Pakistan native Muhammad Anwar, who lives in Sauquoit, N.Y., is concerned about the future of his country.
Pakistan native Muhammad Anwar, who lives in Sauquoit, is concerned about the future of his country.
For Anwar, Benazir Bhutto's death further highlights the instability that has characterized the South Asian nation for the last 15 years.
“It is hurting the Pakistanis,” he said. “This is sad news.”
Anwar, who came to United States in 1994, is worried about the killings during rallies and public gatherings. In October, 150 people were killed in a rally that celebrated Bhutto's return to her home country. At the time, she escaped an assassination attempt.
He hopes Pakistan's leaders improve education and work to eliminate unemployment to put the country on a path to recovery.
“Pakistan is trying. Musharraf is trying to improve things,” he said. “Education is the solution.”
'This could mean trouble'
New Hartford resident Ashraf Elazzazi, who is from Egypt, was “shocked” to hear the news Thursday morning.
“I am very concerned about the future of the region,” he said. “This could mean trouble.”
Though there was an earlier attempt on her life, Elazzazi said he thought it was a tactic, not something serious.
But Thursday's news caught him off-guard.
“It was a surprise,” he said.
Great tragedy for women
For Utica resident Maimun Khan, whose parents are from Bangladesh, Bhutto's death affects all women.
“Whenever one woman does step forward and killed for it, it affects all of us. We are all trying to make a difference,” Khan said. “Women have a tendency to do what needs to be done.”
Khan, who was born and raised in United States, has followed events in the South Asian region with interest.
“There was a time when all three countries had women leaders and there was great potential. They did not have military backgrounds,” she said, referring to India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
Khaleda Zia became the prime minister of Bangladesh in 1991 through 1996. In India, Indira Gandhi was the prime minister for three consecutive terms from 1966-77 and then for a fourth term in 1980 through 1984, when she was assassinated. Benazir Bhutto was elected prime minister in 1988 when she was 35, a position she retained till 1990. She was re-elected in 1993 and remained the prime minister till 1996.
Bhutto was also the first woman to head a state in the Muslim world.
And while in the developing world, women have been elected to top positions and have led their countries, the United States has yet to have a woman as its top leader, she said.
“We are still to elect a woman president,” Khan said.