An Excerpt from – ASSASSINS - by Mukul
A consummate politician, Benazir raised her hands
above her head and began to clap. The crowd clapped with her,
caught up in the hysteria of the moment.
“Nara- i- Takbeer, Allah O Akbar.”
“Nara- i- Haidri, Ya Ali.”
“Awam Hero Hero, Baqi Sab Zero Zero.” (The
people are heroes. Everyone else is zero.)
The popular slogans, currently doing the rounds in
Pakistan, erupted from her. Echoed sonorously by the cheerleader.
And repeated thunderously by the crowd. The hysteria was sky high
now. No one noticed Bombers 1 and 2 inch toward her, about eight
feet apart. And they were still twenty feet from the dais.
Finally holding up her hands for silence, Benazir
began to speak. “These are the slogans that greeted me when I
arrived in Rawalpindi. I know this is the city of brave and
sacrificing people.” An appreciative roar from the crowd.
Bombers 1 and 2 covered yet another couple of feet
to the dais.
“Rawalpindi is my second home. When my father was a
minister, I used to live here. I used to go to school here. It is
here I lived many moments of joy and sorrow. And always the brave
people of Rawalpindi stood by me, in moments of happiness and in
my hours of sorrow. You have never let me down.”
The roar of the crowd was like a continual roll of
thunder. The distance between the two assassins and the dais
receded by another foot. But still not close enough. Not enough to
penetrate the living bulletproof shield guarding the woman on the
Blissfully unaware of her death creeping closer
Benazir resumed her rhetoric. “This is the same city which
thronged to the Liaquat Bagh when the dictator Yahya Khan refused
to leave and forced him to step down.”
The crowd responded with another defiant roar.
“This is the same city where the government of the
Pakistan People’s Party was established. Rawalpindi is the same
city from where my father started his struggle against the
dictatorship of General Ayub Khan and young Abdul Hameed
sacrificed his life for democracy. This is the city, which has
defeated all dictators and Inshallah will once again inflict a
crushing defeat on another dictator and usher in an era of
“Allah O Akbar.”
Five thousand lusty throats roared out their
“Awam Hero Hero, Baqi Sab Zero Zero.”
Bomber 2 was now within fifteen feet of the dais.
However Bomber 1 was stuck a few feet further away. So dense was
the crowd that now neither could move.
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