Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Benazir's Ancient Letter to Peter Galbraith

Remember this yellowed-out, fossilized document?

Well, its back from the dead and was reprinted today in a huge ad at the bottom of page 16 of the Daily Jang. It also appeared in the Nation yesterday and the News today. The PML-Q is hoping that people have forgotten that everyone originally thought it was a forgery. If your wondering when it first appeared, well this is what the New York Times had to say about Benazir's dead sea scroll, on the 18th of October in 1990, just over 17 years ago.

"This week, an adviser to Nawaz Sharif, president of the Islamic Democratic Alliance and the leading candidate for Prime Minister if Ms. Bhutto's party is defeated, circulated a letter purporting to be written by Ms. Bhutto to Peter Galbraith. Mr. Galbraith, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee staff, is a friend of Ms. Bhutto's from college days at Harvard.

The letter, however, is so patently a forgery that it has made the Islamic Democratic Alliance look foolish.

Apart from the inexplicably formal salutation, ''Dear Peter Galbraith,'' the letter misspells as Solarzs the name of Representative Stephen J. Solarz, the chairman of the House subcommittee on Asian affairs, It asks Mr. Galbraith to ''please use your influence on V. P. Singh the Indian Prime Minister, to engage the Pakistan Army on the borders, so that they do not impede my way.''

As the NY Times points out, the salutation is bizarre when you consider that BB and Peter Galbraith are actually old friends. They first met in 1962 when Galbraith's father was on a diplomatic visit to Lahore, and then at Harvard where they both studied (source).

I have identified some of the prevalent themes in the letter, some bits are perhaps more true than others:

1. I love you America and Peter Galbraith, because
A) I owe you (and not Pakistan) so much,
B) you have a personal interest in me and my family, as opposed to Pakistan and it's people.

2. I am an evil biatch, and I want economic and military aid to Pakistan frozen and disrupted, so that "normal life in Pakistan comes to stand still", and so that the Army is compelled to get up off me, and let a player play.

3. Don't sell us F-16s, because I hate the Army, and I am a firm believer that Pakistan's territorial integrity can go f*** itself.

4. Oh America, please persuade the Indians to invade Pakistan, so I can return to power. I hate Pakistan, I long only for the chatpatta deliciousness of power.

5. I love Rajiv Gandhi and other Indian Hindu male leaders.


AKS said...

Interesting point to note is that this letter was first revealed immediately after the U.S. suspended the F-16 deal.

Date on which the U.S. suspended the F-16 deal 6-10-90;
BB;'s letter is dated 24-09-90.

So let me get this straight Mr. Gailbraith a STAFF member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee was able to convince the United States Government to suspend a major arms deal, with significant political and economic implications ( deal was worth $1.6 Billion) in 12 days.

Yeah sure!!

Date of Suspension (

Price tag for the F-16s

AKS said...

OH and just the writing should give this ridiculous forgery away. Harvard, Oxford and presidency of the Oxford Union may yeild dodgy politics but not a sentence like -

"It would be most approporiate if military as well as economic Assistance to Pakistan is Stopped, and all the international agencies like the world Bank, IMF are told to Squeeze the Government of Pakistan, and if possible all supply to Pakistan should be disrupted, so that normal life in Pakistan comes to stand still."

This is a terrible, terrible sentence which BB could never have written.

Secondly BB and Zardari have done enough dodgy dealing to know when not to write something down.

Now I can imagine the brothers Fat Baldy and Bald Fatty (as they were in the 90's) getting together and drafting this piece, in between plates of Nehari (just couldn't resist).

Anonymous said...

"Just waiting for the day when Pakistan will stop being frontline news"?
...Then you're not doing enough. Pretty darn easy to wait, y'know.

That said, there's some pretty decent stuff here. Cool. But how about some construction to go with the criticism?

Anonymous said...

This letter was forwarded to me by a friend today. I usually ignore these kind of emails from various friend, but today I had some free time at hand so I read this particular letter. As pointed out in previous comments, the horrible grammer provides good enough reasons for me to question this letter's authenticity. It is full of mistakes from beginning to end. I never condoned the actions of Benazir's government, but I firmly belive this letter couldn't have been written by Benazir or someone in her government.

NB said...

@Aks - Interesting point about the F-16s. Didnt spot it, but yeah it def seems like the letter was designed to capitalize on the fallout of the suspension. And yes, the grammar did suck balls. But I quite hate BB, so Id prefer to think shes useless in written english (even though she isnt and its Urdu that she sucks at). Allow it!

@Anonymous 1:
Thanks for the comment! And let me just say that I appreciate your enthusiasm and your sense of urgency.

Ill also say that Fiverupees is a small blog which amounts to a considerable amount of work for its contributors.

As for constructive critism, Im not sure what you mean, you may need to elaborate. Im of the opinion that our respective positions on the way forward for Pakistan are fairly self-evident if you consider the posts collectivley.

@Anonymous 2:
True, forwards generally suck. I also got this as a forward, but only paid attention because it was an actual PDF scanned file rather than plain text (authenticity + mystery).

Agreed, grammar in letter does suck. I also share (what I happily presume is) your distaste for BB.

Disagree that someone in BB's government couldnt have written it. They may have, many are damn dumb and/or treacherous. But thats not the point. Point is, as you said She certainly didnt write it.