Bhutto's Death Cuts Down Options for Pakistan

December 29, 2007 10:00 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is killed campaigning in Rawalpindi. Only a few weeks ago, Washington had negotiated her return, hoping she would bring political stability.

30-Second Summary

Benazir Bhutto was shot dead on Dec. 27, having just addressed a rally held by her supporters.

She was hit by a sniper while waving from the sunroof of her car. The car traveled a further 50 yards before being stopped by an explosion apparently set off by a suicide bomber. According to the BBC’s correspondent, at least 15 bystanders are believed to have died.

Another suicide attack on Bhutto was attempted in October, on her return to Pakistan after eight years in exile. More than a hundred were killed in that incident.

Bhutto served twice as Pakistani prime minister, and was sacked both times. She spent five years in prison and left the country in 1999 dogged by charges of corruption.

The corruption allegations were dropped on her return in a deal overseen by the United States. Washington hoped a power-sharing agreement between Bhutto and the beleaguered President Pervez Musharraf would prevent the country slipping towards extremism.

However, since her return and Musharraf’s declaration of a state of emergency in November, Bhutto's relationship with the president had deteriorated.

Educated at Harvard and Oxford, Bhutto was, as London's Daily Telegraph observes in its obituary, an Islamic leader that the West felt it could do business with. But to some observers, her "glamorous good looks and fluent English" led to Bhutto being overvalued by America and its allies.

Headline Link: Bhutto assassinated

Background: The prior assassination attempt

Analysis: Questions of probity

Obituaries: Benazir Bhutto (1953–2007)

Historical Context: Pakistan

Reference Material: The Pakistan Peoples Party

Related Links: In her own words

Opinion: What now for Pakistan?


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