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Stop Press: Benazir Bhutto Killed

Breaking news. Bhutto murdered. Is anyone surprised?

When word of Benazir Bhutto’s murder came in, I immediately referred the matter to our political analyst Colonel Bleep. (You might recall that Bleep and I have had some influence on the Indian sub-continent in the past, though we’re entirely blameless in this present case).


What’s our position on the Bhutto killing? I demanded. We need to put out a statement.

His reply didn’t take long.

Benazir much closer to UK / USA than her father, the message read. She is seen as more acceptable than Pervez Musharraf. Islamists want to eliminate her, but so do Musharraf and Nawaz Sharif, and both would be glad to blame Islamists. The attack on Sharif makes it even more confusing.

I might add that the US and the Uk could also be seen to benefit. Having put forward a supposedly democratic option, they could now claim with credibility that their strong-man is the only one who can impose order on Pakistan. I ask myself if Bhutto was as much a puppet as Musharraf is, and if her intended role is now complete as far as the US and UK are concerned.

Nothing is clear at the moment, but it seems to me this killing couldn’t have been achieved without the connivance of the Pakistani security forces. This kind of operation, in my opinion, could not be carried out without careful planning, inside information and cooperation from the intelligence services. Whether Musharraf is behind it, or Islamists within the State apparatus isn’t clear, but it’s hard to imagine the elections going ahead now, with any credibility. On the surface, it looks like the cavemen are flexing their muscles, but I’m wondering if something deeper and more subtle is afoot. Maybe this is simply a way of bolstering Musharraf, or of replacing him with Sharif.

This is a very dangerous time for Pakistan. I’ll keep a close eye on developments and update when I have more information.






Al-Qaida claims responsibility.

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5 replies on “Stop Press: Benazir Bhutto Killed”

Ms Bhutto has accused some former military officers for the attack on her rally on 18th October, in which some 140 people were killed and other 500 injured. She has made many enemys for herself. Hand of some former officers or elements in Pakistani Security forces cannot be ruled out in her assasination.

I quite concur. I awoke to this disturbing news this morning – Musharraf is a dangerous man, and steps should be taken by the international community to rein him in.

Ms. Bhutto was a wonderful person – a woman in what is really and truly a man’s world, and a voice for calm and reason.

She was the strongest moderate secular voice in that part of the world and, although I wasn’t surprised when I woke up this morning to the news of her assassination, I am very, very sorry to see her cut down like this. I thought she was a great hope for Pakistan because she really got democracy in a way that Musharraf – with his martial law, mass arrests and dubious strong-arm tactics just didn’t. He talks pretty for the US but what he really presides over is a military junta which cows dissent – he is a de facto dicatator. The only reason we have any truck with him or give him any credence whatsoever is in the hopes that he can assuage some of the Islamic extremism bubbling away in his country.

Bhutto might have had her flaws but she galvanised the democratic movement in Pakistan at enormous personal risk to herself; she was eloquent and impassioned in her love for her country and her alarm at the road it’s going down; she was open-eyed about democracy and its limitations but fervent in her belief that this is the only system with which to rationally and moderately govern a country churned up in nutters, religion and would-be dictators; she had regional and international credibility and respect as a leader; and she had the charisma, in my opinion, to move Pakistan towards stability. I really think this is a disastrous day for anyone who favours a strong but moderate leader in the Islamic world. It will be difficult to replace her level of commitment to and experience in Pakistan.

I know little about her conviction for corruption, only that it was overturned. I can’t say I thought she was immune to political skullduggery – but nor do I know she had any tendencies that way. All I know is that I think her death is a real disaster and a huge loss.

Just one thing – many other “common” people also died on the scene and later in the riots. But all the media attention is obviously for Mrs. Bhutto. Being common sucks! No body seems to care, I know its natural but very disturbing anyway. Celebrity culture has extended beyond imagination!

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