Bhutto was the first woman elected to lead a Muslim state, having been twice elected Prime Minister of Pakistan. She was sworn in for the first time in 1988 but removed from office 20 months later under orders of then-president Ghulam Ishaq Khan on grounds of alleged corruption. In 1993 Bhutto was re-elected but was again removed in 1996 on similar charges, this time by President Farooq Leghari.
Bhutto went into self-imposed exile in Dubai in 1998, where she remained until she returned to Pakistan on 18 October 2007, after reaching an understanding with President Musharraf by which she was granted amnesty and all corruption charges were withdrawn.
She was the eldest child of former prime minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a Pakistani of Sindhi descent, and Begum Nusrat Bhutto, a Pakistani of Iranian-Kurdish descent. Her paternal grandfather was Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto, who came to Larkana Sindh before partition from his native town of Bhatto Kalan, which was situated in the Indian state of Haryana.
She was assassinated on 27 December 2007, in a combined suicide bomb attack and shooting during a political rally of the Pakistan Peoples Party in the Liaquat National Bagh in Rawalpindi.
Phyllis Chesler: RIP Benazir.
Benazir: Rest in Peace. May your death be a turning point, may it inspire your long-suffering people and their leaders to finally say NO! to death cult suicide killers; NO! to Islamism; NO! to despotism.
Evan Kohlmann, CTB: Al-Qaeda to claim responsibility.
There are now widespread reports suggesting that an imminent official statement is expected from Egyptian Al-Qaida spokesman Mustafa Abu Yazid claiming responsibility for the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto.
Earlier today, Al-Qaida issued a separate statement from Mustafa Abu Yazid denying any role in recent blasts targeting mosques in the Pakistani border city of Peshawar. According to that communique from Abu Yazid (dated December 24), "We do not attack targets in mosques or in public places where there are crowds of Muslims in order to safeguard Muslim blood and to respect the sanctity of mosques. This is our approach generally, and we inform all of our supporters in Pakistan--and everywhere else--about these facts."
In from the Cold: The real Pakistan.
Who killed Benazir Bhutto? The real Pakistan, [Andrew McCarthy] writes, a country where Osama bin Laden has at 46% approval rating. He compares the Pakistan of western fantasy, against the reality on the ground:
There is the Pakistan of our fantasy. The burgeoning democracy in whose vanguard are judges and lawyers and human rights activists using the “rule of law” as a cudgel to bring down a military junta. In the fantasy, Bhutto, an attractive, American-educated socialist whose prominent family made common cause with Soviets and whose tenures were rife with corruption, was somehow the second coming of James Madison.
The real Pakistan is a breeding ground of Islamic holy war ...
Passages in italics are from Andrew McCarthy's article.
Aaron Mannes, CTB: Real investigation needed.
Facts about Benazir Bhutto's assassination are in short supply. Unfortunately that is unlikely to change. There is a long tradition of failure to investigate political murders in Pakistan. This cannot continue if Pakistan is to become a stable democratic state that serves its people and exists at peace with the world. The first step is that Musharraf invite the international community to advise in the investigation into Bhutto’s death. The investigation will be politically expensive - it may not reach Musharraf himself but it will reach deep into the civilian and military elites running Pakistan. Broad, tough international engagement is essential to seeing this forward - the stakes are very high. ...
Bill Roggio, Long War Journal: Benazir Bhutto assassinated.
Bhutto supporters have begun to blame President Pervez Musharraf for her death. The sophistication of the attack, the governments reported refusal to provide adequate security, and the location of the bombing have created distrust among Bhutto supporters.
But this attack was most likely carried out by the Taliban and al Qaeda. Baitullah Mehsud, the leader of the newly united Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, or Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan, threatened to kill Bhutto upon her return in October. The Taliban and al Qaeda manage training camps in Pakistan's tribal areas and have trainers and recruits from the Pakistani military in their ranks.
"My men will welcome Bhutto on her return," Baitullah told a former senator. "We don’t accept President General Musharraf and Benazir Bhutto because they only protect the US interest and see things through its glasses. They’re only acceptable if they wear the Pakistani glasses."
Mustafa Abu al Yazid, al Qaeda's commander in Afghanistan, has taken credit for Bhutto's assassination. "We terminated the most precious American asset which vowed to defeat [the] mujahadeen," Yazid told Syed Saleem Shahzad, a Pakistani reporter. The attack was reportedly ordered by Ayman al Zawahiri, al Qaeda's second in command, and carried out by a "defunct Lashkar-i-Jhangvi’s Punjabi volunteer."
Muslims Against Sharia: We condemn the murderers.
Muslims Against Sharia condemn the murderers responsible for the assassination of Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto and her supporters.
Our prayers are with the victims of this atrocity. We send our condolences to their loved ones.
May the homicide bomber rote in hell for eternity. May his accomplices join him soon!
NRO symposium features Jonathan Foreman, Sumit Ganguly, Daveed Gartenstein-Ross, Victor Davis Hanson, Mansoor Ijaz, Stanley Kurtz, Bill Roggio, and Henry Sokolski.