December is a painful month in the history of Pakistan. From the Dhaka fall on December 16 in 1971 to the ruthless killing of 132 innocent children and teachers at the Army Public School Peshawar on the same day in 2014 and the assassination of Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto on December 27 in 2007, there are several bitter memories associated with the month. Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto lived and died for the people of Pakistan. She shall be remembered forever in the history of Pakistan for her matchless services, immense bravery and for standing against forces that never desired a prosperous, progressive and peaceful Pakistan. Although she was aware of all the threats to her life, the fearless leader did not give up hope and courageously continued her struggle to peacefully win the fight for a progressive Pakistan. Her rivals had begun conspiracies against her soon after the assassination of her father. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was sent to gallows by a dictator who was mastermind of the same regressive mindset that Pakistan is fighting today. For them, the lone young girl was the only hurdle in their way of transforming Pakistan into an extremist state having zero tolerance for people professing a different faith or ideology. Her struggle and love for the people of Pakistan endeared her to all who supported her whole-heartedly even at the cost of their lives. Many went to jail bearing pains and torture, and eventually laid down their lives while protecting their beloved leader. She was the only voice of the subjugated people of Pakistan. History is witness to the fact that ruthless regressive forces across the world unashamedly abetted their local representatives against Benazir. Islami Jamhoori Ittehad (IJI) was formed to subdue her political role and religious decrees (fatwas) against her were issued in a bid to demoralise her. She also went through mental trauma during imprisonment, house arrests and fake corruption cases. The mindset that killed Benazir Bhutto continues to kill our troops and civilians. Benazir Bhutto was later joined by thousands of her fellow Pakistanis who were killed by these merciless terrorists A storm of pains and troubles was hurled at Benazir Bhutto and her family, yet in these very adverse circumstances, she stood tall and continued the struggle. Benazir, the solitary brave young girl, not only challenged the most formidable forces but also kept on winning her battles against them. The conspiracy of killing Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was with the purpose of eliminating his legacy and rendering his family toothless was hatched much earlier, but Benazir stood up as against all odds, vociferously defending her family’s legacy. All national and international sources were used to convince Benazir Bhutto to not return to Pakistan and even she herself had all along known of the threats to her life, yet she returned enthusiastically to be among her own people. On her return on October 18, 2007, her homecoming rally was attacked and two giant bomb blasts claimed lives of several workers of the PPP. These painful scenes could not dissuade her from pursuing her struggle and she continued visiting almost every city of the country, coming out of her vehicle, waving her hands and responding to the enthusiastic workers. No threat, conspiracy, design and even attack on her life could stop Benazir from staying away from her people. In the history of mankind, there are rare examples where we find a lone woman who is determined, heroic and fearless like Benazir. Benazir was indeed Benazir — unique and unmatched in her actions, thoughts and ideology as well as in upholding her father’s legacy. Ten years have passed but the wounds inflicted on December 27, 2007 are still fresh rendering the day more sorrowful than before. The mindset that killed Benazir Bhutto still continues to kill our troops and civilians. Benazir Bhutto was later joined by thousands of her fellow nationals from Parachinar to Karachi, Quetta to Gilgit Baltistan who were killed by these merciless terrorists. Shaheed Benazir Bhutto’s last words during her address to thousands of her devotees in Liaquat Bagh Rawalpindi proved her resolve and devotion towards her country and its people. She had said, “I put my life in danger and came here because I feel this country (Pakistan) is in danger. I want to see a prosperous, progressive and developed Pakistan.” Today all eyes are set on Bilawal Bhutto Zardari to accomplish the mission of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto of seeing a prosperous, progressive and developed Pakistan where the children in schools and worshipers in their respective places of worship can feel safe. Today the PPP workers are sensing amongst them the presence of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s grandson as a live image of his mother, Shaheed Benazir Bhutto which was evident from the party’s public meeting on the occasion of 50th foundation day of PPP on December 5th. The public meeting was well-attended by the diehard supporters of the PPP. Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto’s martyrdom had left the liberal and progressive mindset of the country bereaved and she will always be remembered for her patience, valour, fearlessness and struggle in the face of extremist forces. The writer is resident of Parachinar (FATA) and an activist affiliated with the PPP. He tweets @RiazToori Published in Daily Times, December 27th 2017.