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Thread: Former Prime Minister Of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, Assassinated

  1. #1
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    Former Prime Minister Of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, Assassinated

    Bhutto Assassinated in Attack on Rally

    Published: December 28, 2007

    RAWALPINDI, Islamabad — An attack on a political rally killed the Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto near the capital, Islamabad, Thursday. Witnesses said Ms. Bhutto was fired upon by a gunman at close range before the blast, and an official from her party said Ms. Bhutto was further injured by the explosion, which was apparently caused by a suicide attacker.

    Ms. Bhutto, a former prime minister of Pakistan, was declared dead by doctors at a hospital in Rawalpindi at 6:16 p.m. after the doctors had tried to resuscitate her for thirty-five minutes. She had suffered severe shrapnel injuries, the doctors said. At least a dozen more people were killed in the attack at the rally, which was being held ahead of elections scheduled for January, at a popular park in Rawalpindi, the garrison city adjacent to the capital.

    “At 6:16 p.m. she expired,” said Dr. Abbas Hayat, professor of pathology at Rawalpindi General Hospital where Ms. Bhutto was taken after the attack.

    In October, Ms. Bhutto survived a deadly suicide attack in the southern city of Karachi on the day she returned from years of self-imposed exile abroad to contest the parliamentary elections. Ms. Bhutto blamed extremist Islamic groups who she said wanted to take over the country for that attack, which narrowly missed her but killed 134 people.

    Ms. Bhutto’s death is the latest blow to Pakistan’s treacherous political situation. It comes just days after President Pervez Musharraf lifted a state of emergency in the country, which he had used to suspend the Constitution and arrest thousands of political opponents, and which he said he had imposed in part because of terrorist threats by extremists in Pakistan.

    Ms. Bhutto had returned to Pakistan with American support and following power-sharing negotiations between Ms. Bhutto and Mr. Musharraf, but once she was in Pakistan those negotiations appeared to break down.

    Ms. Bhutto’s death Thursday immediately raised questions about whether the parliamentary elections scheduled for January will now go ahead or be postponed.

    Hundreds of supporters had gathered at the political rally, which was being held at Liaqut Bagh, a park that is a common venue for political rallies and speeches, in Rawalpindi.

    Amid the confusion after the explosion, the site was littered with pools of blood. Shoes and caps of party workers were lying on the asphalt, and shards of glass were strewn about the ground. Pakistani television cameras captured images of ambulances pushing through crowds of dazed and injured people at the scene of the assassination.

    CNN reported that witnesses at the scene described the assassin as opening fire on Ms. Bhutto and her entourage, hitting her at least once in the neck and once in the chest, before blowing himself up.

    Farah Ispahani, a party official from Ms. Bhutto’s party, said: “It is too soon to confirm the number of dead from the party’s side. Private television channels are reporting twenty dead.” Television channels were also quoting police sources as saying that at least 14 people were dead.

    At the hospital where Ms. Bhutto was taken, a large number of police began to cordon off the area as angry party workers smashed windows. Many protesters shouted “Musharraf Dog”. One man was crying hysterically, saying, “O my sister has been killed.” Amid the crowd, dozens of people beat their chests, and chanted slogans against Mr. Musharraf.

    Nahid Khan, a close aide to Ms. Bhutto, was crying with swollen eyes in a room next to the operating theater, and the corridors of the hospital swarmed with mourners.

    Ms. Bhutto had been warned by the government before her return to Pakistan that she faced threats to her security.

    Ms. Bhutto, 54, returned to Pakistan this year to present herself as the answer to the nation’s troubles: a tribune of democracy in a state that has been under military rule for eight years, and the leader of the country’s largest opposition political party, founded by her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, one of Pakistan’s most flamboyant and democratically inclined prime ministers.

    But her record in power, and the dance of veils she has deftly performed since her return -- one moment standing up to Mr. Musharraf, then next seeming to accommodate him, and never quite revealing her actual intentions -- has stirred as much distrust as hope among Pakistanis.

    A graduate of Harvard and Oxford, she brought the backing of Washington and London, where she impresses with her political lineage, her considerable charm and her persona as a female Muslim leader.

    But with these accomplishments, Ms. Bhutto also brought controversy, and a legacy among Pakistanis as a polarizing figure who during her two turbulent tenures as prime minister, first from 1988 to 1990 and again from 1993 to 1996, often acted imperiously and impulsively.

    She faced deep questions about her personal probity in public office, which led to corruption cases against her in Switzerland, Spain and Britain, as well as in Pakistan.

    Ms. Bhutto saw herself as the inheritor of her father’s mantle, often spoke of how he encouraged her to study the lives of legendary female leaders ranging from Indira Gandhi to Joan of Arc.

    Following the idea of big ambition, Ms. Bhutto called herself chairperson for life of the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party, a seemingly odd title in an organization based on democratic ideals and one she has acknowledged quarreling over with her mother, Nusrat Bhutto, in the early 1990s.

    Saturday night at the diplomatic reception, Ms. Bhutto showed how she could aggrandize. Three million people came out to greet her in Karachi on her return last month, she said, calling it Pakistan’s ”most historic” rally. In fact, crowd estimates were closer to 200,000, many of them provincial party members who had received small amounts of money to make the trip.

    Such flourishes led questioning in Pakistan about the strength of her democratic ideals in practice, and a certain distrust, particularly amid signs of back-room deal-making with General Musharraf, the military ruler she opposed.

    “She believes she is the chosen one, that she is the daughter of Bhutto and everything else is secondary,” said Feisal Naqvi, a corporate lawyer in Lahore who knew Ms. Bhutto.

    When Ms. Bhutto was re-elected to a second term as Prime Minister, her style of government combined both the traditional and the modern, said Zafar Rathore, a senior civil servant at the time.

    But her view of the role of government differed little from the classic notion in Pakistan that the state was the preserve of the ruler who dished out favors to constituents and colleagues, he recalled.

    As secretary of interior, responsible for the Pakistani police force, Mr. Rathore, who is now retired, said he tried to get an appointment with Ms. Bhutto to explain the need for accountability in the force. He was always rebuffed, he said.

    Finally, when he was seated next to her in a small meeting, he said to her, “I’ve been waiting to see you,” he recounted. “Instantaneously, she said: ‘I am very busy, what do you want. I’ll order it right now.’ ”

    She could not understand that a civil servant might want to talk about policies, he said. Instead, he said, ”she understood that when all civil servants have access to the sovereign, they want to ask for something.”

    But until her death, Ms. Bhutto ruled the party with an iron hand, jealously guarding her position, even while leading the party in absentia for nearly a decade.

    Members of her party saluted her return to Pakistan, saying she was the best choice against General Musharraf. Chief among her attributes, they said, was sheer determination.

    Ms. Bhutto’s marriage to Asif Ali Zardari was arranged by her mother, a fact that Ms. Bhutto has often said was easily explained, even for a modern, highly educated Pakistani woman.

    To be acceptable to the Pakistani public as a politician she could not be a single woman, and what was the difference, she would ask, between such a marriage and computer dating?

    Mr. Zardari is known for his love of polo and other perquisites of the good life like fine clothes, expensive restaurants, homes in Dubai and London, and an apartment in New York.

    He was minister of investment in Ms. Bhutto’s second government. And it was from that perch that he made many of the deals that haunted Ms. Bhutto, and himself, in the courts.

    There were accusations that the couple had illegally taken $1.5 billion from the state. It is a figure that Ms. Bhutto has vigorously contested.

    Indeed, one of Ms. Bhutto’s main objectives in seeking to return to power was to restore the reputation of her husband, who was jailed for eight years in Pakistan, said Abdullah Riar, a former senator in the Pakistani Parliament and a former colleague of Ms. Bhutto’s.

    “She told me, ‘Time will prove he is the Nelson Mandela of Pakistan,’ ” Mr. Riar said.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

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    Assassination poses dilemma for US
    Bhutto Assassination Throws Wrench Into US Policy on Pakistan

    Dec 27, 2007 10:14 EST

    The Bush administration scrambled Thursday with the implications of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto's assassination after investing significant diplomatic capital in promoting reconciliation between her and President Pervez Musharraf.

    While awaiting formal confirmation of Bhutto's death in an attack on an election rally, U.S. officials — who had labored to promote stability in the nuclear-armed country that has been an anti-terrorism ally — huddled to assess the impact of Bhutto's passing just two weeks before legislative elections in the turbulent nation in which her party was expected to do well.

    "Certainly, we condemn the attack on this rally," said deputy State Department spokesman Tom Casey. "It demonstrates that there are still those in Pakistan who want to subvert reconciliation and efforts to advance democracy."

    A U.S. official speaking on grounds of anonymity confirmed that Bhutto was assassinated. No person or group has claimed responsibility for her death, the official said.

    In Crawford, Texas, White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said that vacationing President Bush "has been informed about the situation in Pakistan. He was told about it this morning during his regular briefing." He said that Bush planned to appear before reporters outside his ranch house here later Thursday morning to discuss the situation.

    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.

    The United States had been at the forefront of foreign powers trying to arrange reconciliation between Bhutto and Musharraf, who under heavy U.S. pressure resigned as army chief and earlier this month lifted a state of emergency, in the hope it would put Pakistan back on the road to democracy.

    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.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  3. #3
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    Benazir Bhutto killed in suicide attack; supporters in uproar across Pakistan

    14 minutes ago

    RAWALPINDI, Pakistan - Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was killed Thursday in a suicide attack as she drove away from a campaign rally attended by thousands of supporters, aides said.

    The attacker struck shortly after Bhutto addressed the crowd in the garrison city of Rawalpindi. There were conflicting accounts over the sequence of events. Rehman Malik, Bhutto's security adviser, said Bhutto was shot in the neck and chest by the attacker, who then blew himself up.

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

    But Javed Iqbal Cheema, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, told state-run Pakistan Television that Bhutto died when a suicide bomber struck her vehicle.

    At least 20 others were killed in the blast, according to an Associated Press reporter at the scene.

    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 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.

    Next to President Pervez Musharraf, Bhutto, 54, was the best known political figure in the country. She had served two terms as prime minister between 1988 and 1996. She was respected in the West for her liberal outlook and determination to combat the spread of Islamic extremism, a theme she returned to often in her campaign speeches.

    Her death will leave a void at the top of her Pakistan People's party, the largest political group in the country.

    As news of her death spread, supporters at the hospital in Rawalpindi smashed glass doors and stoned cars. Many chanted slogans against Musharraf, accusing the president of complicity in her killing.

    Angry supporters took to the streets in the northwestern city of Peshawar as well other areas, chanting slogans against Musharraf. In Rawalpindi, the site of the attack, Bhutto's supporters burned election posters from the ruling party and attacked police, who fled from the scene.

    In Karachi, shop owners quickly closed their businesses as supporters from Bhutto's party burned tires on the roads.

    Shortly after Bhutto's death, Musharraf convened an emergency meeting with his senior staff, where they were expected to discuss whether to postpone the election, an official at the Interior Ministry said.

    Nawaz Sharif, another former prime minister and leader of a rival opposition party, rushed to the hospital and addressed the crowd.

    "Benazir Bhutto was also my sister, and I will be with you to take the revenge for her death," Sharif said. "Don't feel alone. I am with you. We will take the revenge on the rulers."

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

    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 Pakistan People's party tied around his head was beating his chest.

    "I saw her with my own eyes sitting in a vehicle after addressing the rally. Then, I heard an explosion," said Tahir Mahmood, 55, as she sobbed. "I am in shock. I cannot believe that she is dead," he said.

    Some at the hospital began chanting, "Killer, Killer, Musharraf," referring to Musharraf, Bhutto's main political opponent.

    "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.

    In Washington, deputy State Department spokesman Tom Casey said: "Certainly, we condemn the attack on this rally. It demonstrates that there are still those in Pakistan who want to subvert reconciliation and efforts to advance democracy."

    The United States has for months been encouraging Musharraf to reach some kind of political accommodation with the opposition, particular Bhutto, who is seen as having a wide base of support.

    Bhutto had returned to Pakistan from an eight-year exile on 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.

    Bhutto was killed just a few kilometres from the scene of her father's violent death 28 years earlier.

    Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a former prime minister and the founder of the party that his daughter would later lead, was executed by hanging in 1979 in Rawalpindi on charges of conspiracy to murder that supporters said was politically motivated by the then-military regime. His killing led to violent protests across the country.

    As Bhutto addressed the rally Thursday, she was flanked by a massive picture of her father.

    Minutes later, the area was awash in blood.

    An Associated Press reporter at the scene 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.

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

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

    On Thursday, hundreds of riot police had manned security checkpoints to guard 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, a city near the capital where Musharraf stays and the Pakistan army has its headquarters.

    Quotations from Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, assassinated Thursday in Rawalpindi:

    "We have to modify our campaign to some extent because of the suicide bombings. We will continue to meet the public. We will not be deterred." - Shortly after narrowly escaping a suicide bombing in October on her return to Pakistan from an eight-year exile.

    "I told him on my oath in his death cell, I would carry on his work." - Recalling a visit to her father, former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, before his execution in 1979.

    "The primary message of the visit and the talks will be that freedom has returned to Pakistan. It is not only a success for the people of Pakistan but for all those who believe in freedom." - Preparing for a visit to the United States in 1989, a few months after she first took office as prime minister.

    "The voter has gotten more demanding. In 1988, the voters just wanted democracy. Our campaign was much more general then. Now we are more specific." - 1993 Associated Press interview on her ultimately successful bid for re-election. She had been ousted in 1990.

    "I always said that I was innocent and a victim of a politically motivated trial." - Commenting in 2001 when her 1999 conviction on corruption charges was suspended and a new trial ordered.

    "I haven't given myself away. I belong to myself and I always shall." - Vowing in 1987 that her arranged Islamic marriage to Karachi businessman Asif Ali Zardari would not upstage her political career.

    "Democracy needs support and the best support for democracy comes from other democracies. Democratic nations should ... come together in an association designed to help each other and promote what is a universal value - democracy." - 1989 speech at Harvard University.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

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    Jan 2005
    Stocks Fall After Bhutto Death

    By TIM PARADIS AP Business Writer

    NEW YORK — Stocks fell in early trading Thursday after the assassination of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto and after the U.S. government reported a weak increase in durable goods orders.

    Bhutto's assassination raised the possibility of increasing political unrest abroad, always an unsettling prospect for investors. Oil, gold and bond prices rose following the news.

    Meanwhile, the Commerce Department said orders for durable goods _ big-ticket items from commercial jetliners to home appliances _ rose by just 0.1 percent last month. Economists had been looking for a rise of 2.2 percent. Still, November saw the first rise in durable-goods orders in the last four months.

    The notion that the economy is slowing was also unnerving for the market.

    Meanwhile, the Labor Department said the number of workers seeking unemployment benefits rose slightly last week.

    In the first hour of trading, the Dow Jones industrial average fell 64.13, or 0.47 percent, to 13,487.56.

    Broader stock indicators also fell. The Standard & Poor's 500 index fell 7.10, or 0.47 percent, to 1,490.56, and Nasdaq composite index fell 10.31, or 0.38 percent, to 2,714.10.

    Bond prices rose sharply as investors worried about political instability sought the safety of U.S.-backed investments. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note, which moves opposite its price, fell to 4.21 percent from 4.29 percent late Wednesday. The dollar was mixed against other major currencies, while gold prices rose.

    Light, sweet crude rose 49 cents to $96.46 per barrel in pre-opening trading on the New York Mercantile Exchange.

    The move lower in stocks came as Wall Street awaited a weekly reading on domestic crude oil inventories and a report on consumer confidence. Stocks have managed to increase for the past four trading days, posting a modest increase Wednesday as investors tried to reconcile their expectations with somewhat disappointing results from retailers.

    The battered financial sector again commanded some of Wall Street's attention following predictions by Goldman Sachs that the flood of writedowns at banks will continue.

    Goldman predicted Citigroup Inc. may be forced to write off 70 percent more than the $8 billion to $11 billion Citi forecast in early November. Citi could also cut its dividend by 40 percent and may need to raise $5 billion to $10 billion more cash, Goldman estimates.

    Citi, one of the 30 stocks that makes up the Dow Jones industrials, fell 74 cents, or 2.4 percent, to $29.71.

    In other corporate news, Sallie Mae fell $2, or 9 percent, to $20.13 after saying it would sell $2.5 billion in stock and use a bulk of the proceeds to settle contracts requiring the company to buy back stock at prices above current levels. The student lender, officially known as SLM Corp., shares fell sharply last week amid concerns about the company's plans following a the collapse of a $25 billion buyout deal.

    Overseas, Japan's Nikkei stock average fell 0.57 percent. In afternoon trading, Britain's FTSE 100 rose 0.23 percent, Germany's DAX index gained 0.58 percent, and France's CAC-40 added 0.16 percent.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

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    Benazir Bhutto assassination: the blog reaction
    Reactions gathered from the thousands of blog posts which started to appear minutes after Benazir Bhutto's death

    Tom Whitwell

    "All the roads leading to capital Islamabad have been barricaded and blocked and there are reports of collision of police with protesters." Updates from the streets at Pakistani Spectator

    "They tried and failed when she returned to Pakistan in October. They tried and failed with a baby suicide bomber. Yesterday, they stopped a 15-year-old with a bomb packed full of nails trying to kill her. Today, they succeeded. Dammit, dammit, dammit." Michelle Malkin

    "I hope that the killing of Benazir Bhutto will open the eyes of US and UK adminsitration and will allow political forces to grow rather Pakistan Army. I hope that the people of Pakistan would come to roads and will throw away Pakistan Army and its dirty establishment and ISI." Corrupt Pakistan

    "All over the world, they should not be known or called or referred to as Islamic Militants. The word ISLAM should never be attached to refer to them, because what they have done is not Islamic at all. A shame on them and inshAllah a damnation in the fire of hell. " Germino

    "How long will it take Musharraf to blame the assassination on al Qaeda? Should we wager not more than 24 hours?" Larisa Alexandrovna

    "I apologize in advance people—I’m feeling a lot of anger right now—but Islam’s moniker, “Religion of Peace” has to be abandoned. I mean, how much murder and mayhem does it take before everyone wakes up? And I include Muslims in that statement. But you know, the truth is, it’s not really Islam; it’s the unrepentant, unconverted human soul that sows these deeds. Society may hate Jesus, but I love him and believe him to be the sole answer to humanity’s woes."

    "I was hoping it was rumor. Her wounds were severe for sure, so I was truly hoping it was people either intentionally misreporting what had happened or it was just misinformation." Expat Jane

    "Will this resurrect terrorism as an issue in the U.S. presidential election? At the very least, I assume her reputation outside of Pakistan as a friend of the U.S. and a representative of moderate Islam — now, to borrow a phrase, martyred — may grant her a legacy her actual record doesn’t necessarily warrant." Blog.pi

    "Pakistan would be perfect for al-Qaeda since they have the bomb but fortunately two of our presidential candidates are ready to invade Pakistan to root out al-Qaeda (Obama and Huckabee -- funny how they're ready to talk with Iran but eager to invade Pakistan)." Reformed Chicks Blabbing

    "I am disgusted to the point of nausea at the animals who would not only kill her, but blow up bombs in crowds, killing innocent men, women and children. Everyone take note: If this jihadi mentality isn’t crushed - not reasoned with, not negotiated with, not placated or bargained with - CRUSHED, then this is what the rest of the world will see in our very near future. Control by terror." Say Anything Blog

    "I kind of thought it'd happen, but I'm still stunned. I don't think the human race deserves beacons of hope. We smash and break and blow them up. So to hell with us. We can sit in the damn dark, since that's apparently what we really want." Kim Paffenroth

    "Her death is likely to force Pakistan and Islamic terrorism back into the forefront of debate both in Washington and on the campaign trail with the Iowa Caucuses now only a week away." WSJ Washington Wire

    "Pakistan is doomed to become a battleground for muslim crazies believing in the cult of death." Richard Dows

    "It is no exaggeration to say that WE are at least partially responsible for the deaths of both father and daughter, every bit as surely as we are somewhat responsible for creating the folks who hosted Osama" Reconstitution

    "Who benefits most from the removal of Benazir Bhutto from the political scene in Pakistan? Of course, it is Bush's favorite Islamo-fascist dictator who actually has nuclear weapons, Pervez Musharraf." Dave Chandler

    "While morons like Mitt Romney claim that without religion freedom is impossible, the plain fact is that with religion, freedom is unlikely." John Wilkins

    "The ISI is a Frankenstein establishment under no body’s control. It has its own aims and objectives. It has Billions of US $ and arms at its disposal, thanks to American Aid, and its dealings in narcotics. It has many fanatics trained, equipped and brainwashed over many years through the Afghan War and later." Srijan Foundation
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  6. #6
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    Slain Bhutto's supporters take anger to the streets

    Thu Dec 27, 2007 11:31am EST

    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 publicly 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.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  7. #7
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    Jan 2005
    U.N. council to consult on Bhutto killing

    Source: Reuters
    27 Dec 2007 15:29:45 GMT

    UNITED NATIONS, Dec 27 (Reuters) - The United Nations Security Council will hold consultations at noon EST (1700 GMT) on Thursday following the assassination of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, U.N. spokeswoman Marie Okabe said.

    The consultations -- closed discussions between envoys of the 15 council member states -- could lead to a statement on Bhutto's assassination in the city of Rawalpindi, council diplomats said.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  8. #8
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    Suspects in the Bhutto assassination
    In the wake of Benazir Bhutto's assassination, Mark Tran looks at the background to the crisis in Pakistan,00.html

    Thursday December 27, 2007
    Guardian Unlimited

    Who are the suspects?
    Even before Bhutto returned to Pakistan in October after eight years of self-imposed exile, there had been open threats against her. A pro-Taliban militant leader, Baitullah Masood, said he would target her with suicide attacks. Masood, probably the most prominent militant leader in the north-western region bordering Afghanistan, has also been accused of carrying out attacks on Pakistani soldiers.

    Bhutto's pro-western attitude would have made her a natural target for militant Islamists. Another militant commander, Haji Omar, said before her return: "She has an agreement with America. We will carry out attacks on Benazir Bhutto as we did on General Pervez Musharraf [the Pakistani president]." Authorities had warned Bhutto that extremists sympathetic to the Taliban and al-Qaida would target her.

    Who else is in the frame?
    After the October assassination attempt, Bhutto's husband, Asif Ali Zardari, who is in Dubai where the couple had been living in exile, accused members of the Pakistani security services, the ISI. "I blame government for these blasts," he said. "It is the work of the intelligence agencies."

    Elements of the ISI sympathise with the Taliban and it was a possibility that "rogue elements" in the intelligence services were involved in the two attacks. The ISI became one of Pakistan's most powerful institutions under General Zia-ul-Haq, the man who launched an Islamisation campaign and who overthrew Bhutto's father and had him hung. After Gen Zia's death in a mysterious plane crash in 1988, the ISI actively campaigned against Bhutto when she entered politics.

    Has there been other violence?
    Hours before Bhutto's death, four people were killed and three wounded in a clash just outside Islamabad between pro-government supporters and backers of the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. Last week, more than 50 people were killed when a suicide attacker detonated a bomb at a crowded mosque near the home of Pakistan's former interior minister on one of Islam's major holidays. Aftab Khan Sherpao, once a supporter of Bhutto, took a strong anti-militant line in office.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  9. #9
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    Jan 2005
    Bush condemns Bhutto's killers; 'Looked tense'

    Associated Press
    Published: Thursday December 27, 2007

    BREAKING AP WIRE: "The United States strongly condemns this cowardly act by murderous extremists who are trying to undermine Pakistan's democracy," President Bush told reporters at a hangar adjacent to his Crawford ranch in central Texas Thursday morning. "Those who committed this crime must be brought to justice."

    "Bush looked tense in delivering a statement that lasted about a minute and he took no questions.

    "Bush expressed his deepest condolences to Bhutto's family and to the families of others slain in the attack and to all the people of Pakistan.

    "We stand with the people of Pakistan in their struggle against the forces of terror and extremism. We urge them to honor Benazir Bhutto's memory by continuing with the democratic process for which she so bravely gave her life," he said.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2005
    Who killed Benazir Bhutto? The main suspects

    Jeremy Page, South Asia Correspondent

    The main suspects in Benazir Bhutto’s assassination are the Pakistani and foreign Islamist militants who saw her as a heretic and an American stooge and had repeatedly threatened to kill her.

    But fingers will also be pointed at Inter-Services Intelligence, the agency that has had close ties to the Islamists since the 1970s and has been used by successive Pakistani leaders to suppress political opposition.

    Ms Bhutto narrowly escaped an assassination attempt in October, when a suicide bomber killed about 140 people at a rally in the port city of Karachi to welcome her back from eight years in exile.

    Earlier that month, two militant warlords based in Pakistan's lawless northwestern areas, near the border with Afghanistan, had threatened to kill her on her return.

    One was Baitullah Mehsud, a top commander fighting the Pakistani army in the tribal region of South Waziristan. He has close ties to al Qaeda and the Afghan Taleban.

    The other was Haji Omar, the “amir” or leader of the Pakistani Taleban, who is also from South Waziristan and fought against the Soviets with the Mujahideen in Afghanistan.

    After that attack Ms Bhutto revealed that she had received a letter signed by a person who claimed to be a friend of al Qaeda and Osama bin Laden threatening to slaughter her like a goat.

    She accused Pakistani authorities of not providing her with sufficient security and hinted that they may have been complicit in the bomb attack. Asif Ali Zardari, her husband, directly accused the ISI of being involved in that attempt on her life.

    Mrs Bhutto stopped short of blaming the Government directly, saying that she had more to fear from unidentified members of a power structure that she described as allies of the “forces of militancy”.

    Analysts say that President Musharraf himself is unlikely to have ordered her assassination, but that elements of the army and intelligence service would have stood to lose money and power if she had become Prime Minister.

    The ISI, in particular, includes some Islamists who became radicalised while running the American-funded campaign against the Soviets in Afghanistan and remained fiercely opposed to Ms Bhutto on principle.

    Saudi Arabia, which has strong influence in Pakistan, is also thought to frown on Ms Bhutto as being too secular and Westernised and to favour Nawaz Sharif, another former Prime Minister.
    No One Knows Everything. Only Together May We Find The Truth JG

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