What if. What if the events of 27th of December last had turned out differently? Though many of us have given this a thought, probably nowhere is it more discussed than in local PPP chapters throughout the country. If Benazir Bhutto had not been assassinated on that day, she just might have been on another day. But since we're in the business of fantasy anyway, let's just assume that the elections were held on schedule. Contrary to general perception, the PPP did not, in fact, get a sympathy wave at the polls. They would have done much better in the elections on her watch. It would not be a stretch to say that the N League probably would not have gotten the run of the Punjab. Though there is some difference of opinion on whether she would have acted differently on the judges' issue, she definitely would not have signed an agreement with her coalition partners to reinstate the judges' had she not wanted to. She would have repealed the 17th Amendment and asserted the superiority of the parliament. In the (still debatable) likelihood of a decision not to reinstate the deposed judiciary, she would at least have definitely supported, to give an example, the NA Standing Committee on Education against the incumbent Chief Justice. She also just might have let Musharraf go scot-free but it would have seemed to be a mere anomaly in the larger continuation of the post-election euphoria. She might not have had a fantastically different approach to the operations in Fata and Swat but would have been more responsive to local political leaders' allegations that the Army isn't killing nearly as many militants as it is incurring collateral damage. If she would have had to roll back certain operations, she would not have feared a Western backlash against these. Though the Vietcong did well militarily against the US in Vietnam, a very important aspect of that war was fought on American university campuses and liberal newspapers. Ms Bhutto perhaps knew how to wage that kind of a war. In a reversal of roles, it is we who need to be winning the hearts and minds of the American public; and she would have been good at that. Western governments would have found it difficult to sell any attempt to destabilize a progressive female Prime Minister's government to their own electorates had she taken a stand on a particular issue. She, therefore, probably would have had more space to work with on the front. On the financial front, the present dispensation of power acted the way she, or despite their denials, the N League would have. There was just not enough fiscal space for the government to stay afloat; this is a comment not on the present government but on the fiscal irresponsibility of the previous one. The present situation with India would have been better handled. Her genuine belief in an effective war against militancy and very personal close brushes with terrorism would have made her more believable to the Indian body politic, all of whom, despite what the idiotic warmongers appearing on our TV screens would have us believe, are not "Hindu Zionists". The most important aspect of a Pakistan under BB would have been the inspiration she would have been able to provide. That is perhaps what is missing from the current dispensation of power. A public consensus of sorts, even from those who did not vote for the ruling party, is developed in all democracies when there is a perception that the party is "doing its thing." That is missing here. A year ago, the nation lost one of its finest practitioners of statecraft. Despite her shortcomings, of which she had several, she was just that curious mix that could have attempted to take us out of the rut we are in.