One year on, same questions swirl around Bhutto’s murder

December 27, 2008

The anniversary of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination has reminded everyone just how much we still don’t know about her killing in a suicide gun and bomb attack in Rawalpindi on Dec. 27, 2007.
The same questions that transfixed the shocked country in the days after her death, such as why was the crime scene hosed down so quickly, was she killed when the blast smashed her head into the lever on her vehicle’s escape hatch or by a bullet, why was no autopsy performed, are again being raised.
Investigations by the previous government and the U.S. CIA accused an al Qaeda-linked militant, Baitullah Mehsud, of killing Bhutto, a staunch supporter of the U.S.-led campaign against Islamist militancy.
That would seem logical enough but, as we’ve seen with the Mumbai attacks, any militant attack on or linked to Pakistan seems to raise questions about possible links to old allies in the powerful intelligence services.

The News newspaper published a report citing unidentified people privy to the investigations as saying unravelling the mystery could led to “startling revelations … with serious political implications”.
Irfan Husain, writing in Dawn, said Bhutto was unacceptable to both the military establishment and the militants, though for different reasons.
“For the military establishment, she was simply unacceptable because she was a Bhutto and a Sindhi … the jihadis and their sponsors did not want to face a popular leader who was against everything they stood for,” Husain said.
“Benazir Bhutto understood that this was a war to the end, and no negotiated settlement was possible with a foe that wanted to impose its stone-age views on the rest of us.”
Not surprisingly, the anniversary of Bhutto’s murder has also raised a lot of “what if” and “what next” questions.
Veteran journalist Rahimullah Yusufzai believes Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) would not have won the general election without the sympathy vote her murder generated.
Instead, Yusufzai says in a column in the News the election would have brought a balance of power between the PPP and former prime minister Nawaz Sharif’s party, which would have been a better arrangement for the country.
Of course, Bhutto’s death also catapulted her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, into power and the presidency after former army chief Pervez Musharraf stepped down in August.
Journalist Shaheen Sehbai wrote a provocative piece in the News newspaper entitled “Asif Zardari given enough rope to hang imself” looking at how the PPP has fared and how long Zardari and his government would remain in power.
He says “the Zardari group” has taken over Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party “outmanoeuvring the others through opportunities created by circumstances followed up cleverly by a web of deceit, chicanery and in some specific cases simple lies and cheating”.
He doesn’t think the Zaradri-led set up will last long.
“How and on what issue the party cracks up is moot, but pressure from the opposition, a wink from the right quarters and one major blunder by Zardari is all it will take.”
A former journalist and Zardari loyalist, Aniq Zafar, published a rebuttal in the same newspaper the next day denouncing what he said was an unwarranted attack on Zardari and adding: “The Zardari is nothing but the Benazir Bhutto group.”
Bhutto’s old friend, Mark Siegel, told the Daily Times he disregarded the “speculations” over Bhutto’s death, which he said was obviously an attempt to create instability.
On her legacy, Siegel said: “She was the voice of modern Islam; she was a symbol of what a Muslim woman can accomplish; she was a modern force, she was committed to technologically moving the country to the 21st century; she was committed to human rights, student unions, labour unions, electrification of villages; these were the steps towards modern Pakistan. Her legacy would be a moderate tolerant Pakistan.”


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Benazir was intrumental in the decline of Punjab (indian) militancy, it her meeting with rajiv gandhi that made a policy change possible. She could have made a difference.

With her out of the way there is hardly a moderate leader around, even those who are moderate cant look too moderate in the face of opposition from the radical islamic elements in pakistan.

Her legacy may end with her, and her assasination will be another one of those numerous unsloved political murders.

Posted by indian1127 | Report as abusive

May her soul rest in peace. Pakistan has lost one good Politician.

Posted by The Indian | Report as abusive

Ask ‘General’ Hamid Gul, he will either say it was an ”
inside job”, or it was the work of “Mosad” or “CIA” or “RAW”. Such an insightful man is he…I am surprised that there is no peace in the world already with his school of explanations.

Posted by Ask Gul, he knows everything | Report as abusive

You have just chosen the sensational coverage of the anniversary. In reality most Pakistanis have remembered the death of Benazir Bhutto with more nuanced and sober reccolections than what you portray. See, for example: r-bhutto-assasination-anniversary/

Posted by Ali Hassan | Report as abusive

Good politician? She was corrupt as hell and used feudal goon tactics on election days!

Voice of democracy? Her family had practiced nepotism throughout PPP’s existence and she declared herself Chairman for LIFE! Her PPP isn’t a democratic party its a family heirloom now belonging to her son.

Moderate Islam? She gave tacit support for the Taliban and did nothing to curb sectarian violence.

(Some religious nuts in Pakistan will call her a Shia Kafir and hence disqualify her from anything remotely related to Islam. Which is just wrong,irrational,twisted and bigoted and we need to put these extremist nuts in their place. And the reasons the Army and militants had against her were also sickening and they too must be put in their place. The culture of hating another ethnicity, religious sect and feminine gender in Pakistan MUST END.)

Do people suffer from dementia when it comes to Pakistan’s leaders? There’s not a single saint amongst them yet people display an incredible slave fervor of sainthood worship for these despots.

Right now, all I want is a full truthful investigation. I do care who killed my ex-prime minister. She deserved a prime ministerial burial despite my negative feelings for her. It was partly her party members fault by not realizing the unprincipled symbolism sent using their party flag to adorn her casket instead of a Pakistani flag. But the ultimate responsibility lied with the Army.

Ask Gul, great username! lol. Hamid Gul is the poster child of everything wrong with Pakistan. Sadly most dumbed down people will believe him.

Posted by bigsaf | Report as abusive

May Benazir Bhutto’s soul rest in peace.

However, it is worthwhile to review the violence, terrorism, war and hatred promoted by her and her father.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto played a pivotal political role that led to the break up of Pakistan in 1971. While his mental agression led to the crisis and genocide, the generals and soldiers of the Pakistan army implemented the physical violence and slaughtered millions of Bengali muslims. Pakistanis still peddle around myths –frankly blatant lies–about 1971 war saying it was a civil war. May be. It was a civil war, but it was mostly slaughtering of unarmed Bengali Hindus and muslims perpetrated by Pak army.

After the defeat and capture of 90,000 Pakistani POWs, Indira Gandhi and Indian strtegists wanted him to agree to Line of Control in Kashmir as international border at Shimla. With American backing, Z.A.Bhutto played a soft statesman and pleaded to India/Indira that would be too humiliating.

Soon after returning to Pak, he declared Pakistan (1) will develop nuclear weapons (2) even if that means they have to eat grass. It is very important to note he and his country have accomplished both goals.

His daughter Benzir Bhutto declared after becoming PM, she is ready to wage a 1000 year war with India. Alas, she didn’t even live to be 60.

The merits and demerits of the Kashmiri muslims fighting Indian forces for “freedom” is a separate story. Attacking govt installations and armed forces in one story. But mostly the “freedom struggle” consisted of bombing, and slaughtering civilians both Hindus and Muslims in Kashmir valley, Jammu and elsewhere. This freedom struggle consisted of genocide and expulsion of Kashmiri Hindus from their ancestral homeland.

Ms.Benazir Bhutto vigorously supported and cheered on this “freedom struggle”.

That’s the very brief summary of the violence, terrorism, war and hatred promoted by Benazir Bhutto and her father.May Benazir Bhutto’s soul rest in peace.

Posted by TruthSeeker | Report as abusive

I see dark clouds over the Pakistan, beware the ides of march.

There is talk of the Pak president removing the prime minister and/or a military dictated removal of the president.

Banana repblic galore.

Posted by belligerent | Report as abusive

Benazir had lot of politician and she knew how to change the politician and also save Pakistan.She was so wonderful and she is most powerful Pakistan woman in the world of Pakistan.She didn’t live until 70 years olds.
Now Pakistan has lot best politician and no one is know how to change these things.
I can see Benazir Bhutto in my eye in front of the night.
In the night i can also of stars of Benazir.Also I prayer her children and her other family.
May Benazir Bhutto’s soul rest in peace.

Posted by Farkhanda | Report as abusive