Posted by Adam @ 10:09 am on December 27th 2007

Benazir Bhutto assassinated

Benazir Bhutto, former Pakistani president and candidate in the upcoming Presidential elections, was killed by a bomb that went off at a rally earlier today. MSNBC have a party security guy saying that she was shot first:

A party security adviser said Bhutto was shot in the neck and chest as she got into her vehicle, then the gunman blew himself up.

This is pretty bad news. Musharraf was pressured into lifting the “state of emergency” and will presumably now re-impose it and say this is why it shouldn’t have been lifted in the first place. The question of who is behind this is going to be important (Islamists would be the obvious suspects, but Musharraf may be the obvious beneficiary although he’s no particular friend to the Islamists). This is the second bombing attempt since her return to Pakistan; the last one killed over 100 people and was followed with claims that the Musharraf government didn’t do enough to stop it.

H/t to Jerrod for alerting me to the announcement of her death (last I saw, she was ‘critical’).


  1. This is really freaking awful.

    Bhutto was the first woman ever elected to lead a predominantly Muslim nation, and the fact that she was able to achieve victory in a nation with such a substantial fundamentalist population speaks volumes to her political ability. She was a genuine political heroine.

    If it’s established that Musharraf is behind this, it will be time for the US to pull the rug out from under him, consequences be damned.

    Comment by Rojas — 12/27/2007 @ 1:44 pm

  2. Seems unlikely to me that Musharraf would be caught as being behind this even if he was, which I don’t have any particular reason to believe.

    Comment by Adam — 12/27/2007 @ 2:51 pm

  3. It is a very bad thing, but not the slightest bit surprising to me.

    Comment by James — 12/27/2007 @ 3:51 pm

  4. I haven’t seen any compelling explanation as to why “Islamicists” would hate her more than Musharraff. Maybe they hate them all equally and Bhutto was just an easier target (yes, I know that Musharaff has been targeted several times). Maybe there is a political calculus where they see themselves doing better in elections with her dead. I believe that these groups are pretty savvy and wouldn’t do something like this unless it benefited them, and I can’t see how this benefits the Islamicist agenda.

    So who does it benefit?

    Comment by Jerrod — 12/27/2007 @ 9:23 pm

  5. Why would Musharraff risk the heat from assassinating her when he could have just rigged the election?

    It seems to me that we don’t know enough to really say anything about who might have done it.

    Comment by Adam — 12/27/2007 @ 11:27 pm

  6. The ISI is pretty capable, I would think, so it would be feasible for him (or parties interested in him) to do it. But after watching some more news today and learning more about Bhutto and her intentions once resuming power, I need to wholly revise my earlier stance. There is a very clear motivation for Islamists to oppose her return to power, including statements that she would allow the Western mission in Afghanistan permission to pursue militants into Pakistan.

    As far as making predictions about whodunnit, I’d only be willing to put money on the option that we’re never going to find out for sure.

    Comment by Jerrod — 12/28/2007 @ 12:20 am

  7. Jerrod,
    Instability and disorder benefits the terrorists/extremists. So the assassination would be in their interest.

    Comment by Leotie — 1/3/2008 @ 3:13 pm

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