Saturday, 04 February 2023

La Faver: Local reaction to Bhutto assassination

Susanne La Faver, third from right, dined at the home of Pakistani friends in Lahore. Courtesy photo.

Benazir Bhutto set herself up for martyrdom when she returned to Pakistan from exile in Britain. Other than staying in Britain, the only way Bhutto could have stayed alive is if President Gen. Pervez Musharraf had successfully maintained his emergency rule or kept Bhutto under house arrest.

"Against my will, as a last resort, I had to impose the emergency in order to save Pakistan," Musharraf said. "A conspiracy threatened to destabilize the country.” I believed him.

Musharraf said he acted, in part, to ward off political chaos that would hobble Pakistan's efforts against Islamic extremism. He was correct on all accounts. But, the U.S. pressured Musharraf to reinstate constitutional rule and restore the judiciary.

The result is that now Benazir Bhutto is dead and U.S. leaders are setting her up as a martyr for democracy.

I don’t presume to know everything about Pakistan’s situation, but I’m very interested and deeply concerned. I have friends there.

I consulted in Lahore, Pakistan, for Levi Strauss & Co. (LS&Co.). In 1996, I was the lone Westerner on a team of Levi’s Asian employees building business relationships with fabric makers and clothing sewers. Team employees dubbed me “their Connie Chung.”

We worked together for 18 months, meeting first in San Francisco and Singapore, and then spending a week each in Indonesia, Hong Kong, Philippines, Korea, and Lahore, Pakistan. The manufacturers we met with in Lahore sewed Dockers knit shirts.

Business in Asia begins after people get to know one another. Personal relationships are primary. And, they last a lifetime.

My Muslim friend is Zahid, a former LS&Co. colleague who invited me to his home for dinner and to meet his wife, mother, children, and extended family. He has traveled to the U.S. several times to visit his American relatives in Texas.

My Christian friend, Akbar, was the butler in the hotel where I stayed. When he married, he sent me a photo of him and his new wife in their wedding finery. His family faces continual financial hardships because of their religion. His employment is sporadic. He writes, “Please pray to God for our Difficult time.”

Now, more than ever, I will keep these kind and good people, Muslims and Christians, in my thoughts and prayers in the days ahead.

The terrorist extremists are down out of the mountains in Pakistan.

Susanne La Faver lives in Hidden Valley Lake.



Susanne La Faver, center, spent 18 months helping establish business relationships with Asian manufacturers for Levi Strauss & Co. The employee team, above, met in Seoul, Korea. Courtesy photo.




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