From Sri Lanka to Pakistan; South Asia’s tragedy of violent feudal politics

Dec 30, 2007 (AFP) – The assassination of Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto is the latest deadly chapter plaguing South Asia’s dynasties and shows violence has become entrenched in the region’s political culture, analysts say.

Ruling families from the Bhuttos of Pakistan to the Gandhis of India, the Bandaranaike family of Sri Lanka and Bangladesh’s Rahman family have blood-stained histories.

They all have been targeted by assassins or the military since the volatile region achieved independence from Britain in the late 1940s.

“These assassinations show that violence has become part of our South Asian political culture,” said Sunanda Deshapriya, director of the independent Centre for Policy Alternative think tank.

Benazir, 54, who came from a political family steeped in Pakistan’s turbulent history, had just addressed a rally for upcoming elections when she was killed Thursday in Rawalpindi, near the capital Islamabad.

Her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Pakistan’s first popularly elected prime minister, was ousted by the army and hanged by the military in 1979. Her two brothers also died violent deaths — one poisoned, the other gunned down.

Recalling standing by her father’s grave, Benazir wrote: “A