Benizar Bhutto is assasinated (1953-2007)

In assasination, Foreign Affairs on December 27, 2007 by Editor Z

Benizar Bhutto (1953-2007), was assassinated today.

Ex-Pakistani Prime Minister and pro-democracy activist Benazir Bhutto, was assassinated today in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi,perishing violently along with twenty other supporters, after she was said to be shot multiple times in the neck and chest. The attacker then blew himself up. She is said to have officially died at 6:16 Pakistani time.

Bhutto,54, who had been in exile for several years after being twice elected Prime Minister of Pakistan, the first woman to hold that office in the young country’s history.

The assassination could have profound consequences for the future and stability of Pakistan as well as the scheduled January 8 elections, which Bhutto had fervently supported. Some suspect that the elections might be postponed, although it is as of this writing not yet known if that will occur.

Some reports state that violence has broken out in the aftermath of Bhutto’s murder, with protesters setting fires as well as clashing with police. One reporter is also said to have died following the attack. Some also worry that anger could blossom into violence and unrest against the Pakistani government.

Bhutto was first elected Prime Minister of Pakistan in 1988. Although her faith was Islamic, she governed in a secular manner. However her record was not completely unblemished. She and her husband were ousted from office in the 1990s, following allegations of scandal involving billions of dollars in financial malfeasance.

Earlier this year she returned to Pakistan with much fanfare, as she sought a return to the Pakistani political scene, attempting to even form a power sharing agreement with current authoritative and unpopular President Pervez Musharraf, who is considered an ally of the U.S in the “War on terror”. She had supported the desire of the U.S to increase efforts in the western remote regions of Pakistan which neighbor Afghanistan, to crackdown on militants and capture Al-Queda fighters, as well putting the country on a route to a more secular and moderate Democracy.

On November 15, when Musharraf declared marshal law, and even condemned Bhutto to house arrest, she came out as a strong and vocal critic of Musharraf’s move. Due to popular displeasure and vocal opposition to the move, Musharraf later lifted the declaration of Marshall law and set the date of January 8 for free and fair elections within the country.

Despite Musharraf’s ties with the U.S, Bhutto had broad support from many in the U.S to govern the Islamic country that is also a nuclear power. However, obviously in the wake of her untimely and bloody death, that possibility has been shattered. Also despite many in Pakistan holding Osama Bin Laden in high favorability, Bhutto was seen as a viable alternative to Bin Laden and anti-western Islamic militants.

Around the globe and in Pakistan itself, leaders have reacted to Bhutto’s death. Musharraf has deemed her assassination an act by terrorists, while _President bush has labeled them, “cowardly acts. British prime minister Gordon brown, French president Nicholas Sarkowzy, United Nations Secretary General Ban Ky Moon, as well as several of the U.S presidential candidates have praised Bhutto as a moral and visionary leader and roundly condemning the attacks.

But with Bhutto dead, in a country with a repressive and unstable dictatorship currently in place, support for Bin Laden and anti-western sentiment, and with a nuclear arsenal. The question for Pakistan and the world is what is next? What lies ahead?

MY TAKE: Despite allegations of scandal in the past, Bhutto now will hold a place in history as a brave visionary leader, who blazed trails and unleashed a clarion call for justice. She produced an alternate vision for the future of her country, her people, and the world that cost her her life at the merciless hands of violence. This puts her along such leaders of the past who had such bold visions of justice and the future but who themselves would meet violent deaths such as: Martin Luther King Jr, Former U.S President John F Kennedy, Robert F Kennedy, Anwar Sadat, Yitzhak Rabin, and countless others in the annals of history.



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