Benazir Bhutto is Dead!
Posted by Ryan on December 27, 2007
Pakistani democratic activist and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was killed by a suicide bomber today after a rally in Rawalpindi, just south of Islamabad. She was shot twice before the bomber blew himself up. About twenty others were killed along with her in this attack, which was the second such attempt on her life since October when 140 people were killed by suicide bombers aiming at Bhutto.
One cannot tell how this is going to affect Pakistani politics in the short term: Musharraf will be pressured into declaring martial law again, Bhutto’s political party (Pakistan People’s Party) may splinter off into factions or incite riots or rebellion, the Islamists may be emboldened and start new attacks, the elections could be postponed or cancelled. Even the language her lawyers used to announce her death is chilling: she was not just assassinated, she was “martyred.” They are blaming Musharraf for not protecting her, but have been campaigning against the kind of strong-armed rule that may have prevented the attack.
Certainly this story is still developing. Bhutto came back to Pakistan in recent months (under some pressure from the USA on Musharraf) to campaign for Prime Minister once again in elections to be held on January 8. Bhutto’s rhetoric reminded me of Putin’s: democracy is cool as long as I’m in charge. It wasn’t perfect, but one-party democracies aren’t too unusual in new democracies or even small states in the US (like the People’s Republic of Rhode Island for example). Yet, she was giving voice to the opposition and was pushing for these very elections. The War on Terror very much remains a hot war in Pakistan.
UPDATE: continuing coverage at Michelle Malkin‘s blog.