Pakistani leader killed in suicide attack

Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday in a suicide attack that also killed at least 20 others at the end of a campaign rally, aides said.

“The surgeons confirmed that she has been martyred,” Bhutto’s lawyer Babar Awan said.

A party security adviser said Bhutto was shot in neck and chest as she got into her vehicle to leave the rally in Rawalpindi near the capital Islamabad. A gunman then blew himself up.

“At 6:16 p.m. she expired,” said Wasif Ali Khan, a member of Bhutto’s party who was at Rawalpindi General Hospital where she was taken after the attack.

Her supporters at the hospital began chanting “Dog, Musharraf, dog,” referring to Pakistan’s president Pervez Musharraf.

Some smashed the glass door at the main entrance of the emergency unit, others burst into tears. One man with a flag of Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party tied around his head was beating his chest.

In Washington, the State Department said it was seeking confirmation of Bhutto’s condition.

“Certainly, we condemn the attack on this rally,” deputy spokesman Tom Casey said. “It demonstrates that there are still those in Pakistan who want to subvert reconciliation and efforts to advance democracy.”

The United States has for months been encouraging Musharraf to reach an accommodation with the opposition, particularly Bhutto, who was seen as having a wide base of support in Pakistan. Her party had been widely expected to do well in parliamentary elections set for next month.

At least 20 others were killed in the blast that took place as Bhutto left the rally where she addressed thousands of supporters in her campaign for Jan. 8 parliamentary elections.

Bhutto served twice as Pakistan’s prime minister between 1988 and 1996. She had returned to Pakistan from an eight-year exile Oct. 18.

On the same day, her homecoming parade in Karachi was also targeted by a suicide attacker, killing more than 140 people. On that occasion she narrowly escaped injury.

29 Responses to "Pakistani leader killed in suicide attack"

  1. pondering_it_all   December 28, 2007 at 2:10 am

    Ah yes, but Bhutto was an even greater threat to all the militant islamist groups that receive shelter and support from so many in Pakistan. Unfortunately, such militant islamists and their supporters are present in the military, the secret service, and every other government agency. The Taliban would never have existed without lots of funding and support from people in positions of power and wealth in Pakistan. Musharraf has stayed alive and in power for years by doing a balancing act between those groups and those supporting western and secular interests. (They still TRY to kill him now and again.)

    But Bhutto was everything the islamists hate: Female, secular, educated in the west, and quite ready to tell men what to do. And I would say that she WAS martyred, since she knew she would likely be killed but still returned to Pakistan out of duty to her ideals.

    As for Musharraf suspending the elections, I don’t think he had any other choice. The contest is ruined now because there is no other potentially winning candidate besides himself. He would win by default, which nobody would consider a win. Bhutto’s party needs enough time to field a new candidate or form a coalition with another party before an election will have any meaning.

  2. Carl Nemo   December 29, 2007 at 4:57 am

    Cui bono…Latin for “who benefits” ?!

    Obviously her death solves the upcoming election problem for Musharraf and Bushco. Although the Bushistas feigned outrage when Musharraf declared martial law;ie., brutally rounding-up judges, lawyers and anyone that was publicly against him the main concern for both Bush and Musharraf is the maintenance of the continuing “shake-down” of the American tax-debt payer as a function of their endless, phony-assed war on terror.

    10 billion has been siphoned into Pakistan, but rest assured a goodly portion has gone into Musharraf and his top generals’ personal offshore accounts with the duty kickbacks sent to their Bushista controllers both in the Whitehouse and their Congressional cronies that support this continuing shakedown; ie., support for Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, Israel along with tribute to most of the nations in the Middle East surrounding the war zones as tribute.

    Even Egypt along with Israel, Jordan, Lebanon et. al. gets billions per year in “foreign aide” from the U.S. hopefully to keep them in line too. The U.S. is no different than ancient Rome as it declined paying tribute to the barbarians at the gate to hopefully keep them from destroying their ever-threatened empire or sphere of influence.

    If the United States doesn’t pull the plug on our continual militaristic adventurism in the Middle East then we are soon to become a footnote in history. We are already dead broke as a nation and our currency is imploding in value as foreign investors flee everytime the Fed lowers rates to prop up their banking buddies on Wall Street who are failing mightily due to their armpit deep involvement in the crooked housing market debacle.

    Everything and I mean everything associated with this Middle Eastern debacle from Pakistan all the way back to the Israeli/Palestinian border conflagration is nothing but one big engineered shakedown of the U.S. taxpayer.

    It’s all about oil and the acquisition/theft thereof by the super powers since it’s discovery in the mid 19th century. There’s an old saying that “he who owns the gold makes the rules” well in modern times a more appropriate version would be “he owns the “black gold” makes the rules”. I’ll supply a link that will be a quick read and bring people up to speed concerning the history of oil in the Middle East.

    If we don’t extricate ourselves from this Middle Eastern madness or at least tone it down dramatically then we are headed for $150 bbl oil in 2008 which will trigger the collapse of Western capital markets. Islam has the power to bring the West to its knees while Russia and China their arms suppliers will sit back and laugh as we squirm in our collective misery. It could quite possibly trigger the unthinkable; ie., WWIII, theater nuclear war that quickly escalates to a strategic confrontation of the same.

    Carl Nemo **==

  3. Carl Nemo   December 29, 2007 at 4:55 am

    Sometimes in my interest of trying to explain the geopolitics behind a situation I forget the human element to the story.

    Benazir Bhutto was an educated, articulate, very attractive Pakistani woman. Her efforts to help her people and to hopefully create a better life for them has been mindlessly extinguished. It’s rare in that part of the world to have such a female persona rise up and to captivate the masses in such a way. I feel for her loss relative to her constituents, family and friends and their quest for freedom for all time and places!

    I hope they rise-up and do justice to her memory by finally doing what’s necessary for Pakistan; ie., throw off the reigns of Musharraf and his military supporters that keep him in power. The Pakistani people deserve far better than this Washington sponsored, freedom-destroying thug; ie., Musharraf as being the perennial…”Dear Leader” of Pakistan no different than the criminal that runs North Korea.

    George Bush and his rethuglican supporters should hold their heads in shame for their continual support of the likes of Musharraf et. al.; ie., wasting American tax dollars supporting such third world, militaristic mattoids, the so-called war on terror be damned…!

    Carl Nemo **==

  4. keith   December 28, 2007 at 8:41 am

    When, oh when, are we Westerners going to finally wake up and realize these people are NOT like us? These are tribal killings, not murder.

    In most of South Asia and the Middle East, humans are primarily viewed NOT as individuals, but as agents of family, tribe, clan or sect. This helps explain why so many Arabs marry their cousins. In tribal societies, your blood relations are the only people you can really trust.

    This fundamental difference in outlook explains much of what we find barbaric about traditional Muslim cultural practices. Such killings like what happened yesterday in Pakistan strike Westerners as a particularly horrific species of murder. But that’s because we think of such people as individuals. If you instead see a woman (particularly one trying to run for political office) primarily as a low-status breeding agent of her patriarch’s clan in these cultures, then everything changes.

    Such an intractably tribal cultural outlook is what makes Western-style democracy in such countries quite impossible. This also explains why the Neocon’s grand plans for conquest, control and “nation building” in places like Iraq and Afghanistan have met with such stiff resistance.

    The reasons many of the Neocons had such high hopes for these campaigns is that they shared George W. Bush’s sunny claim that “freedom is universal”…that such ideas are etched in EVERYONE’s soul. That simply isn’t true.

    The idea that our horrifically ignorant President (along with his equally arrogant and ignorant Cabal) have yet to fully grasp is that freedom and individuality are relatively recent developments in human history. Tribalism, on the other hand, is a deeply rooted instinct that has been “etched” in our evolutionary psychology since the dawn of Man. Even in Western societies, you can still see it pop to the surface now and then when tensions flare (gang wars, race riots, etc.)

    True democracy requires consensus building and shared values. But in tribal societies, politics is viewed as a battle of “all against all” in which the strongest tribe openly appropriates the state apparatus to enrich itself at everyone else’s expense. This also includes assassinating the leaders of the other tribes if need be.

    In that regard, Saddam Hussein was the ultimate tribal leader. Not only did he restrict his inner circle to Sunnis, but they were also Sunnis of his own narrow Tikriti sub-clan. The idea of creating a “representative” government that includes Kurds and Shiites with their own independent power bases would have struck him as particularly insane. So would the idea of handing power over to another tribe merely because its leaders chalked up more votes in a so-called “free” election. During most of human history, letting another tribe lord over yours also meant yielding them the power to pillage your homes and rape your women. In some parts of Africa, it still does.

    This also explains why the United States and NATO are now so bogged down in Iraq and Afghanistan and will remain so for decades to come. Both are intensely tribal societies. Our own Western march to individualism took centuries…a grinding process in which we moved from tribalism, through empire, mercantile capitalism and the industrial revolution while managing to also shrug off Communism and Hitler style fascism along the way.

    However, in places like Iraq, Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan, we are essentially asking the locals to cram all of this societal evolution into a few years.

    In Iraq and Afghanistan, we are, quite literally, holding a gun against people’s heads in a horrifically futile effort to get entrenched tribal cultures to now totally embrace such completely foreign, Western-style concepts as “democracy” and “freedom” for which they have absolutely NO basis of understanding.

    Such “forced compliance” simply isn’t going to happen…at least not in your or my lifetimes.

  5. SEAL   December 28, 2007 at 12:12 pm

    Keith; everything you say is true and well put. But the point must be made that the terrorist style killing and assinations such as Bhutto’s are carried out for one reason only. To prevent the westernization of the muslim world. Anyone like Bhutto who is considered one who would lead the people to western ways must die.

    We wonder why some martyr blows up a seemingly insignificant area of shops. But when you look closely you will find there are women’s beauty or magazine shops or some other form of western influence that violates the absolute dictates of the strict version of the muslim religion. Any of the new “democratic” agents such as police stations or check points of the new government are targets. And that’s why the officials ot the new western style government must be guarded and escourted at all times.

    Al Qaeda has appointed themselves the policemen and the army committed to the enforcement of the true faith. For them it is very simple. Do right or die. The fear of terrorism is how they enforce their religion. Their’s is a holy war against westernization and it’s christianity which go hand in hand. Were we and all other nations to vacate their lands, the terrorism against us would stop. Our presence is what created it.

    So, while the points you make about the tribalism and the thousand year old conflicts between them that begat honor killings, fueds, and so forth, are relevant and true, the only reason for the current martyrdoms is the prevention of any changing of their culture and religion by western influence. Unfortunately it is a losing battle that will never end. And that’s why declaring a war on terror is so ridiculous. You can’t defeat a religion.

  6. JoyfulC   December 28, 2007 at 12:18 pm

    Do you really believe that Bush and his powerful puppetmasters actually believe all that freedom and democracy bullshit? Or do you think it’s more likey that they’re hoping we-the-people are gullible enough to believe it? I think it’s just pap for corporate media to spew.

    I’m with Carl Nemo on this one. It’s all about the oil, and the oil masters are the true architects of our foreign policy. Unfortunately for the world, these entities aren’t exactly human beings anymore, but corporations. Yes, corporations are made up of humans, but they behave very differently than human beings.

    Remember all the horror stories we’ve had about artificial intelligence run amok? We always imagined it would be computers that turn on their human makers. But now it’s coming to pass, and it isn’t the computer that turns on humanity, but another artificial intelligence of our making: the corporation.

    The only solution is to re-impose the original rules and restrictions that our founding fathers placed on corporations. But that will be tough to do since the corporations have taken control of our government.

  7. old_curmudgeon   December 28, 2007 at 3:50 pm

    You can’t defeat a religion.

    “BINGO!!!” Someone should whisper that little gem in Dubya’s earhole. Well said.

  8. LurkingFromTheLeft   December 28, 2007 at 4:27 pm

    Good luck –

    …don’t forget to get THERE you need to go thru Darth’s butthole –


  9. bryan mcclellan   December 28, 2007 at 5:37 pm

    Nice shot Lefty!!

  10. LurkingFromTheLeft   December 28, 2007 at 5:46 pm

    Thank you!

    …does this mean I can drink tonight?


  11. ekaton   December 28, 2007 at 7:56 pm

    “But that will be tough to do since the corporations have taken control of our government.”

    This is a new form of uber fascism. Governments working hand in glove with corporations, usually for nefarious purposes, is fascism. Corporate ownership of government is the new uber fascism. We literally have organized crime in charge of the U.S. government. Literally. Secret courts? Secret laws? National Security Letters? The Cosa Nostra would classify all of this under the concept of ‘muerte’. Much of the rest of the world works the same way. Our government has finally succumbed. Thats all.

    — Kent Shaw

  12. ekaton   December 28, 2007 at 8:03 pm

    “Were we and all other nations to vacate their lands, the terrorism against us would stop. Our presence is what created it.”

    6.3 billion people would agree. Bush, Olmert and Cheney have different ideas. Besides, there is just so darn much money to be made in pursuit of folly when you can just order taxpayers to cough it all up.

    — Kent Shaw

  13. ekaton   December 28, 2007 at 8:06 pm

    Open a nice pinot.
    Put on some Miles Davis… maybe his Bitches Brew album…

    (grin, duck, run…)

    — Kent Shaw

  14. LurkingFromTheLeft   December 28, 2007 at 8:51 pm

    I was thinking more like –

    …A Mollydooker –

    …either TWO LEFT FEET –

    …or The Boxer –

    …your turn choice works for me –

    …maybe even some Elton John –


    P.S. Did I REALLY just write Elton John? I need to start drinking!

  15. keith   December 28, 2007 at 11:04 pm

    And that is PRECISELY what we are trying to do, Seal. You are absolutely correct…this is IS a holy war with the Christians and Zionists on one side and the Moslem world on the other. It is nothing short of a modern-day holy crusade masquerading as a US policy of “preemptive war”

    I often wonder what would happen if the United States suddenly told the Zionists now running Israel that they were “on their own” and that we would stop supplying them with “protection” (spelled: “Nuclear Weapons”)?

    Is the hatred against us for that nearly half-century of unquestioned support to the Zionists now so much a part of the social fabric in the Moslem world that the United States is beyond redemption in their eyes?

  16. CheckerboardStrangler   December 27, 2007 at 10:48 am

    Musharaff indicated that he would share power with Bhutto “over his dead body”. Apparently he wasn’t opposed to a switch in body terms either.

    Do you think the Yahoo Maps to the rally might have been in that fire in the Old Executive Office Building?

  17. SEAL   December 27, 2007 at 12:00 pm

    Their system of removing unwanted polititions seems to work faster than ours.

  18. old_curmudgeon   December 27, 2007 at 1:16 pm

    I have to ask if anyone actually thought that Musharraf was going to allow Bhutto to live once she returned? The last thing he would have wanted is to have someone with power looking into what he has been doing for the past few years. Now really. I’m just surprised it took so long to happen.

  19. Siannan   December 27, 2007 at 2:15 pm


    You are assuming she was an improvement over Musharraf. Considering she and her husband spent her term of office shoving poor people aside so they could shove more money into their own bank accounts, I’m betting they wouldn’t have investigated a single damned thing. They would have returned to the old ways that got her removed from office and banished to begin with.

  20. JoyfulC   December 27, 2007 at 3:17 pm

    Nevertheless, she was democratically elected. You can’t say that about Bush’s buddy Musharraf. Bush is growing the next Saddam Hussein with that guy.

  21. JoyfulC   December 27, 2007 at 3:18 pm


    Twitchy fingers.

  22. old_curmudgeon   December 28, 2007 at 3:34 pm

    Actually, I was not making any assumptions at all regarding the “goodness” or “improvement offered by” Bhutto. The point was how long it would take Musharraf to remove an impediment to his continued assumption of power.

  23. JoyfulC   December 27, 2007 at 3:13 pm

    George W Bush sure knows how to pick ‘em.

    What was his criteria for an ally again? “Yer either wid us or agin us” ???

    Smooth. Very smooth.

  24. adamrussell   December 27, 2007 at 8:56 pm

    I think it likely Musharraf feared Bhutto would beat him in a fair or even not so fair election and had the threat removed.

  25. yarply   December 27, 2007 at 9:52 pm

    I’m sorry but I don’t quite grasp the statement made, which was quoted in the above article, which said;
    “The surgeons confirmed that she has been martyred,” Bhutto’s lawyer Babar Awan said.
    Maybe my idea of what a martyr is and what constitutes martyrdom is wrong but I thought martyrdom is as defined in merriam webster was when someone 1. voluntarily suffers death as the penalty of witnessing to and refusing to renounce a religion or 2. a person who sacrifices something of great value and especially life itself for the sake of principle. The whole thing is that it is done voluntarily.
    There seems to be some hidden meaning in the statement by the surgeons and her lawyer.

    Or maybe its just to/so obvious that we should read the statement as an admission of something more sinister and diabolical.
    Did she, herself, know she was going to be killed as some type of sacrifice to effect some change?

    Or was she sacrificed knowingly by others close to her to effect some change or reaction. I think (just my opinion) that something more than Musharraf having her whacked is going on here.
    I could see saying she has been assassinated and/or killed but, Shouldn’t the suicide attacker be considered the martyr?
    That martyrdom statement bugs me.
    “The surgeons confirmed that she has been martyred,” Bhutto’s lawyer Babar Awan said.
    Its almost as if he (the attorney) is really saying;
    The surgeons confirmed that she has been sacrificed.

  26. old_curmudgeon   December 28, 2007 at 3:42 pm

    “Maybe my idea of what a martyr is and what constitutes martyrdom is wrong but”…

    In this instance, in this reference, yes, you are wrong. For these people, the supporters, she was a martyr. Perhaps they don’t subscribe to the Merriam-Webster dictum.

  27. ekaton   December 27, 2007 at 9:39 pm

    If someone asked me if I thought it was the CIA or the Mossad or the ISI I would have to reply, “Yes”.

    — Kent Shaw

  28. JudyB   December 28, 2007 at 1:29 am

    Musharraf declared the Pakistani equivalence to Marshall law so, there will be NO elections…how convienient, he can’t lose now can he? My question is, just who will take Musharraf’ place IF, or should I say WHEN he meets with an assassin’s bullet…God knows they have tried to kill Musharraf several times in the past but so far, have failed.

    Bhutto was as good as dead the minute she stepped back into Pakistan because she was a real threat to Musharraf and everyone knew it including her.

  29. yarply   December 28, 2007 at 8:15 pm

    Except it has come out that she died by hitting her head on the roof of her car and was not shot as reported on the news. The merriam webster definition is what constitutes martyrdom.