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.