Tense Pakistan Mourns Benazir Bhutto
Pakistan's opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was laid to rest this morning alongside her father in her ancestral home of Garhi-Kuda Baksh, as violent protest raged on. Bhutto was assassinated Thursday in a suicide bombing in Rawalpindi that also killed at least 20 others at a campaign rally. Click for ongoing news and blogger reaction...
December 28, 2007 - 12:45 am
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Reuters: Pentagon Says Pakistani Nukes Secure
AP: Transcript of Alleged al-Qaida Intercept Admitting Bhutto Murder
Telegraph: “One of Miss Bhutto’s aide rejected the government’s explanation of her death as a ‘pack of lies.’”
Phyllis Chesler: “In a sense, the assassination of Benazir Bhutto is a political and cultural version of an honor killing.”
Confederate Yankee: “While merely speculating, I think that when shots were fired (they missed), her security detail pulled her back inside the vehicle quickly, and she probably hit the back of her head on the sunroof edge as she was pulled in.” UK’s The Sun seems to concur.
IBNlive: “[Interior minister Hamid] Nawaz said that Bhutto died from a head injury. At least seven doctors from the Rawalpindi General Hospital – where the leader was rushed immediately after the attack – say there were no bullet marks on Bhutto’s body. The doctors have submitted a report to the Pakistan government in which they say that no post-mortem was performed on Bhutto’s body and they had not received any instructions to perform one.”
WaPo: “In the initial hours after the slaying, intelligence officials had no firm indication of who was behind the attack and no independent means of verifying any early claims of responsibility. But it was quickly clear that numerous groups possessed both the means of carrying out the assassination and a deep antagonism toward Bhutto and the moderating influences she embodied, according to several current and former officials closely tracking the situation.”
CNN: “Pakistan’s Interior Ministry says the suicide bomber who killed Benazir Bhutto belonged to a group with links to al Qaeda, GEO TV reports.”
Jules Crittenden scans today’s Pakistani press.
CNN: ” It was initially reported that Bhutto, 54, was killed by the bullets of an assassin who blew himself up after firing the shots following a public rally in Rawalpindi on Thursday. But government officials said on Friday that a medical report confirmed that Bhutto was killed by shrapnel from the blast.”
AP: “Furious supporters rampaged through several cities to protest her assassination less than two weeks before crucial elections, and the army was called out to keep order after at least 23 people were killed.”
PJM’s Pakistan correspondent Ghalia Aymen: “As they mourn and try to recover from the shock of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, Pakistanis are trying to come to terms with the security failure that allowed such a carefully coordinated shooting-suicide bombing to take place, and asking themselves if it was, indeed, a failure -or a conspiracy. Neither answer is a good one.”
AP: “Hundreds of thousands of mourners paid last respects to Benazir Bhutto as the opposition leader was buried Friday beside her father 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 a crucial election. Some wept, others chanted “Benazir is alive,” as the plain wood coffin went into the ground inside the cavernous hall of the vast, white marble mausoleum.”
Reuters: “Pakistani opposition leader and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif said on Thursday his party would boycott a Jan. 8 general election because of the assassination of another opposition leader, Benazir Bhutto.”
ABC News: “Prime Minister Mohammedmian Soomro said that the government had no immediate plan to postpone Jan. 8 parliamentary elections.”
Sky News: “The funeral procession for murder former Pakistani leader Benazir Bhutto has begun as violence continues to boil across the country.”
CNN: Bhutto’s body arrived in the hours before dawn at her ancestral village of Garhi-Khuda Baksh for burial after a long journey from Rawalpindi, where she died, by transport 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. The funeral was planned for Friday afternoon.”
WaPo: “U.S. Brokered Bhutto’s Return to Pakistan — White House Would Back Her as Prime Minister While Musharraf Held Presidency”
CNN: “Two months before her death, former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto sent an e-mail to her U.S. adviser and longtime friend, saying that if she were killed, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf would bear some of the blame.”
Council On Foreign Relations: ‘Almost Certainly’ the Work of Al-Qaeda
Andrew McCarthy: Killed by the real Pakistan.
Neo-neocon: Bhutto’s rendezvous with death.
CNN: Edwards calls Musharraf; urges international probe
Sepia Mutiny: Bhutto Was Perceived as More Pro-America than Musharraf.
Tigerhawk: Why did Huckabee apologize for Bhutto’s death?
ABC News: “Angry Street Protests Erupt”
ABC News: “U.S. Checking Al Qaeda Claim of Killing Bhutto”
Phyllis Chesler: “A Modest Proposal For Preventing Islamists from Killing the Rest of Us”
Mark Steyn: “Benazir Bhutto’s return to Pakistan had a mad recklessness about it which give today’s events a horrible inevitability.”
Christopher Hitchens: “[Bhutto's] courage could sometimes have been worthy of a finer cause, and many of the problems she claimed to solve were partly of her own making. Nonetheless, she perhaps did have a hint of destiny about her.”
The Politico: “The instant conventional wisdom will say that heavy news coverage of the gun and bomb attack will bolster the arguments of Sens. Hillary Rodham Clinton and John McCain, both members of the Armed Services Committee…That same instant, C.W. will say that the candidates most damaged will be Sen. Barack Obama and former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee.”
AKI-ADNKronos: Al Qaeda claims responsibility for Bhutto’s death.
Times Online: “The main suspects in 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.”
Taylor Marsh: “To add, update and recap what I’ve said before, this is simply the most dangerous place on earth. We need to redeploy from Iraq, switch our focus to Afghanistan, as well as the border to Pakistan.”
John Podhoretz: “The murder of Bhutto moves foreign policy, the war on terror, and the threat of Islamofascism back into the center of the 2008 campaign.”
Roger Simon: “Since all politics is semi-local, it will be interesting to see what ramifications this event has on domestic presidential politics.”
AFP: “Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf appealed to the nation to remain peaceful on Thursday after the assassination of Benazir Bhutto ‘so that the evil designs of terrorists can be defeated,’ state TV said.”
AP:</strong Bush condemns Bhutto assassination.
Bob Krumm: Which Presidential candidates got it right or wrong about Pakistan in retrospect?
Jules Crittenden: Who killed Benazir Bhutto? A roundup.
The Belmont Club: “The next few days will show whether the Pakistani Army — for it will surely not be the Taliban — can rededicate itself to electoral democracy. Pakistan needs its George Washington. Unfortunately it only has its Pervez Musharraf.”
Canadian Press: Bhutto was shot before she was attacked by the suicide bomber.
Confederate Yankee: What is certain is that Bhutto’s death will throw Pakistani into turmoil, and President Pervez Musharraf now faces the greatest crisis of his Presidency.
Pakistani Spectator: Angry crowds in Rawalpindi are burning shops and vehicles and shouting slogans. Bhutto’s husband and two daughters have left Pakistan for Dubai.
Classical Values: “It not only does not bode well for democracy in Pakistan, but by highlighting the growing instability of a nuclear power, it’s a reminder that isolationism — whether of the Ron Paul, Pat Buchanan, or Dennis Kucinich varieties — is not a great idea.”
California Yankee: “We need an alphabet soup of plans for dealing with Pakistan.”
Michelle Malkin: “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”
The Pakistan Policy Blog: Pakistan’s first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan was assassinated in Rawalpindi on October 16, 1951. Bhutto’s father was also hung in Rawalpindi in 1979. Ms. Bhutto joins the list of assassinated family members: her brother Shahnawaz died from poisoning in France in 1985 and her other brother Murtaza was shot to death by police at close range in 1996.
Donklephant: “Well Pakistan, this is your chance. You can see what people will do to stop a more democratic government from gaining a foothold. Will you let this deter you or will you push towards a more just and fair republic?”
Getty Images: Graphic photos of the attack
MSNBC: “Bhutto’s supporters at the hospital began chanting “Dog, Musharraf, dog…” Some of them smashed the glass door at the main entrance of the emergency unit, others burst into tears.”
Reuters: “Police said a suicide bomber fired shots at Bhutto as she was leaving the rally venue in a park before blowing himself up. ‘The man first fired at Bhutto’s vehicle. She ducked and then he blew himself up,’ said police officer Mohammad Shahid.”
CNN: Media reports quote her husband saying she suffered a bullet wound to the neck in the attack.
Sky News: The country’s upcoming January elections would “most likely be postponed or cancelled” because of the attack.
Bloomberg: Earlier, at least four supporters of Pakistan’s former premier Nawaz Sharif were killed and another 12 wounded in the capital, Islamabad, when gunshots were fired on an election rally (Bloomberg)