Local Reaction to Bhutto's Death

By: Kelly Creswell Email
By: Kelly Creswell Email

People in communities from Pakistan to the Valley are mourning the death for Benazir Bhutto Thursday morning. People are taking time to reflect on the 54-year-old leader's life.

A member of the Islamic Center in Harrisonburg, who actually met Bhutto and says she was very upbeat, says she could truly tell Bhutto wanted to bring change to Pakistan.

"I'll remember her as the first woman prime minister of Pakistan," says Sophia Shakor, who has lived 14 years in Pakistan. "That was a big step as a Muslim woman. That's how I will remember her."

Like Shakor, Ehsan Ahmed, also from Pakistan, says Bhutto made an impact in his life.

"So she was only 35 when she became the first woman prime minister which, for my generation, was very important. Not only that, we needed a leader who can improve the well-being of Pakistan, but also well-known in the rest of the world," said Ahmed.

Ahmed met Bhutto twice, and felt she was the one who could bring change to Pakistan. However, despite her popularity, Bhutto also had many enemies and people who didn't think her movement toward democracy would work.

"I think people were just really excited that she came back to Pakistan after eight years, and people who were not happy with Musharraf's government were really excited to have her back, but I don't think anything would have changed her being prime minister," says Shakor.

But as controversial as Bhutto was to people across the world, Ahmed believes she was making great progress towards a better government in Pakistan. He now fears that may be lost.

"Really, the movement in democracy does not depend on one person. It is the institution that needs to be established, but it has become more difficult than it was yesterday," says Ahmed.

He says she was fighting for the rights of women. She was fighting for the rights of the common people. And she wanted to get rid of all the violence in the country.

In looking to the future, Shakor thinks the People's Party is finished, and Musharraf has a lot on his hands.

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