Whatever my aims and agendas were, I never asked for power.
All through the years of the Soviet empire, its Politburo held ‘elections.’ Of course, calling something an election and actually having it be an election are different things.
I found that a whole series of people opposed me simply on the grounds that I was a woman. The clerics took to the mosque saying that Pakistan had thrown itself outside the Muslim world and the Muslim umar by voting for a woman, that a woman had usurped a man’s place in the Islamic society.
I was a very shy girl who led an insulated life; it was only when I came to Oxford, and to Harvard before that, that suddenly I saw the power of people. I didn’t know such a power existed, I saw people criticising their own president; you couldn’t do that in Pakistan – you’d be thrown in prison.
Military dictatorship is born from the power of the gun, and so it undermines the concept of the rule of law and gives birth to a culture of might, a culture of weapons, violence and intolerance.
The United Nations charter gives every nation the right to self defence, therefore when the American embassies were bombed it was a matter of time before the Americans responded by going for what they suspected were the causes of the attack.
The Holy Book calls upon Muslims to resist tyranny. Dictatorships in Pakistan, however long, have, therefore, always collapsed in the face of this spirit.
The military wants a system that protects its policies and privileges.
I am planning to return and contest the October elections in Pakistan.
When the United States aligns with dictatorships and totalitarian regimes, it compromises the basic democratic principles of its foundation – namely, life, liberty and justice for all.