Homage to Benazir in Washington

Washington, DC:  The global community of Washington DC paid homage to former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated on December 27, 2007. The community pledged support to the cause of democracy and justice for which Benazir Bhutto scarified her life.
A large international crowd gathered in the center of Washington DC downtown and held a candle light vigil at the Farragut Square. In spite of freezing weather, this somber and sorrowful event attracted many local citizens, who were returning to homes from offices. Many brought flowers and laid  them in front of a large photograph of Benazir Bhutto. The mourners held about one hour's vigil at the square: many expressed their feelings to several TV and newspaper reporters and briefed others on the latest news in the aftermath of Benazir Bhutto's assassination. Afterwards, the crowd walked in a long line  towards the White House.
 The cold and quiet surroundings in front of the White House welcomed the mourners as if they were saying that they too had joined in the mourning of the loss of a great leader. All prayed that  the sacrifice of Benazir Bhutto would not go in vain and peace, tolerance, rule of law, democracy, and justice would soon find its rightful place in Pakistan.
 The community thanked two persons (Munawar Laghari and Maqbool Aliani) for doing a lot of a hard work for organizing the vigil including securing rally permits, arranging a large supply of candles, posters, and large photographs of Benazir Bhutto. Congressman Van Hollen sent a message to the vigil participants condoling the death of Benazir Bhutto. It said:
To my friends in the Pakistani-American community:
I join you in paying homage to former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, a Pakistani patriot who was tragically assassinated on December 27 as she was taking part in a process to try to restore democracy to her country. Ms. Bhutto had courageously returned to Pakistan two months earlier to prepare her party and supporters for parliamentary elections, but her mission was more than that. She symbolized the yearnings of the Pakistani people for the rule of law, respect for the Constitution, an independent judiciary, a free and open press, civilian control of the military, and transparency and fairness in the election process. She was also a strong opponent of extremism and terrorism, and advocated tolerance and pluralism. She believed that a strong civil society and a democratic government are the best antidotes to the hate-filled ideas and policies of the extremists and terrorists.
The brave people of Pakistan are going through a very difficult period. We must stand by and support the Pakistani people as they try to overcome such senseless killings and work toward achieving democracy for their country. In this way, we honor the ideals espoused by Benazir Bhutto.




Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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