Unconfirmed Confirmed reports are coming out of Pakistan that Benazir Bhutto has been slain in the latest suicide bombing attempt against her. This comes 12 days prior to elections in Pakistan, and it’s unknown at this time who PPP will rally behind, if anyone. I will be following this through the day. More to come.
Getty Images photos from the scene.
- Flights Canceled
- SSG (Special Forces) Scrambled to all cities in the wake of spreading riots
- Elections Postponed
My prediction: Re-institution of emergency rule.
More at Little Green Footballs
Eulogy for Benazir from Mark Steyn, her one-time neighbor
Update: Cars being burned by Bhutto supporters in Rawalpindi and Karachi, Train set on fire, minor shutterdown in Multan.
UPDATE: PML-N Nawaz Sharif will boycott the elections. In a live NDTV interview he vacillated on whether he would sit down with PPP and’/or Musharraf to work things out. He also implied that the “policies of Musharraf” were at fault, rather than Al Qaeda, who has already claimed credit for the assassination.
More on this at the Drudge Report
Live NDTV video coverage streaming link.
Pakistani former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has been killed in a presumed suicide attack, a military spokesman has announced on TV.
Earlier reports said Ms Bhutto had only been injured and taken to hospital.
Ms Bhutto had just addressed a pre-election rally in the town of Rawalpindi when the bomb went off.
At least 15 other people are reported killed in the attack and several more were injured. Ms Bhutto had twice been the country’s prime minister
More from Metroblogging Islamabad
My quick and thoroughly unsubstantiated analysis: Al Qaeda has refocused most effort on this country since June or prior – this is an attempt to ignite civil war in Pakistan. It’s something that can be pointed at Musharraf, and many others with false-flag signs; I would wager that Baitullah Mehsud or Zawahiri are behind this however. Just as the sectarian violence has been re-ignited in Parachinar, and the steady campaign in the frontiers shows the goals. AQ has failed in Iraq, and they have failed in Afghanistan, so they seek a home in Pakistan. Let us hope that cool heads prevail, but that’s not likely in Pakistan.
More unsubstantiated analysis – PML-N & PPP activists are painting this as a Musharraf action too quickly — now that AQ publicly declared credit that might backfire. In the past six attempts have been made against Musharraf, and two against Sherpao. I haven’t heard the stance of the two MMA parties yet.
With elections postponed, the Islamists have achieved their initial aim.
The purpose of the assassination was to invalidate the coming elections, and by boycott Nawaz Sharif is choosing sides with those who do not want democracy.
With SSG deploying around the country I expect we will see a large-scale round up, and if calm does not come soon we will see emergency rule.
End of Opinion
UPDATE: Reports now have Al Qaeda Claiming credit for the Assassination.
Karachi, 27 Dec. (AKI) – (by Syed Saleem Shahzad) – 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.
More at Lawhawk’s
More from Bloomberg:
Bhutto attributed her interest in politics to the assassination of her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the prime minister overthrown by General Mohammad Zia ul-Haq in a 1977 military coup.
Zia ul-Haq went on to become president in 1978. The elder Bhutto, founder of the Pakistan Peoples Party, was hanged in 1979 after his conviction on charges of authorizing the murder of an opponent. Both Bhutto’s brothers were also murdered.
`It Chose Me’
“I didn’t choose this life, it chose me,” Bhutto wrote in the preface to the second edition of her autobiography, Daughter of the East, in April 2007. “Born in Pakistan, my life mirrors its turbulence, its tragedies and its triumphs. Pakistan is no ordinary country. And mine has been no ordinary life.”
Bhutto was imprisoned for five years, mostly in solitary confinement, just before her father’s execution. She later lived in London, returning to Pakistan in 1986. She was married to a man from a land-owning family of agriculturists in 1987.
“An arranged marriage was the price in personal choice I had to pay for the political path my life had taken,” she wrote in her autobiography. “My own parents had married for love and I had grown up believing the day would come when I would fall in love and marry a man of my own choosing.”
Zia ul-Haq’s dictatorship ended when he was killed in a plane crash in 1988. Bhutto then became the first elected woman prime minister of an Islamic nation. Her government was dismissed in 1990. She won a second term in 1993 and was dismissed once again on charges of corruption in 1996.