January 8 was they day when Pakistan was to be welcomed as the latest democracy to join the world. But that was not to be without resistance from forces opposed to freedom.
December 27, 2007 will forever be remembered as one of the darkest days in the political history of South Asia, comparable in magnitude only to the assassination of Indira Gandhi. On this day, Benazir Bhutto, two-time Prime Minister of Pakistan, first woman head-of-government of an Islamic Republic, and the face of democracy in a war-torn nation, was assassinated by a suicide bomber. She suffered five shots to her head and neck.
Ironically, the assassination took place in Liaquat Bagh: the same place where Pakistan's first President Liaquat Ali Khan was assassinated.
Benazir Bhutto stood for unity in the subcontinent. Her friendly relations with the Nehru-Gandhi family in India - which itself has lost too many members to hate and extremism - is well recorded. She had a dream: a dream to unite millions and even billions of minds and hearts. A dream for equality and development in all sections of society.
Benazir Bhutto loved her nation. It was her dream to see Pakistan as a successful democracy that respects rights and freedom. A life lost prematurely, a dream silenced.
As the world joins hands to condemn the assassination, let us remember that terrorists have today attacked that one weapon that CAN annihilate them: democracy. Let her demise not be for nothing: let her demise highlight the need for peace and democracy.