Rest in Peace
Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan was assasinated while at a campaign rally in Rawalpindhi, Pakistan. The attack occurred just after Ms. Bhutto left the rally, where she had given a campaign address to party supporters in the run-up to the January 2008 parliamentary elections. She died at 6:16 pm local time at Rawalpindi General Hospital. There seems to be plenty of confusion as to what exactly happened - but it has been confirmed by spokespersons from Ms. Bhutto's party and the BBC that Ms. Bhutto was shot in the neck and the chest before the coward gunman proceded to blow himself up.
Benazir Bhutto, who was born in 1953, was Prime Minister of Pakistan twice. She was educated at Harvard and Oxford and was the first female leader of a Muslim nation in modern history. She returned from exile in October of 2007 in an effort to become a voice for the restoral of democracy in Pakistan.
She was by no means a perfect politician, as we can expect she had her foibles - both times she was PM, she was sacked due to corruption and mismanagement. However, she always worked for the democracy in Pakistan, and was an ally to the United States in the fight against terrorism. It is very likely that it was Al-Qaeda, and not Pervez Musharraf as some may think, who perpetrated this vicious and cowardly attack upon a woman who was working actively to bring democracy to Pakistan and fight against Islamic extremists. She was the last best hope that Pakistan ever had to restore democracy. This is a very sad, sad day for democracy.
This attack should serve as a reminder to moderate and secular Muslisms everywhere that Al-Qaeda is committed to the destruction and savage murder of those leaders that are committed to democracy - this should serve as a reminder to them that Al-Qaeda must be fought, and that it is still armed and dangerous, ready to deal a severe blow to the efforts of any country to democratize. We have seen it in Iraq, we have seen it in Afghanistan and now - we see it in Pakistan. This should be a wake-up call, and should make the Islamic world realize that fighting these extremists is the right thing to do.
As we all begin to point fingers, I think we should really think about who could have been behind this cowardly and vicious attack. The Musharraf government could not have provided any more security for Ms. Bhutto, it provided riot police as well as bodyguards and policemen to protect her. Not to mention the PPP (Pakistan People's Party, the party Bhutto was leading) was also providing plenty of security in itself. I seriously doubt that President Musharraf had ANYTHING to do with this horrendous murder. I think that by doing so he would risk losing support of the United States and further risk alienating himself from the people of Pakistan. He would trigger horrendous consequences, and perhaps the end of his regime by authorizing an assasination of Ms. Bhutto. Why would he risk the destabilization of the country he rules to get rid of Bhutto?
This is the work of none other but Al-Qaeda and/or the Taliban, who are strong in the Baluchistan/Northwest regions of Pakistan that border with Afghanistan. It's time that something is done and that the Pakistani government, with the support of the US and NATO, cracks down on the cowardly murderers in this region.
If we do not, what will be their next target? We risk allowing democracy to go down the drain in the Islamic world.
May she rest in peace, and may God bless her family, her supporters and the nation of Pakistan as they grieve her death.
[If you have any questions or are curious about this event or the implications it has for the world and for Pakistan, the BBC has a really good Q&A article in its website.]