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Former Pakistan PM Bhutto Killed In Suicide Attack


Former Pakistani PM Bhutto Killed In Suicide Attack

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has been killed in a suicide attack as she was leaving a political rally in the city of Rawalpindi. At least 20 people died in the attack, local reports say. The attack has been condemned internationally. Earlier in October, a suicide bomber killed 100 Benazir Bhutto supporters.

Several reports from witnesses say Bhutto was hit once in the neck and once in the chest before the bomber blew himself up as Bhutto was leaving a rally of her Pakistan People's Party (PPP), for which she was party leader for life, held before elections scheduled for January 8th, after years of military rule.

According to Wasif Ali Khan, a member of Benazir Bhutto's PPP, she died at 18:16 (13:16 UTC), after 35 minutes of attempted resuscitation. The doctors said she had shrapnel injuries.

Her supporters, once informed of the death started chanting, "Dog Musharraf, dog," referring to President Pervez Musharraf. Many blamed Musharraf and the security services for the deaths. In their anger and confusion, PPP supporters destroyed the doors of Rawalpindi General Hospital. Others took to the streets in several cities, including Karachi, where tires were set on fire on the roads, a gas station was burned, and two police officers were wounded by gunmen. In Peshewar, about 100 PPP's supporters blocked the main trunk road, torching billboards and posters of the Pakistan Muslim League, opening fire in the air and screaming. Some buildings, including the main court and banks, were set on fire in Jacobabad as well.

Bhutto was born on June 21, 1953 in Karachi, Pakistan. She served two times as Prime Minister of Pakistan. Bhutto had returned to Pakistan from exile to stand in the upcoming elections. In 2007, she was named the second most influential woman in the world in a list at the American Internet portal MSN.

Benazir Bhutto is survived by her husband Asif Ali Zardari and three children: Bilawal, Bakhtwar, and Aseefa.

Responses to the assassination

A spokesman for the Interior Ministry of Pakistan said that "Terrorists are trying to derail the election process". He also said he couldn't say "whether Bhutto was the target of this attack or whether the attacker was trying to create chaos and bloodshed."

The minister for Pakistani external affairs said that he was "shocked," and that his "sympathy goes to her [Bhutto's] husband and children". He also said "we were looking forward to democracy in Pakistan. The attack shows terror is on the march in Pakistan."

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that "In her death the subcontinent has lost an outstanding leader who worked for democracy and reconciliation in her country." He also said that "the manner of her going is a reminder of the common dangers that our region faces from cowardly acts of terrorism and of the need to eradicate this dangerous threat."

President Musharraf called for citizens of Pakistan to stay calm and said that terrorists can be defeated, providing people do not panic. He also said there was "a serious lapse of security."

United States President George W. Bush said the act that took place was a "cowardly act by murderous extremists who are trying to undermine Pakistan's democracy".

In a statement today, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the killing of Bhutto. "I am shocked and outraged by the assassination of Mrs. Benazir Bhutto, the leader of the Pakistan People's Party and former Prime Minister. This represents an assault on stability in Pakistan and its democratic processes," said Ban. "I strongly condemn this heinous crime and call for the perpetrators to be brought to justice as soon as possible."

The Secretary-General also expressed condolences to Bhutto's family and the people of Pakistan. "While strongly urging for calm and restraint to be maintained at this difficult time, I call on all Pakistanis to work together for peace and national unity," said Ban.

SOURCES

* Benazir Bhutto assassinationTimes Online "Benazir Bhutto killed in suicide bombing". Times Online, December 27, 2007

* BBC News Online "Bhutto 'wounded in suicide blast'". BBC Online, December 27, 2007

* CNN.com "Bhutto killed in attack". CNN Online, December 27, 2007

* "30 killed including Ms Bhutto in suicide attack". The News (Pakistan), December 27, 2007

* "Obituary: Benazir Bhutto". BBC News Online, December 27, 2007

* "Benazir Bhutto shot dead at suicide bombing of rally; 20 feared dead". The Canadian Press, December 27, 2007

* "Benazir 2nd most influential woman in world: MSN list". The Hindu, December 27, 2007

* Salman Masood, Graham Bowley "Bhutto Assassinated in Attack on Rally". The New York Times, December 27, 2007

* Press Release: "Statement by the Secretary-General on Pakistan". UN, December 27, 2007

* Sadaqat Jan, Zarar Khan "Pakistan's Bhutto killed in attack". Yahoo! News, December 27, 2007

* Afp "Pakistan police tear gas protest". The Age, December 27, 2007

* Retrieved from "http://en.wikinews.org/wiki/Benazir_Bhutto_killed_in_suicide_attack"

ENDS

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