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BENAZIR BHUTTO ASSASSINATED


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Bianca
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« on: December 27, 2007, 08:15:22 am »










                                                      Pakistan's Bhutto killed in attack




By SADAQAT JAN and ZARAR KHAN,
Associated Press Writers

 RAWALPINDI, Pakistan - Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday in a suicide attack that also killed at least 20 others at a campaign rally, aides said.
 
"The surgeons confirmed that she has been martyred," Bhutto's lawyer Babar Awan said.

A party security adviser said Bhutto was shot in neck and chest as she got into her vehicle to leave the rally in Rawalpindi near the capital Islamabad. A gunman then blew himself up.

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

Her supporters at the hospital began chanting "Dog, Musharraf, dog," referring to Pakistan's president Pervez Musharraf.

Some smashed 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.

At least 20 others were killed in the blast that took place as Bhutto left a political rally where she addressed thousands of supporters in her campaign for Jan. 8 parliamentary elections.

Bhutto served twice as Pakistan's prime minister between 1988 and 1996. She had returned to Pakistan from an eight-year exile Oct. 18.

Her homecoming parade in Karachi was also targeted by a suicide attacker, killing more than 140 people. On that occasion she narrowly escaped injury.






THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.





RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday in a suicide bombing that also killed at least 20 others at a campaign rally, a party aide and a military official said.

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

A senior military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment, confirmed that Bhutto had died.

Her supporters at the hospital began chanting "Dog, Musharraf, dog," referring to Pakistan's president Pervez Musharraf. Some of them smashed the glass door at the main entrance of the emergency unit, others burst into tears.
« Last Edit: December 27, 2007, 08:19:20 am by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #1 on: December 27, 2007, 08:59:40 am »









BREAKING NEWS





MSNBC News Services

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan - Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday in a suicide bombing that also killed at least 20 others at a campaign rally, a party aide and a military official said.

The death of the charismatic former prime minister threw the campaign for the Jan. 8 election into chaos and created fears of mass protests and an eruption of violence across the volatile south Asian nation, which has nuclear weapons and a support base for Muslim extremists.

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

“She has been martyred,” added party official Rehman Malik. Bhutto was 54.

A party security adviser said Bhutto was shot in the neck and chest as she got into her vehicle, then the gunman blew himself up.

A senior military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment, confirmed that Bhutto had died.

Her supporters at the hospital began chanting "Dog, Musharraf, dog," referring to Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf. Some of them smashed the glass door at the main entrance of the emergency unit, others burst into tears.

An Associated Press reporter at the scene of the bombing could see 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.

 
The road outside was stained with blood. People screamed for ambulances. Others gave water to the wounded lying in the street.

The clothing of some of the victims was shredded and people put party flags over their bodies.

Security had been tight, with hundreds of riot police manning security checkpoints with metal detectors around what was Bhutto's first campaign rally since returning from exile two months ago.

Bhutto had planned an earlier rally in the city, but Musharraf forced her to cancel it, citing security fears. In October, suicide bombers struck a parade celebrating Bhutto’s return, killing more than 140 people in the southern city of Karachi.





Jan. 8 elections



Parties across the country were stepping up campaigning for the Jan. 8 elections after a Muslim holiday late last week and a holiday on Tuesday for the birthday of Pakistan’s founder and revered first leader, Mohammad Ali Jinnah.



B.K. Bangash / AP
An injured supporter of Benazir Bhutto is taken away after the suicide attack in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, on Thursday.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
 
Western allies hope the election will restore stability in a nuclear-armed country vital to their battle against Islamist militancy. The three-way race had pitted Bhutto against the party of another former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, and a party that backs Musharraf, who took power in a 1999 coup.

Sharif and Bhutto had talked of an alliance, and Sharif on Thursday spoke to Bhutto supporters outside the hospital, saying: "My heart is bleeding and I'm as grieved as you are."

The elections are for provincial parliaments and for a National Assembly from which a prime minister and a government will be drawn. It was not clear if they would still be held on schedule.

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

Before the rally, scheduled for Thursday afternoon, Bhutto had met with visiting Afghan President Hamid Karzai at the end of his two-day visit here.

“We too believe that it is essential for both of our countries, and indeed the larger Muslim world, to work to protect the interest of Islamic civilization by eliminating extremism and terrorism,” she said after their meeting.

« Last Edit: December 27, 2007, 09:04:40 am by Bianca2001 » Report Spam   Logged

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« Reply #2 on: December 27, 2007, 09:05:56 am »








                                          U.S. heavily invested in Pakistan





Bhutto’s return to the country after years in exile and the ability of her party to contest free and fair elections had been a cornerstone of Bush’s policy in Pakistan, where U.S. officials had watched Musharraf’s growing authoritarianism with increasing unease.

Those concerns were compounded by the rising threat from al-Qaida and Taliban extremists, particularly in Pakistan’s largely ungoverned tribal areas bordering Afghanistan despite the fact that Washington had pumped nearly $10 billion in aid into the country since Musharraf became an indispensible counter-terrorism ally after Sept. 11, 2001.

Irritated by the situation, Congress last week imposed new restrictions on U.S. assistance to Pakistan, including tying $50 million in military aid to State Department assurances that the country is making “concerted efforts” to prevent terrorists from operating inside its borders.

Under the law, which provides a total of $300 million in aid to Pakistan and was signed by President Bush on Wednesday, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice also must guarantee Pakistan is implementing democratic reforms, including releasing political prisoners and restoring an independent judiciary.

The law also prevents any of the funds can be used for cash transfer assistance to Pakistan, but that stipulation had already been adopted by the administration.

Despite the congressional move, Richard Boucher, the assistant secretary of state for South and Central Asian affairs who had been instrumental in engineering the Bhutto-Musharraf reconciliation, said he had little doubt that the administration would get the money.
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« Reply #3 on: December 27, 2007, 09:09:50 am »








                                                 Family targeted over the years





Bhutto's family is no stranger to violence.


Her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was Pakistan's first popularly elected prime mister. He was executed in 1979 after being deposed in a military coup.

Bhutto became the first female prime minister in the Muslim world when she was elected in 1988 at the age of 35. She was deposed in 1990, re-elected in 1993, and ousted again in 1996 amid charges of corruption and mismanagement.

She said the charges were politically motivated but in 1999 chose to stay in exile rather than face them.

Both of her brothers died in mysterious circumstances and she had said al-Qaida assassins tried to kill her several times in the 1990s.

Intelligence reports have said al-Qaida, the Taliban and Pakistani jihadi groups have sent suicide bombers after her.
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« Reply #4 on: December 27, 2007, 01:33:07 pm »










                                 Slain Bhutto's supporters take anger to the streets

 


ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - Pakistan put its paramilitary forces on "red alert" across the country on Thursday after the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto sparked violent protests by her supporters.
 
President Pervez Musharraf denounced what he called a terrorist attack and appealed for calm after angry backers of the slain former prime minister took to the streets across Pakistan, from the Himalayas to the southern coast.

The unrest was predictably fiercest in her native Sindh province and its capital, Karachi.

"Police in Sindh have been put on red alert," said a senior police official. "We have increased deployment and are patrolling in all the towns and cities, as there is trouble almost everywhere."

Reports said security was deteriorating in Karachi, where thousands poured on to the streets to protest. At least three banks, a government office and a post office were set on fire, a witness said.

Tires were set on fire on many roads, and shooting and stone-throwing was reported in many places. Most shops and markets in the city shut down.

At least 20 vehicles were torched in the central Sindh town of Hyderabad.

There were also small protests in Rawalpindi and the nearby capital, Islamabad.

Protesters blocked roads with burning tyres and chanted slogans against President Pervez Musharraf in Muzaffarabad, capital of Pakistani Kashmir in the mountainous north.

Police said they had been ordered to block the main road between Punjab province and Sindh province, apparently to stop the movement of protesters.

Disturbances were also reported in the southeastern city of Multan, although details were sketchy. In the eastern city of Lahore, Bhutto party workers burnt three buses and damaged several other vehicles, police said.

Trouble was reported from the interior of Sindh province, including the Bhutto ancestral home at Larkana, police said.

"The situation is not good in the interior of Sindh. A large number of people have come out on the roads in many cities to protest," said senior police official Fayyaz Leghari.
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« Reply #5 on: December 27, 2007, 06:57:21 pm »








                                                  Killed Bhutto's body flown home
 



   
RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (CNN) -- The body of Pakistan's assassinated former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was being flown home Friday, as sporadic violence was reported in cities across the country.

Bhutto was killed Thursday leaving an election rally in Rawalpindi. The Interior Ministry said she died from a gun shot wound to the neck, fired by an attacker who then detonated a bomb killing 22 other people.

Angry mobs took to the streets, blocking roads, torching cars and pelting rocks at police, local television footage showed.

Police fired on a crowd, killing two people, in the city of Khairpur in the Sindh province, GEO TV reported. In Peshawar, officers used tear gas and batons to break up a demonstration, the station said.

Authorities called for calm and police asked residents to stay inside.

Many obliged, shuttering shops or rushing home from work, and surrendering the streets to protesters who set fire to banks, shops, gas stations and more, Pakistani media reported.

It's all mayhem everywhere," Shehryar Ahmad, an investment banker in Karachi, told CNN by telephone. "There's absolutely no order of any kind. No army on the streets. No curfew."

Ahmad said that he saw dozens of burned-out cars as he drove home from work. A one-mile strip leading to Bhutto's Karachi house was a "ghost town," he said.

Bhutto's body was being transported to the family's ancestral graveyard in Gari-Khuda Baksh in Sindh province, where she will be buried later Friday, said Sen. Safdar Abbasi, a leader of her Pakistan People's Party. 

The first leg was completed when, according to Pakistani TV stations, a Pakistan Air Force plane landed at Sukkur at about 3:15 a.m. Friday (5:30 p.m. Thursday ET). Bhutto's body was accompanied by her husband and three children.

Nic Robertson reports on Musharraf's precarious situation with al Qaeda and other extremists as he allies with the U.S.

Bhutto is expected to be taken the rest of the way to her ancestral home by helicopter. Authorities are avoiding road travel because it could be mobbed by grieving supporters, the television stations reported.

Her coffin body was removed from Rawalpindi General Hospital late Thursday -- carried above a crowd of grieving supporters.

Bhutto spent her final moments giving a stirring address to thousands of supporters at a political rally in a park in Rawalpindi, a city of roughly 1.5 million that is 14 km (9 miles) south of the Pakistani capital, Islamabad.

She climbed into a white Land Rover and stood through the sunroof to wave to crowds after the speech.

It was then that someone fired two shots, and Bhutto slumped back into the vehicle, said John Moore, a news photographer with Getty Images who saw what happened.

Seconds later an explosion rocked the park, sending orange flames into the throng of Bhutto supporters and littering the park with twisted metal and chunks of rubble. The carnage was everywhere, he said.

The assassination happened in Liaquat Bagh Park, named for Pakistan's first prime minister -- Liaquat Ali Khan -- who was assassinated in the same location in 1951.

The attack came just hours after four supporters of former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif died when members of another political party opened fire on them at a rally near the Islamabad airport Thursday, Pakistan police said.

Several other members of Sharif's party were wounded, police said.

Bhutto, who led Pakistan from 1988-1990 and 1993-96, but both times the sitting president dismissed her amid corruption allegations. She was the first female prime minister of any Islamic nation, and was participating in the parliamentary election set for January 8, hoping for a third term as prime minister.  Watch Benazir Bhutto obituary »

A terror attack targeting her motorcade in Karachi killed 136 people on the day she returned to Pakistan after eight years of self-imposed exile.


Bhutto had been critical of what she believed was a lack of effort by Musharraf's government to protect her. 

Two weeks after the October assassination attempt, she wrote a commentary for CNN.com in which she questioned why Pakistan investigators refused international offers of help in finding the attackers.
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« Reply #6 on: December 27, 2007, 07:05:43 pm »

What a rotten thing to happen.  She was one of my idols.  What is the world coming to when someone who had so much to offer ends up being killed, so young?

And the pundits are already speculating (to no end) about who this will benefit politically.  How cold-blooded. Rather than honor her life and aspirations, they are all wondering who will it help in the Iowa caucuses. I find the lack of compassion, and goodness, in our media quite disturbing.
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« Reply #7 on: December 28, 2007, 02:51:27 am »

Yes, I was shocked when I heard this.  What animals.
I honestly have never had much respect for traditional Muslim societies, they treat their women like trash.
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« Reply #8 on: December 28, 2007, 05:19:17 am »

What a shame, I liked her a lot. 
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« Reply #9 on: December 28, 2007, 07:32:04 am »








                                        Thousands mourn Bhutto as unrest spreads





By ASHRAF KHAN,
Associated Press Writer

GARHI KHUDA BAKHSH, Pakistan - Hundreds of thousands of mourners paid last respects to Benazir Bhutto as the opposition leader was buried Friday at the mausoleum of Pakistan's most famous political dynasty. Furious supporters rampaged through several cities to protest her assassination less than two weeks before crucial elections.
 
Some wept, others chanted "Benazir is alive," as the plain wood coffin was placed beside the grave of her father in the vast, white marble mausoleum in southern Sindh province near the Bhuttos' ancestral home.

The shooting and bombing attack on the former prime minister — President Pervez Musharraf's most powerful political opponent — plunged Pakistan into turmoil and badly damaged plans to restore democracy in this nuclear-armed nation, a key U.S. ally in the war on terror.

In cities elsewhere in Pakistan, Bhutto's supporters ransacked banks, waged shootouts with police and burned trains and stations in a spasm of violence less than two weeks before parliamentary elections.

Prime Minister Mohammedmian Soomro said the government had no immediate plans to postpone the Jan. 8 vote, despite the growing chaos and a top opposition leader's decision to boycott the poll.

"Right now the elections stand where they were," he told a news conference. "We will consult all the political parties to take any decision about it."

Bhutto's mourners arrived in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh by tractor, bus, car and jeep. Many crammed inside the mausoleum, throwing petals on the coffin. Women beat their heads and chests in grief.

"As long as the moon and sun are alive, so is the name of Bhutto," they chanted.

An Islamic cleric led mourners in prayers as her flag-draped coffin was placed in a grave beside her father, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, also a popular former prime minister who met a violent death.

Bhutto's son Bilawal and her husband Asif Ali Zardari, who wore a traditional white Sindhi cap and appeared composed, helped lower the coffin into the grave.

Some Bhutto supporters shouted "General, killer!" "Army, killer" in apparent reference to President Pervez Musharraf, who recently retired as army chief after eight years of military rule. Party leaders tried to pacify the crowd and urged them to stop.

"I don't know what will happen to the country now," said Nazakat Soomro, 32.

Bhutto's funeral procession began Friday afternoon at her ancestral residence in the southern town of Naudero. Her plain wood coffin, draped in the red, green and black flag of her Pakistan People's Party, was carried in the white ambulance, passing a burning passenger train on the way.

Bhutto visited the mausoleum in October to pay respects at her father's grave, days after she narrowly escaped another suicide attack on her homecoming parade in Karachi, that killed more than 140 people. The ambulance Friday passed over a ramp built for that visit.

Violence intensified in some cities. A mob in Karachi looted three banks and set them on fire Friday, police said.

About 7,000 people in the central city of Multan ransacked seven banks and a gas station and threw stones at police, who responded with tear gas. In the capital, Islamabad, about 100 protesters burned tires in a commercial quarter of the city.

Paramilitary rangers were given the authority to use live fire to stop rioters from damaging property in southern Pakistan, said Maj. Asad Ali, the rangers' spokesman.

"We have orders to shoot at sight," he said.

Violent mobs burned 10 railway stations and several trains across Bhutto's Sindh province, forcing the suspension of all train service between the city of Karachi and the eastern Punjab province, said Mir Mohammed Khaskheli, a senior railroad official. The rioters uprooted one section of the track leading to the Indian border, he said.

About 4,000 Bhutto party supporters rallied in the northwestern city of Peshawar on Friday and several hundred of them ransacked the office of the main pro-Musharraf party, burning furniture and stationery. The office was empty and no one was hurt.

Musharraf blamed the attack on the resurgent Islamic militants Pakistan is fighting along the border region with Afghanistan, pledging in a nationally televised speech that "we will not rest until we eliminate these terrorists and root them out."

But authorities said they had yet to identify the attacker.

"It is too early to say who may have been responsible," said Saud Aziz, the chief of police in Rawalpindi, the city near Islamabad where the attack took place. A joint task force of police and officials from other law enforcement agencies were investigating, he said.

Bhutto was killed after a suicide attacker shot at her and then blew himself up as she left a rally, police and witnesses said. Authorities initially said she died from bullet wounds, but Dr. Mussadiq Khan, a surgeon who treated her, said Friday that she died from shrapnel to the skull.

Bhutto had no pulse when she arrived at the hospital and doctors failed to resuscitate her, he said.

Interior Ministry spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema said he saw the medical report and it confirmed she died from a shrapnel wound and was not shot. "No bullet was found in her body," he said.

Soomro, the prime minister, told the Cabinet on Friday that Bhutto's husband had not allowed doctors to perform an autopsy, according to a government statement.

FBI spokesman Richard Kolko in Washington said the agency was trying to determine the validity of a purported claim of responsibility for the attack by al-Qaida.

President Bush, who spoke briefly by phone with Musharraf, looked tense as he spoke to reporters, denouncing the "murderous extremists who are trying to undermine Pakistan's democracy."

After the killing, Nawaz Sharif, another former premier and leader of a rival opposition party, announced his party would boycott the elections.

The election was seen as a pivotal step toward restoring democracy here, eight years after Musharraf seized power in a coup. It also was intended to restore credibility to the government after Musharraf used a six-week state of emergency to arrest thousands of political opponents and crack down on the independent judiciary.

However, with Sharif's party on the sidelines and Bhutto's party leaderless and in disarray, the election will have little, if any, credibility.

"This assassination is the most serious setback for democracy in Pakistan," said Rasul Baksh Rais, a political scientist at Lahore's University of Management Sciences. "It shows extremists are powerful enough to disrupt the democratic process."

Sharif demanded Musharraf's resignation, as did Imran Khan, another opposition politician and former cricket star. "Musharraf is the cause of all the problems," Sharif said.

Bhutto's death closed another grim chapter in Pakistan's bloodstained history, 28 years after her father was hanged by a military dictatorship just a few miles from where she was killed.

The United States struggled to reformulate its plan to stabilize the country based on a rapprochement between Bhutto and Musharraf.

Bhutto, whose party has long been popular among Pakistan's legions of poor, served two terms as prime minister between 1988 and 1996. Both elected governments were toppled amid accusations of corruption and mismanagement, but she was respected in the West for her liberal outlook and determination to combat Islamic extremism.

She had been vying for a third term if her party fared well in the Jan. 8 parliamentary elections.

Bhutto was a domineering presence in her party, and there is no clear successor to the leadership. Her husband Zardari, who was freed in December 2004 after eight years in detention on graft charges, is one contender to head the party although he lacks the cachet of a blood relative.

Bhutto had just addressed more than 5,000 supporters in Rawalpindi on Thursday when the attacker struck as she was leaving the rally in a white sports utility vehicle.

A smiling Bhutto had stuck her head out of the sunroof to respond to youths chanting her name, said Sardar Qamar Hayyat, an official from Bhutto's party.

"Then I saw a thin, young man jumping toward her vehicle from the back and opening fire. Moments later, I saw her speeding vehicle going away. That was the time when I heard a blast and fell down," Hayyat said.
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« Reply #10 on: December 28, 2007, 07:34:38 am »





VIDEO OF THE FUNERAL:



http://cosmos.bcst.yahoo.com/up/player/popup/?rn=3906861&cl=5698226&ch=4226714&src=news
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« Reply #11 on: December 28, 2007, 11:11:06 am »








                                               CAUSE OF BHUTTO'S DEATH




     
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (CNN) -- Benazir Bhutto died as a result of a fractured skull after hitting her head on part of her car's sun roof, not as a result of a bullet or bomb shrapnel, a spokesman for Pakistan's Interior Ministry said Friday.

 
Asif Ali Zardari, in white cap on left, helps carry the coffin of his wife Benazir Bhutto during Friday's burial.

Nothing entered the opposition leader's head, the spokesman said.

Earlier, the ministry said in a report carried by the state-run news agency Associated Press of Pakistan that she was killed by shrapnel from the suicide bomb that was detonated as she stood up through the sun roof while being driven away from a political rally.

The blast killed at least 28 more people and at least 100 were wounded.

And it was initially reported on Thursday that the two-time former prime minister had died due to prior gun shots fired by the bomber.

The Interior Ministry also revealed Friday that it had proof showing that al Qaeda was behind Bhutto's assassination.

Brigadier Javed Iqbal Cheema said the government had an intelligence intercept in which an al Qaeda militant "congratulated his people for carrying out this cowardly act."

However, that claim has not appeared on radical Islamist Web sites that regularly post such messages from al Qaeda and other militant groups.

The Interior Ministry also earlier told Pakistan's GEO-TV that the suicide bomber belonged to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi -- an al Qaeda-linked Sunni Muslim militant group that the government has blamed for hundreds of killings.

Bhutto was laid to rest in a chaotic funeral at her ancestral home Friday after violent scenes erupted across Pakistan following her death a day earlier.

Bhutto was interred alongside her father in the southern Pakistan town of Garhi-Khuda Baksh.

Hundreds of thousands of people in the surrounding streets almost brought the procession to a standstill before it finally reached the Bhutto family's mausoleum.

The throngs of her grieving supporters crushed up against the flag-draped coffin, while minor scuffles also broke out.

Violence had earlier erupted in Pakistan in the hours before Bhutto's funeral started, with at least nine people reported killed and banks, train stations and cars torched. 

Bhutto's body arrived in the hours before dawn at Garhi-Khuda Baksh after a long journey by plane, helicopter and ambulance. 

The opposition leader's family -- her husband Asif Ali Zardari and three children -- accompanied the body aboard a Pakistani Air Force C-130 transport plane to Sukkor but traveled by bus from there to Larkana and on to Garhi-Khuda Baksh.

Another former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, told CNN on Friday that he had planned to attend Bhutto's funeral, but was advised not to by Zardari, who cited security concerns.

"He said that we must not come today in view of these inadequate security arrangements," Sharif said. "The security arrangements are far from satisfactory."

In the aftermath of the assassination, the prime minister's office has launched a judicial inquiry and the Ministry of the Interior is setting up a police inquiry, according to Information Minister Nisar Memon.

Memon said no decision had been made to postpone parliamentary elections scheduled for January 8.

"We remain on course," he said.

Sharif, who visited the hospital to pay his respects to Bhutto, later announced that he and his party would boycott the elections.

Bhutto, who was campaigning for the elections, had completed an election rally minutes earlier and was leaving the rally site, Rawalpindi's Liaquat Bagh Park, at the time of the attack.  What impact could Bhutto have had in Pakistan? »

Her father and former prime minister, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, was hanged in the same northern city in 1979.

As a shocked Pakistan absorbed the news of Bhutto's death, authorities called for calm and asked residents to stay inside.

Many obliged, shuttering shops or rushing home from work and surrendering the streets to protesters who set fire to banks, shops and gas stations, blocked roads and pelted police with rocks, Pakistani media reported.

At least five people were killed in Karachi in the violence, GEO-TV reported, and dozens more were wounded. Police in Khairpur fired on an angry mob, killing two people, the station reported, and two more people were killed in Larkana.

"It's all mayhem everywhere," Shehryar Ahmad, an investment banker in Karachi, told CNN by telephone. "There's absolutely no order of any kind. No army on the streets. No curfew."

In Sindh province, where Karachi is located, police said demonstrators had burned a dozen banks, set two train stations on fire, along with three trains. Since Thursday, 240 vehicles have been burned.

Because of the violence, paramilitary forces in Sindh were told to "shoot on sight" anyone causing civil disturbances, a spokesman for the Pakistan Rangers said.

Local media reported that in some areas, police were on the streets but were avoiding direct confrontation with the mobs, not wanting to inflame an already tense situation.

But by Friday morning, Pakistani media reported that an uneasy calm had spread across the shaken country, now marking a three-day period of mourning declared by President Pervez Musharraf.

Bhutto led Pakistan from 1988-1990 and 1993-96, but both times the sitting president dismissed her amid corruption allegations. She was the first female prime minister of any Islamic nation.

A terror attack targeting her motorcade in Karachi in October killed 136 people on the day she returned to Pakistan after eight years of self-imposed exile.


Bhutto had been critical of what she believed was a lack of effort by President Musharraf's government to protect her. 

Two weeks after that assassination attempt, she wrote a commentary for CNN.com in which she questioned why Pakistan investigators refused international offers of help in finding the attackers.
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« Reply #12 on: December 28, 2007, 04:38:25 pm »

I read the CNN email where Bhutto blamed Musharraf for her death (in advance) for not providing enough protection. That's probably true.  But I wonder if Hillary Clinton is being thoughtful enough to lay the complete blame on him? The alternatives (Islamic extremists) are even worse!

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« Reply #13 on: December 28, 2007, 04:49:28 pm »

PARADE EXCLUSIVE
 

 
'A Wrong Must Be Righted'
An interview with Benazir Bhutto


By Gail Sheehy
Published: December 27, 2007

 
Benazir Bhutto
 
Editor's note: We are all saddened by the murder of Pakistan’s Benazir Bhutto. The assassination adds more danger and confusion to the already chaotic situation in the region.

In late November, PARADE sent Contributing Editor Gail Sheehy to Pakistan. Sheehy traveled with former prime minister Benazir Bhutto as she campaigned through her home provinces. Sheehy had two long interviews with her—the first in Bhutto’s home in Islamabad, a second at her residence outside Karachi. Bhutto told Sheehy that she had long been a target of terrorists. She knew she was also now a target of the Musharraf government. Thursday’s suicide bombing mirrors the earlier attempt on her life that Bhutto described to Sheehy.

The interview with Bhutto will be the cover story of PARADE on January 6, 2008.

. . . 

Dust spirals from village to village across the countryside of Pakistan. Drums lead men to dance in the streets as they witness the reappearance of their revered leader. No matter how long and hard I look, there are no women. Except her.

Ben-a-zir, zindabd! the men chant. Long live Benazir!

Benazir Bhutto has returned to her fractured country to run for prime minister this Tuesday. She has ruled twice before—and twice been overthrown. Her caravan continually switches direction to foil suicide bombers. Only a few weeks earlier, she narrowly escaped blasts that slaughtered 170 of her supporters. Now I watch her stand tall atop a truck, waving, white-scarved. Serenely smiling.

That evening, Bhutto invites me to her ancestral home in Larkana, where she still presides over several thousand acres of feudal lands. Meeting me alone on the men’s side, she is ready to let down her veil.

Today I saw you campaigning essentially unprotected, I say. How do you do it?

In answer, she invokes her late father, Zulfikar Bhutto, a populist reformer and the nation’s first democratic prime minister. “From the day my father was hanged—I was 25—whenever there is a crisis, I go into a kind of detachment. ‘What should I be doing?’ I just start ticking off steps. I don’t feel.”

Like her country, Bhutto is a riddle. Brilliant, beautiful, fearless, she is also ruthlessly ambitious, devious and corrupt. The first question that perplexes an American: How could Bhutto — Harvard- and Oxford-educated, unapologetically secular — have become the first woman elected to lead a Muslim country? In part, the answer is that in dynastic Pakistan, she is effectively royalty. The second question: Why should this election matter so much to America? That answer is simpler. Pakistan has nuclear weapons. Also, the most dangerous place in the world is Pakistan’s lawless border with Afghanistan. It is a Ho Chi Minh Trail of terrorism where Osama bin Laden is believed to enjoy sanctuary.

Bhutto maintains that the Pakistani army’s decision to overthrow her in 1996 came after she announced plans to crack down on terrorism. “I am what the terrorists most fear,” she tells me, “a female political leader fighting to bring modernity to Pakistan. Now they’re trying to kill me."

Talat Masood, a retired general who has advised Bhutto, foresees his nation breaking in half. “ The only option left to the people of Pakistan,” he says, “is the military or the militants.”

Or another try at democracy under Bhutto.

. . .

During our talk in Larkana, Bhutto weeps in describing her struggles after being ousted 12 years ago on charges of plundering the treasury. Her husband was jailed without charges. She faced constant harassment by the courts. Even while living with her three children in self-imposed exile in London and Dubai, she could not open a bank account or use a credit card because of the charges against her in Pakistan. “I didn’t have the press, I didn’t have the judiciary, I was all alone,” she whimpers. As if on cue, tears fall. “I only had God,” she moans.

Bhutto still insists that there are no foreign bank accounts in her name. I suggest that most are in the names of her mother or of friends. She feigns surprise—what could others’ finances have to do with her? “I’m an independent legal entity!” she protests. “What’s the difference between you and me?”

“One point five billion dollars,” I reply—the amount the Pakistani government contends that she and her husband pocketed while in power. She also allegedly siphoned funds from the U.N. Oil for Food program. Her defense: “Six other companies in Pakistan did it. Nobody investigated them.”

Beneath the theatrics Bhutto uses to such effect is an ominous reality. “She’s the No. 1 target of the terrorists right now,” says Humayun Gauhar, a confidant of Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf.

Bhutto says she first heard the name Osama bin Laden in 1989, when he sent $10 million to the ISI, Pakistan’s infamous intelligence service, to help it overthrow her first government. The ISI has close ties to radical Islamists and was responsible for the Taliban’s rise to power in Afghanistan. America’s CIA, which also supported the Afghan holy warriors in their guerrilla struggle against the Soviet Union in the 1980s, continues to work with the ISI today—theoretically in suppressing the very terrorist legions it helped to create.

“Benazir tried to push the intelligence service out of politics in her first term,” acknowledges America’s ambassador to Pakistan at the time, Robert Oakley. “It was a bold move, but it failed."

“I was ignorant of the extremist war of these new radical Islamists until my second term,” Bhutto tells me. Upon re-election in 1993, she learned of more attempts to assassinate her from the interrogation of a Pakistani terrorist named Ramzi Yousef—the mastermind of the 1993 bombing of New York’s World Trade Center. That investigation also revealed to her the existence of madrassas, or Islamic schools, preaching jihad against the West.

Bhutto tried once more to break the ISI. Again, she failed and was overthrown—and, with ISI support, Taliban-controlled Afghanistan became the staging ground for 9/11.

. . .

To understand why Bhutto is so driven, one must imagine her huddling with her mother in a cold jail cell through a long April night in 1979, waiting for her father to be hanged by the military strongman who had overthrown him. The young woman and her mother subsequently lived through repeated raids, arrests and solitary confinement.

Have you healed? I ask this 54-year-old survivor. Or is avenging your father your solace?

“I feel that a wrong must be righted,” she says. She recalls her father’s parting words: “You can walk away. You’re young. You can go to live in London or Paris or Geneva.”

“No,” she told him. “I have to keep up this mission of yours, of democracy.”

Bhutto’s own family dismisses her little-girl-lost script. “Her father’s death was enormously convenient for her politically,” her American-educated niece, Fatima Bhutto, tells me. “She has no legacy of her own except for corruption and violence, so she rests on her father’s laurels.” Fatima blames her aunt for her own father’s assassination in 1996.

Reflecting on the lessons of her two terms as prime minister, Bhutto tells me, “It’s only now that America has awakened to what we were already fighting—Islamic jihadis.” Fortunately for her, the West’s urgent fear of Pakistan as a breeding ground for terrorists has given Bhutto the chance to redefine herself. During most of her exile, she was considered irrelevant by Washington. Then she hired Hillary Clinton’s image-maker, Mark Penn, and began playing up to Musharraf.

When Musharraf’s popularity dove in 2007 after his jailing of judges, lawyers and journalists, Bhutto suddenly emerged as America’s “ideal.” U.S. politicians needed her—progressive, secular, female, willing to compromise—to put a face of democracy on their support for Musharraf’s autocratic rule.

True to form, Bhutto manipulated Musharraf to erase the charges against her, promising not to return to Pakistan until after national elections. She then broke that promise. But once she sensed that even her stalwarts were appalled at an arranged political marriage to a dictator, she spurned Musharraf and became her own woman again.

I sense a dark reflection in both Bhutto’s psychological history and her country’s constant turmoil—a compulsion to repeat past traumas. A prime example is the way she returned to her country on Oct. 18.

Ignoring warnings of terrorist cells plotting to kill her, Bhutto presided from atop a caravan over a parade that took 10 hours to snake through Karachi. Near midnight, the streetlights went out. The police disappeared. Her feet swollen from standing, Bhutto ducked below into a steel command center to remove her sandals. Moments later, a bomb went off. “I had a sickening, sickening feeling,” she tells me. She now believes the bomb was wired to an infant that a man had been trying to hand to her. She recalls saying to the people with her, “Don’t go outside—another blast will follow.” It did.

When she finally emerged, Bhutto saw bits of brain and flesh and fingers from 20 members of Benazir’s Brigade—the young guards who wear red shirts proclaiming “I Give My Life for Bhutto” — decorating the platform from which she had waved. All told, 170 of her supporters died. Tellingly, the Musharraf government has mounted no investigation.

Her friend Abida Hussain, a former Pakistani ambassador to the U.S., tells me that Bhutto later felt sad and asked, “How many lives did I risk?” Bhutto herself indignantly protests this anecdote to me. “I said no such thing! We must be out on the streets, or the terrorists win.”

Such is politics in Pakistan.

. . .

Musharraf called the attempt on Bhutto a suicide attack by Islamic extremists. Bhutto believes it was the work of Musharraf’s allies. “There are rogue elements within ISI that are ideologically jihadist and less than enthusiastic about Benazir Bhutto becoming prime minister a third time,” says a Bhutto adviser. However, Musharraf’s confidant Gauhar argues to me: “We don’t want a dead Benazir on our hands! She’d be just another unlikely martyr that we don’t need.”

If Bhutto returns to power this week, Gauhar predicts the U.S. will finally get what Musharraf has refused it: “She will allow NATO boots on the ground in our tribal areas and a chance to neuter our nuclear weapons.” Yet President Bush remains reluctant to give up on Musharraf, despite the fact that two-thirds of Pakistanis want him to resign immediately. If the election is rigged, as expected, public outrage is likely to erupt. Bhutto says she won’t join an illegitimate government. But her niece, Fatima Bhutto, says, “She’ll work with anyone to get back into power.”

Despite the corrosion of her reputation by corruption and compromise, Bhutto appears to be America’s strongest anchor in the effort to turn back the extremist Islamic tide threatening to engulf Pakistan. What would you like to tell President Bush? I ask this riddle of a woman.

She would tell him, she replies, that propping up Musharraf’s government, which is infested with radical Islamists, is only hastening disaster. “I would say, ‘Your policy of supporting dictatorship is breaking up my country.’ I now think al-Qaeda can be marching on Islamabad in two to four years.”

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
http://www.parade.com/benazir_bhutto_interview.html
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« Reply #14 on: December 28, 2007, 04:50:38 pm »

This interview will be in Parade a week from Sunday, so you're seeing an exclusive!  Smiley
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"In a monarchy, the king is law, in a democracy, the law is king."
-Thomas Paine
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