At CNN: Benazir Bhutto assassinated
Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday outside a large gathering of her supporters where a suicide bomber also killed at least 14, doctors and a spokesman for her party said.
While Bhutto appeared to have died from bullet wounds, it was not immediately clear if she was shot or if her wounds were caused by bomb shrapnel.
President Pervez Musharraf held an emergency meeting in the hours after the death, according to state media.
The BBC has a Q&A: Benazir Bhutto assassination
How did it happen?
Ms Bhutto was leaving a rally of her Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) supporters in a park in the garrison town of Rawalpindi when the attacker struck. Latest reports suggest that the attacker shot Ms Bhutto in the neck and then detonated a bomb which left some 15 other people dead. It is not clear if she was killed by the shots or the bomb, or a combination of both.
Rawalpindi houses the headquarters of Pakistan’s military, but that has not stopped militants striking there at will. In November a suicide attack in the grounds of the much feared intelligence services left many dead.
A spokesperson for the al-Qaeda terrorist network has claimed responsibility for the death on Thursday of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto.
“We terminated the most precious American asset which vowed to defeat [the] mujahadeen,” Al-Qaeda’s commander and main spokesperson Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid told Adnkronos International (AKI) in a phone call from an unknown location, speaking in faltering English. Al-Yazid is the main al-Qaeda commander in Afghanistan.
It is believed that the decision to kill Bhutto, who is the leader of the opposition Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), was made by al-Qaeda No. 2, the Egyptian doctor, Ayman al-Zawahiri in October.
Death squads were allegedly constituted for the mission and ultimately one cell comprising a defunct Lashkar-i-Jhangvi’s Punjabi volunteer succeeded in killing Bhutto.
Its very important to see what Musharraf does. If he does not arrest any terrorist sympathizers in the military, that’s a problem. Musharraf did kill Akbar Bugti, the Balochi leader, a few years ago.
Ali also noticed that firefighters were already hosing down all evidence of the bombing.
As James said,
As the only nuclear-armed majority Muslim country, the home to a large population of Deobandi and Salafist Islamist radicals, and, possibly, the country that’s hosting Osama bin Laden within its borders, Pakistan is a very sensitive country in a very sensitive condition since the unrest of a month ago. Whatever else may happen the situation has probably become more serious now.
While I do not know a thing about Pakistani politics, I can’t help but notice the threat to stability, the continuing Jihadi activity, and the worrying nuclear situation. This is clearly Musharraf’s gravest crisis, and I expect that the election will be cancelled.
BBC World has just reported that four people have been shot dead in rioting around the country.
What is next for Pakistan? We shall soon find out.
Every time Huckabee opens his mouth, Jimmy Carter comes out. Ed has more (American) candidate reactions.
R.I.P Benazir: A Modest Proposal For Preventing Islamists from Killing the Rest of Us. Third time (un)lucky.
A sobering dose of reality from Siggy who writes about Pakistan’s Arafat