Benazir Bhutto Assassinated at Political Rally

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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.

Read more:

Contentions

The Hindu

Indian Express

New York Times

Times of India

The Washington Post

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2 responses »

  1. I’m not sure Bhutto stood for “modernity and reform”. She had a pretty dubious baggage attached to her record.

    This comment I found on Pajamas Media seems to express her ambiguity well:

    “Benazir Bhutto seemed childishly naïve when it came to the threat of Islamic nihilism. She did not hesitate to stress out the fragile Pakistan government to the breaking point. General Pervez Musharraf leaves much to be desired. The struggle for democracy, however, must not be allowed to make it easier for the Muslim extremists to capture power. Ms. Buhtto appeared unwilling to recognize this most important distinction. The Islamists most assuredly will continue assassinating modern thinking Pakistani leaders. Our world has just become a more dangerous place.”

    I’ve also been pondering the fact that the immediate response to her assassination was the spread of spontaneous, violent riots which have so far claimed 24 lives. I watched the scenes of rioting on TV. What can possibly be the connection between the murder of a beloved leader (if beloved she was) and setting buses on fire? This hardly seems the reaction of people who were looking forward to “modernity and reform”.

    I was thinking abour Rabin’s assassination and the fact that the event was followed by a general hushed, shocked and painful introspection.

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