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Breaking News: Benazir Bhutto Assassinated in Suicide Attack

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto died at 6:16PM PST (8:16AM New York) today after suffering fatal wounds from an assassination attempt while leaving Liaquat Park in Rawalpindi.

Bhutto, after completing her address at the party rally and entering a bomb and bulletproof vehicle, reportedly opened the vehicle’s sunroof and shook hands with her supporters through it, exposing the top half of her body. An assassin, perhaps briefly preceded by a suicide blast nearby, fired three to five shots at her; one struck Ms. Bhutto in the head and the other in her neck. The assassin then blew himself up.

Rehman Malik, Bhutto’s chief security adviser and Naheed Khan, a close Bhutto friend are critically injured. Over thirty others have been killed.

Dawn reports in today’s paper (before the blast) that Islamabad (adjacent to Rawalpindi) was under high alert and heightened security due to threats from Baitullah Mehsud. Nusrat Javed of Aaj Television states that the suicide attacker went through three rings of security to reach Ms. Bhutto.

Pakistan’s first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan was assassinated in Rawalpindi — at the same park– on October 16, 1951. Bhutto’s father was also hung in Rawalpindi in 1979.

Ms. Bhutto joins the list of assassinated family members: her brother Shahnawaz died from poisoning in France in 1985 and her other brother Murtaza was shot to death by police at close range in 1996.

UPDATE – 09:56AM – GEO reports of gunfire and blasts near Bilawal House, the Bhutto home in Karachi.

UPDATE – 10:05AM – An immensely distraught Asif Ali Zardari, husband of the late Benazir Bhutto, just spoke briefly on GEO Television. On his way from Dubai to Karachi, he said, “We will see what has happened. We don’t believe all of what’s been said. We will see then we will believe it.”

UPDATE – 10:38AM – Pervez Musharraf has appealed to the people of Pakistan to cooperate with the security forces to maintain calm as violence grows across the country. The extent of the turmoil is unclear at this point, but GEO is reporting significant violence in Karachi.

UPDATE – 10:45AM – GEO reports that there will be a three days of mourning in Bhutto’s home province of Sindh. Bhutto’s body will be transported from Rawalpindi to Karachi, but it could be temporarily placed at Zardari House in Islamabad.

UPDATE – 10:58AM – Former Director General of Inter-Services Intelligence Hamid Gul states on GEO that the assassination of Benazir Bhutto demonstrates the “failure” of Pervez Musharraf’s government and calls for a “consensus government.”

UPDATE – 11:05AM – GEO has shown the image of the gun believed to have been used to fire upon Bhutto.

UPDATE – 11:21AM – Pervez Musharraf just completed a national address on Pakistan television. He has announced a three day national mourning period. Musharraf attributed the attacks to the terrorists the country is waging a war against and vowed to continue the fight till they are vanquished.

George W. Bush earlier made an address from Crawford, Texas, urging Pakistanis to “honor Benazir Bhutto’s memory by continuing with the democratic process for which she so bravely gave her life.”

UPDATE – 12:50PM – Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) has announced that they will boycott the elections.

UPDATE – 1:02PM – Nawaz Sharif is giving a speech now explaining his boycott of the elections, stating that neither free and fair elections nor security can be provided with Musharraf as president.

UPDATE – 1:05PM – The body of Benazir Bhutto is at Chaklala Air Base in Islamabad. It will be transported to Bhutto’s hometown of Larkana, where she will be buried at the family mausoleum in Garhi Khuda Baksh.

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Category: Baitullah Mehsud, Benazir Bhutto, Liaquat Ali Khan, Naheed Khan, Rehman Malik, Shahnawaz Bhutto

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14 Responses

  1. [...] is an extremely tough business in Pakistan and Pakistan Policy Blog reminds us of just how tough: Pakistan’s first Prime Minister Liaquat Ali Khan was assassinated [...]

  2. [...] Pakistan Policy Blog provides details of how Bhutto was assassinated and some details on others who are critically injured. “The chairperson of the Pakistan People’s Party was leaving Liaquat Park in Rawalpindi, where she was addressing a party rally, when an assassin fired 3-5 shots at her, one of which struck her in the neck. The assassin then blew himself up. Rehman Malik, Bhutto’s chief security adviser and Naheed Khan, a close Bhutto friend are critically injured. Over thirty others have been killed.” [...]

  3. [...] Pakistan Policy Blog provides details of how Bhutto was assassinated and some details on others who are critically injured. “The chairperson of the Pakistan People’s Party was leaving Liaquat Park in Rawalpindi, where she was addressing a party rally, when an assassin fired 3-5 shots at her, one of which struck her in the neck. The assassin then blew himself up. Rehman Malik, Bhutto’s chief security adviser and Naheed Khan, a close Bhutto friend are critically injured. Over thirty others have been killed.” [...]

  4. [...] Pakistan | Tags: Bhutto, Karzai, Musharraf, Pakistan Toch nog mazzel dat Benazir Bhutto niet werd opgeblazen met een Pakistaans [...]

  5. [...]  Pakistan Policy Blog hat detaillierte Informationen zum Mordanschlag und Imformationen über andere Schwerverletzte. “Die Vorsitzende der Pakistan People’s Party verließ den Liaquat Park in Rawalpindi, wo sie an einer Party teilgenommen hatte, als der Attentäter 3-5 Schüsse auf sie abfeuerte, von denen einer den Nacken traf. Der Attentäter sprengte sich dann selbst. Ihr Sicherheitsberater Rehman Malik und ihr enger Freund Neheed Khan wurden schwer Verletzt. Über 30 weitere Menschen sind gestorben.” [...]

  6. strategist says:

    “Keep an eye on Arif Rafiq’s The Pakistan Policy Blog. Rafiq is updating this post with details of the assassination and its aftermath.”

  7. [...] The Pakistan Policy blog has continuous updates including: UPDATE – 1:02PM – Nawaz Sharif is giving a speech now explaining his boycott of the elections, stating that neither free and fair elections nor security can be provided with Musharraf as president. [...]

  8. Junaid says:

    Every body know mush is behind this.he was so sqatisfied on televsision yestersday.he normally barks like a dog and even when he was imposing emergency.but yesterday he was calm.it was a target killing.precision weapons were used .otherwise amin faheem would have been hurt too..who has these kind of weapons ……army and mush… May her soul rest in peac.she is a martyr and she will live in our hearts.mush willl now try to impose emergency to prolong his rule.he has already laid the framework for the next mutilation of pakistan.no body gains more than him.

  9. [...] Pakistan Policy Blog no mitantara amin’ny antsipirihany ny namonoana an’i Bhutto sy ny amin’ireo naratra mafy. “Teo am-pialana ny zaridainan’ny Liaquat tao Rawalpindi, nikabariany nandritra ny fivorian’ny antoko ny filohan’ny Antokom-bahoaka Pakistaney, no nitifitra azy in-3 na in-5 ilay mpamono olona, tafiditra tany amin’ny tendany ny bala iray. Napoakan’ilay mpamono olona tamin’ny baomba amin’izay ny tenany. Naratra mafy ny lehiben’ny mpiambina mpanolo-tsaina an’i Bhutto dia i Rehman Malik sy ny namana akaiky an’i Bhutto dia i Naheed Khan. Nihoatra ny 30 ihany koa no maty.” Raha mbola nanome akony momba ity toe-javatra mampalahelo ity ny mpamaham-bolongana maro, dia manahy kosa ny hafa fa mety hitondra any amin’ny herisetra sy ny fihetsiketsehana an-dalambe izy io. Nitantara izao ny Metroblogging Karachi fa nikatona ny birao ary niolomay nody ny olona. Misy mitantara moa fa heny any ivelany ny feombasy. Soratan’i The Pakistani Spectator fa “misy andian’olona tezitra any Rawalpindi tahaka ny any Faizabad, Saddar ary ny lalan’ny Murree, mandoro toeram-pivarotana sy fiara ary miantsoantso teny filamatra manohitra ny mpampihorohoro.” [...]

  10. [...] Juan Cole reviews the assassination and its violent aftermath in the context of the implications for American and Western foreign policy. Sam Roggeveen at the Lowry Institute blog, The Interpreter, links to references including The Washington Post, Hindustan Times, and The Pakistan Policy Blog. [...]

  11. [...] Pakistan Policy Blog hat detaillierte Informationen zum Mordanschlag und Informationen über andere Schwerverletzte. “Die Vorsitzende der Pakistan People’s Party verließ den Liaquat Park in Rawalpindi, wo sie an einer Massenkundgebung teilgenommen hatte, als der Attentäter 3-5 Schüsse auf sie abfeuerte, von denen einer den Nacken traf. Der Attentäter sprengte sich dann selbst. Ihr Sicherheitsberater Rehman Malik und ihr enger Freund Neheed Khan wurden schwer verletzt. Über 30 weitere Menschen sind gestorben.” [...]

  12. John says:

    An American who certainly does not believe your government’s explanation of what has taken place. Although AQ is responsible directly or indirectly, this could not have occurred without cooperation of ISI and/or through other government channels. Keep the faith and best wishes.

  13. Joe Molnar says:

    Wouldn’t it be poetic justice if the al Qaeda killers of Bhutto would be the undoing in the long haul of Osama and the Taliban in Pakistan and Afghanistan?
    In a recent televised statement she said Muslim religion does not advocate killing women.

    By killing Benazir, the female Muslim martyr, they in effect may feel cursed by her statement and subsequently be condemned to Hell instead of in the company of Virgins for eternity.

    “Benazir Bhutto, martyr, Belling the the Muslim Terrorist Cats with a curse of eternal Hell for women killers.”

  14. BABU THUMBOLI says:

    The brutal assassination of Smt. Bhuto is the brutal assassin attempt of democracy in Pakistan. It seems the nation will have to give much crucial value for the assassination.

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Editor:

Arif Rafiq, a Washington, DC-based consultant on Middle East and South Asian political and security issues. [About]

For Media and Consulting Inquiries:
E-mail // Tel: +1(202) 713-5897

On Twitter:
@PakistanPolicy

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Arif Rafiq regularly appears on the John Batchelor Show Friday nights from 09:30-10:00pm Eastern Time. Tune your dial to 770AM in New York or 630AM in DC. The show appears on affiliates in other cities. Listen live online at WABCRadio.com.
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