December 27, 2007

Pakistan further away from democracy

There is something wrong in the way General Parvez Musharraf runs Pakistan. Today Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in Rawalpindi, the garrison town of Pakistan. Ironically she was assassinated at the same place in Rawalpindi where the first Prime Minister of Pakistan Liaquat Ali Khan was killed and her father was hanged there. Her death puts the future of Pakistan's political future in turmoil and Pakistan may as well plunge into a civil war.

An eye-witness from Pakistan says its chaos in Pakistan now. People have come out on the streets, and they are burning tires, public properties, and vehicles. Police is nowhere to be seen. People are angry, and all the major cities like Karachi, Lahore, Peshawar, Multan, Rawalpindi, Quetta, are in the severe riots. People are showing their anger against the scourge of terrorism.

According to the recent reports. 3 people have been killed in Khairpur, Sindh, and 1 is killed in Lahore. In Badeen, Thatta and Shikarpur, many people have been injured.

“Bhutto’s supporters at the hospital began chanting “Dog, Musharraf, dog…” Some of them smashed the glass door at the main entrance of the emergency unit, others burst into tears.

A party security adviser said Bhutto was shot in the neck and chest then the gunman blew himself up. She was waving to the rally standing in her bullet proof SUV’s and protruding her head from the open sun-roof. It is currently unclear as to whether or not her death was caused by the blast itself or shots fired by the assassins. Conflicting reports on assassination: Bhutto's supporters say snipers shot her followed by suicide bomber. Govt. official says its suicide attack.

KO Blog says:
“Interesting sight on BBC news - the bomb site has been cleaned, and fire trucks are pouring water on the scene to clean away away any last shred of evidence. It looks like a literal cleanup is underway...

The attack was the work of professionals - Benazir was shot in the neck from 50 meters away - so must have been an expert marksman.”
Earlier, at least four supporters of Pakistan’s former premier Nawaz Sharif were killed and another 12 wounded in the capital, Islamabad, when gunshots were fired on an election rally.

The Pakistani president Musharraf asks the people to remain calm in a televised interview. Musharraf blamed the terrorists and said political parties should be united against terrorists.

The Pakistani Perspective reports:
“President Musharraf has announced three day national mourning in the wake of the Benazir Bhutto's demise. Government of NWFP has closed all the schools for unspecified time, and Government of Punjab has followed the suit.

Qazi Hussain Ahmad, the leader of MMA (the religious alliance) has called for a nationwide protest tomorrow including rallies, wheel-jam strike and public meetings.

International fraternity also condemns the attacks. President Bush, Karzai, Rudd, Sarkozy, Manmohan Singh and host of others have expressed their grief over the horrendous act of terrorism.”
Nawaz Sharif told PPP supporters "I will be fighting your war now". However Sky News correspondent Alex Crawford said from Pakistan the country’s upcoming January elections would “most likely be postponed or cancelled” because of the attack.

Asma Jahangir, the human rights activist of Pakistan reiterates what Nawaz Sharif said that Government & the Military are responsible not the religious extremists as Parvez Musharrof is pointing fingers at. Bhutto’s husband says to a TV channel: it’s the work of the government. Another beneficiary of this death is Nawaz Sharif whose possible hand in this cannot be ignored.

Jules Crittenden has a round-up trying to find the answer, “Who killed Bhutto?

The Acorn says:
It was clear that Benazir Bhutto’s re-entry into Pakistan was on the back of an American plan to engineer a political outcome in Pakistan. Those who assassinated her succeeded in frustrating this plan. What’s the US left with? Supporting a Musharraf 2.0 is out of question, because the people won’t have it. Supporting Nawaz Sharif is not workable either, for Musharraf won’t have him.
Günter Knabe, a South Asia analyst says in Deutsche Welle coverage:
“Her husband is a criminal, corrupt. She was no angel. She was a politician...of the Pakistani kind”
Jamima Khan is not impressed with her either and called her a kleptocrat in a Hermes scarf:
She has only been able to return because Musharraf, that megalomaniac, knows that his future depends on the grassroots diehard supporters inherited from her father's party, the PPP.

As a result, Musharraf, who in his first months in power declared it his express intention to wipe out corruption, has dropped all charges against her and granted her immunity from prosecution. Forever.
Drishtipat Blog says:
(This is) almost reminiscent of August 21st, 2004 when Bangladeshi opposition leader Sheikh Hasina’s assassination was attempted when a bomb blast was followed by targeted shooting. We don’t want another Pakistan in Bangladesh.
Global Voices has a special coverage page which contains a lot of info. Another great roundup is at Gateway pundit

* Benazir Bhutto’s profile:

* Getty’s images has photos on Benazir Bhutto.

Update: Al-Qaeda took responsibility for the assassination.

Image credit: ABC News


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