Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto was a great leader and a great mother for her kids and a great wife for her husband Asif Ali Zardari and a lovely sister for her brothers. She was a great teacher and was very fond of books. I travelled around the world with her as a political advisor to meet world leaders. She was very popular on all continents. I remember her visit to Nigeria where she addressed a big gathering with President Aremu Obasanjo.

She took the message of peace everywhere and returned from exile with the message of peace and prosperity for own country, but she was eliminated by the enemies of Pakistan. She was a powerful woman with powerful thoughts. She loved her workers and she used to meet them all with a smile. Very few people know that she was a great cook and that she used to cook sometimes together or with my wife. My son, Umer Rehman was her favourite and she was the one who changed his education trajectory from a medical doctor to actuary. She was a leader of great wisdom and she was brave and fearless.

It was July 2007, when a Central Executive Committee meeting of PPP was held at my house in London where Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto had decided to return to Pakistan against all odds. Even though everyone including the PPP leadership had warned her about threats to her life and security issues, she remained firm about her decision without any fear. Despite having a clear understanding of the severe risks she was going to face, she believed that General Musharraf was using the security issue as a ploy to keep her out of Pakistan, as he feared that it would diminish his power raising the chances of her victory in elections.

Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto announced her return on 14th September, and it ultimately disturbed General Musharraf and his political colleagues who kept emphasizing the life threats against her by extremist groups during election campaigns. They also made several offers to her to finalise a power-sharing agreement which she declined.

According to the notification of the Cabinet division, the complete responsibility for the security of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto as former PM was the government’s and her physical security was entrusted to SSP Major (Retd) Imtiaz Hussain. So the physical security, roadside security, close protection in all functions was the sole responsibly of the government, and not of any PPP leader including myself. The police even refused to register a case after Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto attempted to file a complaint.

The evidence was hosed away within one hour without securing vital evidence, which goes against both local and international laws, which is why the case never advanced. Surprisingly, the suspected mastermind of the October 18 assassination attempt namely Qari Saifullah Akhtar, along with his two sons and other suspects, were arrested but released after few days claiming lack of evidence against them. He along with his sons subsequently fled to Afghanistan, where he had been running a training camp for Al-Qaeda. Under the PPP Government, the dormant investigation of the case was activated, but DSP Nawaz Ranjha of Karachi police who was entrusted to investigate the case was mysteriously killed when he was close to the arrest of the attackers. However, being undeterred of the previous attempt on her life and continuously pouring in security threats, Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto decided to keep on leading the election campaign.

On December 26, 2007, along with Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, we reached the airport on the way to Peshawar for addressing an election rally where she was to address a massive crowd of people. She was quite happy to have such a successful public gathering at Peshawar. There too, we faced an unsuccessful and foiled murder attempt.

She was very fond of chapli kababs from Peshawar, and asked me to get some on the way from Peshawar to Islamabad. I remember Ms Naheed Khan sitting on her right while I was seated on the left. SMBB made a bread roll with the kabab herself, and gave me the first one and the other to Naheed Khan and took the last one herself. This was to be my last drive with my leader and great sister.

Three party leaders (two male and one female) came to Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto in London and informed her that Yousef Reza Gilani had been approached in prison by General Musharraf, asking him to switch sides to get a high post. She responded saying Yousef will not leave us, and this came true; he even sacrificed his premiership, but did not leave the party. The words of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto came true even after her death. We are proud of Yousef Reza Gilani (YRG). We both are in the line of fire as I took suo moto on derogatory tweets with some pictures and both the sons of YRG also responded well. Serious accusations have been levelled and thank God the police investigation has vindicated both of us.

Let me very clear to others and my party, that I am ready to face a hundred such allegations to defend my leader Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.

Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, forgive us as perhaps we have not held ourselves up to your expectations as we are now continuous subjects of political victimisation which includes your beloved son and husband. Just pray for our unity and the strength to follow you, while many PPP leaders of your time have left us and no doubt we are suffering at the moment, but I believe that Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari will take the party forward as per your thinking and wisdom. We need to keep our workers happy and I remember you said “the success of leader is because of his good and sincere advisors.” I am sure you must be watching the deteriorating situation from heaven in every section of life including the political system. The bigger parties are being reduced to miniature ones, unhindered at the cost of democracy and we are heading towards the 1999 political scene. We all pray that God may bless your soul in peace. The PPP family is missing you.