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Benazir Bhutto, 1953-2007
From a Thursday, December 27, 2007 entry on Informed Comment Global Affairs, a group blog run by Juan Cole, Manan Ahmed, Farideh Farhi, and Barnett R. Rubin
Benazir Bhutto was killed at a PPP rally in Rawalpindi. The rally, with foolproof security was held at Liaqut Bagh - a site which had already seen the assassination of another Prime Minister of Pakistan, Liaqut Ali Khan.
There were earlier reports of security threats on her rally - similar reports were issued before the suicide attack on her in October.
In the nation whose history is dotted by military coups, assassinations and hangings of public figures, this is surely the bloodiest stain. She titled her autobiography, the Daughter of Destiny - but surely she deserved a fate other than the destiny of her father and Liaqut Ali Khan. It is truly a tragedy and a revelation of the chaos gripping the nation.
Thursday, December 27, 2007 : The former prime minister of Pakistan was killed at a campaign rally today, despite having a security detail. Kamal Siddiqi, editor of the Karachi News International, reports. "The details right now are very sketchy," Siddiqi says.
He says that in addition to a number of people having been killed, scores more were injured. "The main general hospital is now turning away patients who are coming in and redirecting them to other hospitals because their emergency ward is now full."
Bhutto appears to have completed her speech in a park in Rawalpindi, gotten into her car and was heading out of the park. She had a police escort. "It was obvious that the security was not as tight or as good as it should have been," he says. "If she was leaving, possibly the security people thought that the rally was over and they could relax. And that was the time when the attackers struck."
On our blog, an open thread: Bhutto killed: Feeling queasy?Listen Online
Thursday, December 27, 2007 : Blood, politics and tribes prove a deadly brew in Pakistan.
The carnage that greeted Benazir Bhutto, the former Pakistan prime minister, upon her return to the country may have occurred in Karachi, but there is little doubt about where the orders came from: the badlands of the Northwest Frontier Province (NWFP) and neighbouring Federally Administered Tribal Areas (FATA), the home bases of al-Qaeda and the Taliban.
Those who gave the orders for the bombing intended not merely to decapitate the soon to be consecrated government before it could assume power.
As important was the need to pre-empt the well-advertised assault on the militants in the frontier and tribal regions by the Pakistani military that was scheduled to start any day.
Bhutto's return was the public symbol of the government's new, get tough attitude. "I know who these people are, I know the forces behind them," Bhutto explained to the New York Times.Read More