Thursday, December 27, 2007

Breaking News: Benazir Bhutto Killed In Suicide Attack

If you're counting, that's three (maybe four) Bhuttos that have met politically motivated deaths. I will be blogging updates as I watch Aaj, Geo and ARY.

What we know so far is that Benazir was one of the victims of a suicide blast outside Liaqat Bagh (a park named after Pakistan's first Prime Minister, also assassinated) in Rawalpindi as she was leaving a political rally. Right now, the news channels keep replaying the last few scenes from BB's life, as she descends from the podium from which she delivered her speech into her bulletproof four-wheeler. More to follow.

UPDATE at 13:58 GMT: Reports are streaming in that shopkeepers in the urban areas of Sindh, the PPP's primary stronghold, are closing down their businesses. In Larkana, people have come out on to the streets and burned tires. In Karachi and Hyderabad, people have come out on the street. I myself saw an increased security presence in Karachi a few minutes after her death was confirmed, including a helicopter and some police cars and checkpoints. DawnNews is reporting that the government is asking people to stay indoors.

UPDATE at 14:07 GMT: Aaj just reported that a bullet was also found in her neck. So much for the bulletproof vehicle.

UPDATE at 14:19 GMT: A report that the death toll is up to 25 and that Sherry Rehman and Naheed Malik are among the injured. DawnNews reports that a motorcyclist apparently rammed into her vehicle and blew himself up. I really can't describe the state of shock pervasive here, both among people calling our house and the journalists on TV.

UPDATE at 14:33 GMT: BBC is reporting that as Benazir rose to wave from her car to supporters (presumably through a sun-roof) when she was leaving the scenes, she was shot three times in the neck and head before a suicide bomber blew himself up. She died on the way to the hospital.

UPDATE at 14:37 GMT: Aaj is reporting rioting and violence in the two strongest PPP areas in Karachi: Lyari and Malir.

UPDATE at 14:56 GMT: Jamaat-e-Islami shows its class. Some senior JI official (Munawar Hassan) started railing against Musharraf, dictatorship and 8-tear tenures while a DawnNews anchor tried in vain to get him to talk about BB. Mullahs never disappoint.

UPDATE at 15:03 GMT: After chairing a high level cabinet meeting, President Musharraf
on state television appealed for calm and restraint in the nation so that the "evil designs of the terrorists" could be defeated.

UPDATE at 15:28 GMT: Reaction has streamed in from all over. President Bush called the attack cowardly and said the U.S. stood by Pakistan in its fight against extremism and terror. The British Prime Minister said it was a sad day for democracy and a tragic day for Pakistan. Condolences have flown in from all over the world, including India and France, as well as condemnation of the attack.

UPDATE at 20:35 GMT: Aaj is reporting violence in Karachi has simmered down, though that may have less to do with tempers calming and more to do with the fact that even rioters need to sleep (it's half past one in the morning here). I have also heard that the Army has been readied in Sindh to move in, though I haven't heard anything official about martial law or anything of the sort. The movements and words of various people such as Musharraf, Asif Zardari, Nawaz Sharif, and the Chaudhries will be crucial tomorrow.

26 comments:

asfand said...

so much conjecture is going to follow. not to mention conspiracy theories.

in all honesty though, i think even outlandish conspiracy theories will have some substantial basis of truth!

following is from the daily times yesterday, and was in the news today...

"PPP demands proper jammers for BB’s security

ISLAMABAD: The Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) on Tuesday demanded that the Interior Ministry provide them with fault-free jammers along with a technician to ensure PPP Chairwoman Benazir Bhutto’s security.

Benazir’s security advisor Rehman Malik said jammers provided by the Sindh government for Bhutto’s security were not working properly. “I regret to inform the ministry that the jammers provided by the Sindh police to cover the movement of Ms Bhutto on December 23 did not work, which is a serious lapse in light of the serious security threats already conveyed to us by National Crisis Management Cell Director General Brig (r) Javed Iqbal Cheema,” he said in a letter to the Interior Ministry secretary. He said the jammers that had been provided for Benazir’s security during her trip to Rahimyar Khan on December 24 had also failed to work, exposing the PPP chairwoman to a high degree of risk.

“We would therefore like to draw your attention to the fact that we have made repeated requests for provision of proper fault-free jammers for the protection of Ms Bhutto but in every trip the jammers have failed to work,” he wrote in the letter. staff report"

don't have all of it as i've forgotten the link and can't be bothered to search...

but bloody hell.

Ahsan said...

jammers are only used for electronic-based bombs (like remote controlled or some sort of timed explosion). they don't deter suicide bombers.

AKS said...

An Italian news agency is reporting that al-qaeda has claimed responsibility for the attack.

""We terminated the most precious American asset which vowed to defeat [the] mujahadeen," Al-Qaeda’s commander and main spokesperson Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid told Adnkronos International (AKI) in a phone call from an unknown location, speaking in faltering English. Al-Yazid is the main al-Qaeda commander in Afghanistan."

here's the link:
http://www.adnkronos.com/AKI/English/Security/?id=1.0.1710322437

Ahsan could you please update us on the situation in Karachi, Geo's reporting of a blast near Bilawal House, you hear anything?

asfand said...

I didn't post that to imply a direct relation. I meant that if they couldn't supply jammers, proper, who knows?

like i said though, conjecture.

Omar Haq said...

bro - you were just on cnn

Anonymous said...

The only solution is for all people in Pakistan to declare Jihad, Jihad against extremism, against Taliban, against the notion of religion by sword. If not, they will control the country ver soon.

Sunny Khan said...

all these people in Pakistan creating riots are idiots and they should grow up. These people are ruining Pakistan and giving all pakistani people around the world a bad rep.

AA said...

Unfortunately Pakistan already has a pretty bad rep.
Also sad is the fact that the Government will be blamed for not providing enough security, but no one has the guts to come out and point to the actual extremists. They killed the only person who had the guts.

Anonymous said...

Defeat radicalism.

Sunny Khan said...

Just because Pakistan has somewhat of a declining global image, doesn't mean we should allow extremists to do as they wish in pakistan. It's not right to blame the Pakistani government on protecting someone that left the country in bad shape, though I still do not condone the actions of the killers.

aa said...

Only way to defeat radicalism is to first accept that it exists. All Pakistanis must first come out and say religious extremism is wrong.

Anonymous said...

Musharraf killed 2 bird with 1 arrow. Benazir assassination now allows him to further post pone elections.

girliegirl2222 said...

I am an American living in Oklahoma in the United States. I send my condolences to you and hope they find who did this very soon. Please know we care and are praying for your country.

Anonymous said...

What a horrible horrible thing to happen to Pakistan, and the free world...I pray for Benazir Bhutto, these acts of terrorism could have been avoided. What a tragic loss for the world, this woman was one of a kind. I pray Pakistan and its citizens take up the fight against the radical islamist regimes and I pray that leaders of Pakistan allow the United States into its territorys to pursue the terrorists. The world, not only Pakistan, needed this lady alive in the worst way. I hope there is someone of great enough moral fiber to follow in her footsteps, we need it. These terrorists must be stopped this is senseless, we must do EVERYTHING we can to stop them, with no exceptions to the ways in which we do so. I pray for Pakistan.

BJ said...

Thanks for keeping udates going on the chaos there. It is appreciated by other bloggers! I've linked to you for updates :)

stay safe

aa said...

I hope for the sake of Pakistan, Al Qaida/Taliban comes out and claim this assasination. Can save on a lot of rioting and futher deaths. But these are cowards who resort to suicide bombings so probably won't.
Slogan of the day:
"Jihad against religious extremism"

Anonymous said...

I believe al-qaida have already come about and said they were responsible for the attack.

Anonymous said...

This crime should be investigated. Apparently adequate security was not provided. One has to wonder: who are the people that this benefits the most ? And who would be desperate enough to do something as stupid as this.

Anonymous said...

Please let everyone stand up as one and denounce extremism, no buts,no excuses,no saying because so and so did this or that or it is all because of the policies of USA, we know all this so what now
No one cares it is our country,our identity let us save it from the fundamentalist who have hijacked islam and are making a mockery of it

Anonymous said...

First, my deep and sincere condolences to all the Pakistani people in Pakistan and abroad.

I think this is a sad day for Pakistan, but it could also bring about a rare opportunity for a strong and resolute unity and fight against radical Islamist groups and bringing NWFP under control of the central government.

I really do not think that the scheduled elections--January 08-- could be held. The PPP needs to find another leader charismatic and courageous enough to lead the party. Until this happens, Mushareef should declare a state of emergency, suspend all civil rights, go after the strong holds of the extremists, and use the power of the army to occupy and control NWFP. I think the PPP leadership could give Mushareef leeway to carry out this short laundry list.

Good luck to you folks.

mm said...

Will Democracy work in pakistan????,we need to ask ourselves this question, do the innocent masses have any basic human rights? are people aware of what they want? are they educated enough to understand what does it mean to use your opionion at the ballot? do they have an idea what path their leaders lead them too? I feel sick to my stomach thinking about the drama of death and carnage that will keep on unfolding, so once again what is Democracy for a country like pakistan

Anonymous said...

I am truly devestated by this event. But, I think it reflects a failure of American foreign policy rather than anything about Pakistan. Pakistan need not feel ashamed. America should feel ashamed. The world has exploded under George W Bush.

Anonymous said...

This is NOT about Pakistan. This is about failed American foreign policy.

Let's not muddy the waters and make it about Pakistan. The whole world is exploding under Bush.

random viewer said...

I'm trying to use this blog to keep up with current info that is not being passed on CNN. Let's not turn this place into an anti-Bush posting board. Yes, I have my beliefs about him, but I'm gonna at least be respectful to this blog and not post such beliefs here.

Anonymous said...

why was the site on cnn? and what did they say?

Anonymous said...

Foreign policy and G.W.Bush did not equip themselves an AK-47 Assault Rifle, and a self-detonated Improvised Explosive Device and carry out a brutal asassination upon a highly touted and influential political leader. We are not to play a blame game, people are so brainwashed to believe that Bush is the reason Bhutto was killed. Bush is doing what he must to push for freedom, and a quality of life that does not include having to live with terrorism. He is to do all that is necessary to defeat terrorism and rightfully so. We must focus on defeating radicalist Islam not defeating Bush, his time has come to an end anyway and terrorism will still be here. You people should be ashamed of yourself to dilute the facts with your hatred of US Foreign Policy.