Tag: Benazir Bhutto

Candidates React to Bhutto Assassination

Here's what the presidential candidates had to say about the assasination of former Pakistani leader Benazir Bhutto:

Hillary: (full statement at the end of this post)

Clinton said she had come to know Bhutto during the former prime minister's years in office and her time in exile and was "profoundly saddened and outraged" by the assassination. In a world of such violence and threats, Clinton said, "it certainly raises the stakes high for what we expect from our next president. "

Bill Richardson:

Richardson, a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, called on President Bush to force Musharraf to step down. Until then, Richardson said the U.S. must suspend military aid to the Pakistani government.

"A leader has died, but democracy must live. The United States government cannot stand by and allow Pakistan's return to democracy to be derailed or delayed by violence," Richardson said.

Barack Obama:

"She was a respected and resilient advocate for the democratic aspirations of the Pakistani people. We join with them in mourning her loss, and stand with them in their quest for democracy and against the terrorists who threaten the common security of the world," he said.


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Reactions To The Bhutto Assassination

President Bush:

"The United States strongly condemns this cowardly act by murderous extremists who are trying to undermine Pakistan's democracy," he said. "Those who committed this crime must be brought to justice."

From, Spencer Ackerman, Bhutto friend and advisor Husain Haqqani:

A longtime adviser and close friend of assassinated Pakistani ex-prime minister Benazir Bhutto places blame for Bhutto's death squarely on the shoulders of U.S.-supported dictator Pervez Musharraf. . . . "There is only one possibility: the security establishment and Musharraf are complicit, either by negligence or design. That is the most important thing. She's not the first political leader killed, since Musharraf took power, by the security forces." Haqqani notes that Bhutto died of a gunshot wound to the neck. "It's like a hit, not a regular suicide bombing," he says. "It's quite clear that someone who considers himself Pakistan's Godfather has a very different attitude toward human life than you and I do."

Nawaz Sharif:

Pakistan Muslim League (N) chief Nawaz Sharif today described Benazir Bhutto's assassination as the most tragic incident in the history of Pakistan. . . ."We both were struggling for the same cause, and we had signed the charter of democracy," Sharif told a TV channel. . . . Sharif told Bhutto's supporters that he would fight "your war from now on", and that he shared the grief of "the entire nation".

I predict Musharraf will cancel the elections schedlued for 12 days from today.

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Bhutto: The NYTimes Obit

Here, and a nasty piece of work it is:

The daughter of one of Pakistan’s most flamboyant and democratically inclined prime ministers, Benazir Bhutto, 54, served two turbulent tenures of her own in that post. A deeply polarizing figure, she lived in exile in London for years with corruption charges hanging over her head before returning home this fall to present herself as the answer to her nation’s trouble.

. . . A woman of grand ambitions and a taste for complex political maneuvering, Ms. Bhutto, 54, was long the leader of the country’s largest opposition political party, founded by her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. Even from exile, her leadership was firm, and when she returned, she proclaimed herself a tribune of democracy, leading rallies in opposition to Mr. Musharraf, like the one at which she died.

. . . Her record in power, and the dance of veils she has deftly performed since her return — one moment standing up to General Musharraf, then next seeming to accommodate him, and never quite revealing her actual intentions — stirred as much distrust as hope among Pakistanis.

(Emphasis supplied.) More . . .

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Benazir Bhutto Assassinated

A tragic and alarming event:

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 before the blast, and an official from her party said Ms. Bhutto was further injured by the explosion, which was apparently caused by a suicide attacker.

The NYTimes story is incredibly negative towards Ms. Bhutto and has little analysis of what this means for Pakistan, surely the more important story from the US perspective. A very strange story indeed. WaPo has this:

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.

Al Qaida and the Pakistan intelligence services have had a longstanding relationship since the days when Pakistan was the only ally of the Taliban in Afghanistan. The Pakistani government's dealmaking with Al Qaida is also a matter of public record. Who is behind this and why is the question of the moment. As well as what does it mean for Pakistan and the United States. Pakistan's er, spotty, record in fighting Al Qaida and the Taliban, its coddling of known nuclear arms merchant A.Q. Khan and its de facto theft of US funding for fighting Al Qaida for other purposes makes this a critical moment for the US. Unfortunately, we have the worst President in history leading the worst Administration in history at the present time. This is bad.

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