Pakistani politician Benazir Bhutto assassinated

Pakistani politician Benazir Bhutto assassinated

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On December 27, 2007, Benazir Bhutto, a former Pakistani prime minister and the first democratically elected female leader of a Muslim country, is assassinated at age 54 in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi. A polarizing figure at home and abroad, Bhutto had spent three decades struggling to stay afloat in the murky waters of Pakistani politics. To many of her supporters, she represented the strongest hope for democratic and egalitarian leadership in a country unhinged by political corruption and Islamic extremism.

READ MORE: 7 Other Women Leaders Who Were Elected to Highest Office

Born in 1953 to a wealthy landowning family, Bhutto grew up in the privileged world of Pakistan’s political elite, receiving degrees from Harvard and Oxford. Her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, founded the populist-leaning Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) in 1967. He then served as president and prime minister from 1971 to 1977, when he was ousted in a bloodless military coup led by General Mohammad Zia ul-Haq and charged with authorizing a political opponent’s murder.

Her father’s overthrow and subsequent execution in April 1979 thrust a young Benazir Bhutto into the political spotlight. She and her mother, Nusrat, whom she succeeded in 1982 as the PPP’s chairperson, spent several years in and out of detention for protesting his arrest and campaigning against General Zia. In August 1988, Zia died in a plane crash; three months later, Bhutto won the general election and formed a government, becoming the first woman—and, at 35, the youngest person—to head a Muslim state in modern times. Dismissed in 1990 after less than half a term as prime minister, she was reelected in 1993 and served again until 1996. Both times, she was removed from office by the sitting president—Ghulam Ishaq Khan in 1990 and Farooq Leghari in 1996—amid charges of corruption and incompetent governance.

After her second dismissal from office, Bhutto and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, faced allegations of various forms of financial misconduct, including accepting multimillion-dollar kickbacks and laundering money through Swiss banks. Zardari spent eight years in prison, while Bhutto lived in exile in London and Dubai with the couple’s three children. In 2007, under pressure from Bhutto’s supporters within the U.S. government, President Pervez Musharraf granted amnesty to Bhutto, Zardari and other Pakistani politicians with pending graft charges. On October 18 of that year, despite a spate of death threats from Islamic militants, Bhutto returned to Pakistan with plans to participate in the 2008 general election. On the day of her arrival, she narrowly escaped a suicide bomb attack on her convoy that killed at least 136 people and injured more than 450.

On December 27, 2007, as Bhutto was waving to a crowd at a PPP rally in Rawalpindi, a gunman opened fire on her bulletproof vehicle. A bomb then exploded near the car, killing more than 20 people and wounding 100 others, including Bhutto. She was pronounced dead later that night and buried the next day in her hometown of Gardi Khuda Bakhsh, next to her father’s grave. The exact cause of her death remains in dispute: A subsequent investigation by Britain’s Scotland Yard ruled that Bhutto died of head injuries caused by the force of the explosion, while the PPP maintained that she died from gunshot wounds.

Bhutto’s death sparked widespread violence across Pakistan, with riots and demonstrations leading to violent police crackdowns. The political turmoil caused international fears of instability in a nuclear-armed nation already embroiled in a fight against Islamic extremists. In the weeks and months following Bhutto’s death, Pakistani moderates and Western leaders waited anxiously to see who would emerge as her successor. Zardari, who had taken the helm of the PPP after his wife’s assassination, was elected president of Pakistan in September 2008.

In the month following Bhutto’s murder, the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency and Pakistani officials named Baitullah Mehsud, a Pakistani militant with links to al-Qaeda, as the mastermind behind the assassination. Mehsud, who denied the charge, was killed in a U.S. drone attack in August 2009.

Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan

Benazir Bhutto was born into one of South Asia's great political dynasties, Pakistan's equivalent of the Nehru/Gandhi dynasty in India. Her father was president of Pakistan from 1971 to 1973, and Prime Minister from 1973 to 1977 his father, in turn, was prime minister of a princely state before independence and the Partition of India.

Politics in Pakistan, however, is a dangerous game. In the end, Benazir, her father, and both of her brothers would die violently.

Independence and first democratic era

The Indian subcontinent is partitioned into mainly Muslim Pakistan and mainly Hindu India. The government is headed by Muhammad Ali Jinnah as Governor-General, with Liaquat Ali Khan serving as Prime Minister. A constituent assembly is formed to act as both parliament and to draft a constitution.

Long suffering from Tuberculosis, Muhammad Ali Jinnah dies. He is replaced by Khwaja Nazimuddin.

Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan, who drafted the Objectives Resolution which today is the preamble to Pakistan’s constitution, is assassinated in Rawalpindi.

Pakistan gets its first constitution, turning the country from an autonomous dominion into an “Islamic Republic”.

Benazir Bhutto assassinated

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (CNN) -- 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.

Benazir Bhutto greets her supporters at the rally that was hit by a suicide attack.

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.

Police warned citizens to stay home as they expected rioting to break out in city streets in reaction to the death.

Police sources told CNN the bomber, who was riding a motorcycle, blew himself up near Bhutto's vehicle. Watch aftermath of the attack. »

Bhutto was rushed to Rawalpindi General Hospital -- less than two miles from the bombing scene -- where doctors pronounced her dead.

Former Pakistan government spokesman Tariq Azim Khan said while it appeared Bhutto was shot, it was unclear if the bullet wounds to her head and neck were caused by a shooting or if it was shrapnel from the bomb. Watch Benazir Bhutto obituary. »

Bhutto's husband issued a statement from his home in Dubai saying, "All I can say is we're devastated, it's a total shock."

President Bush, vacationing at his Texas ranch, has been "informed about the situation in Pakistan," said the White House. "We condemn the acts of violence which took place today in Pakistan," said a spokesman.

The number of wounded was not immediately known. However, video of the scene showed ambulances lined up to take many to hospitals.

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The attack came just hours after four supporters of former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif died when members of another political party opened fire on them at a rally near the Islamabad airport Thursday, Pakistan police said.

Several other members of Sharif's party were wounded, police said.

Bhutto, who led Paksitan from 1988 to 1990 and was the first female prime minister of any Islamic nation, was participating in the parliamentary election set for January 8, hoping for a third term.

A terror attack targeting her motorcade in Karachi killed 136 people on the day she returned to Pakistan after eight years of self-imposed exile. View timeline. »

CNN's Mohsin Naqvi, who was at the scene of both bombings, said Thursday's blast was not as powerful as that October attack.

Thursday's attacks come less than two weeks after Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf lifted an emergency declaration he said was necessary to secure his country from terrorists.

Bhutto had been critical of what she believed was a lack of effort by Musharraf's government to protect her.

Two weeks after the October assassination attempt, she wrote a commentary for in which she questioned why Pakistan investigators refused international offers of help in finding the attackers.

"The sham investigation of the October 19 massacre and the attempt by the ruling party to politically capitalize on this catastrophe are discomforting, but do not suggest any direct involvement by General Pervez Musharraf," Bhutto wrote. E-mail to a friend

Bhutto’s Return

After eight years in exile, Bhutto’s return home was struck by a suicide attack that killed 136 people. He survived at the moment of impact behind his armored vehicle only after crouching.

Bhutto said it was the “blackest day” in Pakistan when Musharraf declared a state of emergency on November 3. And threatened to take his followers to the streets in mass demonstrations. He was placed under house arrest on November 9. Four days later, Bhutto requested his resignation. Dec has been removed from the emergency rule.

Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto was a Pakistani politician who became the first woman leader of a Muslim nation in modern history. She was assassinated in 2007.

Bhutto was born in Karachi, Pakistan former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who was from Sindhi Rajput ethnicity and Begum Nusrat Ispahani, of Iranian Kurdish descent. Bhutto’s mother’s Kurdish culture played a big role in her later becoming the Prime Minister.

Bhutto left Pakistan at 16 to study at Harvard’s Radcliffe College where she graduated with a BA with cum laude honours in Comparative Government. Her time there formed the very basis of her belief in democracy. She then attended Oxford University, where she was awarded with a degree in Philosophy, Politics, and Economics, she also completed additional courses in International Law and Diplomacy. While at Oxford she was elected president of the Oxford Union, becoming the first Asian woman to head the prestigious debating society.

In 1977 Bhutto returned to Pakistan. After a military coup led by General Mohammad Zia ul-Haq her father’s government were overthrown and she was placed under house arrest. One year after Zia ul-Haq became president in 1978, Bhutto’s father was hanged after being convicted on charges of authorising the murder of an opponent. She became the leader of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP). Bhutto endured frequent periods of house arrest from 1979 to 1984 and lived in exile in England from 1984 to 1986 where she founded an underground organisation to resist the military dictatorship. In 1985 she briefly returned to Pakistan for the burial of her brother, she was promptly arrested for participating in anti-government rallies.

Bhutto returned to Pakistan in 1986 after martial law was lifted, she quickly became the foremost figure in the political opposition to Zia ul-Haq. In august 1988 President Zia died in a mysterious plane crash. In the elections that followed Bhutto’s PPP won the single largest bloc of seats in the National Assembly. She was elected as prime minister on Dec. 1, 1988, heading a coalition government and becoming the first ever female prime minister of a Muslim nation. She was also one of the youngest chief executives in the world, being only 35 at the time.

Two years into her first term, Bhutto was dismissed from office by President Ghulam Ishaq Khan, citing charges of corruption. Bhutto initiated an anti-corruption campaign, and in 1993 was re-elected as Prime Minister. While in office, she brought electricity to the countryside and built schools all over the country. She made hunger, housing and health care her top priorities, working to modernise Pakistan. Bhutto faced constant opposition from the Islamic fundamentalist movement. In 1996 renewed allegations of corruption, economic mismanagement, and a decline of law and order led to her government being dismissed in November 1996 by President Farooq Leghari.

Bhutto attempted a re-election bid in 1997 but failed. Bhutto and her husband, the controversial businessman and senator Asif Ali Zardari was imprisoned on charges of corruption , a decision overturned by the Supreme Court in 2001 because of evidence of governmental interference. Bhutto was forced to once again live in exile, she returned to London for nine years, continuing to advocate for the restoration of democracy after the Gen. Pervez Musharraf’s seizure of power in a 1999 coup d’état. in 2007, after death threats from radical Islamists and the hostility of the government, she returned to Pakistan. President Musharraf granted her amnesty on all corruption charges.

Bhutto was greeted by crowds of enthusiastic supporters but the event ended in tragedy when her her motorcade was attacked by a suicide bomber, killing more than 100 bystanders. National elections were due for January 2008 and the PPP were poised to win, making Bhutto prime minister once again. Weeks before the election at a campaign rally in Rawalpindi, a gunman fired at her car before detonating a bomb, killing himself and more than 20 bystanders. Bhutto was rushed to the hospital, but died from her injuries.

Hundreds of thousands of mourners paid their respects to former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto at her funeral on December 28, 2007. She was buried at her family’s mausoleum in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh, the southern province of Sindh. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf announced three days of mourning.

Pakistan whimpers without Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto once quoted to have said, ‘‘I have led an unusual life. I have buried a father martyred at the age 50 and two brothers killed in the prime age of their lives. I raised my children as a single mother when my husband was arrested and held for eight years without a conviction – a hostage to my political career. A phoenix that rose from the ashes time and again, The Bravest and the Boldest Benazir Bhutto proved her self, if she ever needed any proving, through her tragic death as someone who would go to any lengths to achieve her ideals. BB achieved the impossible and in doing so inspired many others to believe in their dreams.

You may call a ˈrose by any other name’ but cannot call Benazir Bhutto (peerless) by another name since her name sets fit in her personality or vice versa. Had Shakespeare been alive in 21st century, he would have conceived his magnum opus upon the tragedies relating to Bhutto family. “Show me a hero and I will write you a tragedy.”

The life and tragic assassination of Benazir Bhutto qualifies to be a fit subject to conceive a great tragedy of world literature. After all, she was born in Bhutto family, her grandfather and father became Prime Ministers, she got her higher education from Oxford and Harvard Universities, entered politics after her father’s tragic dethronement and assassination, suffered atrocities committed by worst kind of Martial Law regime in Pakistan, provided leadership and hope to a scattered party and the nation, purged the party from the ‘infected ones’, started her career as opposition leader under a despot ruler, led a family life,married and fulfill the demands of matrimonial life, read and wrote books and articles, contacted national and international leaders, faced and tolerated cheap political tactics and techniques, made tours on near and far places in and outside country during pregnancy and right after of the birth of her first child, did not lose her cool against the foul language, blames, removal of her elected governments, imprisonment of her husband, shahadat of her father, two brothers as well as party workers, faced discrimination and injustice throughout her life.

The time proved and endorsed her anticipation. The extremism did not take long time while turning into terrorism

It is so simple to drag some words upon the life of a personality but how hard it is to undergo the above said miseries and challenges? The first hand observers know better or the person who has passed through such types of trials and tribulations. Dictators come and fade into oblivion while the leaders like Bhuttos remain alive in hearts after their demise.

There are politicians and politicians in Pakistan. However, all of them claim to be loving and caring towards the nation. We can judge the veracity of their claim from the dichotomy of choice -whether they sacrifice their lives on principles or sacrifice their principles to save their skins. It goes without saying that the rival of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto chose the latter. That’s the reason we can say that history repeats itself but not the people like the Bhuttos.

Being a human we are quite helpless in the selection of our birthplace, time and family but we are free to pick the death of our choice if we live by principles. So did Benazir Bhutto who after Karsaz carnage at Karachi, was well aware of the price she was going to pay for her presence in Pakistan at a time when the country was in the eye of the storm.

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto which took place on 27 December 2007 in Rawalpindi, was a major blow to the democracy and federation of Pakistan. Beyond doubt she was the democratic chain connecting the four provinces of Pakistan (Charon Subon ki Zanjeer) and it was proved on the day of her death when the connecting chain disappeared and the country wavered like a rudderless boat in stormy sea. Pakistan had been giving a glimpse of lawless land. How long had the horrible situation prevailed if Asif Ali Zardari would not have raised the slogan, ‘Pakistan Khappey’? God knows better.

Its repercussions we still see even after the lapse of more than a decade. Today no leader can claim to be the democratic chain connecting the four provinces of Pakistan (Charon Subon ki Zanjeer). The question arises: Shouldn’t there be a democratic leader like Benazir Bhutto to bind all the provinces in a single democratic chain? Here comes Bilawal Bhutto to play his role in the national politics of Pakistan. Like her mother who inherited the people’s politics from her father Shaheed Zulifqar Ali Bhutto, Chairman Bilawal Bhutto was trained by her shaheed mother herself.

Despite suffering all kinds of pains and predicaments, she never lost her patience and remained cool and calm at a time when she was able to avenge the murder of her father from the dictator. After years long exile, she landed on Lahore airport in 1986. An ocean of people from all the corners of Pakistan welcomed her. That was the time when she could make a bloody revolution happen against the dictator. She was advised to do so but she declined the proposal since she did not want to see the people dying in struggle against the despotic government.

Prior to her assassination, her rivals were committed for rendering her character assassination. In this world of consequences, she avoided to pay in the same coin to her rivals when she got a chance to do so. Even she asked his workers to abstain from mocking a lady from the opponents’ rank. Like her father and father of the nation, she believed in neat and clean politics. Once Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah was presented the secret letters exchanged between Nehru and Mrs. Mountbatten for political use. Mr Jinnah refused to use nasty and blackmailing tactics in politics.

Being a foreseeing lady, she condemned the menace of extremism from the day first. The time proved and endorsed her anticipation. The extremism did not take long time while turning into terrorism. Now the genie is out from the bottle and the armed forces along with government are struggling to put it back into bottle. How long it will take time, it remains to be seen.

She always strongly supported the case of Pakistan all over the world.

She was expert in foreign policy and could deter the political moves against Pakistan on world forums or else. At present, no leader from the government can play this role in the international arena. During her tenure, she tried her best to empower the lower and deprived classes such as minorities, women and children. For this purpose, efforts were made in and outside the parliament. She was the staunch supporter of media freedom and adopted liberal policy for freedom of press during her days in power.

Benazir Bhutto inspired millions of people all around the globe with her charm and wit, her political intellect and her personality that refused to cower before the toughest of opponents. BB’s legacy as the most influential Pakistani lives on. She continues to inspire, enthuse and motivate women and the marginalised- in Pakistan and abroad. She is a symbol of hope for oppressed classes. Benazir has a legacy that refuse to die down with her. As a veteran journalist Hassan Mujtaba said in his poem. ‘‘ Tum zinda hoker murda ho / wo murda ho ker zinda hai (You are already dead while you live / she is alive in her death).”

“You can imprison a man, but not an idea. You can exile a man, but not an idea. You can kill a man not an idea…. The fight for the truth is important. There will come a day when you will see the result of your struggle” (Benazir Bhutto)

The assassination that orphaned Pakistani politics

Ten years after Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, the void she left behind in Pakistan’s politics has not been filled.

“Where were you when Benazir was killed?” is one of the best ways to start a conversation in Pakistan. Most remember the moment when news of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s death spread and parts of the country fell into turmoil.

Ten years later, Bhutto has not been forgotten. Her name and face frequently appear on billboards and election materials, as candidates continue to exploit her legacy for votes. Schools, colleges, airports and hospitals are named after her. There are social welfare schemes in her name. She even has a district named after her – Benazirabad.

Bhutto was so popular that a crowd of hundreds of thousands greeted her in October 2007, when she returned from self-imposed exile, just three months before she was assassinated. With the support of the United States, she was to negotiate a power-sharing deal with Pakistan’s military ruler General Pervez Musharraf.

It was the second time she had staged a triumphal return to Pakistan. The first one was in 1986 when after several years in exile, she came back to rally the civilian political forces against the military dictatorship. A decade earlier, the Pakistani army had staged a coup against her father, the late Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, and had taken power, hanging him a year later.

Bhutto had a complicated relationship with the military. At times, they would be engaged in a dangerous tug-of-war over political power and at others, they would cooperate. She supported hardline foreign policy, which the military leadership also pushed for. It was during her second premiership in the 1990s that the Pakistan-backed Taliban took over Kabul.

She also had a controversial political track record domestically both of the governments she led in the 1980s and 1990s were marred by corruption. She was known to appoint members of her family to positions in her cabinet, including her mother, Nusrat Bhutto, and her husband, Asif Zardari, who was known as “Mr 10 percent”.

Even her staunchest critics, however, admit that Bhutto was a force to be reckoned with and was one of the country’s most popular politicians. She was doing what others could only dream of. Few remember how current PM Nawaz Sharif also tried to come back from exile in 2007 only to be deported disgracefully immediately after his arrival.

On December 27, 2007, Bhutto was assassinated during a political rally in the city of Rawalpindi. She had just survived another assassination attempt in October that year that had killed some 150 people.

Her death marked a turning point for politics in Pakistan. After her departure, the mainstream political forces would never be able to unite against dictatorship again.

A symptom of this political decay in Pakistan is the fact that 10 years on, Pakistanis still do not know who killed Bhutto. She joins a line of leaders and heads of state, like Liaquat Ali Khan and Ziaul Haq, whose murder mysteries haven’t been solved.

Those same powers who have undermined a proper investigation of her murder have also slowly diminished all that she fought for. Basic rights, including women’s rights and personal freedoms guaranteed in the constitution, have all been curbed under the guise of national security.

The civilian political elite continues to struggle to bring under its control the country’s defence and foreign policies. More and more it seems that the military is pulling the strings in Pakistan.

Mainstream political parties, which once had representation on a national level, are now able to garner support in one or two provinces only. Religious parties and groups have become increasingly aggressive and have posed a challenge to the traditional political scene. In the coming elections, it is quite likely that right-wing parties, including some with links to militant groups, will emerge stronger than the mainstream.

One of these parties is Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI), whose leader, former cricket star Imran Khan, has more than once openly praised the Taliban for their mode of governance. His party, which is in power in the troubled Khyber Pakhtunkhwa province, has re-written school textbooks to erase what they referred to as “secular teachings”.

Bhutto’s party, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), has also changed significantly. The party has suffered from the high hand of Bhutto’s spouse – Zardari, who went on to become co-chairperson and was later elected president of the country. He has appointed his near and dear ones to party and government positions and has sidelined Bhutto loyalists. The party’s policies have shifted from social reforms to self-enrichment.

The ideology of the party, which once rallied thousands, has been relegated to empty slogans.

Gone are the days of student protests or workers fighting for their rights in the streets of Karachi. The hope of an equitable society that the party once called for with its slogan “roti, kapra aur makaan,” (bread, clothes and shelter) has been forgotten. Only money seems to matter, and corruption and nepotism have spread through the party like a cancer.

Zardari has sided with the army and has undermined PM Sharif’s test of wills against the judiciary and the generals. It is likely that the PPP would not be able to recover from this pitfall.

Zardari has also been actively undermining his son, Bilawal, who has tried to pick up his mother’s legacy and become a political leader. So far, Bilawal has been unable to capture the imagination of Pakistani voters. He struggles with speaking in his mother tongue and usually ends up making a fool of himself.

So today, as Pakistanis remember Bhutto and her legacy, they also mourn the sad state of politics in their country. For a decade now, Pakistan’s political elite, obsessed with self-interest and corrupt practices, has been unable to produce a politician with Bhutto’s stature and political acumen who could rally the streets of Pakistan under progressive and inclusive slogans.

The dream of a Pakistan as a thriving, vibrant and modern Islamic democracy under civilian rule seems so distant today.

The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect Al Jazeera’s editorial policy.


After surviving several assassination attempts in the past, PPP leader Benazir Bhutto was not so lucky on Tuesday as she was killed by two gunmen who opened fire at her right after she finished addressing a rally at Liaquatbagh.

Bhutto got off the stage after addressing the rally and started moving towards her car. Her vehicle moved a certain distance and she was surrounded by party supporters.

She came out of the car and just then two attackers with AK 47s pumped her with bullets, one in the neck and two in the head, before blowing themselves up.

The attack also killed more than 20 people and left several others injured.

Following Bhutto’s death, a high alert has been sounded in Pakistan. President Musharraf has convened an emergency meeting of top advisors. Shops and petrol pumps have closed in many cities fearing violence.

Shops across Rawalpindi are being torched by PPP supporters. Asif Zardari and his children are on their way to Karachi.

According to preliminary reports, Benazir finished the rally at 5:30 pm at Liaquatbagh and was on her way back to Ralwal. She got into the car and was soon after attacked by two people with AK 47s. A suicide bomber blew himself up next to car.

Nawaz Sharif described Benazir Bhutto’s assassination as the most tragic incident in the history of Pakistan.

”I myself feel threatened,” says Sharif, whose party temporarily suspended the electioneering in the wake of the assassination.

”Are things in control now? Had things been in control, would this have happened?” he said, adding that Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf would have to give answers.

”I also feel unprotected and the lady must also have been feeling very unprotected,” Sharif said.

Criticising Musharraf, he said, ”If Musharraf can spend crores on his own security, could he not spend some amount on the security of Bhutto.”

Fifty-four-year-old Benazir was rushed to Rawalpindi general hospital, where she was pronounced dead nearly 40 minutes later.

”We are traumatised. People all over are crying. Everyone is saying that this Army has killed Benazir. There is going to be more bloodshed. Will the world now finally wake up? said a distraught Asma Jehangir, Chairperson, Pak Human Rights Commission.

”It is very tragic. It has shocked every Pakistani,” said Ayaz Amir, columnist.

Prof. Bhim Singh, Chairman of the National Panthers Party and Member of National Integration Council (NIC) while condemning the brutal assassination of Benazir Bhutto Pakistan’s foremost political leader and the former Prime Minister termed it as most cowardice act of the terrorists and total failure of Pakistan government.

Bhutto is survived by her husband Asif Ali Zardari and three children. Before she returned to Pakistan in October, Benazir Bhutto told NDTV that she was not afraid of the threats.

In the first reactions coming in from New Delhi, Minister of State for External Affairs Anand Sharma said, ”We are shocked and saddened by this. Benazir was a promising leader with her own stature in Pakistan. It has happened at a time when the people of Pakistan were looking up to her. We offer our condolences to her bereaved family members and friends.”

Benazir is likely to be buried on Friday in Larkana near her father’s grave.

National and provincial assembly elections in Pakistan are due on January 8.

In October some 130 people were killed in an attack on Bhutto’s cavalcade when she returned to the country.

It was one of the worst incidents of violence in a year of deteriorating security in Pakistan.

Russia, US condemn Bhutto murder

Thursday, December 27, 2007 (Moscow,Washington)
Russia and the US today condemned the killing of Pakistan’s opposition leader Benazir Bhutto and called on the authorities to ensure stability in the country.

”We firmly condemn this terrorist act, we express our condolences to Benazir Bhutto’s relatives and loved ones and we hope that the Pakistani leadership will manage to take necessary steps to ensure stability in the country,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Mikhail Kamynin was quoted as saying by news agencies.

Deputy State Department spokesman Tom Casey could not confirm that Bhutto had been killed in the bombing in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi.

But he said: ”We obviously condemn the attack that shows that there are people out there who are trying to disrupt the building of democracy in Pakistan.”

Advani expresses shock over Bhutto

Thursday, December 27, 2007 (New Delhi)
Senior BJP leader L K Advani expressed shock at the assassination of former Pakistan Premier Benazir Bhutto and said the ”talibanisation of Pakistan” is a threat to India’s security.

”The news from Rawalpindi has come as a shock to me. The former Prime Minister of Pakistan and a tall leader who for years had been struggling for restoration of democracy in Pakistan has fallen victim to a terrorist attack,” he said.

”I have a feeling that the kind of talibanisation of Pakistan that is taking place is a threat to India’s security also,” Advani, who shared a warm relationship with Bhutto, said.

The BJP leader said he spoke to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who is in Goa. ”I shared my concern and he said we shall meet immediately after his return,” Advani said.

He said the Prime Minister told him he would direct the National Security Adviser to brief him and his party about the development.

”I also expressed my concern about the goings-on in Nepal, where Maoists seem to have gained an upper hand. We will discuss both these issues,” he said.

”We strongly condemn the dastardly attack. I condemn the Jehadis who are responsible for this,” Advani said.

The former Deputy Prime Minister said he also spoke to the Pakistan High Commissioner here.

Asked about the implications of the attack, he said Pakistan’s chaotic situation is a matter of concern not only for Pakistan but also for India’s security.

”You cannot afford to be soft on terror,” Advani said.

PM condoles Bhutto’s death

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today expressed deep shock over the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, saying that the incident is a reminder of the common dangers faced in the sub-continent.

”The manner of her going is a reminder of the common dangers that our region faces from cowardly acts of terrorism and of the need to eradicate this dangerous threat,” he said in a statement from Goa.

Terming that the people of Pakistan suffered a grievous blow, Singh said he was deeply shocked and horrified to hear of the heinous assassination.

”Mrs Bhutto was no ordinary political leader, but one who left a deep imprint on her time and age,” PM’s Media Adviser Sanjaya Baru quoted Singh as saying.

Lok Sabha Speaker Somnath Chatterjee also expressed profound shock at the assassination.

In a message, the Speaker hoped that the Indian sub-continent would be rid off such attacks on democratic processes and that the people of Pakistan would reject such methods of terror and strengthen democracy.

Chronology of Bhutto’s last months

Thursday, December 27, 2007 ()
Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was killed on Thursday in a suicide attack at a campaign rally, the interior ministry said.

Here is a chronology of key events in Bhutto’s life in the run-up to the assassination:

Dec 27: Bhutto is killed in a suicide attack at a campaign rally in Rawalpindi.

Nov 26: Bhutto and Sharif file their nomination papers for the election. Musharraf’s office announces he will resign from the army on November 28 and take a new oath as a
civilian leader.

Nov 16: Musharraf swears in the interim government. Bhutto is freed from house arrest. US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte arrives in Islamabad and speaks to Bhutto by telephone.

Nov 13: Bhutto for the first time urges Musharraf to resign and says she will never serve under him as prime minister.

Nov 12 :Bhutto rules out further power-sharing talks with Musharraf. She is placed under house arrest again to prevent her leading a mass procession.

Nov 11: Musharraf say parliament will be dissolved on November 15 and elections should be held by early January.

Nov 9: Hours before a planned rally in the city of Rawalpindi police Bhutto under house arrest at her Islamabad home. The order is late lifted.

Nov 7: Bhutto announces plans for mass protests.

Nov 4: Police crack down on the opposition. The United States, a key Musharraf ally, voices concern.

Nov 3: Musharraf imposes state of emergency, suspends the constitution and arrests key opposition figures, citing Islamic extremism and judicial interference.

Oct 31: Bhutto says she has heard rumours Musharraf will impose a state of emergency and postpones planned trip to Dubai. She flies to Dubai the following day.

Oct 18: Bhutto returns to Karachi from Dubai after eight years in self-exile. Two suicide bombers attack her homecoming parade hours later, killing 139 people.

July 20: Bhutto and Musharraf hold secret meeting in Abu Dhabi on a possible power-sharing deal to sideline Sharif.

July 3-10: Pakistani troops besiege the pro-Taliban Red Mosque in Islamabad, then storm the building a week later. More than 100 people die during the course of the crisis.

March 26: First joint protests organised by the parties of exiled former prime ministers Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif.


Benazir Bhutto (IPA: [beːnɜziːr bʰʊʈʈoː] 21 June 1953 – 27 December 2007) was a Pakistan politician. Bhutto was the first woman elected to lead a Muslim state, having been twice elected Prime Minister of Pakistan. She was sworn in for the first time in 1988 but removed from office 20 months later under orders of then-president Ghulam Ishaq Khan on grounds of alleged corruption. In 1993 Bhutto was re-elected but was again removed in 1996 on similar charges, this time by President Farooq Leghari.

Bhutto went into self-imposed exile in Dubai in 1998, where she remained until she returned to Pakistan on October 18, 2007, after reaching an understanding with General Musharraf by which she was granted amnesty and all corruption charges were withdrawn.[1]

She was the eldest child of former premier Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a Pakistani of Sindhi descent, and Begum Nusrat Bhutto, a Pakistani of Iranian-Kurdish descent. Her paternal grandfather was Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto who came to Larkana Sindh before partition from his native town of Bhatto Kalan which was situated in the Indian state of Haryana.

She was assassinated on December 27, 2007, in a combined suicide bomb attack and shooting during a political rally of the Pakistan Peoples Party in the town of Rawalpindi.[2] Ex-government spokesman Tariq Azim Khan said that, although it appeared that she had been shot, it was unclear whether her wounds had been caused by a shooting or shrapnel from the bomb.[3]

Education and personal life
Benazir Bhutto was born in Karachi, Dominion of Pakistan on June 21, 1953. She attended the Lady Jennings Nursery School and then the Convent of Jesus and Mary in Karachi.[4] After two years of schooling at the Rawalpindi Presentation Convent, she was sent to the Jesus and Mary Convent at Murree. She passed her O-level examination at the age of 15.[5] She then went on to complete her A-Levels at the Karachi Grammar School.

After completing her early education in Pakistan, she pursued her higher education in the United States. From 1969 to 1973 she attended Radcliffe College, and then Harvard University, where she obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree cum laude in comparative government.[6] She was also elected to Phi Beta Kappa.[5]

The next phase of her education took place in the United Kingdom. Between 1973 and 1977 Bhutto studied Philosophy, Politics, and Economics at Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford. She completed a course in International Law and Diplomacy while at Oxford.[7] In December 1976 she was elected president of the Oxford Union, becoming the first Asian woman to head the prestigious debating society.[5]

On 18 December 1987 she married Asif Ali Zardari in Karachi. The couple had three children: Bilawal, Bakhtwar, and Aseefa.

Benazir Bhutto’s father, former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was dismissed as Prime Minister in 1975, on charges similar to those Benazir Bhutto would later face. Later, in a 1977 trial on charges of conspiracy to murder the father of dissident politician Ahmed Raza Kasuri, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was sentenced to death.

Despite the accusation being “widely doubted by the public”,[8] and despite many clemency appeals from foreign leaders, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was hanged on 4 April 1979. Appeals for clemency were dismissed by acting President General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq. Benazir Bhutto and her mother were held in a “police camp” until the end of May, after the execution.[9]

In 1980, Benazir Bhutto’s brother Shahnawaz was killed under suspicious circumstances, in France. The killing of another of her brothers, Mir Murtaza, in 1996, contributed to destabilizing her second term as Prime Minister.

Benazir Bhutto on a visit to Washington, D.C. in 1988Bhutto, who had returned to Pakistan after completing her studies, found herself placed under house arrest in the wake of her father’s imprisonment and subsequent execution. Having been allowed in 1984 to return to the United Kingdom, she became a leader in exile of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), her father’s party, though she was unable to make her political presence felt in Pakistan until after the death of General Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq. She had succeeded her mother as leader of the Pakistan People’s Party and the pro-democracy opposition to the Zia-ul-Haq regime.

On 16 November 1988, in the first open election in more than a decade, Bhutto’s PPP won the largest bloc of seats in the National Assembly. Bhutto was sworn in as Prime Minister of a coalition government on 2 December, becoming at age 35 the youngest person — and the first woman — to head the government of a Muslim-majority state in modern times. That same year, People Magazine included Ms. Bhutto in its list of The Fifty Most Beautiful People. In 1989, she was awarded the Prize For Freedom by the Liberal International.

Bhutto’s government was dismissed in 1990 following charges of corruption, for which she never was tried. Zia’s protégé Nawaz Sharif subsequently came to power. Bhutto was re-elected in 1993 but was dismissed three years later amid various corruption scandals by then president Farooq Leghari, who used the Eighth Amendment discretionary powers to dissolve the government. The Supreme Court affirmed President Leghari’s dismissal in a 6-1 ruling.[10] In 2006, Interpol issued a request for arrest of Bhutto and her husband.[11]

The criticism against Bhutto came largely from the Punjabi elites and powerful landlord families who opposed Bhutto as she pushed Pakistan into nationalist reform, opposing feudals, whom she blamed for the destabilization of Pakistan.

Musharraf’s disqualification
On 17 September 2007 Benazir Bhutto accused Pervez Musharraf’s allies of pushing Pakistan into crisis by their refusal to permit democratic reforms and power-sharing. A nine-member panel of Supreme Court judges deliberated on six petitions (including one from Jamaat-e-Islami, Pakistan’s largest Islamic group) asserting that Musharraf be disqualified from contending for the presidency of Pakistan. Bhutto stated that her party could join one of the opposition groups, potentially that of Nawaz Sharif. Attorney-general Malik Mohammed Qayyum stated that, pendente lite, the Election Commission was “reluctant” to announce the schedule for the presidential vote. Bhutto’s party’s Farhatullah Babar stated that the Constitution could bar Musharraf from being elected again because he was already chief of the army: “As Gen. Musharraf was disqualified from contesting for President, he has prevailed upon the Election Commission to arbitrarily and illegally tamper with the Constitution of Pakistan.”[12]

Policies for women
During election campaigns the Bhutto government voiced its concern for women’s social and health issues, including the issue of discrimination against women. Bhutto announced plans to establish women’s police stations, courts, and women’s development banks. Despite these promises, Bhutto did not propose any legislation to improve welfare services for women. During her election campaigns, Bhutto promised to repeal controversial laws (such as Hudood and Zina ordinances) that curtail the rights of women in Pakistan. Her party never did fulfil these promises during her tenures as Prime Minister, due to immense pressure from the opposition.

Only after her stints as Prime Minister did her party initiate legislation to repeal the Zina ordinance, during General Musharraf’s regime. These efforts were defeated by the right-wing religious parties that dominated the legislatures at the time.

Policy on Taliban
The Taliban took power in Kabul in September 1996. It was during Bhutto’s rule that the Taliban gained prominence in Afghanistan. She viewed the Taliban as a group that could stabilize Afghanistan and enable trade access to the Central Asian republics, according to author Stephen Coll.[13] He claims that her government provided military and financial support for the Taliban, even sending a small unit of the Pakistani army into Afghanistan.

More recently, she took an anti-Taliban stance, and condemned terrorist acts committed by the Taliban and their supporters.

After being dismissed by the then-president of Pakistan on charges of corruption her party lost the October elections. She served as leader of the opposition while Nawaz Sharif became Prime Minister for the next three years. Elections were held again in October 1993 and her PPP coalition was victorious, returning Bhutto to office. In 1996 her government was once again dismissed on corruption charges.

Charges of corruption
French, Polish, Spanish and Swiss documents have fueled the charges of corruption against Bhutto and her husband. Bhutto and her husband faced a number of legal proceedings, including a charge of laundering money through Swiss banks. Her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, spent eight years in prison on similar corruption charges. Zardari, released from jail in 2004, has suggested that his time in prison involved torture human rights groups have supported his claim that his rights were violated.[14]

A 1998 New York Times investigative report[15] indicates that Pakistani investigators have documents that uncover a network of bank accounts, all linked to the family’s lawyer in Switzerland, with Asif Zardari as the principal shareholder. According to the article, documents released by the French authorities indicated that Zardari offered exclusive rights to Dassault, a French aircraft manufacturer, to replace the air force’s fighter jets in exchange for a 5% commission to be paid to a Swiss corporation controlled by Zardari. The article also said a Dubai company received an exclusive license to import gold into Pakistan for which Asif Zardari received payments of more than $10M into his Dubai-based Citibank accounts. The owner of the company denied that he had made payments to Zardari and claims the documents were forged.

Bhutto maintained that the charges leveled against her and her husband were purely political.[16][17] “Most of those documents are fabricated,” she said, “and the stories that have been spun around them are absolutely wrong.” An Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) report supports Bhutto’s claim. It presents information suggesting that Benazir Bhutto was ousted from power in 1990 as a result of a witch hunt approved by then-president Ghulam Ishaq Khan. The AGP report says Khan illegally paid legal advisers 28 million Rupees to file 19 corruption cases against Bhutto and her husband in 1990-92.[18]

The assets held by Bhutto and her husband have been scrutinized. The prosecutors have alleged that their Swiss bank accounts contain £740 million.[19] Zardari also bought a neo-Tudor mansion and estate worth over £4 million in Surrey, England, UK.[20][21] The Pakistani investigations have tied other overseas properties to Zardari’s family. These include a $2.5 million manor in Normandy owned by Zardari’s parents, who had modest assets at the time of his marriage.[15] Bhutto denied holding substantive overseas assets.

Bhutto and her husband until recently continued to face wide-ranging charges of official corruption in connection with hundreds of millions of dollars of “commissions” on government contracts and tenders. But because of a power-sharing deal brokered in October 2007 between Bhutto and Musharraf, she and her husband had been granted amnesty.[19] If it stands, this development could trigger a number of Swiss banks to ‘unlock’ accounts that were frozen in the late 1990s.[15][19] The executive order could in principle be challenged by the judiciary, although the judiciary’s future was uncertain due to the same recent developments.

On 23 July 1998, the Swiss Government handed over documents to the government of Pakistan which relate to corruption allegations against Benazir Bhutto and her husband.[22] The documents included a formal charge of money laundering by Swiss authorities against Zardari. The Pakistani government had been conducting a wide-ranging inquiry to account for more than $13.7 million frozen by Swiss authorities in 1997 that was allegedly stashed in banks by Bhutto and her husband. The Pakistani government recently filed criminal charges against Bhutto in an effort to track down an estimated $1.5 billion she and her husband are alleged to have received in a variety of criminal enterprises.[23] The documents suggest that the money Zardari was alleged to have laundered was accessible to Benazir Bhutto and had been used to buy a diamond necklace for over $175,000.[24]

The PPP has responded by flatly denying the charges, suggesting that Swiss authorities have been misled by false evidence provided by Islamabad.

On 6 August 2003, Swiss magistrates found Bhutto and her husband guilty of money laundering.[25] They were given six-month suspended jail terms, fined $50,000 each and were ordered to pay $11 million to the Pakistani government. The six-year trial concluded that Bhutto and Zardari deposited in Swiss accounts $10 million given to them by a Swiss company in exchange for a contract in Pakistan. The couple said they would appeal. The Pakistani investigators say Zardari opened a Citibank account in Geneva in 1995 through which they say he passed some $40 million of the $100 million he received in payoffs from foreign companies doing business in Pakistan.[26]

In October 2007, Daniel Zappelli, chief prosecutor of the canton of Geneva, said he received the conclusions of a money laundering investigation against former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on Monday, but it was unclear whether there would be any further legal action against her in Switzerland. [27]

The Polish Government has given Pakistan 500 pages of documentation relating to corruption allegations against Benazir Bhutto and her husband. These charges are in regard to the purchase of 8,000 tractors in a 1997 deal.[28][29] According to Pakistani officials, the Polish papers contain details of illegal commissions paid by the tractor company in return for agreeing to their contract.[30] It was alleged that the arrangement “skimmed” Rs 103 mn rupees ($2 million) in kickbacks.[31] “The documentary evidence received from Poland confirms the scheme of kickbacks laid out by Asif Zardari and Benazir Bhutto in the name of (the) launching of Awami tractor scheme,” APP said. Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari allegedly received a 7.15 percent commission on the purchase through their front men, Jens Schlegelmilch and Didier Plantin of Dargal S.A., who received about $1.969 million for supplying 5,900 Ursus Tractors.[32]

Potentially the most lucrative deal alleged in the documents involved the effort by Dassault Aviation, a French military contractor. French authorities indicated in 1998 that Bhutto’s husband, Zardari, offered exclusive rights to Dassault to replace the air force’s fighter jets in exchange for a five percent commission to be paid to a corporation in Switzerland controlled by Zardari.[33]

At the time, French corruption laws forbade bribery of French officials but permitted payoffs to foreign officials, and even made the payoffs tax-deductible in France. However, France changed this law in 2000. [34]

Western Asia
In the largest single payment investigators have discovered, a gold bullion dealer in the Western Asia was alleged to have deposited at least $10 million into one of Zardari’s accounts after the Bhutto government gave him a monopoly on gold imports that sustained Pakistan’s jewellery industry. The money was allegedly deposited into Zardari’s Citibank account in Dubai.

Pakistan’s Arabian Sea coast, stretching from Karachi to the border with Iran, has long been a gold smugglers’ haven. Until the beginning of Bhutto’s second term, the trade, running into hundreds of millions of dollars a year, was unregulated, with slivers of gold called biscuits, and larger weights in bullion, carried on planes and boats that travel between the Persian Gulf and the largely unguarded Pakistani coast.

Shortly after Bhutto returned as prime minister in 1993, a Pakistani bullion trader in Dubai, Abdul Razzak Yaqub, proposed a deal: in return for the exclusive right to import gold, Razzak would help the government regularize the trade. In November 1994, Pakistan’s Commerce Ministry wrote to Razzak informing him that he had been granted a license that made him, for at least the next two years, Pakistan’s sole authorized gold importer. In an interview in his office in Dubai, Razzak acknowledged that he had used the license to import more than $500 million in gold into Pakistan, and that he had travelled to Islamabad several times to meet with Bhutto and Zardari. But he denied that there had been any corruption or secret deals. “I have not paid a single cent to Zardari,” he said.

Razzak claims that someone in Pakistan who wished to destroy his reputation had contrived to have his company wrongly identified as the depositor. “Somebody in the bank has cooperated with my enemies to make false documents,” he said.

2002 election
The Bhutto-led Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) secured the highest number of votes (28.42%) and eighty seats (23.16%) in the national assembly in the October 2002 general elections [35]. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) managed to win eighteen seats only. Some of the elected candidates of Pakistan Peoples Party formed a faction of their own, calling it PPP-Patriots which was being led by Makhdoom Faisal Saleh Hayat, the former leader of Bhutto led PPP. They later formed a coalition government with Musharraf’s party, PML-Q.

Early 2000s
In 2002, Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf amended Pakistan’s constitution to ban prime ministers from serving more than two terms. This disqualifies Bhutto from ever holding the office again. This move was widely considered to be a direct attack on former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. On 3 August 2003, Bhutto became a member of Minhaj ul Quran International (An international Muslim educational and welfare organization).[36]

Since September 2004, Bhutto lived in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where she cared for her children and her mother, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, travelling to give lectures and keeping in touch with the Pakistan Peoples Party’s supporters. She and her three children were reunited with her husband and their father in December 2004 after more than five years.

On 27 January 2007 she was invited by the United States to speak to President Bush and congressional and State Department officials.[37]

Bhutto appeared as a panellist on the BBC TV programme Question Time in the UK in March 2007. She has also appeared on BBC current affairs programme Newsnight on several occasions. She rebuffed comments made by Muhammad Ijaz-ul-Haq in May 2007 regarding the knighthood of Salman Rushdie, citing that he was calling for the assassination of foreign citizens.

Bhutto had declared her intention to return to Pakistan within 2007, which she did, in spite of Musharraf’s statements of May 2007 about not allowing her to return ahead of the country’s general election, due late 2007 or early 2008. It was speculated that she may be offered the office of Prime Minister again.[38][39][40]

Arthur Herman, a U.S. historian, in a controversial letter published in The Wall Street Journal on 14 June 2007, in response to an article by Bhutto highly critical of the president and his policies, has described her as “One of the most incompetent leaders in the history of South Asia”, and asserted that she and other elites in Pakistan hate Musharraf because he was a muhajir, the son of one of millions of Indian Muslims who fled to Pakistan during partition in 1947. Herman has claimed, “Although it was muhajirs who agitated for the creation of Pakistan in the first place, many native Pakistanis view them with contempt and treat them as third-class citizens.”[41][42][43]

Nonetheless, as of mid-2007, the US appeared to be pushing for a deal in which Musharraf would remain as president but step down as military head, and either Bhutto or one of her nominees would become prime minister.[44]

On 11 July 2007, the Associated Press, in an article about the possible aftermath of the Red Mosque incident, wrote:

Benazir Bhutto, the former prime minister and opposition leader expected by many to return from exile and join Musharraf in a power-sharing deal after year-end general elections, praised him for taking a tough line on the Red Mosque. I’m glad there was no cease-fire with the militants in the mosque because cease-fires simply embolden the militants,” she told Britain’s Sky TV on Tuesday. “There will be a backlash, but at some time we have to stop appeasing the militants.”[45]

This remark about the Red Mosque was seen with dismay in Pakistan as reportedly hundreds of young students were burned to death and remains are untraceable and cases are being heard in Pakistani supreme court as a missing persons issue. This and subsequent support for Musharaf led Elder Bhutto’s comrades like Khar to criticize her publicly.[citations needed]

Bhutto however advised Musharraf in an early phase of the latter’s quarrel with the Chief Justice, to restore him. Her PPP did not capitalize on its CEC member, Aitzaz, the chief Barrister for the Chief Justice, in successful restoration. Rather he was seen as a rival and was isolated.

Possible deal with the Musharraf Government
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Please improve this article if you can (October 2007).

Talks between Musharraf and Bhutto in 2004 likely resulted in her husband’s release.[citation needed]

In July 2007, some of Bhutto’s frozen funds were released.[46]. Bhutto still faces significant charges of corruption. In an 8 August 2007 interview with the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Bhutto revealed the meeting focused on her desire to return to Pakistan for the 2008 elections, and of Musharraf retaining the Presidency with Bhutto as Prime Minister. On 29 August 2007, Bhutto announced that Musharraf would step down as chief of the army.[47][48] On 1 September Bhutto vowed to return to Pakistan “very soon”, regardless of whether or not she reached a power-sharing deal with Musharraf before then. [49]

Many observers[attribution needed] consider such a deal improbable. In summer 2002 Musharraf implemented a two-term limit on Prime Ministers. Both Bhutto and Musharraf’s other chief rival, Nawaz Sharif, have already served two terms as Prime Minister.[50] Musharraf’s allies in parliament, especially the PMLQ, are unlikely to reverse the changes to allow Prime Ministers to seek third terms, nor to make particular exceptions for either Bhutto or Sharif.

On 2 October 2007, Gen. Pervez Musharraf named Lt. Gen. Ashfaq Kayani, as vice chief of the army starting 8 October with the intent that if Musharraf won the presidency and resigned his military post, Kayani would become chief of the army. Meanwhile, Minister Sheikh Rashid Ahmed stated that officials agreed to grant Benazir Bhutto amnesty versus pending corruption charges. She has emphasized the smooth transition and return to civilian rule and has asked Pervez Musharaf to shed uniform.[51]

On 5 October 2007 Musharraf signed the National Reconciliation Ordinance, giving amnesty to Bhutto and other political leaders—except exiled former premier Nawaz Sharif—in all court cases against them, including all corruption charges. The Ordinance came a day before Musharraf faced the crucial presidential poll. Both Bhutto’s oppsition party, the PPP, and the ruling PMLQ, were involved in negotiations beforehand about the deal.[52] In return, Bhutto and the PPP agreed not to boycott the Presidential election.[53]

On 6 October 2007, Pervez Musharraf won a parliamentary election for President. However, the Supreme Court ruled that no winner can be officially proclaimed until it finishes deciding on whether it was legal for Musharraf to run for President while remaining Army General. Bhutto’s PPP party did not join the other opposition parties’ boycott of the election, but did abstain from voting.[54] Later Bhutto demanded security coverage on-par with the President’s. Bhutto also contracted foreign security firms for her protection.

Return to Pakistan and assassination attempts
After eight years in exile in Dubai and London, Bhutto returned to Karachi on 18 October 2007 to prepare for the 2008 national elections.[55][56]

Main article: 2007 Karachi bombing
En route to a rally in Karachi on 18 October 2007, two explosions occurred shortly after Bhutto had landed and left Jinnah International Airport. She was not injured but the explosions, later found to be a suicide-bomb attack, killed 136 people and injured at least 450. The dead included at least 50 of the security guards from her Pakistan Peoples Party who had formed a human chain around her truck to keep potential bombers away, as well as 6 police officers. A number of senior officials were injured. Bhutto was escorted unharmed from the scene.[57]

Bhutto later claimed that she had warned the Pakistani government that suicide bomb squads would target her upon her return to Pakistan and that the government had failed to act. She was careful not to blame Pervez Musharraf for the attacks, accusing instead “certain individuals [within the government] who abuse their positions, who abuse their powers” to advance the cause of Islamic militants. Shortly after the attempt on her life, Bhutto wrote a letter Musharraf naming four persons whom she suspected of carrying out the attack. Those named included Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, a rival PML-Q politician and chief minister of Pakistan’s Punjab province, Hamid Gul, former director of the Inter-Services Intelligence, and Ijaz Shah, the director general of the Intelligence Bureau, another of the country’s intelligence agencies. All those named are close associates of General Musharraf. Bhutto has a long history of accusing parts of the government, particularly Pakistan’s premier military intelligence agencies, of working against her and her party because they oppose her liberal, secular agenda. Bhutto claimed that the ISI has for decades backed militant Islamic groups in Kashmir and in Afghanistan.[58]

There are discrepancies between the accounts published in western newspapers, Pakistani tabloids, and eye witness accounts of the assassination attempt. Bhutto’s husband categorically refused to accept that the suicide bombing was an attack by Al Qaeda or the Taliban. Correspondingly, Pakistani Taliban leader Mehsud denied responsibility and Jamaat Islami, an opponent of Bhutto, announced a three days mourning period for the dead, thus lending credibility to Bhutto’s claims that the attack was engineered by close associates in the government of General Musharraf.[citation needed]

Bhutto’s associates describe an initial small grenade attack, followed twenty seconds later by larger explosives, one right and and one left of the truck carrying Bhutto this was followed by a brief burst of gun fire directed at vehicle’s roof. The PPP sources claim that yet another non-exploded bomb was fixed on a bridge which the vehicle had already crossed[citation needed].

Some witnesses report there was a sizzling sound, apparently an underground wire signal for the explosive devices. Bhutto escaped, as she was protected by a 30-inch tall bullet-proof lining on the top of truck and was reportedly descending into the vehicle’s interior at the time hence neither shrapnel nor bullets killed her. She was also protected by a “human cordon” of supporters who had anticipated suicide attacks and formed a chain around her to prevent potential bombers from getting near her. The total number of injured, according to PPP sources, stood at 1000, with at least 160 dead (The New York Times claims 134 dead and about 450 injured). The PPP lodged a complaint and FIR in protest, but was cautious in laying blame.[citation needed]

A few days later, Bhutto’s lawyer Senator Farooq H. Naik said he received a letter threatening to kill his client. The letter also claims to have links with al-Qaeda and followers of Usama bin Laden.

Response to 2007 State of Emergency
Main article: 2007 Pakistani state of emergency
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On November 3, 2007 President Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency, citing actions by the Supreme Court of Pakistan and religious extremism in the nation. Bhutto returned to the country, interrupting a visit to family in Dubai. The AP reports that she was greeted by supporters chanting slogans at the airport.[59] After staying in her plane for several hours she was driven to her home in Lahore, accompanied by hundreds of supporters.[60] She made the following comments critical of Musharraf’s declaration of emergency:

“Unless General Musharraf reverses the course it will be very difficult to have fair elections.” In other telephone comments to Sky News television she said, “I agree with him that we are facing a political crisis, but I believe the problem was dictatorship, I don’t believe the solution was dictatorship. She still probably has chances of becoming PME

“The extremists need a dictatorship, and dictatorship needs extremists.” [61].

House arrest
Wikinews has related news:
Pakistan lifts house arrest of former PM Benazir BhuttoOn November 8, 2007, Bhutto was placed under house arrest just a few hours before she was due to lead and address a rally against the state of emergency. She made some attempts to come out of house arrest but police stopped her. All roads to her house were closed. The following day, the Pakistani government announced that Bhutto’s arrest warrant had been withdrawn and that she would be free to travel and to appear at public rallies. However, leaders of other opposition political parties remained prohibited from speaking in public.[62]

Preparation for 2008 elections
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On November 24, 2007, Bhutto filed her nomination papers for January’s Parliamentary elections on Monday she filed papers in the Larkana constituency for two regular seats, this occured as the former Pakistani Prime Minster Nawaz Sharif made his return to Pakistan after 8 years of deportation in Saudi Arabia

On November 30, 2007, after President Pervez Musharraf gave up his uniform on November 27, 2007, Musharraf was sworn in as a civilian president. He then announced that he would lift the state of emergency that had been placed on the country on 3 November 2007, on December 16. Bhutto welcomed the announcement and launched a manifesto outlining her party’s domestic issues. Bhutto told journalists in Islamabad that her party, the Pakistan People’s Party, was focusing on the five E’s which were employment, education, energy, environment, equality.

On December 2, 2007 it was announced that Mrs. Bhutto would meet former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to discuss a possible boycott of the January 8 elections. Speaking in Peshawar Mrs. Bhutto said a boycott of the elections would only help legitimize President Pervez Musharraf’s declaration of Emergency Rule which he imposed on 3 November 2007. On November 30, Musharraf announced that he would end the month long emergency rule on December 16 in time for the January elections.

On December 4, 2007, in a meeting between former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif and Mrs. Bhutto, the two discussed a possible boycott for the elections. They said that a committee would be set up to reveal their demands if they were to take part in the elections. Mr. Sharif was informed that he was banned from contesting in the elections on December 3. Mr Sharif has until Friday to appeal against the ban. Mrs. Bhutto said that agreeing to the demands would be a “major confidence-building measure” between the two leaders. Mr. Sharif was to boycott the election, but Mrs. Bhutto had stated that a boycott would fall into the hands of President Pervez Musharraf.

On December 8, 2007 it was reported that three unidentified gunmen stormed Mrs. Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party office in the southern western province of Baluchistan. The shooting occurred in the capital of the city Quetta. It was confirmed by the local police that three men have been killed with one injured.

Main article: Benazir Bhutto assassination

This was the moment that Former PM Bhutto had left her election rally.On December 27, 2007, Benazir Bhutto was killed whilst entering a vehicle upon leaving a political rally for the Pakistan People’s Party in Rawalpindi, Pakistan.[63] A suicidal assassin reportedly fired shots in Bhutto’s direction just prior to simultaneously detonating an explosive pellet-ridden vest, killing approximately 15 people and wounding many more.[64][65][66]

The attack occurred just after Ms. Bhutto left the rally, where she had given a campaign address to party supporters in the run-up to the January 2008 parliamentary elections.[67] She died at 6:16 pm local time at Rawalpindi General Hospital.[68].

Conflicting news stories led to a confusion regarding whether she suffered from gunshot wounds or received her wounds due to shrapnel. Javed Cheema, was quoted as saying by AFP that she may have been killed by pellets packed into the suicide bomber’s vest. However, the AP quoted a PPP security adviser as saying she was shot in the neck and chest as she got into her vehicle, before the explosion. [69].

Initial reports from personal security, state police, and hospital personnel support the claim of a gunman’s bullet wounds, but no official announcement has yet been made. No claims of responsibility were initially reported.

Some news reports include video purported to be Bhutto’s departure from the rally[70], already secured in her bulletproof Toyota[1].

Video[71] shows the last moments of the former Prime Minister of Pakistan. Video from the scene also shows several people being loaded into ambulances. There were quite a few cameras rolling, but as of yet, no video has been shown of the actual shooting.

White House spokesman Scott Stanzel reports that the White House “condems the acts of violence”.[72] In a televised speech at 11am Eastern Time the day of the assassination, US President George W. Bush referred to the assassination as a “cowardly act by murderous extremists” and stated that the “criminals” responsible “must be brought to justice”.

Benazir Bhutto’s books
Benazir Bhutto, (1983), Pakistan: The gathering storm, Vikas Pub. House, ISBN 0706924959
Benazir Bhutto, (1988), Hija de Oriente, (Spanish language) Seix Barral, ISBN 8432246336
Benazir Bhutto (1989). Daughter of the East. Hamish Hamilton. ISBN 0-241-12398-4.
Benazir Bhutto (1989). Daughter of Destiny: An Autobiography. Simon & Schuster. ISBN 0-671-66983-4.

Books about Benazir Bhutto
W.F.Pepper, (1983), Benazir Bhutto, WF Pepper, ISBN 0946781001
Rafiq Zakaria (1990). The Trial of Benazir. Sangam Books. ISBN 0-861-32265-7.
Katherine M. Doherty, Caraig A. Doherty , (1990), Benazir Bhutto (Impact Biographies Series), Franklin Watts, ISBN 0531109364
Rafiq Zakaria, (1991), The Trial of Benazir Bhutto: An Insight into the Status of Women in Islam, Eureka Pubns, ISBN 9679783200
Diane Sansevere-Dreher, (1991), Benazir Bhutto (Changing Our World Series), Bantam Books (Mm), ISBN 0553158570
Christina Lamb, (1992), Waiting for Allah, Penguin Books Ltd, ISBN 0140143343
M FATHERS, (1992), Biography of Benazir Bhutto, W.H. Allen / Virgin Books, ISBN 024554965X
Elizabeth Bouchard, (1994), Benazir Bhutto: Prime Minister (Library of Famous Women), Blackbirch Pr Inc, ISBN 1567110274
Iqbal Akhund, (2000), Trial and Error: The Advent and Eclipse of Benazir Bhutto, OUP Pakistan, ISBN 0195791606
Libby Hughes, (2000), Benazir Bhutto: From Prison to Prime Minister, Backinprint.Com, ISBN 0595003885
Iqbal Akhund, (2002), Benazir Hukoomat: Phela Daur, Kia Khoya, Kia Paya?, OUP Pakistan, ISBN 0195794214
Mercedes Anderson, (2004), Benazir Bhutto (Women in Politics), Chelsea House Publishers, ISBN 0791077322
Mary Englar, (2007), Benazir Bhutto: Pakistani Prime Minister and Activist, Compass Point Books, ISBN 0756517982
Ayesha Siddiqa Agha, (2007), Military Inc.: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy, Pluto Press, ISBN 0745325459

Other related publications
Abdullah Malik, (1988), Bhutto se Benazir tak: Siyasi tajziye, Maktabah-yi Fikr o Danish, ASIN B0000CRQJH
Bashir Riaz, (2000), Blind justice, Fiction House, ASIN B0000CPHP8
Khatm-i Nabuvat, ASIN B0000CRQ4A
Mujahid Husain, ((1999)), Kaun bara bad °unvan: Benazir aur Navaz Sharif ki bad °unvaniyon par tahqiqati dastavez, Print La’in Pablisharz, ASIN B0000CRPC3
Ahmad Ejaz, (1993), Benazir Bhutto’s foreign policy: A study of Pakistan’s relations with major powers, Classic, ASIN B0000CQV0Y
Lubna Rafique, (1994), Benazir & British press, 1986-1990, Gautam, ASIN B0000CP41S
Sayyid Afzal Haidar, (1996), Bhutto trial, National Commission on History & Culture, ASIN B0000CPBFX
Mumtaz Husain Bazmi, (1996), Zindanon se aivanon tak, al-Hamd Pablikeshanz, ASIN B0000CRPOT
Unknown author, (1996), Napak sazish: Tauhin-i risalat ki saza ko khatm karne ka benazir sarkari mansubah, Intarnaishnal Institiyut af Tahaffuz-i

See also
Pakistan Peoples Party
Peoples Students Federation
Politics of Pakistan
Prime Minister of Pakistan
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto
Nusrat Bhutto
Ghinwa Bhutto
Fatima Bhutto
Murtaza Bhutto
Nawaz Sharif
Malik Amjad Ali Noon

“I find that whenever I am in power, or my father was in power, somehow good things happen. The economy picks up, we have good rains, water comes, people have crops. I think the reason this happens was that we want to give love and we receive love.” [73]

Benazir Bhutto assassinated

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (CNN) -- 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.

Benazir Bhutto greets her supporters at the rally that was hit by a suicide attack.

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.

Police warned citizens to stay home as they expected rioting to break out in city streets in reaction to the death.

Police sources told CNN the bomber, who was riding a motorcycle, blew himself up near Bhutto's vehicle. Watch aftermath of the attack. »

Bhutto was rushed to Rawalpindi General Hospital -- less than two miles from the bombing scene -- where doctors pronounced her dead.

Former Pakistan government spokesman Tariq Azim Khan said while it appeared Bhutto was shot, it was unclear if the bullet wounds to her head and neck were caused by a shooting or if it was shrapnel from the bomb. Watch Benazir Bhutto obituary. »

Bhutto's husband issued a statement from his home in Dubai saying, "All I can say is we're devastated, it's a total shock."

President Bush, vacationing at his Texas ranch, has been "informed about the situation in Pakistan," said the White House. "We condemn the acts of violence which took place today in Pakistan," said a spokesman.

The number of wounded was not immediately known. However, video of the scene showed ambulances lined up to take many to hospitals.

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The attack came just hours after four supporters of former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif died when members of another political party opened fire on them at a rally near the Islamabad airport Thursday, Pakistan police said.

Several other members of Sharif's party were wounded, police said.

Bhutto, who led Paksitan from 1988 to 1990 and was the first female prime minister of any Islamic nation, was participating in the parliamentary election set for January 8, hoping for a third term.

A terror attack targeting her motorcade in Karachi killed 136 people on the day she returned to Pakistan after eight years of self-imposed exile. View timeline. »

CNN's Mohsin Naqvi, who was at the scene of both bombings, said Thursday's blast was not as powerful as that October attack.

Thursday's attacks come less than two weeks after Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf lifted an emergency declaration he said was necessary to secure his country from terrorists.

Bhutto had been critical of what she believed was a lack of effort by Musharraf's government to protect her.

Two weeks after the October assassination attempt, she wrote a commentary for in which she questioned why Pakistan investigators refused international offers of help in finding the attackers.

"The sham investigation of the October 19 massacre and the attempt by the ruling party to politically capitalize on this catastrophe are discomforting, but do not suggest any direct involvement by General Pervez Musharraf," Bhutto wrote. E-mail to a friend