9/20/2008 Pakistan’s 9/11


9/20/2008 Pakistan’s 9/11

Unnati Pant ’09

It was one of Pakistan’s most famed buildings, a place for Saturday night dinners, foreigners to stay in, it was the Marriott Hotel in the capital city of Pakistan, Islamabad. On September, 20, 2008 a dump truck filled with explosives, detonated in front of the Marriott, causing the once majestic structure to collapse and burn. Over 266 people were injured and 54 killed, with the death rate increasing each day as more bodies are found beneath the rubble. This hotel was a hot spot in Islamabad located at the center of the city near local government buildings. The explosion of the truck resulted in the destruction of a gas pipe in the top floor of the building which only helped to make the situation worse, as the top of the building caught fire.

Pakistanis have been considering this attack as the 9/11 of Pakistan. What could have caused someone to destroy the building? It seems as if all answers lie to a undertone of political rebellion amongst the Pakistani population.

The recently newly elected president of Pakistan, Asif Ali Zardari, the widower of Benezir Bhutto, the former of Prime minister of Pakistan who was murdered last December, had just made his first speech to parliament hours before the blast. After this speech many of the top leaders of Pakistan were to have been at the Marriott but had a change of plans last minute, which saved them their lives.

Many have suspected an islamist group, Harkat-ul-Jihad-al-Islami to be responsible for the blast. The suspicion arises due to the many similarities between this attack and four prior attacks which have supposedly been carried out by the group. Many others believe that a foreign power is the culprit.
While all of these suspicions may hold true, there is another suspicion that has been on everyone’s mind, could this be the beginning of another political upheaval? After all, current president, Zardari, has never been the most popular man of Pakistan. During the time his wife Benezair Bhutto was Prime Minister of Pakistan he earned the name Mr.10 Percent, as he would take away 10% of all profits and keep them in his personal stash. This way Zardari led to the corruption of the government of Pakistan. After Bhutto’s death in December 2007 many even believed he was behind the murder, however this was an unpopular suspicion and quickly died out.

Since Mr. 10 percent, has recently been elected as President of Pakistan, it seems as if there are many who are quietly resenting this fact. It seems as if this explosion was pointed towards Zardari as a warning message that he is not wanted. While Pakistan is recovering from this recent tragedy they are not out of the dark yet, there is still much work to be done to pull the nation together the only question that remains is that if this quiet rebellion grows will Pakistan re-create history and undergo another Military Coup in order to stabilize the government and take Zardari out of office.

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