BENAZIR BHUTTO: DEMOCRACY AN ANTITHESIS TO VIOLENT EXTREMISM IN PAKISTAN
Pakistan's political leaders tend to understand the urgency to undo the menace of internal cleavages in the name of religion, sectarianism, and ethnicity - often manipulated by external elements. In her book "Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy, and the West," (Benazir, 2008)written just before her assassination and published shortly after, the late Benazir Bhutto argues that Pakistan under military dictatorship had become an epicenter of an international terrorist movement that had two primary aims: "First, the extremists aim to reconstitute the concept of the caliphate, a political state encompassing the great Ummah (Muslim community) populations of the world," and the second aim of the militants was "to provoke a clash of civilisations between the West and an interpretation of Islam that rejects pluralism and modernity (Benazir, 2008). "This statement underscores the depth of the Late Benazir Bhutto's understanding of the religious extremism and terrorism that Pakistan continues to face to date. To dwell more deeply into the subject, multi-layered queries are discussed: What are the definitional imperatives of an extremist? What ecosystem is conducive to nurturing violent radicals or extremists, and how does ideology impact politically violent organizations or individuals? Finally, how to reign in the tide of violent extremism that curtails democracy to a great extent? All these questions will be anchored in the thought pattern of the late Benazir Bhutto, that met with partial success during her two stints in power. The thrust of the present research study is to highlight the perception of the political leader who professed in her writings and public appearances at the national, regional or global forums stressing an intricate linkage between Islam and democracy as a most plausible way for global peace and security on the sustainable grounds. That is, Pakistan's future is based on embracing democracy in letter and spirit. Methodologically, a discourse analysis approach is adopted which is a branch of linguistics that focuses on studying language, communication and social interactions within specific contexts. This approach highlights the delicacies of reconcilability between Islam and Democracy, by taking on the following mold.