Collected from Various
|A supporter of Benazir Bhutto inspects a body after a suicide attack in Rawalpindi on Thrusday.|
Blame pinned on Islamic militants
Sharif to boycott polls
Rawalpindi, December 27:
Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in a suicide attack today as she drove away from a campaign rally just minutes after addressing supporters in Rawalpindi. In the wake of her death a wave of violence erupted tonight, and it cast a reasonable doubt on the January 8 polls.
At least 20 others were killed in the blast, a correspondant reported.
Bhutto was rushed to the hospital and taken into emergency surgery.
As news of her death spread, supporters at the hospital smashed glass doors and stoned cars. Many chanted slogans against Musharraf, accusing him of complicity in her killing. In Karachi, shop owners closed their businesses as protesters set tires on fire on the roads and burned a gas station, said a local police official.
Violence also broke out in Lahore, Multan, Peshawar and other parts of Pakistan, where Bhutto’s supporters burned banks and state-run grocery stores. Some set fire to election offices for the ruling party, according to Pakistani media.
Earlier in the day, pro-government supporters had a gunbattle with backers of opposition party politician Nawaz Sharif at a rally outside the capital, killing four people, police said. Sharif, later, vowed to boycott the polls.
Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala said in Kathmandu he was stunned by Bhutto’s tragic death. He has extended heartfelt condolences to Bhutto’s family and the PPP.
Gory or jinxed sub-continent?
Islamabad: The assassination of Benazir Bhutto is one of a long series of political assassinations since 1947.
1948 Mahatma Gandhi
1984 PM Indira Gandhi
1991 PM Rajiv Gandhi
1951 PM Liaqat Ali Khan
PM Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto hanged
1988 President Zia killed in a bomb blast
1959 PM Salomon Dias Bandaranaike
1993 President Premadasa
1975 Sheikh Mujibur Rahman
1981 Ziaur Rahman
World leaders condemn it
President George Bush: The US strongly condemns this cowardly act by murderous extremists who are trying to undermine Pakistan’s democracy. Bhutto knew that her return to Pakistan earlier this year put her life at risk. Yet she refused to allow assassins to dictate the course of her country.
President Pervez Musharraf: This is the work of those terrorists with whom we are engaged in war. I have been saying that the nation faces the greatest threats from these terrorists. Today after this tragic incident, I want to express my firm resolve. I express my resolve that and I also seek solidarity from the nation and cooperation and help we will not rest until we eliminate these terrorists and root them out.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown: Bhutto was a woman of immense personal courage and bravery. She risked everything in her attempt to win democracy in Pakistan and she has been
assassinated by cowards afraid of democracy. Bhutto may have been killed by terrorists but the terrorists must not be allowed to kill democracy in Pakistan.
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh: Terming the assassination “a reminder of common
dangers” in the region, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that he was “deeply shocked and horrified”. “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. Agencies