Benazir Bhutto Terbunuh!

Nukilan Khairul Faizi bin Ahmad Kamil | 12/28/2007 09:47:00 AM | 0 Pandangan »

Ex-Pakistan PM Benazir assassinated
Dec 28, 07 1:40am

Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in a suicide attack today, just two months after the former premier returned from exile for a political comeback.

Benazir, a two-time former prime minister, had just addressed a campaign rally for next month's parliamentary elections when a suicide bomber blew himself up outside the venue in Rawalpindi, killing her and at least 20 other people.
There were unconfirmed reports that the attacker had also opened fire on her with a weapon before the explosion.

(Photo taken shortly before she was killed)
"It may have been pellets packed into the suicide bomber's vest that hit her," interior ministry spokesman Javed Cheema told AFP.“She has been martyred,” said party official Rehman Malik.

The Associated Press, citing Malik, reported that Benazir was shot in the neck and the chest before the gunman blew himself up.
Benazir was rushed to a hospital. But, at 6:16 pm Pakistan time, she was declared dead.

It was the second suicide attack at a Benazir event since she had returned from exile in October, aiming to contest the elections, and comes amid an unprecedented wave of violence in the country.

The deadliest terror attack in Pakistan's history targetted her homecoming rally just hours after her return, leaving 139 people dead.

After that attack, authorities repeatedly warned her they had information that Islamic militants were trying to kill her.

Government officials said President Pervez Musharraf had been privately told of her death.

Her pledge for democracyThe killing will deepen the political crisis in Pakistan, where Islamic militants have vowed to disrupt the vote and Musharraf's opponents - including Benazir - accused him of planning to rig the result.

There have been more than 40 suicide attacks in Pakistan this year that have left at least 770 people dead.

Benazir, educated at Oxford and Harvard, became the first female prime minister of a Muslim country when she took the helm in Pakistan in 1988. Her father, also a Pakistani prime minister, was also assassinated, in 1979.

Recalling how she stood at his grave, Benazir once wrote: "At that moment I pledged to myself that I would not rest until democracy had returned to Pakistan."

She had repeatedly accused Musharraf of being dictator and had been campaigning with fierce criticisms of what she said was his autocratic rule, vowing her Pakistan People's Party would deliver democracy.

Her killing was immediately condemned by the United States, which counts Pakistan as a pivotal ally in the US-led "war on terror".

Protests across the countryMeanwhile Reuters reported that Pakistan has put its paramilitary forces on "red alert" across the country after the assassination of Benazir sparked violent protests by her supporters.

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.

Tyres 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.

Suicide bomber assassinates Pakistan's Benazir Bhutto

AFP - Friday, December 28

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (AFP) - - Former Pakistan premier Benazir Bhutto was assassinated by a suicide bomber Thursday, plunging the nation into one of the worst crisis in its history and raising alarm around the world.

Violence erupted in cities across Pakistan as mobs went on the rampage in a wave of anger that left at least 10 people dead and dozens wounded, officials said.

Bhutto's death stunned world leaders who appealed for calm and warned that extremists must not be allowed to destabilise the nuclear-armed nation before January 8 general elections.

But that vote appeared increasingly in doubt, with Pakistan's other leading opposition figure, Nawaz Sharif, announcing his party was now pulling out and urging President Pervez Musharraf to resign.

US President George W. Bush described the killing as a "cowardly act" and telephoned Musharraf -- a crucial ally in the US-led "war on terror" against Islamic extremism -- to discuss the crisis.

Bhutto was leaving a campaign rally in the northern city of Rawalpindi when a suicide bomber pierced her security cordon and shot her in the neck. He then blew himself up, killing around 20 people, police and party officials said.

The powerful blast tore off limbs and shredded clothes. Many people ran in panic, screaming as they trampled over pieces of human flesh. Puddles of blood dotted the road.

"There was an enormous explosion, and then I saw body parts flying through the air," said Mirza Fahin, a professor at a local college.

"When the dust cleared, I saw mutilated bodies lying in blood. I have never seen anything so horrible in my life -- just parts of human beings, flesh, lying in the road."

Musharraf, who announced three days of national mourning, urged people to remain peaceful "so that the evil designs of terrorists can be defeated." All schools, businesses and banks were ordered to close down.

But mobs of protesters took to the streets, torching buildings, trucks and shops, blocking roads and uprooting rail tracks. Shots rang out in a number of cities.

Interior ministry spokesman Javed Cheema said 10 people died in the unrest after her death -- four in Karachi, four in rural Sindh province in the south and two in Lahore.

Some protesters fired into the air, while others shouted slogans including "Musharraf is a dog." In Jacobabad in the south, protesters set fire to shops belonging to relatives of interim premier Mohammedmian Soomro.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the killing, but Bhutto had previously accused elements in the intelligence services of trying to kill her and said she had also received death threats from Islamic militant groups including Al-Qaeda.

"She was waving to the crowd from the sunroof of her car and then there was a blast," Bhutto spokesman Farhatullah Babar told state television.

Bhutto, 54, became the first ever female prime minister of a Muslim nation when she took the helm in 1988 for the first of her two premierships.

Her father, also a prime minister, was hanged by the military in 1979 after being ousted from power.

Educated at Oxford and Harvard, Bhutto's return here in October after eight years of self-exile brought hopes of power-sharing with Musharraf. They were quickly shattered.

Her homecoming rally was hit in the deadliest attack in Pakistani history, killing 139 people, while her talks with Musharraf ended in acrimony after he imposed emergency rule on November 3, lifting it six weeks later.

Her funeral was expected to take place Friday in her home town of Larkana, deep in the rural south.

There were frenzied scenes as hundreds of people mobbed her simple wooden coffin as it was borne uneasily out of the Rawalpindi hospital for the journey to the airport.

Her husband Asif Zardari, who had just flown in from Dubai, and their three children had a brief chance to see the body before the air force jet took off for Sukkur, near Larkana, officials from Bhutto's party said.

US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called Bhutto's party successor and Zardari by telephone to press US support for the elections to go ahead, State Department spokesman Tom Casey said.

But Sharif, another two-time ex-premier and Bhutto's main political rival, said he would boycott the election.

"I demand that Musharraf quit power, without delay of a single day, to save Pakistan," he told reporters, calling for a nationwide strike.

World leaders roundly condemned what neighbour India called an "abominable act."

"The US strongly condemns this cowardly act by murderous extremists who are trying to undermine Pakistan's democracy," Bush told reporters.
United Nations chief Ban Ki-moon described it as a "heinous crime," and the UN Security Council condemned the "terrorist suicide attack" after meeting in emergency session to discuss the crisis.
Pakistan's Bhutto Killed in Attack
Associated Press Writers AP - 59 minutes ago

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan - Enraged crowds rioted across Pakistan and hopes for democracy hung by a thread after Benazir Bhutto was gunned down Thursday as she waved to supporters from the sunroof of her armored vehicle. The death of President Pervez Musharraf's most powerful opponent threw the nation into chaos just 12 days before elections, and threatened its already unsteady role as a key fighter against Islamic terror.

The murder of Bhutto, one of Pakistan's most famous and enduring politicians, sparked violence that killed at least nine people and plunged efforts to restore democracy to this nuclear-armed U.S. ally into turmoil.

Another opposition politician, Nawaz Sharif, announced he was boycotting Jan. 8 parliamentary elections in which Bhutto was hoping to recapture the premiership, and Musharraf reportedly weighed canceling the poll.

Bhutto, 54, was struck down amid scenes of blood and chaos as an unknown gunman opened fire and, according to witnesses and police, blew himself up, killing 20 other people.

Musharraf blamed Islamic terrorists, pledging in a nationally televised speech that "we will not rest until we eliminate these terrorists and root them out."
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."

U.S. intelligence officials are trying to determine who was behind the attack, Director of National Intelligence spokesman Ross Feinstein said. But he added, "We're in no position right now to confirm who may have been responsible for the attack."

Bhutto's death marked yet another grim chapter in Pakistan's bloodstained history, 28 years after her father, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, another ex-prime minister, was hanged by a military dictatorship in the same northern city where she was killed.

Her death left her Pakistan People's Party leaderless and plunged the Muslim nation of 160 million into violence and recriminations, with Bhutto supporters accusing Musharraf's government of failing to protect her in the wake of death threats and previous attempts on her life.

As the news spread, supporters gathered at the hospital where Bhutto had been taken, smashed glass doors, stoned cars and chanted, "Killer, Killer, Musharraf."
At least nine people were killed in violence across the nation.

Musharraf called senior staff into an emergency meeting to discuss a response to the killing and whether to postpone the election, an Interior Ministry official said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks. Musharraf also announced three days of mourning for Bhutto, with all businesses, schools and banks to close.

The killing appeared to shut off a possible avenue for a credible return to democracy after eight years under Musharraf's increasingly unpopular rule, and left a string of unanswered questions, chiefly whether it could strengthen Musharraf by eliminating a strong rival, or weaken him by sparking uncontrollable riots.

The U.S. was struggling to reformulate its plan to stabilize the country based on a rapprochement between Bhutto and Musharraf. Bhutto had returned in October after nearly a decade in exile hoping for a power-sharing deal with Musharraf, but had become his fierce critic, accusing elements in the ruling party of backing militants to kill her.

Pakistani analysts were plunged into gloom.

"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."
Analyst Talat Masood, a retired general, said: "Conditions in the country have reached a point where it is too dangerous for political parties to operate."
Sharif, another former premier who now leads an opposition party, demanded Musharraf resign immediately and announced his party would boycott the elections, seen as vital to restoring democracy. He also called for the resignation of Musharraf, a former army chief who toppled Sharif in a 1999 coup.
"Musharraf is the cause of all the problems. The federation of Pakistan cannot remain intact in the presence of President Musharraf," he said.
Next to Musharraf, Bhutto was the best known political figure in the country, serving two terms as prime minister between 1988 and 1996. An instantly recognizable figure with graceful features under an ever-present head scarf, she bore the legacy of her hanged father and was respected in the West for her liberal outlook and determination to combat Islamic extremism.
It was a theme she had often returned to in recent campaign speeches.
Addressing more than 5,000 supporters Thursday in Rawalpindi, Bhutto dismissed the notion that Pakistan needed foreigners to help quell resurgent militants linked to the Taliban and al-Qaida in the area bordering Afghanistan.
"Why should foreign troops come in? We can take care of this, I can take care of this, you can take care of this," she said.
As Bhutto left the rally in a white SUV, youths chanted her name and supportive slogans, said Sardar Qamar Hayyat, an official from Bhutto's party who was about 10 yards away.
Despite the danger of physical exposure, a smiling Bhutto stuck her head out of the sunroof and responded, he said.
"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," he said.

Bhutto was rushed into surgery. A doctor on the surgical team said a bullet in the back of her neck damaged her spinal cord before exiting from the side of her head. Another bullet pierced the back of her shoulder and came out through her chest, he said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media. She was given an open-heart massage, but the spinal cord damage was too great, he said.

"At 6:16 p.m. she expired," said Wasif Ali Khan, a member of Bhutto's party who was at Rawalpindi General Hospital.
Hours later, supporters carried Bhutto's body out of the hospital in a plain wooden coffin and sent it for burial in her ancestral home near the southern city of Larkana.
Bhutto, who was married with three children, had returned to Pakistan from nearly a decade in exile on Oct. 18, and her homecoming parade in Karachi was also targeted by a suicide attacker, who killed more than 140 people. She narrowly escaped injury.
Rawalpindi, a former capital, has a history of political violence. The park where Bhutto made her last speech is the same one where the country's first prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, was shot to death in 1951. It is named after him.
Musharraf survived two bombing attacks here in 2003. Earlier that year, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, alleged mastermind of the 9/11 attacks, was captured in Rawalpindi. In recent weeks, suicide bombers have repeatedly targeted security forces in the city.
Bhutto's father was hanged in 1979 in Rawalpindi on charges of conspiracy to murder _ an execution that led to violent protests across the country similar to those that raged Thursday.
Thursday's rally was Bhutto's first since returning to Pakistan, Musharraf having forced her to scrap a meeting here last month citing security fears. Hundreds of riot police manned security checkpoints at the park.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai, who met with Bhutto just hours before her death, called her a brave woman with a clear vision "for her own country, for Afghanistan and for the region _ a vision of democracy and prosperity and peace."
Rep. Patrick Kennedy, D-R.I., visiting Pakistan with Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., said he was just leaving his hotel room for dinner with Bhutto at her home when he got the news.
"I couldn't believe it," he told The Associated Press by phone. "Her death really dashed the hope of many here in Pakistan and that's why there's so much disillusionment and anger being vented through these protests that are lighting up the sky tonight as people set fires all over the countryside."
One man was killed in a shootout between police and protesters in Tando Allahyar, a town 120 miles north of Karachi, Pakistan's commercial hub, said Mayor Kanwar Naveed. Four others were killed in Karachi, two were killed elsewhere in southern Sindh province and two in Lahore, police said.
Karachi shopkeepers quickly shuttered their stores as protesters burned vehicles, a gas station and tires on the roads, said Fayyaz Leghri, a local police official. Gunmen shot and wounded two police officers, he said.

Bhutto's supporters in many towns burned banks, shops and state-run grocery stores. Some torched ruling party election offices, according to Pakistani media.
Authorities will deploy troops to stop violence if needed, said Akhtar Zamin, home minister for Sindh province.

The U.N. Security Council vigorously denounced the killing and urged "all Pakistanis to exercise restraint and maintain stability in the country."
Associated Press writers Munir Ahmad in Islamabad and Ashraf Khan in Karachi contributed to this report.

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