It was with deep sorrow that I learnt of the brutal murder of my brother and security in charge Munawar Suhrawardy on June 17, 2004. Munawar Suhrawardy worked with the PPP and the Bhutto family as a young teenager protesting the arrest of Quaid e Awam Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1977. He rose to be Information Secretary Sindh declining offers to become a Senator. He said he wanted to remain a worker of the Party. And so he remained.
Munawar Suhrawardy was one of the finest sons that Karachi, Sindh and Pakistan have produced. Fearless he fought for freedom, justice and the rights of the people of Pakistan through thick and thin. I trusted Munawar Suhrawardy with my life. He was my bodyguard from the days of the campaign of the democratic forces to end Zia’s military dictatorship. He took training to prevent assassination on my life. It is a tragedy that he was assassinated himself.
Words cannot express the grief that I feel upon losing Munawar who was a true brother to me to his last breath. I mourn him as I mourned my brothers Shah Nawaz and Murtaza. I grieve for his young widow and for his small children. Munawar was a wonderful Father and so proud of his wife. I remember his home full of happiness. Munawar was a devoted brother too. He tenderly took care of his brother paralysed through an earlier attack. An assassin’s bullet has taken a precious life and shattered the happiness of an innocent family.
The grief I feel is part of the larger grief of the democratic forces and the PPP family. Each one of us knows that true dedication and devotion to the PPP and to the torch passed from Quaid e Awam means that we walk in the shadow of death. We do so, as Munawar did, knowing that life and death are in God’s hands. Today Allah has taken Munawar from us to the next world. He has gone to join our other Martyrs and will live forever. He leaves behind a grieving widow, small children and a brother paralysed in an earlier attack. He leaves behind millions others across the country from Khyber to Karachi and across the world who will always remember him for his courage, his fortitude and for his fight for peace, justice, equality and emancipation of the people from poverty and backwardness.
Munawar Suhrawardy was one of the most creative and intelligent workers of the PPP. In him we have lost a jewel of a man and a true hero. Munawar’s ability to come up with ideas to project democracy was unparallel. Munawar joined all of us in London for the series of meetings that are being held to further the cause of the democratic forces. As considerate as ever, Munawar brought me falsas and supari to remind me of our Karachi. His last words to me were that I should land in Karachi and he would take responsibility for all the arrangements for my return.
Munawar Suhrawardy will always live in the hearts and minds of every peace loving and freedom loving citizen of Pakistan. He is a true hero.
Munawar’s assassination brings me to the motive for his murder. There are three possible scenarios that must be investigated if the truth is to be known.
First, that Munawar was murdered by MQM militants who saw him as a symbol of a peaceful Karachi. In this connection, we must remember that General Musharaf freed the criminals and terrorists in prison to keep PPP out of power in Sindh. The result was that six hundred and fifty police officers who participated in the drive to bring peace to Karachi lost their lives since November 2002. Hundreds others were also murdered as was Karachi’s other beloved son Abdullah Murad Shaheed from Malir. Despite being an elected Member of Parliament, Murad’s family was illegally stopped from registering the murder complaint against the MQM militants.
Second that Munnawar’s murder was connected to my return plans. General Musharaf must volunteer to put himself before questioning for Munnawar’s murder. Since the news leaked that I was to return to Pakistan, General Musharaf has made a vicious statement against me promising to “kick” me. I see Munnawar’s murder in the light of Musharaf’s aggressive statement. To clear his name, Musharaf must explain the measures he meant to take
which amounted to a “kick”.
Musharaf was also quoted to have said this week while meeting parliamentarians that I “would never be allowed to return to power” because he considers me a security threat. In other words, he considers me a threat to his military dictatorship. This is why Musharaf’s questioning is necessary to find out what steps he intended when he said he would “kick” me and stop me from returning to power. Killing my body guard and security in chief is one way of signalling that he would try assassination to prevent the democratic forces and the PPP under my leadership from returning to power. In this connection, my husband Asif’s bodyguard was also murdered in February when plans for my return were being discussed.
Third that those elements within the state apparatus who accompanied nuclear scientist Abdul Qadeer Khan to foreign countries murdered Munawar to send a message as to how far they could go to defend their farce that A.Q.Khan acted alone. I say this because the murder of Asif’s bodyguard and Munawar (who was also my body guard for two decades) took place after I spoke to America’s Fox television in February and to Canada’s CBC in June. In both these interviews I dismissed the theory that A.Q.Khan acted alone.
Karachi has lost one of its finest sons. He will forever shine in the pages of history as a true son of Quaid e Azam and Quaid e Awam. His murder must be investigated freely, fully and impartially. Otherwise other sons of Karachi will continue to fall to the assassin’s bullet.