I woke up this morning to news of Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto’s assassination. Witnesses report Bhutto was shot at close range followed by an explosion which ripped through a political rally at Liaqut Bagh, a park in Rawalpindi often used for political rallies and speeches. At least twenty other people were killed in the blast. Police suspect a suicide bomber caused the explosion. In a related story, three people were killed at a political rally for Nawaz Sharif. Police would not confirm or deny any connection to the Bhutto assassination. No group or organization has claimed responsibility for either attack.
Speculation abounds regarding the perpetrators. Islamist terrorists, rogue elements in Pakistan’s intelligence services, and forces loyal to Pervez Musharraf are all potential suspects. One thing is certain, given the assassination of one of the primary candidates it is highly unlikely that elections will proceed as planned for early January 2008.