Shazia Marri Live amongst people in such a manner that if you are alive they crave for your company, and if you die they weep over you these are the immortal words of Hazrat Ali (AS), which Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto had committed to her heart. Indeed, during her life, all those who knew her aspired to meet her, to be like her and to follow her. And when she was so cruelly snatched from us, millions across the world wept in grief and continue to weep to date. Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was a larger than life personality. So infectious was her fervour to serve her nation that it instilled in everyone she interacted with, an innate desire to adopt her cause. She consistently explored new frontiers and motivated others to do the same. Her passion and commitment made her an inspiration for not just the people of Pakistan, but those across the globe. Having borne a lifetime of tribulations, sacrifices, and irreparable losses, Mohtarma still managed to remain optimistic in her outlook. And at no time did she let her circumstances defeat her indomitable spirit. Instead, every time she emerged stronger than before, ready for the next challenge. Whenever life threw her a curveball and there were many, she played it like a pro. Her struggle began as the responsibility of leading her party and her nation was thrust upon her young shoulders, when as a girl, who wanted to join the Foreign Service, was called upon to a revolution against the tyrant, who killed her father and devastated her nation. This is not the life I chose; it chose me, she said. Yet, when it came to honouring the promise made to her great father, she accepted her responsibility and stood strong and loyal - never once wavering in her mission to establish an egalitarian Pakistan. She was cruelly deprived of her beloved father and brothers by a manipulative junta; her husband was unjustly incarcerated and tortured for years; she was exiled time and again and kept from returning to the land of her forefathers. And yet her outlook was so courageous, that it is an example for the coming generations. When it came to leading the fight for democracy in Pakistan, Mohtarma was single-minded. With legendary farsightedness and vision, she recognised that true leadership required daring action and necessitated the need to challenge the status quo. Despite threats of death, I will not acquiesce to tyranny, rather lead the fight against it, Mohtarma proclaimed when there was imminent danger to her life. Indeed, true to her word, not only did she lead the fight, but also her spirit survived all tyrants attempts to defeat and vanquish. On her 58th birthday, mere words are insufficient to pay tribute to a leader, who lived and died solely for her nation and its people. I am not one of those leaders, who sell lies and buy time, Mohtarma said once. Unfortunately, it was the lying tyrants, who wanted to keep her away from serving her people. History shows that although they incessantly tried to sell lies, yet they were unable to buy time. For time, that very harsh judge, will continue to pay homage to Mohtarma Benazir, long after all trace of her enemies, indeed the enemies of Pakistan, has disappeared. As a true visionary, Mohtarma understood the dangers posed by extremism. As she was preparing to return to Karachi after so many years of exile, her thoughts reflected her inner resolve as she proclaimed: The forces of moderation and democracy must and will prevail against extremism and dictatorship. I will not be intimidated. I will step out on the tarmac in Karachi not to complete a journey, but also to begin one. Indeed, the journey she began is being continued by her government today. As we fight the forces of extremism today, Mohtarmas ideas and dauntless spirit is the driving force from which we gain the strength to continue this fight. And her commitment to the people is what spurs us to emerge victorious, and strive towards a Pakistan that she envisioned. There is no doubt about the fact that no one can ever replace the kind of leadership Shaheed Mohtarma possessed. Her abilities and charisma can never be forgotten. Her sacrifice continues to live on in the hearts and minds of the people. She has left us with an enormous responsibility - the responsibility of Pakistan. She has entrusted us with the future for which she gave her life - the tomorrow for which she sacrificed her today. Today dear sister, your government is fulfilling the promises you made to your people. The spirit of reconciliation is stronger than ever before: It is this spirit that enabled the declaration of the NFC Award after years of waiting, the passing of the 18th Amendment and washed the Constitution of the impurities that the dictators had added to it. That allows your government to continue walking on the path laid by you. Today, as I see your government in Pakistan, adhering to your principles, committed to your vision, working on your goals, and serving your people, I feel your presence among us stronger than ever before and your dauntless spirit leading us every step of the way. It is this spirit that continues to be our guiding light and your courage our driving force. Our dear leader, what gift can we give you, as you have given us the most precious gift of all. All that we can do is reaffirm our unwavering commitment to your cause, your ideals and your Pakistan n The writer is Minister for Electric Power, Sindh.