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freedomfiles - December 27, 2007 02:16 PM (GMT)
Benazir Bhutto assassinated

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday in the wake of a suicide bombing that killed at least 14 of her supporters, doctors, a spokesman for her party and other officials said.

Police warned citizens to stay home as they expected rioting to break out in city streets as a shocked Pakistan absorbed the news of Bhutto's assassination. Video of the scene just moments before the explosion showed Bhutto stepping into a heavily-guarded vehicle to leave the rally.

http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/12/2...?iref=hpmostpop

Kier - December 27, 2007 03:11 PM (GMT)
Update of that CNN story:

QUOTE
Benazir Bhutto assassinated

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (CNN) -- Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday outside a large gathering of her supporters where a suicide bomber also killed at least 14, doctors and a spokesman for her party said.

While Bhutto appeared to have died from bullet wounds, it was not immediately clear if she was shot or if her wounds were caused by bomb shrapnel.

President Pervez Musharraf held an emergency meeting in the hours after the death, according to state media.

Police warned citizens to stay home as they expected rioting to break out in city streets in reaction to the death.

Police sources told CNN the bomber, who was riding a motorcycle, blew himself up near Bhutto's vehicle.

Bhutto was rushed to Rawalpindi General Hospital -- less than two miles from the bombing scene -- where doctors pronounced her dead.

Former Pakistan government spokesman Tariq Azim Khan said while it appeared Bhutto was shot, it was unclear if the bullet wounds to her head and neck were caused by a shooting or if it was shrapnel from the bomb.

Bhutto's husband issued a statement from his home in Dubai saying, "All I can say is we're devastated, it's a total shock."

The number of wounded was not immediately known. However, video of the scene showed ambulances lined up to take many to hospitals.

The attack came just hours after four supporters of former Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif died when members of another political party opened fire on them at a rally near the Islamabad airport Thursday, Pakistan police said.

Several other members of Sharif's party were wounded, police said.

Bhutto, who led Paksitan from 1988 to 1990 and was the first female prime minister of any Islamic nation, was participating in the parliamentary election set for January 8, hoping for a third term.

A terror attack targeting her motorcade in Karachi killed 136 people on the day she returned to Pakistan after eight years of self-imposed exile.

CNN's Mohsin Naqvi, who was at the scene of both bombings, said Thursday's blast was not as powerful as that October attack.

Thursday's attacks come less than two weeks after Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf lifted an emergency declaration he said was necessary to secure his country from terrorists.

Bhutto had been critical of what she believed was a lack of effort by Musharraf's government to protect her.
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Two weeks after the October assassination attempt, she wrote a commentary for CNN.com in which she questioned why Pakistan investigators refused international offers of help in finding the attackers.

"The sham investigation of the October 19 massacre and the attempt by the ruling party to politically capitalize on this catastrophe are discomforting, but do not suggest any direct involvement by General Pervez Musharraf," Bhutto wrote.

Source:CNN



Kier - December 27, 2007 03:13 PM (GMT)
QUOTE
Pakistan's Bhutto Killed in Attack

Thursday December 27, 2007 2:01 PM

By SADAQAT JAN and ZARAR KHAN

Associated Press Writers

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (AP) - Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday in a suicide attack that also killed at least 20 others at 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.

At least 20 others were killed in the blast that took place as Bhutto left a political 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.

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

THIS IS A BREAKING NEWS UPDATE. Check back soon for further information. AP's earlier story is below.

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (AP) - Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday in a suicide bombing that also killed at least 20 others at a campaign rally, a party aide and a military official said.

``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.

A senior military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment, confirmed that Bhutto had died.

Her supporters at the hospital began chanting ``Dog, Musharraf, dog,'' referring to Pakistan's president Pervez Musharraf. Some of them smashed the glass door at the main entrance of the emergency unit, others burst into tears.

Source: The Guardian



Kier - December 27, 2007 03:18 PM (GMT)
QUOTE
Benazir Bhutto killed in gun and bomb attack

By Matthew Moore and Emma Henry
Last Updated: 3:00pm GMT 27/12/2007

Benazir Bhutto, the former Pakistani prime minister, has been killed in a gun and suicide bomb attack at a political rally in Rawalpindi.

user posted image
Benazir Bhutto waves to supporters shortly before the bomb attack

A party security adviser said the opposition leader was shot in the neck and chest as she got into her vehicle to leave the rally, before the gunman blew himself up.

Ms Bhutto, 54, was taken to Rawalpindi General Hospital but died shortly afterwards from her injuries. At least 15 other people were also killed, and 56 people injured.

Police initially reported that she was safe and unhurt, but a party official later confirmed that the opposition leader had been hurt and was undergoing surgery.

As her death was announced, supporters at the hospital began chanting "Dog, Musharraf, dog," referring to Pakistan's president General Pervaz Musharraf.

State television reported that he is holding an emergency meeting with top officials to "consider all aspects of the tragic national incident".

Pakistan opposition leader Nawaz Sharif vowed to "fight your war from now on" after the assassination and told her supporters outside the hospital that he shared the grief of "the entire nation".

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

Sen Babar Awan, Ms Bhutto's lawyer, said: "The surgeons confirmed that she has been martyred."

This is not the first time Ms Bhutto, who was canvassing supporters ahead of general elections called for Jan 8, has been targeted by terrorists since returning from her eight-year self-imposed exile this year.

user posted image
The bloody aftermath of the Rawalpindi blast today

Bombers attacked her cavalcade as she triumphantly paraded through Karachi in October, killing at least 130 people.

She accused supporters of Pakistan's late military ruler Mohammed Zia ul-Haq of masterminding the explosion.

Ms Bhutto, who was educated at Oxford and Harvard, became the first female prime minister of a Muslim country when she took the helm in Pakistan in 1988.

Her killing was immediately condemned by the United States, which counts Pakistan as a pivotal ally in the US-led "war on terror".

It is unclear whether the January elections will still go ahead.

Source: The Telegraph


Kier - December 27, 2007 03:28 PM (GMT)
QUOTE
Benazir Bhutto killed in attack

Last Updated: Thursday, 27 December 2007, 15:24 GMT

Pakistani former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has been assassinated in a [the word "presumed" which was originally here has now disappeared from the story] suicide attack.

Ms Bhutto had just addressed an election rally in Rawalpindi when she was shot in the neck by a gunman who then reportedly set off a bomb.

At least 15 other people died in the attack and several more were injured.

President Pervez Musharraf and his government called on people to remain calm so that the "nefarious designs of terrorists can be defeated."

Ms Bhutto had twice been the country's prime minister and had been campaigning ahead of elections due in January.

Nawaz Sharif, also a former prime minister and a political rival, told the BBC her death was a tragedy for "the entire nation".

"I can't tell you what the feelings of the people of Pakistan are today," he told BBC News 24 after returning from the hospital where she was brought.

It was the second suicide attack against Benazir Bhutto in recent months and comes amid a wave of bombings targeting security and government officials.

Ms Bhutto's death has plunged her party into confusion and raised questions about whether January elections will go ahead as planned, the BBC's Barbara Plett in Islamabad says.

The PPP has the largest support of any party in the country.

Analysts note that Rawalpindi, the nerve centre of Pakistan's military, is seen as one of the country's most secure cities, making the attack even more embarrassing for the government of Gen Musharraf.

Scene of grief

The explosion occurred close to an entrance gate of the park in Rawalpindi where Ms Bhutto had been speaking.

Wasif Ali Khan, a member of the PPP who was at Rawalpindi General Hospital, said she died at 1816 (1316 GMT).

Supporters at the hospital began chanting "Dog, Musharraf, dog", the Associated Press (AP) reports.

Some supporters wept while others exploded in anger, throwing stones at cars and breaking windows.

An interior ministry spokesman, Javed Cheema, was quoted as saying by AFP that she may have been killed by pellets packed into the suicide bomber's vest.

However, AP quoted a PPP security adviser as saying she was shot in the neck and chest as she got into her vehicle, before the gunman blew himself up.

Mr Sharif said there had been a "serious lapse in security" by the government.

Earlier on Thursday, at least four people were killed ahead of an election rally he himself had been preparing to attend close to Rawalpindi.

Return from exile

The killing was condemned by the US, the UK, Russia and France.

"The attack shows that there are still those in Pakistan trying to undermine reconciliation and democratic development in Pakistan," a US state department official said.

UK Foreign Secretary David Miliband said he was "deeply shocked" by Ms Bhutto's death and called for "restraint but also unity".

"Extremist groups... cannot and must not succeed," he added.

Russia called on Pakistan's leaders to ensure stability while France spoke of an "odious" act and said it was deeply concerned.

Ms Bhutto returned from self-imposed exile in October after years out of Pakistan where she had faced corruption charges.

Her return was the result of a power-sharing agreement with President Musharraf in which he granted an amnesty that covered the court cases she was facing.

Since her return relations with Mr Musharraf had broken down.

On the day of her return she led a motor cavalcade through the city of Karachi. It was hit by a double suicide attack that left some 130 dead.

Source: BBC News

Kier - December 27, 2007 03:32 PM (GMT)
QUOTE
Bhutto Killed at Political Rally

By Griff Witte and Debbi Wilgoren
Washington Post Foreign Service
Thursday, December 27, 2007; 8:49 AM

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan, Dec. 27 -- Former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday at a political rally, two months after she returned from eight years of exile to attempt a political comeback, officials said.

Bhutto was shot at close range as she was leaving the rally in this garrison city south of Islamabad, aides said. Immediately after the shooting, a suicide bomber detonated explosives near Bhutto's car, killing at least 15 other people.

Bhutto was rushed to a hospital with extensive wounds to her torso, her supporters said. Shortly after she arrived at the hospital, an official came out of the building and told a crowd of supporters Bhutto was dead.

Also Thursday, a rooftop sniper opened fire on supporters of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif at a different pre-election rally in Rawalpindi, leaving four dead and at least five injured.

Bhutto's death is a devastating development, coming 12 days before Pakistanis are set to vote in national parliamentary elections already marked by enormous political turmoil. President Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency in November -- a move which he said was to combat terrorism, but which was widely perceived as an effort to stave off legal challenges to his authority. U.S. military officials said last week that the terrorist group al-Qaeda increasingly is focusing its efforts in Pakistan.

Bhutto, who returned to Pakistan in October, had been running for parliament and hoped to become prime minister if her party won enough legislative seats. At her homecoming reception in the port city of Karachi, suicide bombing attacks killed 140 people. Her appearances had drawn large crowds and stringent security checkpoints. At a rally in Peshawar on Wednesday, police stopped a would-be bomber with explosives around his neck. Thursday's rally was relatively sparsely attended, according to those present, apparently because people feared additional attempts at violence.

Information about the attack was sketchy, and in some cases reports were conflicting. One aide to Bhutto said the suicide bomber who struck Thursday was right next to Bhutto's car. The explosions seemed like a targeted assassination attempt, the aide said.

Initial reports said Bhutto was not hurt. But local television stations soon quoted Bhutto's husband as saying she was critically injured and in surgery. A short time later, the crowd of supporters gathered at the hospital. When an official emerged to say she had died, those gathered cried out in grief and rage.


Sharif, who returned in late November from his own exile, is barred from running from office Jan. 8. But his party is competing in the elections and has been attracting large numbers of supporters to its rallies.

At the Sharif rally, party spokesman Ahsan Iqbal said supporters were fired upon while waiting to welcome the former prime minister. He called the attack unprovoked, and said it was carried out by Musharraf supporters.

Musharraf's party is "panicked by the astounding reception Mr. Sharif is getting," Iqbal said. "They're trying to use violence as an excuse to postpone the elections."

Source: Washington Post


Kier - December 27, 2007 03:43 PM (GMT)
QUOTE
Bhutto Assassinated in Attack on Rally

RAWALPINDI, Islamabad — An attack on a political rally killed the Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto near the capital, Islamabad, Thursday. Witnesses said Ms. Bhutto was fired upon by a gunman at close range before the blast, and doctors and an official from her party said Ms. Bhutto received further injuries from the explosion, which the government said was caused by a suicide attacker.

Ms. Bhutto, a former prime minister of Pakistan, was declared dead by doctors at a hospital in Rawalpindi at 6:16 p.m. after the doctors had tried to resuscitate her for thirty-five minutes. She had suffered severe shrapnel injuries, the doctors said.


At least a dozen more people were killed in the attack at the political rally, which was being held ahead of elections scheduled for January, at a popular park in Rawalpindi, the garrison city adjacent to the capital.

“She was declared dead at 6:16 p.m.,” said Dr. Abbas Hayat, professor of pathology at Rawalpindi General Hospital where Ms. Bhutto was taken after the attack.

A close aide to Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf blamed Islamic militants for the assassination, and said it was carried out by a suicide bomber.

Ms. Bhutto’s death is the latest blow to Pakistan’s treacherous political situation. The assassination also adds to the enormous pressure on the Bush administration over Pakistan, which has sunk billions in aid into the country without accomplishing its main goals of finding Osama bin Laden or ending the activities of Islamic militants and Taliban in border areas with Afghanistan.

In October, Ms. Bhutto survived another deadly suicide attack in the southern city of Karachi on the day she returned from years of self-imposed exile abroad to contest the parliamentary elections. Ms. Bhutto blamed extremist Islamic groups who she said wanted to take over the country for that attack, which narrowly missed her but killed 134 people.

The assassination comes just days after Mr. Musharraf lifted a state of emergency in the country, which he had used to suspend the Constitution and arrest thousands of political opponents, and which he said he had imposed in part because of terrorist threats by extremists in Pakistan.

With frustration in Washington growing over Mr. Musharraf’s shortcomings, and his delays in returning the country to civilian rule, Ms. Bhutto had become an appealing solution. She was openly critical of Mr. Musharraf’s ineffectiveness at dealing with Islamic militants and welcomed American involvement, unlike another Musharraf rival and former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif.

Bush administration officials began working behind the scenes over the summer to help Ms. Bhutto and Mr. Musharraf create a power-sharing deal to orchestrate a transition to democracy that would leave Mr. Musharraf in the presidency, while not making a mockery of President Bush’s attempts to push democracy in the Muslim world.

Ms. Bhutto’s death Thursday immediately raised questions about whether the parliamentary elections scheduled for January will now go ahead or be postponed. Mr. Musharraf was carrying out an emergency meeting with top government officials Thursday following Ms. Bhutto’s death, the aide to Mr. Musharraf said. He said no decision had been made on whether to delay the national elections.

The aide dismissed complaints from members of Ms. Bhutto’s party that the government failed to provide adequate security for Ms. Bhutto.

Asked I fthe bombing was planned in the country’s lawless tribal areas -- where Osama Bin Laden and other Al Qaeda members are thought to be hiding -- he said "must be, must be."
Militants based in the country’s tribal areas have carried out a record number of suicide bombings in Pakistani this year.

Hundreds of supporters had gathered at the political rally, which was being held at Liaqut Bagh, a park that is a common venue for rallies and speeches, in Rawalpindi.

Amid the confusion after the explosion, the site was littered with pools of blood. Shoes and caps of party workers were lying on the asphalt, and shards of glass were strewn about the ground. Pakistani television cameras captured images of ambulances pushing through crowds of dazed and injured people at the scene of the assassination.

CNN reported that witnesses at the scene described the assassin as opening fire on Ms. Bhutto and her entourage, hitting her at least once in the neck and once in the chest, before blowing himself up.

Farah Ispahani, a party official from Ms. Bhutto’s party, said: “It is too soon to confirm the number of dead from the party’s side. Private television channels are reporting twenty dead.” Television channels were also quoting police sources as saying that at least 14 people were dead.

At the hospital where Ms. Bhutto was taken, a large number of police began to cordon off the area as angry party workers smashed windows. Many protesters shouted “Musharraf Dog”. One man was crying hysterically, saying, “O my sister has been killed.” Amid the crowd, dozens of people beat their chests, and chanted slogans against Mr. Musharraf.

Nahid Khan, a close aide to Ms. Bhutto, was crying with swollen eyes in a room next to the operating theater, and the corridors of the hospital swarmed with mourners.

Ms. Bhutto had been warned by the government before her return to Pakistan that she faced threats to her security.

PAGE 2

Bhutto Assassinated in Attack on Rally

Published: December 28, 2007

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan — The Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated near the capital, Islamabad, on Thursday. Witnesses said Ms. Bhutto, who was appearing at a political rally, was fired upon by a gunman at close range, quickly followed by a blast that the government said was caused by a suicide attacker.

Ms. Bhutto, a former prime minister of Pakistan, was declared dead by doctors at a hospital in Rawalpindi at 6:16 p.m. At least a dozen more people were killed in the attack.

Dr. Abbas Hayat, professor of pathology at Rawalpindi General Hospital where Ms. Bhutto was taken, said doctors tried to revive her for 35 minutes, but that she had shrapnel wounds and head injuries and was in heart failure. He said he could not confirm whether she had bullet injuries.

A close aide to Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf blamed Islamic militants for the assassination, and said it was carried out by a suicide bomber. Ms. Bhutto’s death is the latest blow to Pakistan’s treacherous political situation. The assassination also adds to the enormous pressure on the Bush administration over Pakistan, which has sunk billions in aid into the country without accomplishing its main goals of finding Osama bin Laden or ending the activities of Islamic militants and Taliban in border areas with Afghanistan.

Hundreds of supporters had gathered at the political rally, which was being held at Liaqut Bagh, a park that is a common venue for rallies and speeches, in Rawalpindi.

Amid the confusion after the explosion, the site was littered with pools of blood. Shoes and caps of party workers were lying on the asphalt, and shards of glass were strewn about the ground. Pakistani television cameras captured images of ambulances pushing through crowds of dazed and injured people at the scene of the assassination.

CNN reported that witnesses at the scene described the assassin as opening fire on Ms. Bhutto and her entourage, hitting her at least once in the neck and once in the chest, before blowing himself up.

Farah Ispahani, a party official from Ms. Bhutto’s party, said: “It is too soon to confirm the number of dead from the party’s side. Private television channels are reporting twenty dead.” Television channels were also quoting police sources as saying that at least 14 people were dead.

At the hospital where Ms. Bhutto was taken, a large number of police began to cordon off the area as angry party workers smashed windows. Many protesters shouted “Musharraf Dog”. One man was crying hysterically, saying, “O my sister has been killed.” Amid the crowd, dozens of people beat their chests, and chanted slogans against Mr. Musharraf.

Nahid Khan, a close aide to Ms. Bhutto, was crying with swollen eyes in a room next to the operating theater, and the corridors of the hospital swarmed with mourners.

Ms. Bhutto had been warned by the government before her return to Pakistan that she faced threats to her security. In October, Ms. Bhutto survived another deadly suicide attack in the southern city of Karachi on the day she returned from years of self-imposed exile abroad to contest the parliamentary elections. Ms. Bhutto blamed extremist Islamic groups who she said wanted to take over the country for that attack, which narrowly missed her but killed 134 people.

The assassination comes just days after Mr. Musharraf lifted a state of emergency in the country, which he had used to suspend the Constitution and arrest thousands of political opponents, and which he said he had imposed in part because of terrorist threats by extremists in Pakistan.

With frustration in Washington growing over Mr. Musharraf’s shortcomings, and his delays in returning the country to civilian rule, Ms. Bhutto had become an appealing solution. She was openly critical of Mr. Musharraf’s ineffectiveness at dealing with Islamic militants and welcomed American involvement, unlike another Musharraf rival and former prime minister, Nawaz Sharif.

Bush administration officials began working behind the scenes over the summer to help Ms. Bhutto and Mr. Musharraf create a power-sharing deal to orchestrate a transition to democracy that would leave Mr. Musharraf in the presidency, while not making a mockery of President Bush’s attempts to push democracy in the Muslim world.

Ms. Bhutto’s assassination immediately raised questions about whether the parliamentary elections scheduled for January will now go ahead or be postponed. Mr. Musharraf was carrying out an emergency meeting with top government officials Thursday following Ms. Bhutto’s death, the aide to Mr. Musharraf said. He said no decision had been made on whether to delay the national elections.

The aide dismissed complaints from members of Ms. Bhutto’s party that the government failed to provide adequate security for Ms. Bhutto. Ms. Bhutto herself had complained that the government’s security measures for her Karachi parade were inadequate. The government maintained that she ignored their warnings against such public gatherings and that holding them placed herself and her followers in unnecessary danger.

Asked of the bombing was planned in the country’s lawless tribal areas — where Mr. bin Laden and other Qaeda members are thought to be hiding — the aide said “must be, must be.” Militants based in the country’s tribal areas have carried out a record number of suicide bombings in Pakistani this year.

Ms. Bhutto, 54, returned to Pakistan this year to present herself as the answer to the nation’s troubles: a tribune of democracy in a state that has been under military rule for eight years, and the leader of the country’s largest opposition political party, founded by her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, one of Pakistan’s most flamboyant and democratically inclined prime ministers.

Salman Masood reported from Islamabad, Pakistan, and Graham Bowley and David Rohde from New York.

Source: NY Times





Kier - December 27, 2007 03:47 PM (GMT)
QUOTE
Benazir Bhutto assassinated at political rally in Pakistan

December 27, 2007

Zahid Hussain, Islamabad, Jenny Booth and agencies

Benazir Bhutto, the Pakistani opposition leader and former Prime Minister, died today after a suicide bomber detonated his explosives during a political rally. About 20 people were killed in the attack.

Ms Bhutto had been addressing crowds at the garrison city of Rawalpindi ahead of Pakistan's general election next month. She was taken to Rawalpindi General Hospital but could not be saved.

Wasif Ali Khan, a member of her Pakistan People's Party, said that she was pronounced dead at 6.16pm local time (13.16 GMT).

Rehman Malik, a security adviser for the party, suggested that the killer had opened fire as she left the rally, hitting her in the neck and chest, before blowing himself up. He blamed the Pakistani Government for failing to protect Ms Bhutto. He said: "We repeatedly informed the Government to provide her proper security and appropriate equipment including jammers, but they paid no heed to our requests."

The exact nature of the attack remained unclear, however. Javed Cheema, an interior ministry spokesman, said: "It may have been pellets packed into the suicide bomber’s vest that hit her."


Russia and the United States swiftly condemned the attack, which was being blamed on Islamic militants. A Russian foreign ministry spokesman predicted that it would bring fresh instability to the region and trigger a round of terrorist attacks. An official from the US State Department said: "The attack shows that there are still those in Pakistan trying to undermine reconciliation and democratic development in Pakistan."

As news of her death filtered out, Ms Bhutto's supporters at the hospital began to chant "Dog, Musharraf, dog", referring to Pakistan’s President, Pervez Musharraf. Some smashed the glass entrance door to the emergency unit; others burst into tears.

When Ms Bhutto returned to Pakistan in October to contest parliamentary elections after eight years in self-imposed exile Islamic militants vowed to kill her, anathematising her as a supporter of Washington's war on terror and a proponent of women's rights.

On October 18 a suicide bomber killed about 140 people as Ms Bhutto paraded in an open-topped bus through the southern city of Karachi as crowds gathered to welcome her home. She missed injury by seconds, having left the top deck to give an interview.

The bombing was the second outbreak of political violence in Pakistan today. Earlier, gunmen inside the offices of a political party that supports Mr Musharraf opened fire on supporters of another former Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharif, killing four, police said.

Mr Sharif was several kilometres away at the time, on his way to Rawalpindi after attending a rally.

Ms Bhutto, 54, served twice as Pakistan’s Prime Minister between 1988 and 1996. She was born on June 21, 1953, into a wealthy landowning family. Her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, founded the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and was president and later prime minister of Pakistan from 1971-77.

After gaining degrees in politics at Harvard and Oxford she returned to Pakistan in 1977, just before the military seized power from her father. She inherited the leadership of the PPP in 1979 after her father was executed under the military ruler General Mohammad Zia-ul-Haq.

In 1988 she became the first woman to serve as Prime Minister of a Muslim country. In 1990 she was sacked by the then president on corruption charges. She took power again in 1993 after her successor, Mr Sharif, was forced to resign following a row with the president. But she was no more successful in her second spell as Prime Minister, and Mr Sharif was back in power by 1996. In 1999, both she and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, were sentenced to five years in jail and fined $8.6 million on charges of taking bribes from a Swiss company hired to fight customs fraud. A higher court later overturned the conviction as biased.

Ms Bhutto, who had made her husband investment minister during her period in office from 1993 to 1996, was abroad at the time of her conviction and chose not to return to Pakistan.

Mr Sharif, meanwhile, was deposed by General Pervez Musharraf in a military coup, and went into exile from which he too only returned in the last few weeks.

In 2006 Ms Bhutto joined an Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy with her arch-rival Mr Sharif, but the two disagreed over how to deal with President Musharraf. Ms Bhutto believed that it was better to negotiate, while Mr Sharif refused to have any dealings with him.

Both had thrown themselves into campaigning for the multi-party parliamentary elections due to be held on January 8.

Global stock markets fell on news of the killing, and the price of gold and government bonds rose.

Source: The Times


Kier - December 27, 2007 03:55 PM (GMT)
Only a couple of hours in and here comes the 'C' word.......

QUOTE
Last update - 17:42 27/12/2007     
ANALYSIS: Conspiracy theories abound over Benazir Bhutto slaying
By Yossi Melman, Haaretz Correspondent
Tags: Pervez Musharraf, India

The most intriguing question that arises from the assassination of Benazir Bhutto is who plotted and carried out the killing.

After the failed assassination attempt in Karachi, observers in Pakistan theorized extreme Muslim groups who were outlawed by President Pervez Musharraf, or Al-Qaida elements aligned with these groups, were responsible.

From these groups' point of view, Bhutto and her party are an enemy, perhaps an even more dangerous enemy than Musharraf. Yet, in Pakistan, considered one of the world's most fertile breeding grounds for conspiracy theories, many more possible suspects will be bandied about. Indeed, the blame can be laid at the feet of any of a large number of elements.

The most astounding aspect of Thursday's events is the negligence displayed by Bhutto's security detail. According to reports, the assassin managed to approach Bhutto and position himself within a short distance of her, before proceeding to shoot her and detonate the explosives with which he was strapped. Not only did the assassin want to cause maximum casualties, but he also hoped that authorities would later be unable to identify him and thus ascertain which organization he was working for.

What makes the security failure all the more startling is the fact that it comes just weeks after the first assassination attempt following Bhutto's return to Pakistan from a lengthy political exile.

In the attempt, suicide bombers killed 150 people, although Bhutto escaped unharmed. Under these circumstances, it was chiefly incumbent on her security guards to do all in their power to prevent direct access to her, even during the course of an election campaign in which a candidate seeks to come into contact with the public.

One can make the claim - and some already have - that foreign agents of countries in conflict with Pakistan (re: India) orchestrated the assassination so as to create chaos and to create an image of a country that is unstable and unreliable.

Others will point the finger at Musharraf and his supporters, who viewed Bhutto as a rival who was likely to win next month's elections.

The likelihood of both claims is extremely low, especially considering the apparent deal in principle struck between Musharraf and Bhutto whereby both would enter a power-sharing arrangement and form a joint coalition.

Another possible perpetrator is former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, a bitter political rival of Bhutto who once ordered her husband arrested on corruption charges

Source

Kier - December 27, 2007 04:03 PM (GMT)
QUOTE
Pakistan's Bhutto assassinated in gun, bomb attack
Thu Dec 27, 2007 10:57am EST

By Augustine Anthony

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan (Reuters) - Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on Thursday as she left an election rally in the city of Rawalpindi, putting January 8 polls in doubt and sparking anger in her native Sindh province.

State media and her party confirmed Bhutto's death from a gun and bomb attack.

"She has been martyred," said party official Rehman Malik.

Bhutto, 54, died in hospital in Rawalpindi. Ary-One Television said she had been shot in the head.

News of her death brought a swift and angry reaction from supporters in Sindh and its capital, Karachi, where fires were set, shots fired and stones thrown.

"Police in Sindh have been put on red alert," said a senior police official. "We have increased deployment and are patrolling in all the towns and cities, as there is trouble almost everywhere."

President Pervez Musharraf condemned "in strongest possible terms the terrorist attack that resulted in the tragic death of Bhutto and many other innocent Pakistanis", the state news agency said.

"The president convened a high-level emergency meeting ... soon after the tragic development.

"He urged the people to stay calm to face this tragedy and grief with a renewed resolve to continue the fight against terror," the APP news agency said.

HUGE QUESTIONS

The assassination, 13 days before an election which Bhutto had hoped to win, throws up huge questions for this nuclear-armed U.S. ally already struggling to contain Islamist violence.

Musharraf, whose popularity has slumped this year, could decide to postpone the vote and reimpose a state of emergency that was only lifted on December 15 after six weeks.

"It does cast a shadow over the election and it raises some concerns over how the government might deal with any popular reaction to this," said Jennifer Harbison, head of Asia Desk at Control Risks, London.

"There is the potential that her supporters could take to the streets and that is something that will be difficult for the government to address without at least considering a return to emergency rule."

Police said a suicide bomber fired shots at Bhutto as she left the rally venue in a park before blowing himself up.

"The man first fired at Bhutto's vehicle. She ducked and then he blew himself up," said police officer Mohammad Shahid.


Police said 16 people had been killed in the blast, which occurred during campaigning for the national election. A Bhutto party spokeswoman, Sherry Rehman, was hurt in the attack.

"It is the act of those who want to disintegrate Pakistan because she was a symbol of unity. They have finished the Bhutto family. They are enemies of Pakistan," senior Bhutto party official Farzana Raja told Reuters.

Bhutto's father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was Pakistan's first popularly elected prime minister. He was executed in Rawalpindi in 1979 after being deposed in a military coup.

A Reuters witness at the scene of the attack said he had heard two shots moments before the blast. Another Reuters witness saw bodies and a mutilated human head strewn on a road outside the park where she held her rally.

"TERRIBLE BLOW" - INDIA

India, Pakistan's giant neighbor and rival, said Bhutto's assassination was a terrible blow to the democratic process.

"In her death the subcontinent has lost an outstanding leader who worked for democracy and reconciliation in her country," said a spokesman for Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

U.S. President George W. Bush condemned Bhutto's killing. A spokesman said he would make a statement at 1600 GMT. A State Department official said: "The attack shows that there are still those in Pakistan trying to undermine reconciliation and democratic development in Pakistan."

In France, Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner condemned what he called "this odious act" and paid tribute to Bhutto as an eminent figure in Pakistani political life.

It was the second murderous attack on Bhutto in under three months. On October 19 a suicide bomber killed nearly 150 people as she paraded through Karachi on her return from eight years in self-imposed exile.

Islamist militants were blamed for that attack but Bhutto had said she was prepared to face the danger to help the country.

Speaking on Thursday, Bhutto had told of the risks she faced.

"I put my life in danger and came here because I feel this country is in danger. People are worried. We will bring the country out of this crisis," Bhutto told the Rawalpindi rally.

TEARS, SHOTS

People cried and hugged each other outside the hospital where she died. Some shouted anti-Musharraf slogans.

Another former prime minister and opposition leader, Nawaz Sharif, spoke to the crowd.

"My heart is bleeding and I'm as grieved as you are," Sharif said.

On international financial markets, gold and government bonds rose while U.S. stocks fell in part on news of the assassination.

Analysts say the shock of the Bhutto news triggered a classic capital flight to assets which are considered as safe havens in times of geopolitical stress.

Bhutto became the first female prime minister in the Muslim world when she was elected in 1988 at the age of 35. She was deposed in 1990, re-elected in 1993, and ousted again in 1996 amid charges of corruption and mismanagement.

She said the charges were politically motivated but in 1999 chose to stay in exile rather than face them.

Bhutto's family is no stranger to violence.

Apart from her father's execution, both of her brothers died in mysterious circumstances and she had said al Qaeda assassins tried to kill her several times in the 1990s.

Intelligence reports have said al Qaeda, the Taliban and Pakistani jihadi groups had all sent suicide bombers after her.

(Additional reporting by Kamran Haider; writing by Robert Birsel and Roger Crabb; editing by David Fogarty)

Source: Reuters



Kier - December 27, 2007 04:09 PM (GMT)
QUOTE
Bhutto Assassinated, Angry Street Protests Erupt

Dec. 27, 2007

Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was killed today by an assassin who shot her and blew himself up as she was leaving a campaign rally, ABC News has confirmed.

Bhutto was among at least 20 killed in the blast that left the park in the city of Rawalpindi a grisly scene of chaos, body parts and blood.

Bhutto was rushed to a nearby hospital while rescue workers rushed to put victims in ambulances as people wailed nearby. The clothing of some of the victims was shredded and people put party flags over their bodies. Police caps and shoes littered the asphalt.

In the confusion, it wasn't clear exactly what had happened, but Sardar Qamar Hayyat, a leader from Bhutto's party, said he was standing about 10 yard from Bhutto's vehicle.

"She was inside the vehicle and was coming out from the gate after addressing the rally when some of the youths started chanting slogans in her favor," he said. "Then I saw a thin, young man jumping to her vehicle from the back and opening fire. Moments later, I saw her speeding vehicle going away."

Party supporter Chaudry Mohammed Nazir said that two gunshots rang out when Bhutto's vehicle pulled into the main street and that there was a big blast next to her car.

A security adviser to Bhutto's party said she was shot in the neck and chest. The gunman then blew himself up.


Initial reports said Bhutto was unharmed in the attack, but about an hour later her supporters' worst fears were confirmed.

Sen. Babar Awan, Bhutto's lawyer, said, "The surgeons confirmed that she has been martyred."

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the killing, but at Rawalpindi General Hospital furious Bhutto supporters erupted in anger at Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, chanting "Killer, Killer, Musharraf" and calling him a "liar."

They smashed doors and windows at the hospital, stoned cars, burned ruling party election posters and attacked police who fled. Protesters also took to the streets in Peshawar, and in Karachi shopkeepers closed their doors and people burned tires in intersections.

The Pakistani military was in charge of security at the rally and it was the second time since Bhutto returned to Pakistan in October that an assassin slipped past security.

During her triumphant return to the country, Oct. 18, a suicide bomber blew himself up near Bhutto's vehicle, killing more than 140 people. Bhutto survived that attack.

"We repeatedly informed the government to provide her proper security and appropriate equipment including jammers, but they paid no heed to our requests," said Rehman Malik, Bhutto's security adviser.

Last month, Bhutto had also planned a rally in the city, but Musharraf forced her to cancel it, citing security fears.

Pakistan's Islamic militants have long had Bhutto under a death sentence for her opposition to their fundamentalist ambitions. There were also tensions between Bhutto and Musharraf after negotiations to share power had stalled.

Nawaz Sharif, another former premier and leader of a rival opposition party, rushed to the hospital where Bhutto had died and addressed the crowd.

"Benazir Bhutto was also my sister, and I will be with you to take the revenge for her death," Sharif said. "Don't feel alone. I am with you. We will take the revenge on the rulers."

Today's attack took place as Bhutto was leaving a political rally where she addressed thousands before the country's Jan. 8 parliamentary elections.

The killing has staggered Pakistan. Musharraf had put Pakistan under emergency rule last month and postponed elections. Under pressure from the White House, Musharraf rescheduled the elections for January and lifted emergency rule.

It remains to be seen whether the elections will proceed on schedule and Musharraf has convened an emergency meeting with his senior staff where they are expected to discuss whether to postpone the election, an official at the Interior Ministry said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks.

The political murder could also unsettle the Bush administration's agenda. Pakistan is the Bush administration's closest ally in the region for fighting terrorists, but Bhutto's death is likely to further destabilize an already volatile situation in Pakistan.

The White House issued a statement, saying, "We condemn the acts of violence, which took place today in Pakistan. The president will make a statement about the situation."

White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said, "The president has been informed about the situation in Pakistan. He was told about it this morning during his regular briefing, which began at 7:30 Central Time."

The State Department has been heavily involved in attempts to keep the situation in Pakistan calm over the last month and to maintain political stability.

British Foreign Secretary David Miliband voiced shock at Bhutto's killing.

"In targeting Benazir Bhutto, extremist groups have in their sights all those committed to democratic processes in Pakistan. They cannot and must not succeed," Miliband said.

Former Indian Foreign Minister Natwar Singh warned that Bhutto's assassination "is not only bad for Pakistan, it is bad for the entire region."

Bhutto was the daughter of former Pakistani premier Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who was executed. His daughter was flanked by a massive picture of him during her address today.

Benazir Bhutto was a charismatic leader in her own right who twice served as prime minister of the Islamic nation between 1988 and 1996. She was only 35 when first elected Pakistan's leader.

Bhutto has been the target of nine previous assassination attempts.

Source: ABC



Troubadour - December 27, 2007 06:23 PM (GMT)
I think it important to note that the assassination of Bhutto occurred the day after Boxing Day, a Christian celebration, and so can be seen as a headline grabber the day after a Western Celebration.

Similarly the July 7th bombings occurred the day after the announcement of the 2012 Olympic venue to be London.

This killing has the hallmarks of a psy-op aimed at Western People by other Western people.

The ritual of condemnation shown on the BBC took the following order: BUSH, BROWN, MUSHAREFF of Pakistan and then M KHARZAI of Afghanistan.

Just in case you failed to remember, amid all the fuss, two UN Diplomats are expelled from Afghanistan for negotiating with the Taliban, and MI6 should still be in the News for negotiating with the Taliban (Though still negotiating is a better description, as they have ben in continuous negotiation with the Taliban since the 1980's)

numeral - December 28, 2007 03:15 AM (GMT)

Bridget - December 28, 2007 11:14 AM (GMT)
An interview with Benazir Bhutto in Nov 07 after the first assassination attempt:
QUOTE
"The man who murdered Osama bin Laden" Frost over the World - Benazir Bhutto - 02 Nov 07 --Sir David interviews former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto. 03 Nov 2007 6:13 into this YouTube video, Benazir Bhutto declares, "Yes, well one of them is a very key figure in security. He's a former military officer. He's someone who's had dealings... and he also had dealings with Omar Sheikh [Ahmad Omar Saeed Sheikh], the man who murdered Osama bin Laden." [Did Bhutto mean to say Daniel Pearl? If that was the case, she did not correct herself.]

freedomfiles - December 28, 2007 12:37 PM (GMT)
QUOTE
The murder of Bhutto, Lashkar-i-Jhangvi and the Pakistani ISI

Allegedly, the responsibility for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto has been claimed by a telephone call to Adnkronos International (AKI), a press agency in Italy.

The person, who claimed to be Mustafa Abu Al-Yazid, commander of Al Qaeda in Afghanistan, stated that Al Qaeda was behind the assassination, which would have been carried out by a "Punjabi volunteer" from an associated Pakistani extremist group Lashkar-i-Jhangvi.

According to reports in the Asia Times, this Lashkar-i-Jhangvi is in reality a front organisation for the Pakistani intelligence service, linking the assassination of Bhutto directly to the Pakistani government.

Bridget - December 28, 2007 09:57 PM (GMT)
QUOTE
Last Updated: Friday, 28 December 2007, 21:28 GMT

Bhutto killing blamed on al-Qaeda

user posted image
Baitullah Mehsud photographed in 2005

Profile: Baitullah Mehsud
'Al-Qaeda plot' transcript

Pakistan says it has intelligence that al-Qaeda assassinated opposition politician Benazir Bhutto at an election rally on Thursday.

Citing what it said was an intercepted phone call, the interior ministry said the killing had been ordered by an "al-Qaeda leader", Baitullah Mehsud.

The BBC's security correspondent, Frank Gardner, says it is too early to establish the truth of what happened.

Ms Bhutto has been buried in her family tomb amid scenes of mass grieving.

Video of her last moments before the attack in Rawalpindi was shown at the news conference given in Islamabad by the interior ministry.

According to the ministry, the primary cause of Ms Bhutto's death appears to have been a knock on her head as she tried to duck her attacker, and not bullets or shrapnel. Her party denies this.

Pakistani security forces are on high alert, with at least 31 people killed in protests by Bhutto supporters across the country since the assassination.

Conflicting versions

Baitullah Mehsud is a tribal leader in Pakistan's South Waziristan region.

Pakistani intelligence services intercepted a call from him in which he allegedly congratulated another militant after Ms Bhutto's death, interior ministry spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema told reporters.

There was, he added, "irrefutable evidence that al-Qaeda, its networks and cohorts were trying to destabilise Pakistan".

There have now been so many conflicting versions coming out of Pakistan of how Benazir Bhutto died and who sent the assassin that it is hard for anyone to build up an accurate picture, our security correspondent says.

Both al-Qaeda and the Taleban are perfectly plausible culprits since they hated everything the secular Ms Bhutto stood for, he adds.

But critics of President Pervez Musharraf are unlikely to be convinced by his government's insistence that it has proof al-Qaeda ordered the murder.

'Pack of lies'

Brig Cheema said Ms Bhutto had smashed her head against a lever of her car's sun roof.

She was, he said, trying to shelter inside the car from the gunman, who set off a bomb after opening fire with a gun.

A surgeon who treated her, Dr Mussadiq Khan, said earlier she may have died from a shrapnel wound while Ms Bhutto's security adviser, Rehman Malik, said she had been shot in the neck and chest.

Farooq Naik, a senior official in Ms Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party, said the government's explanation of her death was a "pack of lies".

"Two bullets hit her, one in the abdomen and one in the head," he told AFP news agency.


Brig Cheema added that all possible security arrangements had been put in place for Ms Bhutto.

Her supporters say the government did not do enough to protect her.

After a previous attempt on her life in October that killed 130 people, Ms Bhutto accused rogue elements of the Pakistani intelligence services of involvement.

Unrest

Ms Bhutto was buried next to her father Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in the family mausoleum near their home village, Garhi Khuda Bakhsh, in Sindh province, as thousands of mourners attended.

user posted image
Rioters in Peshawar shouted slogans against President Musharraf

Rioting and unrest has been reported across the country since her death.

    * Six bodies were found among the remains of a factory set on fire in Karachi

    * At least one passenger train was set ablaze in Sindh Province and a number of railway stations were reportedly burnt as security forces in the province were ordered to shoot rioters on sight

    * In the city of Multan in Punjab province, a mob ransacked seven banks and torched a petrol station

Other cities across Pakistan are at a virtual standstill.

Schools, businesses and transport are all closed, and people are reluctant to step out during the three days of national mourning declared by Mr Musharraf.

Election questions

Plans for a general election on 8 January, for which Ms Bhutto had been campaigning when she was killed, remain unchanged, the government says.

The election is meant to pave the way for a return to democratic rule, suspended in October 1999 when the then Gen Musharraf seized power through a coup.

But opposition parties are now against the election taking the place and it is hard to see how they it would be a true test of the democratic process, the BBC's Karishma Vaswani reports. 

Ms Bhutto returned from eight years of self-imposed exile in October, following an amnesty agreed with President Musharraf.

BBC

numeral - December 28, 2007 11:44 PM (GMT)
QUOTE
Bhutto Wanted Ties with Israel; Sought Mossad Protection
Jeremy Reynalds, Correspondent for ASSIST News Service
Friday, December 28, 2007

JERUSALEM (ANS) -- Israeli media reports on Friday revealed that slain Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto intended to establish official relations with the Jewish state if elected, and was seeking Mossad protection in the interim.

A story on the Israel Today web site reported that in speaking to The Jerusalem Post, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert grieved over Bhutto's assassination following an election rally on Thursday.

Olmert said that upon her return to Pakistan in October after years of exile, Bhutto told him through a mutual acquaintance that she wanted close ties between Israel and Pakistan.

Israel Today also reported that the Hebrew daily newspaper Ma'ariv further revealed that Bhutto had asked Israel's Mossad spy agency, along with the CIA and Britain's Scotland Yard, to help protect her in the run-up to Pakistan's January 8 election.

Bhutto complained that current Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf was trying to make her an easy target for assassination by no[t] allowing her to use adequate protective measures.

Israel Today said that according to the newspaper report, Israel's Foreign Ministry was in favor of aiding Bhutto. However, the government ultimately decided against it for fear of angering the Musharraf regime and upsetting relations with neighboring India, a close ally of Israel engaged in an ongoing bitter confrontation with Pakistan.

Israeli leaders lamented that Bhutto, a popular former prime minister who was twice deposed by authoritarian elements, could have served as a bridge between Israel and the Muslim world.


Jeremy Reynalds is a freelance writer and the founder and director of Joy Junction, New Mexico's largest emergency homeless shelter, http://www.joyjunction.org or http://www.christianity.com/joyjunction. He has a master's degree in communication from the University of New Mexico, and a Ph.D. in intercultural education from Biola University in Los Angeles. His newest book is "Homeless in the City: A Call to Service." Additional details about "Homeless" are available at http://www.HomelessBook.com He lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For more information contact: Jeremy Reynalds at jeremyreynalds@comcast.net. Tel: (505) 877-6967 or (505) 400-7145.

:: Article nr. 39608 sent on 29-dec-2007 00:35 ECT

www.uruknet.info?p=39608

Link: www.assistnews.net/Stories/2007/s07120175.htm


numeral - December 29, 2007 05:44 AM (GMT)

freedomfiles - December 29, 2007 10:26 AM (GMT)
QUOTE
Suspects in the Bhutto assassination
Thursday December 27, 2007
Guardian Unlimited
http://www.guardian.co.uk/pakistan/Story/0,,2232496,00.html

Who are the suspects?

Even before Bhutto returned to Pakistan in October after eight years of self-imposed exile, there had been open threats against her. A pro-Taliban militant leader, Baitullah Masood, said he would target her with suicide attacks. Masood, probably the most prominent militant leader in the north-western region bordering Afghanistan, has also been accused of carrying out attacks on Pakistani soldiers.

Bhutto's pro-western attitude would have made her a natural target for militant Islamists. Another militant commander, Haji Omar, said before her return: "She has an agreement with America. We will carry out attacks on Benazir Bhutto as we did on General Pervez Musharraf [the Pakistani president]." Authorities had warned Bhutto that extremists sympathetic to the Taliban and al-Qaida would target her.

Who else is in the frame?

After the October assassination attempt, Bhutto's husband, Asif Ali Zardari, who is in Dubai where the couple had been living in exile, accused members of the Pakistani security services, the ISI. "I blame government for these blasts," he said. "It is the work of the intelligence agencies."

Elements of the ISI sympathise with the Taliban and it was a possibility that "rogue elements" in the intelligence services were involved in the two attacks. The ISI became one of Pakistan's most powerful institutions under General Zia-ul-Haq, the man who launched an Islamisation campaign and who overthrew Bhutto's father and had him hung. After Gen Zia's death in a mysterious plane crash in 1988, the ISI actively campaigned against Bhutto when she entered politics.

Has there been other violence?

Hours before Bhutto's death, four people were killed and three wounded in a clash just outside Islamabad between pro-government supporters and backers of the former prime minister Nawaz Sharif. Last week, more than 50 people were killed when a suicide attacker detonated a bomb at a crowded mosque near the home of Pakistan's former interior minister on one of Islam's major holidays. Aftab Khan Sherpao, once a supporter of Bhutto, took a strong anti-militant line in office.

See also :

Bhutto killed by 'Al-Qaida tactics': White House
U.S. intelligence probing al-Qaeda link with Bhutto killing
Pakistan mourns Bhutto, as Al Qaeda claims responsibility
Al-Qaeda leader denies killing Bhutto
Bhutto's Party Rejects Al-Qaeda Claim as Riots Spread


numeral - December 30, 2007 07:46 PM (GMT)

Sinclair - December 31, 2007 03:01 PM (GMT)
QUOTE (numeral @ Dec 29 2007, 05:44 AM)
Robert Fisk: They don't blame al-Qa'ida. They blame Musharraf

Worth Quoting in full:
QUOTE


Robert Fisk:
They don't blame al-Qa'ida. They blame Musharraf

Published: 29 December 2007

Weird, isn't it, how swiftly the narrative is laid down for us. Benazir Bhutto, the courageous leader of the Pakistan People's Party, is assassinated in Rawalpindi – attached to the very capital of Islamabad wherein ex-General Pervez Musharraf lives – and we are told by George Bush that her murderers were "extremists" and "terrorists". Well, you can't dispute that.

But the implication of the Bush comment was that Islamists were behind the assassination. It was the Taliban madmen again, the al-Qa'ida spider who struck at this lone and brave woman who had dared to call for democracy in her country.

Of course, given the childish coverage of this appalling tragedy – and however corrupt Ms Bhutto may have been, let us be under no illusions that this brave lady is indeed a true martyr – it's not surprising that the "good-versus-evil" donkey can be trotted out to explain the carnage in Rawalpindi.

Who would have imagined, watching the BBC or CNN on Thursday, that her two brothers, Murtaza and Shahnawaz, hijacked a Pakistani airliner in 1981 and flew it to Kabul where Murtaza demanded the release of political prisoners in Pakistan. Here, a military officer on the plane was murdered. There were Americans aboard the flight – which is probably why the prisoners were indeed released.

Only a few days ago – in one of the most remarkable (but typically unrecognised) scoops of the year – Tariq Ali published a brilliant dissection of Pakistan (and Bhutto) corruption in the London Review of Books, focusing on Benazir and headlined: "Daughter of the West". In fact, the article was on my desk to photocopy as its subject was being murdered in Rawalpindi.

Towards the end of this report, Tariq Ali dwelt at length on the subsequent murder of Murtaza Bhutto by police close to his home at a time when Benazir was prime minister – and at a time when Benazir was enraged at Murtaza for demanding a return to PPP values and for condemning Benazir's appointment of her own husband as minister for industry, a highly lucrative post.

In a passage which may yet be applied to the aftermath of Benazir's murder, the report continues: "The fatal bullet had been fired at close range. The trap had been carefully laid, but, as is the way in Pakistan, the crudeness of the operation – false entries in police log-books, lost evidence, witnesses arrested and intimidated – a policeman killed who they feared might talk – made it obvious that the decision to execute the prime minister's brother had been taken at a very high level."

When Murtaza's 14-year-old daughter, Fatima, rang her aunt Benazir to ask why witnesses were being arrested – rather than her father's killers – she says Benazir told her: "Look, you're very young. You don't understand things." Or so Tariq Ali's exposé would have us believe. Over all this, however, looms the shocking power of Pakistan's ISI, the Inter Services Intelligence.

This vast institution – corrupt, venal and brutal – works for Musharraf.


But it also worked – and still works – for the Taliban. It also works for the Americans. In fact, it works for everybody. But it is the key which Musharraf can use to open talks with America's enemies when he feels threatened or wants to put pressure on Afghanistan or wants to appease the " extremists" and "terrorists" who so oppress George Bush. And let us remember, by the way, that Daniel Pearl, the Wall Street Journal reporter beheaded by his Islamist captors in Karachi, actually made his fatal appointment with his future murderers from an ISI commander's office. Ahmed Rashid's book Taliban provides riveting proof of the ISI's web of corruption and violence. Read it, and all of the above makes more sense.

But back to the official narrative. George Bush announced on Thursday he was "looking forward" to talking to his old friend Musharraf. Of course, they would talk about Benazir. They certainly would not talk about the fact that Musharraf continues to protect his old acquaintance – a certain Mr Khan – who supplied all Pakistan's nuclear secrets to Libya and Iran. No, let's not bring that bit of the "axis of evil" into this.

So, of course, we were asked to concentrate once more on all those " extremists" and "terrorists", not on the logic of questioning which many Pakistanis were feeling their way through in the aftermath of Benazir's assassination.

It doesn't, after all, take much to comprehend that the hated elections looming over Musharraf would probably be postponed indefinitely if his principal political opponent happened to be liquidated before polling day.

So let's run through this logic in the way that Inspector Ian Blair might have done in his policeman's notebook before he became the top cop in London.

Question: Who forced Benazir Bhutto to stay in London and tried to prevent her return to Pakistan? Answer: General Musharraf.

Question: Who ordered the arrest of thousands of Benazir's supporters this month? Answer: General Musharraf.

Question: Who placed Benazir under temporary house arrest this month? Answer: General Musharraf.

Question: Who declared martial law this month? Answer General Musharraf.

Question: who killed Benazir Bhutto?

Er. Yes. Well quite.

You see the problem? Yesterday, our television warriors informed us the PPP members shouting that Musharraf was a "murderer" were complaining he had not provided sufficient security for Benazir. Wrong. They were shouting this because they believe he killed her.


freedomfiles - January 1, 2008 12:20 AM (GMT)
QUOTE
Lawyer: Police prevented Bhutto autopsy

Rawalpindi's police chief stopped doctors at the hospital where Benazir Bhutto died from conducting an autopsy, according to a lawyer on the hospital's board. It was a violation of Pakistani criminal law and prevented a medical conclusion about what killed the former prime minister, said Athar Minallah, who serves on the board that manages Rawalpindi General Hospital.

http://edition.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/...opsy/index.html

Bridget - January 2, 2008 11:02 AM (GMT)
QUOTE
Pak. offers reward for information on Bhutto's murder

Islamabad (PTI): Pakistani authorities on Tuesday issued a front-page advertisement in newspapers offering a reward of Rs one crore for information about the killers of former premier Benazir Bhutto even as the government said its probe of her assassination is "progressing steadily".

"Nothing will be hidden and all the facts will be made public," Interior Ministry spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema told a weekly briefing. The investigation is "progressing steadily" and senior investigators are collecting all the evidence in a scientific manner, he said.

The government's contention that Bhutto died of a skull fracture during the attack has been dismissed as "absolute nonsense" by her Pakistan People's Party, which said she was shot in the head. The official account created a uproar in Pakistan and abroad.

Asked about his earlier statements that Bhutto died after her head was hit on a metal lever in her car's sun-roof, Cheema said those were based on "the initial facts available at that time".

The advertisement issued by the home department of Punjab province seeking information about the killers included a photo of the suspected assailants that was first aired by Dawn News channel two days after Bhutto's murder in Rawalpindi on December 27.

It shows the shooter -- a clean-shaven youth wearing a white shirt, dark waistcoat and dark glasses -- and the suspected suicide bomber, a man with a white cloth wrapped around his face. The advertisement had another photo of the severed head of the suspected bomber.

The Hindu

user posted image

Bridget - January 2, 2008 10:12 PM (GMT)
QUOTE
5pm GMT update
Scotland Yard to investigate Bhutto assassination

Julian Borger in Islamabad and Mark Tran
Wednesday January 2, 2008
Guardian Unlimited

Gordon Brown today agreed to send a police team from Scotland Yard to Pakistan to help investigate the assassination of the opposition leader Benazir Bhutto.

The Pakistani president, Pervez Musharraf, requested specialist help as serious doubts continued over the government's version of events surrounding her death.

"We would like to know what were the reasons that led to the martyrdom of Benazir Bhutto. I would also like to look into it," Musharraf said in a televised address.

The exact circumstances of the killing have been shrouded in confusion. Opposition officials have rejected government claims into how she died and called for an international investigation.

David Miliband, the foreign secretary, said a team from Scotland Yard is due to leave Britain this week.

"As the terrible events of last week show only too clearly, Pakistan faces a very serious threat from extremism," Miliband said.

"The UK is already closely engaged with the government of Pakistan on counter-terrorism cooperation. The prime minister and President Musharraf have agreed to further deepen this aspect of our relationship, and officials will travel to Pakistan to take this forward."

In his first major speech since the Bhutto killing, Musharraf appealed for reconciliation.

"The nation has experienced a great tragedy. Benazir Bhutto has died in the hands of terrorists. I pray to God almighty to put the eternal soul of Benazir at peace," he said.

Following Bhutto's death, rioters rampaged through the streets, burning cars and shops, accusing the government of complicity. The government has strongly rejected the accusation and has blamed al-Qaida for her death.

Musharraf also said he had wanted to hold parliamentary elections as scheduled on January 8, but he deferred to the election commission which formally announced earlier in the day to postpone them for six weeks until February 18.

"The election commission has taken a timely and correct decision," the president said. "We will hold free, fair, transparent and peaceful elections."

The election commission blamed riots in the wake of Bhutto's assassination for the delay, saying 11 of the commission's district offices had been damaged or destroyed, along with ballot boxes and other election material, particularly in Sindh province, the base of Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples party (PPP).

Another factor behind the delay was the Shia holy month of Muharram, which is due to begin next week and last a lunar month. The celebration by Pakistan's Shia minority has in the past triggered sectarian tensions.

The decision to delay the vote was quickly condemned by opposition parties, who branded it a ploy by the government, fearful of a sympathy vote for the Bhutto family.

But the PPP's central executive committee decided it would contest the election despite misgivings.

The other major political party, the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), led by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, is also meeting to decide upon its response, saying it would seek to form a common front with the PPP.

A party spokesman, Ahsan Iqbal, said: "We will try to continue to make all parties join hands to force Musharraf from office and set up a neutral caretaker government."

Despite the threat of further street violence, western diplomats and political observers in Islamabad predicted that the opposition parties would try to restrain the reaction of their followers, aware that undecided voters would blame them for further political instability.

The riots have largely subsided, but the political atmosphere remains volatile.

Some western officials argue that the delay in the vote might ultimately prove to be beneficial, if the time is used to establish safeguards to improve the transparency and credibility of the elections.

"It is vital that the government of Pakistan makes full use of the extended period before elections are held to ensure that all necessary arrangements are put in place so that they are transparent and fair," Miliband said.

"I hope all parties will participate in the elections, that media freedom will be extensive and that all political prisoners are released."

An EU observer mission had said it would not be able to field a full team if the elections had gone ahead, as scheduled, on January 8.

There are widespread fears that civil war would erupt if the election were perceived as rigged.

Sinclair - January 2, 2008 10:14 PM (GMT)
Ho Ho Ho....
QUOTE
Scotland Yard to probe Bhutto death


user posted image
A TV frame grab shows a still image taken by an amateur photographer of a man holding a handgun (circled in red) suspected of shooting Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto.
Photo: Reuters

January 3, 2008 - 6:09AM

Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf said a Scotland Yard team from Britain would come "immediately" to Pakistan to help probe the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

Musharraf's announcement in a televised address to the nation comes after intense controversy over the circumstances of the former premier's death in a gun and suicide bomb attack at an election rally last Thursday.

"We have decided to invite a team from Scotland Yard in Britain. I am grateful to Prime Minister Gordon Brown. When I put up this request, he agreed," Musharraf said.

"This team will be coming to Pakistan immediately and they will help in our investigation," he said, adding that the attack had been carried out by the same "terrorists" behind a wave of bloodshed that has rocked the nation.

Musharraf said the team would "help to cover our deficiencies in the field of forensics".

He added: "I am sure this investigation with Scotland Yard will be correct and will remove all the doubts surrounding it."

Bhutto's supporters have expressed doubts about the official government account of her death, which says that she died of a fractured skull after hitting her head on her car sunroof while trying to duck from the blast.

They say that they saw bullet wounds in her head, while television footage has shown her shawl and hair flying up just after shots were fired at her and just before the explosion.

British Foreign Minister David Miliband said the team of anti-terror police will leave for Pakistan "by the end of the week".

"At the request of President Musharraf, the prime minister has agreed to send a UK Police team of technical experts to assist the government of Pakistan in the investigation of the death of Benazir Bhutto," he said in a statement.

Scotland Yard said a small team from its counter-terrorism command would travel to Pakistan "to provide support and assistance in the investigation into the death of Benazir Bhutto".

"The Pakistan authorities continue to lead the investigation into Benazir Bhutto's death," it said in a statement.

Musharraf's decision to call in British help was scorned by Bhutto's husband Asif Ali Zardari, who has called for a UN investigation
along the lines of the probe into the killing of former Lebanese premier Rafiq Hariri.

"Now they have remembered Scotland Yard. Why did they not call it when Benazir Bhutto first demanded it after the Karachi blast?" he said.

Bhutto's homecoming parade from exile in Karachi on October 18 was hit by a massive double suicide attack that killed 139 people.

She had called on Musharraf to allow Scotland Yard and the US Federal Bureau of Investigation to help probe the blast, but the Pakistani government rejected her demands.

Last week the interior ministry flatly ruled out any foreign involvement in the probe into Bhutto's death, specifically referring to Scotland Yard and saying that they would not understand the "environment" in the country.

But Musharraf said in his speech that he had now invited a British team to assist because he wanted to rule out the "conspiracy theories" swirling around her death.


"This is a very significant investigation. All the confusion that has been created in the nation must be resolved," said a stony-faced Musharraf, wearing a dark grey suit and a tie.

The Pakistani government earlier today offered a reward for identification of two alleged suspects in the assassination of Bhutto, who were shown in a photo standing in the crowd just before she was killed.

AFP

Sydney Morning Herald

freedomfiles - January 2, 2008 11:22 PM (GMT)
QUOTE
The Benazir Bhutto dossier: ‘secret service was diverting US aid for fighting militants to rig the elections’

On the day she was assassinated, Benazir Bhutto was due to meet two senior American politicians to show them a confidential report alleging that Pakistan’s intelligence service was using US money to rig parliamentary elections, officials in her party said yesterday.

The report was compiled by the former Prime Minister’s own contacts within the security services and alleged that the Inter-Services Intelligence agency was running the election operation from a safe house in the capital, Islamabad, they said. The operation’s aim was to undermine Ms Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and to ensure victory for the Pakistan Muslim League (Q) party, which supports President Musharraf, in the elections scheduled for January 8.

Patrick Kennedy, a Democratic congressman for Rhode Island, and Arlen Specter, a Republican member of the Senate sub-committe on foreign operations, have confirmed that they were planning to have dinner with Ms Bhutto on Thursday evening but were not available for comment yesterday.

Complete article


QUOTE
Bhutto 'blocked from hiring US bodyguards'

Benazir Bhutto was so fearful for her life that she tried to hire British and American security experts to protect her, The Sunday Telegraph can reveal. But the plans collapsed because President Pervez Musharraf refused to allow the foreign contractors to operate in Pakistan, according to senior aides.

"She asked to bring in trained security personnel from abroad," said Mark Siegel, her US representative. "In fact she and her husband repeatedly tried to get visas for such protection, but they were denied by the government of Pakistan."

Ms Bhutto's entourage discussed deals with the American Blackwater operation, this newspaper has learnt. Sources within the British private security industry said that she also had negotiations with the London-based firm Armor Group, which guards UK diplomats in the Middle East - last night the company said that it had no knowledge of any talks.

Complete article


QUOTE
Doctors Cite Pressure to Keep Silent On Bhutto

Pakistani authorities have pressured the medical personnel who tried to save Benazir Bhutto's life to remain silent about what happened in her final hour and have removed records of her treatment from the facility, according to doctors.

In interviews, doctors who were at Bhutto's side at Rawalpindi General Hospital said they were under extreme pressure not to share details about the nature of the injuries that the opposition leader suffered in an attack here Dec. 27.

"The government took all the medical records right after Ms. Bhutto's time of death was read out," said a visibly shaken doctor who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. Sweating and putting his head in his hands, he said: "Look, we have been told by the government to stop talking. And a lot of us feel this is a disgrace."

Complete article

QUOTE
Interview with Nawaz Sharif: Musharraf Is 'A Total Failure'

In an interview with SPIEGEL, Pakistan's main opposition leader Nawaz Sharif accuses President Pervez Musharraf of having failed to protect Benazir Bhutto and says no one will believe the findings of an investigation into her assassination if it is conducted by Musharraf's government.

Complete article

numeral - January 5, 2008 12:22 AM (GMT)
QUOTE (numeral @ Dec 30 2007, 07:46 PM)
BBC Censored Bhutto's Reports that BIn Laden Had Been Murdered

QUOTE
Apology from the BBC to setfree69
By: stоpwar on: 04.01.2008 [17:23 ] (177 reads)
BBC Response - to the controversy that has been growing on youtube and many US bloggers sites regarding the apparent censorship and editing out of a reply by Benazir Bhutto to one of David Frost's questions

Check out: http://www.iraq-war.ru/article/151951

The response was apparently sent out to all complainants...

The BBC has an agreement with al-Jazeera which enables both broadcasters to share certain news material including pictures and interviews. It was on this basis that we offered an extract of Sir David Frost's interview with Benazir Bhutto to users of the BBC News website.

During the interview Ms Bhutto made an allegation that Osama Bin Laden had been murdered by Omar Sheikh. A claim which was unchallenged and so unexpected that it seemed most likely that she had mis-spoken.

Under time pressure the item producer responsible for publishing the video edited out the comment with the intention of avoiding confusion. On reflection this was clearly a mistake and should not have happened. There was no intention on our part to distort the meaning of the interview, and we will endeavour to replace the edited version currently available via the BBC News website with the original interview as broadcast by Al-Jazeera.

I would like to take the opportunity to apologise for what was an error of judgement and the confusion that this has caused.

Adam Batstone
Editor BBC News Website Audio Video

See Latest comments:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbpABK_SSws


I'm prepared to give the BBC the benefit of the doubt on this one, but there is still an issue. Why Benazir made such a remark in the first place? - sw

numeral - January 5, 2008 12:44 AM (GMT)
^
QUOTE
The Death of bin Laden(ism) (Update: First reported on FOX in December 2001)
By: New York Times/Fox News on: 04.01.2008 [13:35 ] (318 reads)


By AMIR TAHERI
Published: July 11, 2002

Osama bin Laden is dead.

The news first came from sources in Afghanistan and Pakistan almost six months ago: the fugitive died in December and was buried in the mountains of southeast Afghanistan. Pakistan's president, Pervez Musharraf, echoed the information. The remnants of Osama's gang, however, have mostly stayed silent, either to keep Osama's ghost alive or because they have no means of communication.

With an ego the size of Mount Everest, Osama bin Laden would not have, could not have, remained silent for so long if he were still alive. He always liked to take credit even for things he had nothing to do with. Would he remain silent for nine months and not trumpet his own survival?

Even if he is still in the world, bin Ladenism has left for good. Mr. bin Laden was the public face of a brand of politics that committed suicide in New York and Washington on Sept. 11, 2001, killing thousands of innocent people in the process.

What were the key elements of that politics?

The first was a cynical misinterpretation of Islam that began decades ago with such anti-Western ideologues as Maulana Maudoodi of Pakistan and Sayyid Qutb of Egypt. Although Mr. Maudoodi and Mr. Qutb were not serious thinkers, they could at least offer a coherent ideology based on a narrow reading of Islamic texts. Their ideas about Western barbarism and Muslim revival, distilled down to bin Ladenism, became mere slogans designed to incite zealots to murder.

People like Mr. Maudoodi and Mr. Qutb could catch the ball and run largely because most Muslim intellectuals of their generation (and later) had no interest in continuing the work of Muslim philosophers. Our intellectuals were too busy learning Western ideologies of one kind or another — and they left the newly urbanized Muslim masses to the half-baked ideas of men like Mr. Maudoodi and Mr. Qutb and eventually Mr. bin Laden.

Now, however, many Muslim intellectuals are returning home, so to speak. They are rediscovering the philosophical heritage of Islam and the challenges of Muslim political thought. And Maudoodi-Qutbism is now being seen as a pseudo-Islamic version of Western fascism.

The second element that made Mr. bin Laden possible was easy money, largely from wealthy individuals in the Persian Gulf area who believed that they were buying a place in the hereafter while protecting themselves against political opposition in this world. Some paid because they believed they were helping poor and oppressed Muslims. Others paid so militants would go and spend their energies far away from home.

That easy money is no longer available, at least not in large quantities. Many donors have realized they were financing terrorists. Some have been forced to choose between the West, where they have the bulk of their wealth, and the troglodyte mujahedeen of the Hindu Kush.

The third element that made bin Ladenist terror possible was the encouraging, or at least complacent, attitude of several governments. The Taliban in Afghanistan began by hosting Mr. bin Laden and ended up becoming his life-and-death buddies. The Pakistanis were also supportive because they wanted to dominate Afghanistan and make life hard for the Indians by sending holy warriors to Kashmir. The Sudanese government was sympathetic, if not actually supportive, and offered at least a safe haven. This was also the case in Yemen, where in November 2000 I accidentally ran into a crowd of Qaeda militants who had flown in from Pakistan for a gathering.

We now know that Qaeda cells operated, often quite openly, in Muslim countries from Indonesia and Malaysia to Morocco and Tunisia, without being bothered by anyone. The fall of the Taliban means the gang no longer has a secure base. All the other countries are also closed, and in some cases even hostile.

The fourth element was the mistaken practice of many Western powers that sheltered the terrorists in the name of freedom of expression and dissent. We now know that London was a critical haven for Al Qaeda. The murder of the Afghan resistance leader Ahmed Shah Massoud was planned in London. Qaeda militants operated in Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, Spain and Italy without significant restraint.

The fifth element that made bin Ladenism possible was the West's, especially America's, perceived weakness if not actual cowardice. A joke going around militant Islamist circles until last year was that the only thing the Americans would do if attacked was to sue. That perception no longer exists. The Americans, supported by one of the largest coalitions in history, have shown they will use force against their enemies even if that means a long and difficult war.

The sixth element of bin Ladenism was the illusion in most Western nations that they could somehow remain unaffected by the violence unleashed by fanatical terrorists against so many Muslim nations from Indonesia to Algeria.

Mr. bin Laden could survive and prosper only in a world in which these elements existed. That world is gone. Mr. bin Laden's ghost may linger on — perhaps because Washington and Islamabad will find it useful. President Bush's party has a crucial election to win and Pervez Musharraf is keen to keep Pakistan in the limelight as long as possible.

But the truth is that Osama bin Laden is dead.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html...754C0A9649C8B63

Update: FOX News, 26th December 2001

Report: Bin Laden Already Dead
Wednesday, December 26, 2001

Usama bin Laden has died a peaceful death due to an untreated lung complication, the Pakistan Observer reported, citing a Taliban leader who allegedly attended the funeral of the Al Qaeda leader.

"The Coalition troops are engaged in a mad search operation but they would never be able to fulfill their cherished goal of getting Usama alive or dead," the source said.

Bin Laden, according to the source, was suffering from a serious lung complication and succumbed to the disease in mid-December, in the vicinity of the Tora Bora mountains. The source claimed that bin Laden was laid to rest honorably in his last abode and his grave was made as per his Wahabi belief.

About 30 close associates of bin Laden in Al Qaeda, including his most trusted and personal bodyguards, his family members and some "Taliban friends," attended the funeral rites. A volley of bullets was also fired to pay final tribute to the "great leader."

The Taliban source who claims to have seen bin Laden's face before burial said "he looked pale ... but calm, relaxed and confident."

Asked whether bin Laden had any feelings of remorse before death, the source vehemently said "no." Instead, he said, bin Laden was proud that he succeeded in his mission of igniting awareness amongst Muslims about hegemonistic designs and conspiracies of "pagans" against Islam. Bin Laden, he said, held the view that the sacrifice of a few hundred people in Afghanistan was nothing, as those who laid their lives in creating an atmosphere of resistance will be adequately rewarded by Almighty Allah.

When asked where bin Laden was buried, the source said, "I am sure that like other places in Tora Bora, that particular place too must have vanished."

http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,41576,00.html

Bridget - January 6, 2008 09:55 AM (GMT)
QUOTE
CIA to get broad powers to act inside Pak: Report
6 Jan 2008, 1028 hrs IST,AFP

WASHINGTON: The administration of President George W Bush is considering granting the Pentagon and CIA new authority to conduct covert operations in the tribal areas of Pakistan where Al-Qaida is showing new strength, The New York Times reported on its website late Saturday.

Citing unnamed senior administration officials, the newspaper said the plan calls for giving Central Intelligence Agency agents broader powers to strike selected targets inside the country, in some cases using intelligence provided by Pakistani sources.

Up to now, most counterterrorism operations in Pakistan have been conducted by CIA operatives based in Afghanistan, the report said.

If the plan is given final approval, the US spy agency would continue to do the same, but would be able to call for help from the US military or deputize some special operations forces of to act under the authority of the agency, according to the paper.

The United States now has about 50 soldiers in Pakistan, the report said. Hundreds of Al-Qaida and Taliban insurgents took shelter in the rugged northwestern region of Pakistan after US-led forces overthrew the hardline Taliban regime in Afghanistan in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks on the United States.

It is believed Al-Qaida founder Osama bin Laden might be hiding in the area under the protection of sympathetic Islamic leaders.

The plan was discussed by Vice President Richard Cheney, Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and top White House national security aides on Friday when they met at the White House to reassess US strategy in the wake of last month's assassination of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, The Times said.

The US government has not formally presented its proposals to Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf or the new army commander, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani, the report noted.

But several of the participants of Friday's meeting argued that the threat to the Musharraf government was now so grave that both he and Pakistani generals were likely to give the United States more latitude for action, the paper pointed out.

Times of India

Sinclair - January 10, 2008 10:07 PM (GMT)
QUOTE

The Destabilization of Pakistan

by Prof. Michel Chossudovsky
Global Research, December 30, 2007


[Part Two: Pakistan and the "Global War on Terrorism" at
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7746]

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto has created conditions which contribute to the ongoing destabilization and fragmentation of Pakistan as a Nation.

The process of US sponsored "regime change", which normally consists in the re-formation of a fresh proxy government under new leaders has been broken. Discredited in the eyes of Pakistani public opinion, General Pervez Musharaf cannot remain in the seat of political power. But at the same time, the fake elections supported by the "international community" scheduled for January 2008, even if they were to be carried out, would not be accepted as legitimate, thereby creating a political impasse.

There are indications that the assassination of Benazir Bhutto was anticipated by US officials:

    "It has been known for months that the Bush-Cheney administration and its allies have been maneuvering to strengthen their political control of Pakistan, paving the way for the expansion and deepening of the “war on terrorism” across the region.

    Various American destabilization plans, known for months by officials and analysts, proposed the toppling of Pakistan's military...

    The assassination of Bhutto appears to have been anticipated. There were even reports of “chatter” among US officials about the possible assassinations of either Pervez Musharraf or Benazir Bhutto, well before the actual attempts took place. (Larry Chin, Global Research, 29 December 2007)

Political Impasse

"Regime change" with a view to ensuring continuity under military rule is no longer the main thrust of US foreign policy. The regime of Pervez Musharraf cannot prevail. Washington's foreign policy course is to actively promote the political fragmentation and balkanization of Pakistan as a nation.

A new political leadership is anticipated but in all likelihood it will take on a very different shape, in relation to previous US sponsored regimes. One can expect that Washington will push for a compliant political leadership, with no commitment to the national interest, a leadership which will serve US imperial interests, while concurrently contributing under the disguise of "decentralization", to the weakening of the central government and the fracture of Pakistan's fragile federal structure.

The political impasse is deliberate. It is part of an evolving US foreign policy agenda, which favors disruption and disarray in the structures of the Pakistani State. Indirect rule by the Pakistani military and intelligence apparatus is to be replaced by more direct forms of US interference, including an expanded US military presence inside Pakistan.

This expanded military presence is also dictated by the Middle East-Central Asia geopolitical situation and Washington's ongoing plans to extend the Middle East war to a much broader area.

The US has several military bases in Pakistan. It controls the country's air space. According to a recent report: "U.S. Special Forces are expected to vastly expand their presence in Pakistan, as part of an effort to train and support indigenous counter-insurgency forces and clandestine counterterrorism units" (William Arkin, Washington Post, December 2007).

The official justification and pretext for an increased military presence in Pakistan is to extend the "war on terrorism". Concurrently, to justify its counterrorism program, Washington is also beefing up its covert support to the "terrorists."

The Balkanization of Pakistan

Already in 2005, a report by the US National Intelligence Council and the CIA forecast a "Yugoslav-like fate" for Pakistan "in a decade with the country riven by civil war, bloodshed and inter-provincial rivalries, as seen recently in Balochistan." (Energy Compass, 2 March 2005). According to the NIC-CIA,  Pakistan is slated to become a "failed state" by 2015, "as it would be affected by civil war, complete Talibanisation and struggle for control of its nuclear weapons". (Quoted by former Pakistan High Commissioner to UK, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, Times of India, 13 February 2005):

    "Nascent democratic reforms will produce little change in the face of opposition from an entrenched political elite and radical Islamic parties. In a climate of continuing domestic turmoil, the Central government's control probably will be reduced to the Punjabi heartland and the economic hub of Karachi," the former diplomat quoted the NIC-CIA report as saying.

    Expressing apprehension, Hasan asked, "are our military rulers working on a similar agenda or something that has been laid out for them in the various assessment reports over the years by the National Intelligence Council in joint collaboration with CIA?" (Ibid)

Continuity, characterized by the dominant role of the Pakistani military and intelligence has been scrapped in favor of political breakup and balkanization.

According to the NIC-CIA scenario, which Washington intends to carry out: "Pakistan will not recover easily from decades of political and economic mismanagement, divisive policies, lawlessness, corruption and ethnic friction," (Ibid) . 

The US course consists in  fomenting social, ethnic and factional divisions and political fragmentation, including the territorial breakup of Pakistan. This course of action is also dictated by US war plans in relation to both Afghanistan and Iran.

This US agenda for Pakistan is similar to that applied throughout the broader Middle East Central Asian region. US strategy, supported by covert intelligence operations, consists in triggering ethnic and religious strife, abetting and financing secessionist movements while also weakening the institutions of the central government.

The broader objective is to fracture the Nation State and redraw the borders of Iraq, Iran, Syria, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Pakistan's Oil and Gas reserves

Pakistan's extensive oil and gas reserves, largely located in Balochistan province, as well as its pipeline corridors are considered strategic by the Anglo-American alliance, requiring the concurrent militarization of Pakistani territory.

Balochistan comprises more than 40 percent of Pakistan's land mass, possesses important reserves of oil and natural gas as well as extensive mineral resources.

The Iran-India pipeline corridor is slated to transit through Balochistan. Balochistan also possesses a deap sea port largely financed by China located at Gwadar, on the Arabian Sea, not far from the Straits of Hormuz where 30 % of the world's daily oil supply moves by ship or pipeline. (Asia News.it, 29 December 2007)

Pakistan has an estimated 25.1 trillion cubic feet (Tcf) of proven gas reserves of which 19 trillion are located in Balochistan. Among foreign oil and gas contractors in Balochistan are BP, Italy's ENI, Austria's OMV, and Australia's BHP. It is worth noting that Pakistan's State oil and gas companies, including PPL which has the largest stake in the Sui oil fields of Balochistan are up for privatization under IMF-World Bank supervision.

According to the Oil and Gas Journal (OGJ), Pakistan had proven oil reserves of 300 million barrels, most of which are located in Balochistan. Other estimates place Balochistan oil reserves at an estimated six trillion barrels of oil reserves both on-shore and off-shore (Environment News Service, 27 October 2006) .

Covert Support to Balochistan Separatists

Balochistan's strategic energy reserves have a bearing on the separatist agenda. Following a familiar pattern, there are indications that the Baloch insurgency is being supported and abetted by Britain and the US.

The Baloch national resistance movement dates back to the late 1940s, when Balochistan was invaded by Pakistan. In the current geopolitical context, the separatist movement is in the process of being hijacked by foreign powers.

British intelligence is allegedly providing covert support to Balochistan separatists (which from the outset have been repressed by Pakistan's military). In June 2006, Pakistan's Senate Committee on Defence accused British intelligence of "abetting the insurgency in the province bordering Iran" [Balochistan]..(Press Trust of India, 9 August 2006). Ten British MPs were involved in a closed door session of the Senate Committee on  Defence regarding the alleged support of Britain's Secret Service to Baloch separatists  (Ibid). Also of relevance are reports of  CIA and Mossad support to Baloch rebels in Iran and Southern Afghanistan.

It would appear that Britain and the US are supporting both sides. The US is providing American F-16 jets to the Pakistani military, which are being used to bomb Baloch villages in Balochistan. Meanwhile, British alleged covert support to the separatist movement (according to the Pakistani Senate Committee) contributes to weakening the central government.

The stated purpose of US counter-terrorism is to provide covert support as well as as training to "Liberation Armies" ultimately with a view to destabilizing sovereign governments. In Kosovo, the training of the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) in the 1990s had been entrusted to a private mercenary company, Military Professional Resources Inc (MPRI), on contract to the Pentagon. 

The BLA bears a canny resemblance to Kosovo's KLA, which was financed by the drug trade and supported by the CIA and Germany's Bundes Nachrichten Dienst (BND).

The BLA emerged shortly after the 1999 military coup. It has no tangible links to the Baloch resistance movement, which developed since the late 1940s. An aura of mystery surrounds the leadership of the BLA.

user posted image
Distribution of Balochs is marked in pink.

Baloch population in Pink: In Iran, Pakistan and Southern Afghanistan

Washington favors the creation of a "Greater Balochistan" which would integrate the Baloch areas of Pakistan with those of Iran and possibly the Southern tip of Afghanistan (See Map above), thereby leading to a process of political fracturing in both Iran and Pakistan.

    "The US is using Balochi nationalism for staging an insurgency inside Iran's Sistan-Balochistan province. The 'war on terror' in Afghanistan gives a useful political backdrop for the ascendancy of Balochi militancy" (See Global Research, 6 March 2007).

Military scholar Lieutenant Colonel Ralph Peters writing in the June 2006 issue of The Armed Forces Journal, suggests, in no uncertain terms that Pakistan should be broken up, leading to the formation of  a separate country: "Greater Balochistan" or "Free Balochistan" (see Map below). The latter would incorporate the Pakistani and Iranian Baloch  provinces into a single political entity.

In turn, according to Peters, Pakistan's North West Frontier Province (NWFP) should be incorporated into Afghanistan "because of its linguistic and ethnic affinity". This proposed fragmentation, which broadly reflects US foreign policy, would reduce Pakistani territory to approximately 50 percent of its present land area. (See map). Pakistan would also loose a large part of its coastline on the Arabian Sea.     

Although the map does not officially reflect Pentagon doctrine, it has been used in a training program at NATO's Defense College for senior military officers. This map, as well as other similar maps, have  most probably been used at the National War Academy as well as in military planning circles. (See Mahdi D. Nazemroaya, Global Research, 18 November 2006)

"Lieutenant-Colonel Peters was last posted, before he retired to the Office of the Deputy Chief of Staff for Intelligence, within the U.S. Defence Department, and has been one of the Pentagon’s foremost authors with numerous essays on strategy for military journals and U.S. foreign policy." (Ibid)

user posted image
Map: click to enlarge


It is worth noting that secessionist tendencies are not limited to Balochistan. There are separatist groups in Sindh province, which are largely based on opposition to the Punjabi-dominated military regime of General Pervez Musharraf (For Further details see Selig Harrisson, Le Monde diplomatique, October 2006)

"Strong Economic Medicine": Weakening Pakistan's Central Government

Pakistan has a federal structure based on federal provincial transfers. Under a federal fiscal structure, the central government transfers financial resources to the provinces, with a view to supporting provincial based programs. When these transfers are frozen as occurred in Yugoslavia in January 1990, on orders of the IMF, the federal fiscal structure collapses:

    "State revenues that should have gone as transfer payments to the republics [of the Yugoslav federation] went instead to service Belgrade's debt ... . The republics were largely left to their own devices. ... The budget cuts requiring the redirection of federal revenues towards debt servicing, were conducive to the suspension of transfer payments by Belgrade to the governments of the Republics and Autonomous Provinces.

    In one fell swoop, the reformers had engineered the final collapse of Yugoslavia's federal fiscal structure and mortally wounded its federal political institutions. By cutting the financial arteries between Belgrade and the republics, the reforms fueled secessionist tendencies that fed on economic factors as well as ethnic divisions, virtually ensuring the de facto secession of the republics. (Michel Chossudovsky, The Globalization of Poverty and the New World Order, Second Edition, Global Research, Montreal, 2003, Chapter 17.)

It is by no means accidental that the 2005 National Intelligence Council- CIA report had predicted a "Yugoslav-like fate" for Pakistan pointing to the impacts of "economic mismanagement" as one of the causes of political break-up and balkanization.

"Economic mismanagement" is a term used by the Washington based international financial institutions to describe the chaos which results from not fully abiding by the IMF's Structural Adjustment Program. In actual fact, the "economic mismanagement" and chaos is the outcome of IMF-World Bank prescriptions, which invariably trigger hyperinflation and precipitate indebted countries into extreme poverty. 

Pakistan has been subjected to the same deadly IMF "economic medicine" as Yugoslavia: In 1999, in the immediate wake of the coup d'Etat which brought General Pervez Musharaf to the helm of the military government, an IMF economic package, which included currency devaluation and drastic austerity measures, was imposed on Pakistan. Pakistan's external debt is of the order of US$40 billion. The IMF's  "debt reduction" under the package was conditional upon the sell-off to foreign capital of the most profitable State owned enterprises (including the oil and gas facilities in Balochistan) at rockbottom prices .

Musharaf's Finance Minister was chosen by Wall Street, which is not an unusual practice. The military rulers appointed at Wall Street's behest, a vice-president of Citigroup, Shaukat Aziz, who at the time was head of CitiGroup's Global Private Banking. (See WSWS.org, 30 October 1999). CitiGroup is among the largest commercial foreign banking institutions in Pakistan.

There are obvious similarities in the nature of US covert intelligence operations applied in country after country in different parts of the so-called "developing World".  These covert operation, including the organisation of military coups, are often synchronized with the imposition of IMF-World Bank macro-economic reforms. In this regard, Yugoslavia's federal fiscal structure collapsed in 1990 leading to mass poverty and heightened ethnic and social divisions. The US and NATO sponsored "civil war" launched in mid-1991 consisted in coveting Islamic groups as well as channeling covert support to separatist paramilitary armies in Bosnia, Kosovo and Macedonia.

A similar "civil war" scenario has been envisaged for Pakistan by the National Intelligence Council and the CIA:  From the point of view of US intelligence, which has a longstanding experience in abetting separatist "liberation armies", "Greater Albania" is to Kosovo what "Greater Balochistan" is to Pakistan's Southeastern Balochistan province. Similarly, the KLA is Washington's chosen model, to be replicated in Balochistan province.

The Assassination of Benazir Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in Rawalpindi, no ordinary city. Rawalpindi is a military city host to the headquarters of the Pakistani Armed Forces and Military Intelligence (ISI). Ironically Bhutto was assassinated in an urban area tightly controlled and guarded by the military police and the country's elite forces. Rawalpindi  is swarming with ISI intelligence officials, which invariably infiltrate political rallies. Her assassination was not a haphazard event.

Without evidence, quoting Pakistan government sources, the Western media in chorus has highlighted the role of Al-Qaeda, while also focusing on the the possible involvement of the ISI.

What these interpretations do not mention is that the ISI continues to play a key role in overseeing Al Qaeda on behalf of US intelligence. The press reports fail to mention two important and well documented facts:

    1) the ISI maintains close ties to the CIA. The ISI  is virtually an appendage of the CIA.

    2) Al Qaeda is a creation of the CIA. The ISI provides covert support to Al Qaeda, acting on behalf of US intelligence. 

The involvement of either Al Qaeda and/or the ISI would suggest that US intelligence was cognizant and/or implicated in the assassination plot.

[Part Two: Pakistan and the "Global War on Terrorism" at
http://www.globalresearch.ca/index.php?context=va&aid=7746]

Bridget - January 12, 2008 02:06 PM (GMT)
QUOTE
PPP teams to seek support for UN probe in Bhutto killing

11 Jan 2008, 2235 hrs IST,PTI

ISLAMABAD: Slain former premier Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party (PPP) formed three delegations on Friday to muster international support for its demand for a UN-led probe into her assassination.

One delegation comprising Bhutto's husband Asif Ali Zardari will visit Brussels to seek backing of the European Union while another consisting of her close aide Sherry Rehman and Javed Leghari will visit the US, PPP leader Babar Awan told a news conference here.

The third delegation led by PPP leader and lawyer Farooq Naek will visit the United Nations, Awan said. Naek had drafted the PPP's petition seeking a UN-led inquiry that was sent to the government on Thursday.

Awan noted that the government had not issued an interim report on Bhutto's assassination despite the passage of 16 days since her killing in Rawalpindi on December 27. He contended it was legally mandatory to issue such a report within 14 days.

Awan said the government had limited the Scotland Yard team to investigating only the cause of Bhutto's death. The probe should also cover aspects like motive, conspiracy, abetment and destruction of evidence, he said.


The establishment of true democracy in Pakistan alone would help end the cycle of suicide bombings, he said.

Times of India

justthefacts - January 15, 2008 11:17 AM (GMT)

numeral - January 18, 2008 08:35 PM (GMT)
QUOTE
Bhutto death probe: Six Scotland Yard sleuths return to Britain
Rezaul H Laskar in Islamabad
January 14, 2008 19:25 IST

Six members of the Scotland Yard team, probing the assassination of former Pakistani premier Benazir Bhutto, returned to the United Kingdom on Monday with evidence gathered from their investigation.

Since it arrived in the country ten days ago, the team from the Metropolitan Police's Counter-Terrorism Command has visited the site in Rawalpindi where Bhutto was attacked by a suicide bomber on December 27, reviewed forensic and technical evidence and questioned eyewitnesses and doctors who treated her.

Five British investigators arrived here on January 4 and they were subsequently joined by six more sleuths. The other members of the Scotland Yard team are still in Pakistan and likely to leave later this week, officials said.

The sleuths are taking back evidence, including video footage of the attack, for analysis in British laboratories, they said. Over the past two days, members of the team again reconstructed the attack on Bhutto near Liaquat Bagh in Rawalpindi and thoroughly inspected the site. They visited Rawalpindi General Hospital again and questioned doctors about the nature of Bhutto's wounds.

Under the terms of the agreement between the British and Pakistani governments, the Scotland Yard team was brought in to establish the exact cause of Bhutto's death, an issue which has become a matter of controversy.

The government initially said she sustained a fatal skull fracture but this was dismissed as lies by Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party. President Pervez Musharraf subsequently admitted that she might have been shot.

The PPP has also said that the probe by the Scotland Yard team would be inadequate as it was not aimed at identifying the planners, financiers and perpetrators involved in the attack. The party has also insisted on a probe by the United Nations, but this has been ruled out by Musharraf.

On Sunday, the British investigators revisited the scene where Bhutto was assassinated. This was their fourth visit to the site.The team re-enacted the assassination by parking a SUV in the same position where Bhutto's armoured vehicle had been attacked. The investigators also took photographs and measured the crime scene from different angles.


QUOTE
Scotland Yard believes Al-Qaeda assassinated Benazir Bhutto
January 13, 2008

Christina Lamb

BRITISH officials have revealed that evidence amassed by Scotland Yard detectives points towards Al-Qaeda militants being responsible for the assassination of Benazir Bhutto

Five experts in video evidence and forensic science have been in Pakistan for 10 days since President Pervez Musharraf took up an offer from Gordon Brown for British help in the investigation of the December 27 killing. Last week they were joined by three specialists in explosives.

Bhutto’s murder as she left a rally she had been addressing in Rawalpindi sparked an international outcry. Her body was flown home to be buried with no postmortem examination. Companions insist the cause of death - a bullet wound in her neck - was obvious.

Claims by the government that she had fractured her skull on the sunroof of her car while escaping the blast from a suicide bomb prompted fury from party supporters who insisted she had been shot before the explosion.

When footage of the incident clearly revealed a man waving a pistol in the crowd, the government was accused of a cover-up.

Musharraf was quick to blame the killing on Baitullah Mehsud, a tribal leader from the Afghan border area of southern Waziristan with links to Al-Qaeda. The interior ministry released a transcript of a purported telephone conversation between Mehsud and a militant cleric in which, though Bhutto’s name was not mentioned, he appeared to congratulate him on the death, saying: “Fantastic job. Very brave boys, the ones who killed her.”

The transcript was met with scepticism. Critics pointed out Mehsud had previously been working with the Pakistan military, receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars and that if the country’s intelligence services could tape his conversations, they should be able to capture him.

Last August Mehsud humiliated Musharraf when his men captured more than 250 Pakistani soldiers and paramilitary troops, who surrendered without firing a shot. Mehsud demanded the release of 30 jailed militants and the end of Pakistani military operations in his tribal area as the price for their freedom. To show he meant business, he ordered the beheading of three of his hostages. Musharraf gave in.

“Linking Mehsud to Bhutto’s assassination was done for strategic reasons and had nothing to do with the ground realities,” said Sajjan Gohel, an expert on Al-Qaeda.

“Although Mehsud has ideological sympathies with the Taliban, his influence does not extend beyond the tribal areas and he certainly does not have the resources to plan an attack in the centre of the country like the assassination of Bhutto.”

But British and American officials, who have examined the transcript, say they believe it is genuine and share Musharraf’s view that Mehsud is behind most of the suicide bombings in Pakistan.

Asked why Pakistani forces do not capture Mehsud, one official said: “It’s not so easy to go into tribal areas. Look what happened to the last lot of Pakistani soldiers that tried.” According to diplomats, Mehsud had dispatched teams of suicide bombers round the country to follow Bhutto to rallies and seize an opportunity to kill her.

The gun fired at Bhutto has been checked for fingerprints by the Scotland Yard detectives. A government minister told The Sunday Times that these have been traced through identity cards to a man in Swat, an area where Mehsud’s men have been fighting.

“There was no cover-up,” he insisted. “It was just unfortunate that in all the shock and confusion at the beginning, people shot their mouths off talking about sunroofs rather than simply saying it would be investigated.”

Scotland Yard has insisted that its task is not to establish who killed her but only how she died.

Even that is not straightforward. They cannot examine the body, and the crime scene and Bhutto’s vehicle were both scrubbed within hours.

Every day another conspiracy theory emerges. It is now widely believed that the gun had a laser sight, suggesting military complicity, or that a sniper may have been in a nearby building.

Musharraf met the British detectives last week for a briefing and later said he expected them to have reached a conclusion about how she died before elections scheduled for February 18.

Bhutto’s widower, Asif Ali Zardari, has rejected the Scotland Yard inquiry and demanded a wider-ranging United Nations-led investigation that would also look into the bombing of Bhutto’s bus in Karachi in October.

“She was a world leader,” he said. “We don’t just want a sergeant from Scotland Yard determining the angle of fire. She’s dead - that’s the proof. We have the footage, we have the doctors who were trying to rescue her.”

It has never been established who was behind the mysterious plane crash that killed General Zia, Pakistan’s last military dictator in 1988; who murdered Bhutto’s brother Murtaza in a Karachi shootout in 1996; or who killed its first prime minister Liaquat Ali Khan, who was shot dead in 1951 yards from where Bhutto died.


Just fancy that.

justthefacts - January 21, 2008 07:36 PM (GMT)

Bridget - February 8, 2008 11:12 AM (GMT)
QUOTE
Last Updated: Friday, 8 February 2008, 10:35 GMT

UK police say blast killed Bhutto
Benazir Bhutto at a rally in Rawalpindi, 27/12/08
Benazir Bhutto's party disagrees with Scotland Yard's account

British detectives investigating the death of ex-Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto say she died from the effect of a bomb blast, not gunfire.


Detectives from Scotland Yard were asked by Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to examine the circumstances surrounding Bhutto's death in December.

Scotland Yard's account matches that of the Pakistani authorities.

But Bhutto's party has insisted she was shot by an assassin, and has accused the government of a cover-up.

The BBC's Aamer Ahmed Khan says the exact cause of death may help shed light on who was behind the attack.

Ms Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party (PPP) has suggested that if sophisticated weaponry were used it could indicate the involvement of elements of the security establishment.

The only tenable cause... [is] impact due to the effects of the bomb blast
Dr Nathaniel Cary
British Home Office pathologist

Scotland Yard report on Benazir Bhutto's assassination [163KB]

UK police report - key points


user posted image

TV pictures that emerged after Bhutto's death on 27 December appeared to show a gunman aiming a weapon at the Pakistani opposition leader as she stood through the escape hatch of a vehicle during a rally in Rawalpindi.

The UK police report confirmed that shots were fired - but said they were not the cause of death.

It said after discharging his firearm the attacker had detonated explosives, blowing himself up.

"The blast caused a violent collision between her head and the escape hatch area of the vehicle, causing a severe and fatal head injury," said the report, signed by Detective Superintendent John MacBrayne.

The report said the evidence suggested there was only one attacker, not two, as had been speculated.

Limited evidence

The BBC's Barbara Plett in Islamabad says there may be some scepticism over the report, since there has been no post-mortem on Bhutto's body, and the scene of the crime was hosed down within hours, compromising forensic evidence.

A suspect in the killing of Benazir Bhutto, pictured in Pakistan's Dawn newspaper
Newspapers pictured the man who apparently shot at Benazir Bhutto

However, the report said "the evidence that is available is sufficient for reliable conclusions to be drawn".

UK police reached their conclusions by studying TV footage of the assassination, and X-rays of the victim.

X-rays of Bhutto's head showed the only apparent injury was a major trauma to the right side of the head, the report said.

It cited British Home Office pathologist Dr Nathaniel Cary, who said: "The only tenable cause for the rapidly fatal head injury in this case is that it occurred as the result of impact due to the effects of the bomb blast."

There were no X-rays of Bhutto's body, but Dr Cary said it is unlikely her body would have been hit by bullets through the vehicle's armour plating.

The PPP said it was not convinced by British police conclusions.

"The party is still looking at the Scotland Yard report - however, it is difficult to agree with its findings on the cause of death," party spokeswoman Sherry Rehman said.

"We do believe that she was killed by an assassin's bullet," she added.

Scotland Yard's "terms of reference were limited", she said, reiterating calls for a United Nations inquiry into the killing.

The report, released by the British High Commission in Islamabad, said determining who was behind the attack was not the job of British police, but a matter for the Pakistani authorities.

Militant accused

Pakistani officials said on Thursday that they had made two arrests over the murder.

"We've arrested two important suspects. One of the names in Husnan Gul and the name of the second is Rufukat," announced the officer in charge of the committee investigating Bhutto's death, Chaudhry Abdul Majid.

"Apparently they were the facilitators in this case. Facilitators of the suicide bomber."

He said they were arrested following information gleaned from a 15-year old boy arrested last month in Pakistan's North West Frontier Province.

The boy said he was part of a team instructed to kill the opposition leader, and named a local militia commander, Baitullah Mehsud, as being behind the assassination, officials say.

BBC

Kier - February 8, 2008 03:28 PM (GMT)
QUOTE
British police say blast killed Bhutto
Fri Feb 8, 2008 2:20pm GMT

By Zeeshan Haider

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - British police investigating the murder of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto concluded she was killed by a head injury caused by the impact of a bomb blast, not by a bullet, drawing scepticism from her close aides.

The British High Commission released a summary of their report on Friday, which backed the government's version of the assassination in Rawalpindi city on December 27.

Bhutto's assassination heightened fears of instability in nuclear-armed Pakistan. It also delayed an election that may lead to U.S. ally President Pervez Musharraf's downfall if a hostile parliament emerges from the February 18 vote.

The British report also said Bhutto was probably killed by a lone assassin, who fired shots and detonated explosives, and was not attacked by two people as many Pakistanis had speculated.

"The only tenable cause for the rapidly fatal head injury in this case is that it occurred as the result of impact due to the effects of the bomb-blast," British government pathologist Nathaniel Cary said in the report.

Cary said he suspected Bhutto hit her head against the sunroof, backing an explanation the government had also given.

Scotland Yard's conclusion drew scepticism from members of Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party who were with her when she was killed, and runs counter to what senior hospital officials say they were told privately by doctors who attended to Bhutto.

"We find it difficult to agree with the report about the cause of death, that she was not killed by the assassin's bullet," Sherry Rehman, the PPP spokeswoman who prepared Bhutto's body for burial, told Reuters.
 

The PPP is expected to ride a wave of sympathy at the polls and, while it isn't a presidential election, Musharraf's position could be in jeopardy if the new parliament seeks his impeachment.

Campaigning so far has been low key, as many candidates are wary of leaving their homes because of the security threat.

DIVERTING ATTENTION?

Two-time prime minister Bhutto was killed as she stood up through the sunroof of her armoured land cruiser to wave to supporters as she left an election rally.

The government said she was killed when the force of the bomb blast smashed her head into a lever on the sunroof.

The controversy over how she was killed fuelled suspicion government agencies were involved.

The confusion was created, according to a Pakistani lawyer who requested anonymity, "to keep people thinking about something else rather than who did it."

The government and the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) say Baitullah Mehsud, an al Qaeda-linked militant chief based on the Afghan border, was behind Bhutto's killing.


Musharraf has denied the involvement of himself, intelligence agencies or the military, and asked Scotland Yard to join the probe after doubts arose over the government's explanation.

But it was only tasked with investigating how Bhutto was killed, not who was behind it.

"She was assassinated in front of everybody. We need the culprits, we need the killers, we need to know who had a motive," said Babar Awan, a senior PPP official and leading lawyer.

Pakistani authorities announced on Thursday two "important suspects" had been arrested in Rawalpindi.

They arrested two other suspects last month, including a 15-year-old boy who admitted being a back-up suicide bomber.

The British report said it was difficult to assess exactly how the assassination was carried out due to an inadequate search of the scene, which was hosed down hours after the attack that killed more than 20 people, and the absence of an autopsy.

No autopsy was carried out, at the request of Bhutto's family. Her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, said at the time an autopsy was unnecessary as it was clear Bhutto had been shot.

Scotland Yard investigators interviewed doctors who attended to Bhutto at Rawalpindi General Hospital, but there have been reports that they came under pressure beforehand.


The team that attended to Bhutto said she died from "an open head injury, with depressed skull fracture leading to cardiopulmonary arrest", but did not say what caused the wounds.

(Writing by Simon Cameron-Moore; Editing by Katie Nguyen)

Source


amirrortotheenemy - November 22, 2008 10:55 AM (GMT)
QUOTE
5 accused assisting Benazir murder indicted

Updated at: 1440 PST, Saturday, November 22, 2008 

RAWALPINDI: Anti-Terrorism Special Court, indicting the accused associated in the conspiracy for murder of Benazir Bhutto, adjourned the hearing here until November 29.

Benazir Bhutto murder case accused Rafaqat, Husnain, Sher Zaman, Abdul Rashid and Aitzaz Shah were given a hearing by the Special Court Judge, Chaudhry Habibur Rahman, where all the accused refused to accept the charges leveled against them. The three associate accused in the case-- Aitzaz Shah, Sher Zaman and Abdul Rashid are blamed only for having prior information relating to the terrorism activity, but they didn’t inform the police and other relevant authorities, while the two remaining accused—Rafaqat and Hasnain have been charged for formally associated with the conspiracy to murder Benazir Bhutto and for facilitating the suicide bombers.

Naseer Tanoli and Khurram Quraishi advocates on behalf of the accused, while Raja Yasin on behalf of government as public prosecutor appeared during the hearing today. The lawyers of the accused have decided to approach the High Court against this decision. The statements of the plaintiffs’ witnesses would be recorded in the next hearing.

Source

numeral - May 18, 2009 08:46 PM (GMT)
CODE
http://www.thaindian.com/newsportal/south-asia/us-journo-claims-bhutto-was-killed-on-cheneys-orders_100194038.html

QUOTE
US journo claims Bhutto was killed on Cheney’s orders
May 18th, 2009 - 1:22 pm ICT by ANI

Benazir Bhutto New York, May 18 (ANI): A special death squad assassinated Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on the orders of former US Vice-President Dick Cheney, an Arab TV channel has reported.

“Cheney was the chief of the Joint Special Operation Command and he cleared the way for the US by exterminating opponents through the unit and the CIA. General Stanley was the in-charge of the unit,” The Nation quoted US columnist Seymour Hersh, as saying.

The US death unit killed Bhutto because she had told Al-Jazeera TV about the assassination of Osama Bin Laden, Hersh said.

The US leadership did not want Osama to be declared dead. It would have raised questions about the US Army’s presence in Afghanistan, he claimed.

According to Hersh, the former Lebanese PM Rafique Al Hariri and the army chief were murdered for not safeguarding US interests and for refusing to set up US military bases in Lebanon.

Ariel Sharon, the then prime minister of Israel, was also a key man in the plot, he said. (ANI)


CODE
http://www.nation.com.pk/pakistan-news-newspaper-daily-english-online/Politics/18-May-2009/US-special-squad-killed-Benazir

QUOTE
'US special squad killed Benazir'

Published: May 18, 2009

NEW YORK (Online) - Former prime minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on the orders of the special death squad formed by former US vice-president Dick Cheney, which had already killed the Lebanese Prime Minister Rafique Al Hariri and the army chief of that country.
The squad was headed by General Stanley McChrystal, the newly-appointed commander of US army in Afghanistan. It was disclosed by reputed US journalist Seymour Hersh while talking to an Arab TV in an interview.
Hersh said former US vice-president Cheney was the chief of the Joint Special Operation Command and he clear the way for the US by exterminating opponents through the unit and the CIA. General Stanley was the in-charge of the unit.
Seymour also said that Rafiq Al Hariri and the Lebanese army chief were murdered for not safeguarding the US interests and refusing US setting up military bases in Lebanon. Ariel Sharon, the then prime minister of Israel, was also a key man in the plot.
A number of websites around the world are suspecting the same unit for killing of Benazir Bhutto because in an interview with Al-Jazeera TV on November 2, 2007, she had mentioned the assassination of Usama Bin Laden, Seymour said. According to BB, Umar Saeed Sheikh murdered Usama, but her words were washed out from the David Frosts report, he said.
The US journalist opined that it might have been done on purpose because the US leadership did not like to declare Usama dead for in the case the justification of the presence of US army in Afghanistan could no more be there, hence no reason for operation against Taliban.
On the other hand, the diplomatic analysts believe that BB murder is still a fable and it is for the reason Asif Zardari and other govt authorities are stressing UN probe in the murder case, also paying huge sums for it.
Another website has disclosed that Benazir was put to death in order to roll back Pakistan nuclear programme and the take over its nukes and India, Israel and the US, were making hectic efforts to deprive Pakistan of its atomic capability so as to bring to under their control.

numeral - May 18, 2009 10:46 PM (GMT)
QUOTE
Google News Alert for: "Omar Saeed Sheikh"

Cheney ordered assassination of Benazir Bhutto
DAWN.com - Karachi,Pakistan
Ms Bhutto said she believed Omar Saeed Sheikh, an al Qaeda activist imprisoned in Pakistan for killing US journalist Daniel Pearl, murdered bin Laden. ...


link corrupt (r missing in Benazir's name, correct link at bottom):
CODE
http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/world/12-cheney-ordered-assassination-of-benazi-bhutto--bi-01


CODE
http://joerobertson.com/newstome/politics/cheney-ordered-assassination-of-benazir-bhutto

QUOTE

Cheney Ordered Assassination of Benazir Bhutto?

by joe on May 18, 2009

    Cheney ordered assassination of Benazir Bhutto – DAWN.COM
    By Anwar Iqbal Tuesday, 19 May, 2009

    A special death squad assassinated Ms Bhutto on the orders of former US VP who was running an ‘executive assassination ring’.—AP

    WASHINGTON: A special death squad assassinated Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on the orders of former US Vice-President Dick Cheney, claims an American investigative journalist Seymour Hersh.

    Mr Hersh, a Washington-based journalist who writes for the New Yorker magazine and other prominent media outlets, also claims that former US Vice President Dick Cheney was running an ‘executive assassination ring’ throughout the Bush years. The cell reported directly to Mr Cheney.

    In an interview to an Arab television channel, Mr Hersh indicated that the same unit killed Ms Bhutto because in an interview with al Jazeera TV on Nov. 2, 2007, she had said she believed al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was already dead.

    Ms Bhutto said she believed Omar Saeed Sheikh, an al Qaeda activist imprisoned in Pakistan for killing US journalist Daniel Pearl, murdered bin Laden.

    But the interviewer, veteran British journalist David Frost, deleted her claim from the interview, Mr Hersh said.

    The controversial US journalist told Gulf News on May 12 he believed Ms Bhutto was assassinated because the US leadership did not want bin Laden to be declared dead.

    The Bush administration wanted to keep bin Laden alive to justify the presence of US army in Afghanistan to combat the Taliban, Mr Hersh said.

    The Pulitzer prize-winning American journalist claimed that the unit also killed former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafique Al Hariri and the army chief of that country.

CODE
http://www.dawn.com/wps/wcm/connect/dawn-content-library/dawn/news/world/12-cheney-ordered-assassination-of-benazir-bhutto--bi-01

numeral - May 19, 2009 02:20 AM (GMT)
CODE
http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2009\05\19\story_19-5-2009_pg7_4

QUOTE
I did not say Cheney killed Benazir: Hersh
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
LAHORE: US journalist Seymour Hersh on Monday contradicted news reports being published in South Asia that quote him as saying a “special death squad” made by former US vice president Dick Cheney had killed Benazir Bhutto. The award-winning journalist described as “complete madness” the reports that the squad headed by General Stanley McChrystal – the new commander of US army in Afghanistan – had also killed former Lebanese prime minister Rafique Al Hariri and a Lebanese army chief. “Vice president Cheney does not have a death squad. I have no idea who killed Mr Hariri or Mrs Bhutto,” Hersh said. “I have never said that I did have such information. I most certainly did not say anything remotely to that effect during an interview with an Arab media outlet.” He said Gen McChrystal had run a special forces unit that engaged in “high value target activity”, but “while I have been critical of some of that unit’s activities in the pages of the New Yorker and in interviews, I have never suggested that he was involved in political assassinations or death squads on behalf of Mr Cheney, as the published stories state.” He regretted that none of the publications had contacted him before carrying the report. “This is another example of blogs going bonkers with misleading and fabricated stories and professional journalists repeating such rumours without doing their job – and that is to verify such rumours.” staff report




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