly to Larkana instead of Sukkur as he believed that it was politically important for her to be in Larkana.
At one juncture, he said, Mansoor Leghari, a close relative of the then president, Farooq Leghari, conveyed the message that “we are set to send off Nawaz Sharif” and asked for arranging workers from Rawalpindi and Islamabad to hold a demonstration outside the Supreme Court.
“But we refused and later I discussed the scenario with Ms Bhutto. She agreed with the decision of not giving a positive response to Mr Leghari’s call,” said Mr Shah.
Drawing the difference between a ruler and a leader, Mr Shah said a leader looks into the future and nation’s welfare whereas a ruler focuses on the chair.
MPA Rashdi said Mr Warraich had accomplished an uphill task by writing this book. “It is not so easy to write a voluminous book on exposing the killers of Ms Bhutto. It is an intricate job.”
She observed that Mr Warraich devoted almost three years to write the book and finally produced a document which only a highly professional investigator could do. She said the author must be appreciated for his relentless efforts and constant labour. “This is a reference book,” and added that the efforts put in by the author spoke volumes of his hard work. She also posed a variety of questions regarding the disappearance of a back-up van, Ms Bhutto’s waving to the crowd during her speech.
“It [Qatil Kaun] is the story of pains of a daring Sindhi lady who returns to Pakistan and in return is received by bodies but despite all odds she continued her journey. Her martyrdom is not only the loss of a family but murder of hopes.” She said only he could feel the pain who had closely seen Ms Bhutto or remained with her in the country and abroad.
Zulifkar Guramani said Mr Warraich had done his professional duty with honesty. He said it’s tragic that Larkana had now acquired a different identity.
“Whenever a writer or journalist from outside visits Larkana, he recalls that this is the place the body of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was taken to from the gallows; this is the road through which the body of Murtaza Bhutto was driven to the graveyard; this is road which saw the body of Benazir Bhutto and Shahnawaz Bhutto travelling to their last resting place.”
Prof Mukhtiar Samoo, the district historical society secretary, said the book under review was a translation of the Urdu book Qatil Kaun into Sindhi. “The translation has been done so well that it gives the impression that it was originally written in Sindhi. This book is not part of a creative literature or a fiction but it is the document of national political tragedy. The book is the essence of a three-year research and deep investigation.
“The book merits to be regarded as a masterpiece of impartial investigative reporting.”
He further said the book includes all minute details of the assassination and findings of the Scotland Yard, UN Commission and national intelligence agencies’ probes. Mr Warraich won laurels from the people of all ages and status of the country by compiling authentic reports from various agencies and institutions as well as opinions of the people who matter in his book.
Speaking at the ceremony, Mr Warraich said: “My aim is not to blame one or another of being perpetrator of the assassination because I don’t have any personal enmity with anyone but it is my professional requirement and moral duty to work honestly and impartially to unmask the assassins. This was not a common assassination as it has left a deep impact on the country.”
He said the facts and documents he incorporated in the book themselves spoke loud about the killer and his accomplices. He said he initially became emotional but later decided to remain totally impartial and honest in the research work. He said the story sans a reference of Larkana seemed unfinished as the place had been the centre of politics for 45 years.