Bhutto assassinated

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Sentenza
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Bhutto assassinated

Unread post by Sentenza » December 28th, 2007, 5:51 am

The assassination of the Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto last night triggered violent convulsions across the country, casting grave doubts on elections scheduled for January 8 as well as marking a dark finale to a tragedy-strewn life.

Angry scenes erupted in cities across the country, where enraged supporters torched businesses and trains, attacked police and blocked roads with burning tyres. Gunfire rang out on the streets of Karachi, the port city where Bhutto spent much of her life.

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Two months after her triumphant return from exile, a gunman fired several shots at Bhutto as she left an election rally in Rawalpindi, hitting her in the neck and chest. Seconds later a fireball caused by a suicide bomb engulfed her bulletproof car and killed at least 20 supporters.

The former prime minister was rushed to a nearby hospital where distraught supporters burst through doors, smashed windows and tried to storm into the operating theatre where surgeons struggled to save her life. She was pronounced dead shortly afterwards. Supporters wept and crumpled to the ground outside the hospital. Cries of "Musharraf is a murderer" and "Long Live Bhutto" rang out.

Initial suspicions for the attack fell on Islamist militants who had previously threatened to kill the 54-year-old scion of Pakistan's greatest political dynasty. Late last night there were unconfirmed reports that al-Qaida had claimed responsibility on an Islamist website. In October, Bhutto survived a suicide attack on her homecoming parade in Karachi that killed 140.

The assassination is the climax of an extraordinary chain of crises to have rocked Pakistan in the past nine months as President Pervez Musharraf sought to consolidate his grip on power amid sieges, suicide bombings, high political drama and a surge in Islamist violence.

In a brief televised address Musharraf declared three days of mourning. "This is the work of those terrorists with whom we are engaged in war," he said. "We will not rest until we eliminate these terrorists."

Analysts said Musharraf might seize on the turmoil to postpone the January poll and possibly reimpose the emergency rule he established on November 3 but lifted shortly before Christmas.

Riaz Malik, of the opposition Pakistan Movement for Justice party said many fingers would be pointed at the Musharraf regime. He said: "The impact will be that Pakistan is in more turmoil - it will be the start of civil war in Pakistan. There is a very real danger of civil war."

The UN security council held an emergency session to discuss the assassination in the nuclear-armed country, which it described as a threat to international peace and stability. The UN secretary general, Ban Ki-moon, said he was "shocked and outraged". In a statement urging countries to cooperate with the Pakistani authorities, the security council "underlined the need to bring perpetrators, organisers, financiers and sponsors of this reprehensible act of terrorism to justice".

Pakistan's alarmed western allies mixed condemnation and tributes with calls for restraint and a continuation of the fragile political process. In Britain, Gordon Brown hailed Bhutto as "a woman of immense personal courage and bravery". The prime minister said: "She risked everything in her attempt to win democracy in Pakistan. Benazir Bhutto may have been killed by terrorists, but the terrorists must not be allowed to kill democracy in Pakistan."

A sombre President George Bush, speaking near his ranch in Crawford, Texas, condemned the killing as a "cowardly act by murderous extremists who are trying to undermine Pakistan's democracy".

In Moscow, President Vladimir Putin sent a telegram to Musharraf saying Bhutto's murder was "a challenge thrown down by forces of terrorism, not only to Pakistan but also to the entire international community," Russian news reports said.

The Indian prime minister, Manmohan Singh, said the subcontinent had "lost an outstanding leader".

The murder is the latest catastrophe to befall the Bhutto family. Benazir Bhutto's father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was deposed by a military dictator in 1977 and hanged two years later. Her two brothers were killed in murky circumstances in following decades.

Bhutto became the Muslim world's first female prime minister in 1988, but a second term of office ended amid corruption allegations in 1996. She returned from exile last October in the garb of a democratic champion but was criticised for holding power-sharing talks with Musharraf.

Yesterday her killer struck as she left Liaqat Bagh, a public park in Rawalpindi where she addressed thousands of supporters at an election rally. As she was driven out of the park - standing from the sunroof of her bulletproof vehicle wearing her trademark white headscarf and waving to supporters - a young man leapt forward brandishing a gun.

Several gunshots rang out and Bhutto fell back inside. Seconds later a blast rocked the vehicle, showering it with shrapnel. Rescuers found Bhutto lying in pool of blood on the back seat. A senior party official, Amin Fahim, who had been sitting beside her, said he heard "between three and five shots".

Amir Qureshi, a bodyguard from Bhutto's youth wing who had been jogging alongside her vehicle, said she was shot first in the neck, then in the head. "This is a black day not only for Pakistan but also the rest of the world," he told the Guardian from his hospital bed, where he was being treated for leg wounds.

Doctors administered open heart massage but Bhutto died from a bullet that severed her spinal cord, one medic at the Rawalpindi hospital said.

The opposition leader Nawaz Sharif, also recently returned from exile, arrived at the hospital and sat by Bhutto's body. "Benazir Bhutto was also my sister, and I will be with you to take the revenge for her death," he said later. "Don't feel alone. I am with you. We will take the revenge on the rulers."

Earlier, a Sharif rally in Rawalpindi had come under fire from a gunman, who killed at least four people and wounded several more. Sharif told the BBC: "I think perhaps none of us is inclined to take up the elections. We'll have to sit down and take a very serious look at the current situation."

Late last night Bhutto's body, in a plain wooden coffin, was flown to her home province of Sindh accompanied by her husband Asif Zardari and their three children, who had flown in from Dubai. She may be buried as early as today near her ancestral village in Larkana.

Bhutto's resting place will be inside a mausoleum built in recent years to house her father and two brothers. Now, in the latest chapter of Pakistan's most cursed political dynasty, she will join them.

Fatal hours

· Bhutto meets with visiting Afghan president Hamid Karzai at the end of his two-day visit

· Riot police man security checkpoints in Rawalpindi. Hundreds of people forced to pass through metal detectors and undergo body searches before entering the park where the Bhutto rally is to be held

· Bhutto arrives at park, leaves the podium and gets into her car

· She waves to supporters through the sunroof as the car makes its way through the crowds

· Two gunshots heard and Bhutto disappears into the car. She is shot in the head and neck

· Suicide bomber explodes a device, killing at least 20 other people

· Bhutto undergoes emergency operation at Rawalpindi general hospital

· Declared dead at 6.16pm local time

http://www.guardian.co.uk/pakistan/Stor ... ss&feed=12

natur
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Unread post by natur » December 30th, 2007, 12:08 pm

Really sad, she was a good woman who wanted to do good things for her country.
I wonder if it really was al Qaida or somebody else, like the Military or who knows
and what is going to happen in pakistan, maybe civil war?
not to forget that pakistan got nuclear weapons

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Unread post by SkoobyDoo » December 30th, 2007, 1:11 pm

She was asking for it.

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