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Benazir Bhutto Assassinated by Suicide Bomber


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On December 27, 2007, Benazir Bhutto was killed entering a vehicle to leave a political rally for the Pakistan People's Party in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. An assassin fired shots in her direction before detonating an explosive vest, killing about 20 people and wounding many more.

 

The attack occurred just after Ms. Bhutto left the rally, where she had given a campaign address to party supporters in the run-up to the January 2008 parliamentary elections. She died at 6:16 pm local time at Rawapindi General Hospital. It is currently unclear as to whether her death was caused by the blast itself or the shots fired by the assassin.

 

 

The death of the 54-year-old former prime minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto threw the campaign for the Jan. 8 parliamentary elections into chaos and created fears of mass protests and violence across the nuclear-armed nation, an important U.S. ally in the war on terrorism.

 

Benazir Bhutto was the first woman elected to lead a Muslim state, twice elected Prime Minister of Pakistan. She was sworn in for the first time in 1988 but removed from office 20 months later under orders of then-president Ghulam Ishaq Khan on grounds of alleged corruption. In 1993 Bhutto was re-elected but was again removed in 1996 on similar charges, this time by President Farooq Leghari.

 

The attacker struck just minutes after Bhutto addressed thousands of supporters in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, 8 miles south of Islamabad. She was shot in the neck and chest by the attacker, who then blew himself up, said Rehman Malik, Bhutto's security adviser.

 

At least 20 others were killed in the attack.

 

Bhutto was rushed to the hospital and taken into emergency surgery.

 

"At 6:16 p.m., she expired," said Wasif Ali Khan, a member of Bhutto's party who was at Rawalpindi General Hospital.

 

"The surgeons confirmed that she has been martyred," Bhutto's lawyer Babar Awan said.

 

Bhutto's supporters at the hospital exploded in anger, smashing the glass door at the main entrance of the emergency unit. Others burst into tears. One man with a flag of Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party tied around his head was beating his chest.

 

No one claimed responsibility for the attack. But some of Bhutto's supporters at the hospital began chanting, "Killer, Killer, Musharraf," referring to Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, Bhutto's main political opponent. A few began stoning cars outside.

 

"We repeatedly informed the government to provide her proper security and appropriate equipment including jammers, but they paid no heed to our requests," Malik said.

 

Nawaz Sharif, another former premier and opposition leader, arrived at the hospital and sat silently next to Bhutto's body.

 

Hours earlier, four people were killed at a rally for Sharif when his supporters clashed with backers of Musharraf near Rawalpindi.

 

Bhutto's death will leave a void at the top of her party, the largest political group in the country, as it heads into the parliamentary elections. It also fueled fears that the crucial vote could descend into violence.

 

Pakistan is considered a vital U.S. ally in the fight against al-Qaida and other Islamic extremists including the Taliban. Osama bin Laden and his inner circle are believed to be hiding in lawless northwest Pakistan along the border with Afghanistan.

 

In Washington, the State Department condemned the attack.

 

"It demonstrates that there are still those in Pakistan who want to subvert reconciliation and efforts to advance democracy," deputy spokesman Tom Casey said.

 

The United States has for months been encouraging Musharraf to reach an accommodation with the opposition, particularly Bhutto, who was seen as having a wide base of support in Pakistan. Her party had been widely expected to do well in next month's elections.

 

Educated at Harvard and Oxford universities, Bhutto served twice as Pakistan's prime minister between 1988 and 1996. Her father, who also served as prime minister, was executed in 1979 two years after his ouster in a military coup.

 

Bhutto had returned to Pakistan from an eight-year exile on Oct. 18. On the same day, she narrowly escaped injury when her homecoming parade in Karachi was targeted in a suicide attack that killed more than 140 people.

 

At the scene of Thursday's bombing, an Associated Press reporter saw body parts and flesh scattered at the back gate of the Liaqat Bagh park, where Bhutto had spoken. He counted about 20 bodies, including police, and could see many other wounded people.

 

Party supporter Chaudry Mohammed Nazir said two gunshots rang out when Bhutto's vehicle pulled into the main street. Then there was a big blast next to her car.

 

Police cordoned off the street with white and red tape, and rescuers rushed to put victims in ambulances as people wailed nearby.

 

The clothing of some victims was shredded and people put party flags over their bodies. Police caps and shoes littered the asphalt.

 

Hundreds of riot police had manned security checkpoints around the venue. It was Bhutto's first public meeting in Rawalpindi since she came back to the country.

 

In November, Bhutto had also planned a rally in the city, but Musharraf forced her to cancel it, citing security fears.

 

In recent weeks, suicide bombers have repeatedly targeted security forces in Rawalpindi, where Musharraf stays and the Pakistan army has its headquarters.

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I am willing to bet the people will blame Pakistan's military-security establishment on this one. It will be interesting to find out who plotted and carried out the killing this respected democratic figure.

 

According to intelligence reports, the assassin managed to approach Bhutto and position himself within a short distance of her, before proceeding to shoot her and detonate the explosives with which he was strapped. Not only did the assassin want to cause maximum casualties, but he also hoped that authorities would later be unable to identify him and thus ascertain which organization he was working for.

 

Ms Bhutto knew that the military and intelligence did not want her back and has the paid ultimate price for being prepared to engage with her enemies on behalf of the people of Pakistan and her vision for them.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest ApocalypsePlough

The USA's involvement in this whole mess cannot, and should not, be forgotten. They were the catalyst for the assassination. They wanted Bhutto to go back there. She did, and then she asked for protection from the Bush administration, but they wouldn't give it to her. After the first assassination attempt in Oct 2007, she asked again, and they still wouldn't. The role Bush, etc, played in the assassination should not be discounted.

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The USA's involvement in this whole mess cannot, and should not, be forgotten. They were the catalyst for the assassination. They wanted Bhutto to go back there. She did, and then she asked for protection from the Bush administration, but they wouldn't give it to her. After the first assassination attempt in Oct 2007, she asked again, and they still wouldn't. The role Bush, etc, played in the assassination should not be discounted.

 

Where do you get the idea that Bhutto asked for protection from the Bush Administration?

 

Here is a video that show conclusive evidence that Bhutto was indeed shot. Contradicting the Pakistan government official explanation of events. The video reveals both a sniper and a suicide bomber.

 

 

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Guest zawmyolwin4974

Is Pakistan ready for democracy? A country where large masses of the population are alienated from the political process, where poverty, ignorance, fanaticism and superstition are rampant, where the military is very much part of the political power play, where corruption and abuse of power are part of the culture, where democratic institution are lacking.

 

How low are these Muslim terroist to kill brutally an innocent woman with lethal weapons. Is there any real man or soldier in the military regimes? How shame on you soldiers?

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