Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Tribute to Benazir Bhutto by her daughter Bakhtawar Bhutto -

Bakhtawar Bhutto Zardari weeps as she celebrates the victory of her father in The Parliament House in Islamabad last September


Like any child who has lost a parent, it was only natural that Benazir Bhutto's eldest daughter would wish to express her grief for her murdered mother. Less obvious, perhaps, was that the tribute would come in the form of a mournful rap song.

Now the song, written and performed by 18-year-old Bakhtawar is being broadcast regularly on Pakistan's state-run television, part of a flood of tributes paid to the former prime minister a year after her assassination.

"You have beauty and intelligence, everything you did have relevance," sings Bakhtawar, with a borrowed Brooklyn accent, over looping beats. "Shot in the back of your ear, so young in 54th year, murdered with three kids left behind, a hopeless nation without you, you are in all their hearts."

The teenager, a student at Edinburgh University, then repeats a chorus line, from which the song takes it name: "I would take the pain away."
The song, which has also been posted on YouTube, features a five-minute video of photographs and clips of the murdered former premier, including footage from the election rally at the Liaquat Bagh park in Rawalpindi which she had addressed just moments before an assassin launched a lethal gun and bomb attack on 27 December, 2007.

Bakhtawar is a keen music fan and was apparently encouraged to sing by her mother. Shortly before her mother's death, the teenager asked a journalist friend in the US to introduce to the Grammy Award-winning rapper and music producer Puff Daddy.

While Bakhtawar's dirgelike rap is unlikely to secure her a Grammy of her own, the seemingly heartfelt tribute might win her some fans. Sherry Rehman, currently Pakistan's Information Minister and for many years a close aide to Ms Bhutto, said of the song: "It is the tribute of a grieving daughter to her iconic and loving mother."

Bakhtawar is one of three children of Ms Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari, who inherited the leadership of her Pakistan People's Party in the aftermath of hie wife's death and was subsequently elected president of the country. Their 20-year-old son, Bilawal, who was jointly named co-chair of the party, is a student at Oxford University, while their other daughter, Aseefa, 15, is also studying abroad.

When Ms Bhutto returned to Pakistan from exile in October 2007, Mr Zardari remained in Dubai. In her final book, book 'Reconciliation: Islam, Democracy and the West', that was published after her death, Ms Bhutto wrote of the decision: "We understood the dangers and the risks of my return, and we wanted to make sure that no matter what happened, our daughters and our son, Bilawal, would have one of us to take care of them."