Former Senate chairman Raza Rabbani on Friday wrote to Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi asking him to reconsider renaming the Islamabad airport from Benazir Bhutto International Airport to Islamabad International Airport and “withdraw this uncalled for and inappropriate decision”.
Rabbani wrote that it had come to his attention that the PM’s adviser on aviation had issued a statement that the airport will henceforth be called by its new name.
“It is an unfortunate reflection on how we honour our national heroes,” the letter stated, highlighting the services of slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
“She freed the country from the shackles of Zia [ul Haq]’s martial law and was assassinated in the streets of Rawalpindi crusading against terrorism and extremism,” the PPP leader wrote, adding that it was in the memory of her supreme sacrifice that the airport was named after Benazir Bhutto.
Rabbani called for attention to the fact that “a large number of airports around the world bear the names of prominent international personalities,” such as the airport in New York, which was named after former US president John F. Kennedy (JFK) after his assassination.
The senator said he was aware that the move to rename the airport was likely “at the behest of certain bureaucrats in the Civil Aviation Authority, but they can never take away mohtarma’s place in history”.
In his letter, Rabbani termed the decision “a sad reflection” of the approach taken by the PML-N government.
He expressed hope that the incumbent government will follow the precedent of naming national buildings after the country’s notable leaders, and asked the prime minister to “withdraw this uncalled for and inappropriate decision”.