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Benazir Bhutto Assassination

Earlier today Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in Pakistan in a suicide ambush. I’ve seen several News Headlines that seem to indicate that some people are “shocked” by the killing.

I am definitely not surprised given the threat Bhutto was exposed to ever since her return from her self-imposed exile on October 18th of this year. She too was well aware of the dangers of returning to Pakistan, but she persevered despite the threat because she wanted to help her country. This threat was most evident on the day she returned when up to 140 people were killed in a bombing that was intended to kill her, including 50 of her bodyguards who literally made a human shield around her to prevent an assassination [1]. In fact, according to the BBC [2], 20,000 troops and police had been deployed in Karachi on the day of her return to oversee her arrival.

So what does this mean for the future of Pakistan? It’s another blow for the United States who staunchly supported Bhutto and her stance against extremists. The Bush Administration is surely worried about the elections now that Bhutto is out of the running. The US has been pushing for “democracy” in Pakistan, but with the US’s number 1 potential ally assassinated, they may have to reassess their options (Keep an eye out on the Bush Administration to see how their tone might change slightly regarding the January elections). Don’t forget that Nawaz Sharif [4] (another former Pakistan Prime Minister) returned to Pakistan in November, so keep an eye out on him to see if he gains some popularity.

A FOX News reporter (John Gibson) has even gone as far as to suggest that Musharraf is to blame for the bombing and that the only way to deal with this “crisis” is to elect a Republican President at the next election who has the “resolve” to fight a “War on Terror”, because the people who killed Bhutto “Would kill you too”. After a little bit of investigation I discovered that Bhutto did say in an e-mail that she would hold Musharraf responsible for protecting her [3], but Gibson takes it out of context and makes his viewers believe that Musharraf is somehow behind the bombing (When watching FOX News you always need to take everything with a grain of salt).

A couple months ago I was reading about Bhutto and trying to come to a conclusion about whether I believed the charges of corruption against her and her husband were true or not. Several European countries (Including Switzerland, Poland and France) hold hundreds of pages of documents relating to corruption allegations against Bhutto and her husband Asif Ali Zardari. Her husband even spent 8 years in prison for corruption charges [4]. There appears to be strong evidence against them, but there is no question that Bhutto was a very brave person who loved her country enough to die for it.

[1] http://www.nytimes.com/2007/10/20/world/asia/20Pakistan.html?pagewanted=1&_r=1
[2] http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/7050274.stm
[3] http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/The_United_States/Bhutto_said_Musharraf_failed_to_protect_her_e-mail/articleshow/2656940.cms
[4] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nawaz_Sharif