Assassination of Benazir Bhutto

Assassination of Benazir Bhutto

Ask a question about 'Assassination of Benazir Bhutto'
Start a new discussion about 'Assassination of Benazir Bhutto'
Answer questions from other users
Full Discussion Forum
The assassination of Benazir Bhutto
Benazir Bhutto
Benazir Bhutto was a democratic socialist who served as the 11th Prime Minister of Pakistan in two non-consecutive terms from 1988 until 1990 and 1993 until 1996....

occurred on 27 December 2007 in Rawalpindi
Rawalpindi , locally known as Pindi, is a city in the Pothohar region of Pakistan near Pakistan's capital city of Islamabad, in the province of Punjab. Rawalpindi is the fourth largest city in Pakistan after Karachi, Lahore and Faisalabad...

, Pakistan
Pakistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Pakistan is a sovereign state in South Asia. It has a coastline along the Arabian Sea and the Gulf of Oman in the south and is bordered by Afghanistan and Iran in the west, India in the east and China in the far northeast. In the north, Tajikistan...

. Bhutto, twice Prime Minister of Pakistan
Prime Minister of Pakistan
The Prime Minister of Pakistan , is the Head of Government of Pakistan who is designated to exercise as the country's Chief Executive. By the Constitution of Pakistan, Pakistan has the parliamentary democratic system of government...

 (1988–1990; 1993–1996) and then-leader of the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party
Pakistan Peoples Party
The Pakistan Peoples Party , is a democratic socialist political party in Pakistan affiliated with Socialist International. Pakistan People's Party is the largest political party of Pakistan...

, had been campaigning ahead of elections due in January 2008
Pakistani general election, 2008
A general election was held in Pakistan on 18 February 2008, after being postponed from 8 January 2008. The original date was intended to elect members of the National Assembly of Pakistan, the lower house of the Majlis-e-Shoora...

. Shots were fired at her after a political rally at Liaquat National Bagh
Liaquat National Bagh
Liaquat National Bagh , usually just referred to as Liaquat Bagh , is a famous park on Murree Road in the city of Rawalpindi, Punjab, Pakistan....

, and a suicide bomb
Suicide attack
A suicide attack is a type of attack in which the attacker expects or intends to die in the process.- Historical :...

 was detonated immediately following the shooting. She was declared dead at 18:16 local time
Pakistan Standard Time
Pakistan Time is the time zone for Pakistan. It is 5 hours ahead of GMT/UTC .The only tz database zone is Asia/Karachi.-History:The current Pakistan time was set up at midnight between 29 September and 30 1951...

 (13:16 UTC
Coordinated Universal Time
Coordinated Universal Time is the primary time standard by which the world regulates clocks and time. It is one of several closely related successors to Greenwich Mean Time. Computer servers, online services and other entities that rely on having a universally accepted time use UTC for that purpose...

), at Rawalpindi General Hospital
Rawalpindi General Hospital
Rawalpindi General Hospital, Murree Road, Rawalpindi, is a major teaching hospital offering the basic specialities as well as psychiatry, orthopaedics, urology and cardiology. It has Rawalpindi’s only CT device. It is associated with Rawalpindi Medical College....

. Twenty-four other people were killed by the bombing. Bhutto had previously survived a similar attempt on her life
2007 Karachi bombing
The 2007 Karachi bombing of October 18, 2007 in Karachi, Pakistan, was an attack on a motorcade carrying former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. The bombing occurred two months before she was assassinated...

 that killed at least 139 people, after her return from exile two months earlier.

Though early reports indicated that she had been hit by shrapnel or the gunshots, the Pakistani Interior Ministry initially stated that Bhutto died of a skull fracture sustained when the force of the explosion caused her head to strike the sunroof of the vehicle. Bhutto's aides rejected this version, and argued instead that she suffered two gunshots before the bomb detonation. The Interior Ministry subsequently backtracked from its previous claim. However, a follow-up investigation by Scotland Yard
Scotland Yard
Scotland Yard is a metonym for the headquarters of the Metropolitan Police Service of London, UK. It derives from the location of the original Metropolitan Police headquarters at 4 Whitehall Place, which had a rear entrance on a street called Great Scotland Yard. The Scotland Yard entrance became...

 found that while gunshots were fired, they were not the cause of death, agreeing with the Interior Ministry's original assessment that the explosion forced her head into the roof of the vehicle.

In May 2007, Bhutto asked for additional protection from foreign contracting agencies Blackwater
Blackwater Worldwide
Xe Services LLC, better known by its former names, Blackwater USA and Blackwater Worldwide, is a private military company founded in 1997 by Erik Prince and Al Clark.. Xe is currently the largest of the U.S. State Department's three private security contractors...

 and the British firm Armour Group. The United Nations' investigation of the incident revealed that, "Ms. Bhutto's assassination could have been prevented if adequate security measures had been taken."


Bhutto had opted for self-exile while her court cases for corruption
Political corruption
Political corruption is the use of legislated powers by government officials for illegitimate private gain. Misuse of government power for other purposes, such as repression of political opponents and general police brutality, is not considered political corruption. Neither are illegal acts by...

 remained pending in foreign and Pakistani courts
Court system of Pakistan
Court system of Pakistan is made up of many courts differing in levels of legal superiority and separated by jurisdiction. Some of the courts are federal in nature while others are provincial.-Structure of courts in Pakistan:...

. After eight years in exile in Dubai
Dubai is a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates . The emirate is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula and has the largest population with the second-largest land territory by area of all the emirates, after Abu Dhabi...

 and London
London is the capital city of :England and the :United Kingdom, the largest metropolitan area in the United Kingdom, and the largest urban zone in the European Union by most measures. Located on the River Thames, London has been a major settlement for two millennia, its history going back to its...

, Bhutto returned to Karachi
Karachi is the largest city, main seaport and the main financial centre of Pakistan, as well as the capital of the province of Sindh. The city has an estimated population of 13 to 15 million, while the total metropolitan area has a population of over 18 million...

 on 18 October 2007 to prepare for the 2008 national elections
Pakistani general election, 2008
A general election was held in Pakistan on 18 February 2008, after being postponed from 8 January 2008. The original date was intended to elect members of the National Assembly of Pakistan, the lower house of the Majlis-e-Shoora...

, allowed by a possible power-sharing deal with President Pervez Musharraf
Pervez Musharraf
Pervez Musharraf , is a retired four-star general who served as the 13th Chief of Army Staff and tenth President of Pakistan as well as tenth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. Musharraf headed and led an administrative military government from October 1999 till August 2007. He ruled...


Bhutto survived an assassination attempt in Karachi during this homecoming. En route to a rally in Karachi
Karachi is the largest city, main seaport and the main financial centre of Pakistan, as well as the capital of the province of Sindh. The city has an estimated population of 13 to 15 million, while the total metropolitan area has a population of over 18 million...

 on 18 October 2007, two explosions occurred shortly after she had landed and left Jinnah International Airport
Jinnah International Airport
Jinnah International Airport is Pakistan's largest international and domestic airport. It is located in Karachi, Pakistan, and its passenger terminal is also commonly known as the جناح ٹرمینل Jinnah Terminal...

 returning from her exile. Bhutto was not injured, but the explosions, later found to be a suicide-bomb attack, killed 139 people and injured at least 450. The dead included at least 50 of the security guards from her Pakistan Peoples Party, who had formed a human chain
Human chain
A human chain is a form of demonstration in which people link their arms as a show of political solidarity.The number of demonstrators involved in a human chain is often disputed; the organizers of the human chain often report higher numbers than governmental authorities.Notable human chains, in...

 around her truck to keep potential bombers away, as well as six police officers. A number of senior officials were injured. Bhutto was escorted unharmed from the scene.

After the bombing Bhutto and her husband asked Musharraf for greater security, including tinted windows
Window film
There are many types of window tint available in the market for a wide variety of uses from solar heat reduction to UV protection, privacy to safety and security, decorative applications to heat retention.- Primary properties :...

, jammers
Radio jamming
Radio jamming is the transmission of radio signals that disrupt communications by decreasing the signal to noise ratio. Unintentional jamming occurs when an operator transmits on a busy frequency without first checking whether it is in use, or without being able to hear stations using the frequency...

 for bombs, private guards, and four police vehicles. These calls were echoed by three U.S. Senators
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

 who wrote to Musharraf. Bhutto's supporters and the Pakistani government dispute whether or not she was provided adequate protection. The Israeli newspaper Maariv
Maariv is a Hebrew language daily newspaper published in Israel. It is second in sales after Yedioth Ahronoth and third in readership after Yedioth Ahronoth and Israel HaYom. In a TGI survey comparing the last half of 2009 with the same period in 2008, Maariv saw its market share fall slightly...

 reported that Bhutto further asked the United States' Central Intelligence Agency
Central Intelligence Agency
The Central Intelligence Agency is a civilian intelligence agency of the United States government. It is an executive agency and reports directly to the Director of National Intelligence, responsible for providing national security intelligence assessment to senior United States policymakers...

 (CIA), Britain's Scotland Yard, and Israel's Mossad
The Mossad , short for HaMossad leModi'in uleTafkidim Meyuchadim , is the national intelligence agency of Israel....

 several weeks before the assassination to help provide for her protection. Israel had not yet decided whether or not to provide aid because it did not want to upset relations with Pakistan
Israeli-Pakistani relations
Israel–Pakistan relations refers to bilateral relations between Israel and Pakistan. Diplomatic ties have not been established and like many other Muslim countries, Pakistan does not recognize Israel...

 and India. Bhutto also tried to obtain private security personnel, approaching both the U.S.-based Blackwater
Blackwater Worldwide
Xe Services LLC, better known by its former names, Blackwater USA and Blackwater Worldwide, is a private military company founded in 1997 by Erik Prince and Al Clark.. Xe is currently the largest of the U.S. State Department's three private security contractors...

 and UK-based ArmorGroup
ArmorGroup International is a British company providing private security. It was founded in 1981 and was listed on the London Stock Exchange until 6 June 2008 ....

. However, the Pakistani government refused to give visas to the foreign security contractors. Despite this, American diplomats provided Bhutto with confidential U.S. intelligence on threats against her. After the assassination, President Musharraf denied that Bhutto should have received more security, saying that her death was primarily her own fault because she took "unnecessary risks" and should have exited the rally more quickly.


Benazir Bhutto had just addressed a rally of Pakistan Peoples Party supporters in the city of Rawalpindi when the rally was rocked by a blast. Bhutto was leaving the rally when the attack occurred. Initial police reports stated that one or more assassins fired at Bhutto's bulletproof
Armored car (VIP)
A civilian armored car is a security vehicle which made by replacing the windows of a standard vehicle with bulletproof glass and inserting layers of armor plate into the body panels...

 white Toyota Land Cruiser
Toyota Land Cruiser
The is a series of four-wheel drive vehicles produced by the Japanese car maker Toyota Motor Corporation. It is not related to the Studebaker Land Cruiser car produced in the US from 1934-1954....

 just as she was about to drive off after the rally. A suicide bomber detonating a bomb next to her vehicle followed. According to Getty Images
Getty Images
Getty Images, Inc. is a stock photo agency, based in Seattle, Washington, USA. It is a supplier of stock images for business and consumers with an archive of 80 million still images and illustrations and more than 50,000 hours of stock film footage...

 photographer John Moore, Bhutto was standing through her vehicle's sunroof
An automotive sunroof is a fixed or operable opening in an automobile roof which allows light and/or fresh air to enter the passenger compartment. Sunroofs may be manually operated or motor driven, and are available in many shapes, sizes and styles...

 to wave at supporters, and fell back inside after two gunshots. The Times of India aired an amateur clip showing the assassin firing three gun shots at Bhutto before the blast.

Following the incident, an unconscious Bhutto was taken to the Rawalpindi General Hospital at 17:35 local time, where doctors led by Rawalpindi Medical College Principal Mohammad Musaddiq Khan tried to resuscitate her, performing a "left anterolateral thoracotomy
Thoracotomy is an incision into the pleural space of the chest. It is performed by a surgeon, and, rarely, by emergency physicians, to gain access to the thoracic organs, most commonly the heart, the lungs, the esophagus or thoracic aorta, or for access to the anterior spine such as is necessary...

 for open cardiac massage". Sadiq Khan, Mohammad Khan's father, had tried to save Liaquat Ali Khan
Liaquat Ali Khan
For other people with the same or similar name, see Liaqat Ali Nawabzada Liaquat Ali Khan was a Pakistani statesman who became the first Prime Minister of Pakistan, Defence minister and Commonwealth, Kashmir Affairs...

 when he was assassinated in the same park and rushed to the same hospital in 1951. Although Pakistan Peoples Party spokesman Farhatullah Babar
Farhatullah Babar
Farhatullah Babar is a Pakistani politician and Parliamentarian from Pakistan People's Party to the Parliament. He is a senior member of the Pakistan Peoples Party and served in the Pakistani Senate from 2003 to 2006. He was an outspoken critic of the former Pakistani administration headed by...

 initially said that Bhutto was safe, she was declared dead at 18:16 local time
Pakistan Standard Time
Pakistan Time is the time zone for Pakistan. It is 5 hours ahead of GMT/UTC .The only tz database zone is Asia/Karachi.-History:The current Pakistan time was set up at midnight between 29 September and 30 1951...

 (13:16 UTC
Coordinated Universal Time
Coordinated Universal Time is the primary time standard by which the world regulates clocks and time. It is one of several closely related successors to Greenwich Mean Time. Computer servers, online services and other entities that rely on having a universally accepted time use UTC for that purpose...


Cause of death

Bhutto's cause of death has been much discussed and debated. Some commentators have suggested that this debate has been motivated by attempts to define Bhutto's legacy: perhaps Bhutto would be considered a martyr
A martyr is somebody who suffers persecution and death for refusing to renounce, or accept, a belief or cause, usually religious.-Meaning:...

 if she died by gunshot, but not if she died by hitting her head following a bomb blast. Others have asserted that the arguments against a death by gunshot were intended to blunt criticism that she was not adequately protected.

Initial reports based on Pakistani Interior Ministry information reported that Bhutto was killed by a gunshot wound to the neck. Rehman Malik
Rehman Malik
27 April 2009 He has been the interior adviser since 27 March 2008.Senator A. Rehman Malik is a Pakistani politician, member of the Senate of Pakistan, and the current Interior Minister of Pakistan under the Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani administration. His Second name is Shetan Malik and he...

, a security adviser for Pakistan Peoples Party, suggested that the killer opened fire as Bhutto left the rally and that he hit her in the neck and chest before he detonated the explosives he was wearing. Javed Cheema, an interior ministry spokesman, stated that her injuries were caused either by her having been shot or from pellets packed into the detonated bomb that acted as shrapnel
Fragmentation (weaponry)
Fragmentation is the process by which the casing of an artillery shell, bomb, grenade, etc. is shattered by the detonating high explosive filling. The correct technical terminology for these casing pieces is fragments , although shards or splinters can be used for non-preformed fragments...


On 28 December, however, the cause of Bhutto's death became less clear. Pakistan's Interior Ministry announced that they now felt Bhutto's death was as a result of a neck fracture sustained when she ducked or fell into her vehicle and hit the sunroof catch immediately after the gunshots but later reported her cause of death as a skull fracture. According to an Associated Press
Associated Press
The Associated Press is an American news agency. The AP is a cooperative owned by its contributing newspapers, radio and television stations in the United States, which both contribute stories to the AP and use material written by its staff journalists...

 report, the Ministry stated "Bhutto was killed when she tried to duck back into the vehicle, and the shock waves from the blast knocked her head into a lever attached to the sunroof, fracturing her skull". The Ministry further added, in contradiction of the official hospital account, that Bhutto suffered no gunshot or shrapnel injuries and that all gunshots missed her.

Pakistan Peoples Party spokesman Farhatullah Babar rejected claims that Bhutto's death was caused by an accident. Bhutto’s lawyer and a senior official in the Pakistan Peoples Party, Farooq Naik, said that the report was "baseless" and "a pack of lies". He went on to support the view that the cause of death was two bullets hitting Bhutto in the abdomen and the head. An anonymous Toyota official also rejected the notion that she could have even hit the lever based on its location in the car (a Toyota Land Cruiser).

In statements made to Pakistan's The News
The News International
The News International , published in tabloid size, is the largest English language newspaper in Pakistan. The News has an ABC certified circulation of 140,000. It is published from Karachi, Lahore and Rawalpindi/Islamabad...

, Mohammad Mussadiq Khan, one of the doctors who treated Bhutto at Rawalpindi General Hospital, described severe and depressed skull fractures, oval in overall shape, on the right side of Bhutto's head. He apparently saw no other injuries and downplayed the possibility of bullet wounds, although he had previously spoken of them. One anonymous doctor said that Pakistani authorities took Bhutto's medical records immediately after her death, and that they told doctors to stop talking.

On 31 December, Athar Minallah of the Rawalpindi General Hospital released a statement (described as "clinical notes") signed by seven persons involved in Bhutto's treatment at the hospital. These persons were not pathologists and did not conduct a formal autopsy. The statement first narrates the course of treatment, from Bhutto's arrival at the hospital until she was declared dead. The second part of the statement details the head wound and notes that "Detailed external examination of the body did not reveal any other external injury". X-rays had been taken of the head wound and were interpreted in the statement. The cause of death was declared to be "Open head injury with depressed skull fracture, leading to cardiopulmonary arrest".

According to The Washington Post
The Washington Post
The Washington Post is Washington, D.C.'s largest newspaper and its oldest still-existing paper, founded in 1877. Located in the capital of the United States, The Post has a particular emphasis on national politics. D.C., Maryland, and Virginia editions are printed for daily circulation...

, the crime scene was cleared before any forensic examination could be completed and no formal autopsy was performed before burial. Doctors had asked permission to perform an autopsy, but this request was denied by the Rawalpindi chief of police. According to the BBC, Brigadier Cheema claims "We gave you absolute facts…corroborated by the doctors' report," and that Pakistan would allow her body to be exhumed. Bhutto's husband later confirmed that he had denied a request for an autopsy to be conducted citing fears the report would be manipulated.

On 1 January 2008, Pakistan's Interior Ministry backtracked on its statement that Benazir Bhutto had died from hitting her head on the sunroof latch. Ministry spokesman, Javed Iqbal Cheema said that the ministry would wait for forensic investigations before making a conclusion on Bhutto's cause of death.

On 8 February 2008, investigators from Scotland Yard concluded that Benazir Bhutto died after hitting her head as she was tossed by the force of a suicide blast, not from an assassin’s bullet. In the report, UK Home Office pathologist Dr. Nathaniel Cary said that while a gunshot wound to her head or trunk could not be entirely excluded as a possibility, "the only tenable cause for the rapidly fatal head injury in this case is that it occurred as the result of impact due to the effects of the bomb-blast." The findings were consistent with the Pakistani government’s explanation of Bhutto’s assassination, an account that had been greeted with disbelief by Ms. Bhutto’s supporters.


Bhutto's funeral occurred on the afternoon of 28 December 2007. Her body was moved from Chaklala Airbase in Rawalpindi to Sukkur Airport
Sukkur Airport
Sukkur Airport is a domestic airport situated about 8km away from the city centre of Sukkur in the Sukkur District in the Sindh province of Pakistan. It is medium airport and caters mainly to the population of Sukkur, Khairpur and Rohri...

 on 28 December at 1:20 a.m. Both her children and her husband travelled with her body. Earlier they reached Chaklala Air Base by a special flight to get her body. Mourners from all over Pakistan made their way to Larkana
Larkana or Larkano is the fourth largest city in the north-western part of Sindh Province, Pakistan, and is located within Larkana District.The old name of larkano is chandka which was changed in 1901. In August 2000 Larkana celebrated its hundred years of existence...

 to take part in the funeral ceremony for the former Prime Minister. The family delivered the body to its site of burial via helicopter. Bhutto was laid to rest beside her father in the family tomb.


After Bhutto's death, supporters wept and broke the hospital's glass doors, threw stones at cars, and reportedly chanted "Dog, Musharraf, dog" outside the hospital, referring to President Musharraf. Others attacked police and burned election campaign posters and tyres. Some opposition groups said that the assassination could lead to civil war, and other commentators said that the upcoming elections would likely be postponed.
Demonstrations were widespread in Pakistan with police using tear gas and batons to break up angry demonstrations in Peshawar
Peshawar is the capital of Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa and the administrative center and central economic hub for the Federally Administered Tribal Areas of Pakistan....

. Some protesters torched the billboards of Musharraf, firing in the air and screaming. Protests in Multan
Multan , is a city in the Punjab Province of Pakistan and capital of Multan District. It is located in the southern part of the province on the east bank of the Chenab River, more or less in the geographic centre of the country and about from Islamabad, from Lahore and from Karachi...

 also had protesters burning tires and blocking traffic. Similar scenes were witnessed in Karachi
Karachi is the largest city, main seaport and the main financial centre of Pakistan, as well as the capital of the province of Sindh. The city has an estimated population of 13 to 15 million, while the total metropolitan area has a population of over 18 million...

, Bhutto's hometown. Police in Sindh
Sindh historically referred to as Ba'ab-ul-Islam , is one of the four provinces of Pakistan and historically is home to the Sindhi people. It is also locally known as the "Mehran". Though Muslims form the largest religious group in Sindh, a good number of Christians, Zoroastrians and Hindus can...

 were put on red alert. Two police officers were shot in Karachi during the riots following the assassination.
Musharraf ordered a crack down on rioters and looters to ensure safety and security. The Pakistan Rangers announced shoot-on-sight orders against anyone inciting violence or arson, although attempts to avoid direct confrontation were maintained. On 28 December the riots deteriorated, especially in the Sindh Province, the homeground of Bhutto. Foreign outlets, trains, banks and vehicles were destroyed or burned and protesters took over the streets, chanting slogans and setting tires on fire in several cities. At least 47 people died in the riots. Rioters destroyed 176 banks, 34 gasoline stations and hundreds of cars and shops. News of Bhutto's death was heard with a great shock and there was immediate mass anger that erupted in all parts of Pakistan. December 28 was the first day of a general strike called by many groups, ranging from political parties to various professional groups.
Then it was the banks mainly in Sind. They were attacked and the buildings were burned in many cities of Sind. Most of the automated teller machine
Automated teller machine
An automated teller machine or automatic teller machine, also known as a Cashpoint , cash machine or sometimes a hole in the wall in British English, is a computerised telecommunications device that provides the clients of a financial institution with access to financial transactions in a public...

s were destroyed. In some places, people were lucky to bring some money home.
Hundreds of private buses were burned in all parts of the country. There were also incidents of burning of trains in Sind. According to the Daily Jang, "28 railway stations, 13 railway engines and seven trains have been burned resulting over three billion rupees loss. The whole rail system has collapsed since the night of December 27. Thousands of passengers are on the railway stations waiting for restoration. There is no sign of restoration for some days. Thousands of private cars have been damaged all over Pakistan by the angry mobs, mainly youth. The houses and offices of politicians, local government mayors and administration are the other victims of the mass reaction. They have either been burned or damaged."

Over 100 people died in the incidents related to mass protest, either by police or in the crossfire of different groups.

Pakistan Peoples Party

Bhutto's son, Bilawal Zardari, read her instructions on the future of the Pakistan Peoples Party on 30 December. He was appointed Chairman of the Pakistan Peoples Party on 30 December 2007 in accordance with his mother's wish, and his father will be co-chairman.

Elections and electoral fraud report

Pakistan's election commission met on 31 December to decide whether or not to delay the January elections; two days before they hinted that they would need to because pre-election preparation had been "adversely affected". A senior election commission official subsequently announced that the election would be delayed until "the later part of February".

Senator Latif Khosa
Latif Khosa
Sardar Muhammad Latif Khosa is the current Governor of Punjab, and a politician representing Pakistan People's Party. A former senator and a former Attorney General of Pakistan, Latif Khosa was appointed as the Governor of Punjab by the President of Pakistan after the murder of late-Governor...

, one of Bhutto's top aides, reported that she was planning to divulge evidence of fraud in the upcoming election following the event where the assassination took place. The pair co-wrote a 160-page dossier on the subject, with Bhutto outlining tactics she alleged would be put into play, including intimidation, excluding voters and fake ballots being planted in boxes. The report was titled Yet another stain on the face of democracy.
In a statement he made on 1 January 2008, Khosa said:

Khosa said that they had planned to give the dossier to two American law-makers on the evening of her assassination and release it publicly soon after that. One of the claims in the dossier was that US financial aid had been secretly misappropriated for electoral fraud and another was that the ISI has a 'mega-computer' which could hack into any other computer and was connected to the Election Commission's system. A spokesman for President Musharraf called the claims "ridiculous".

In the run up to the election, the 'sympathy vote' was considered crucial for the Pakistan Peoples Party, which was expected to win the National Assembly. The election results yielded a majority for the Pakistan Peoples Party in the National Assembly, and in the Provincial Assembly of Sindh
Provincial Assembly of Sindh
The Provincial Assembly of the Sindh is a unicameral house of elected representatives of people of Sindh established under Article 106 of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan...



Following a three-day shut-down, the benchmark index, the KSE100 index, of the Karachi Stock Exchange
Karachi Stock Exchange
The Karachi Stock Exchange or KSE is a stock exchange located in Karachi, Sindh, Pakistan. It is Pakistan's largest and oldest stock exchange, with many Pakistani as well as overseas listings. Currently located in Stock Exchange Building on Stock Exchange Road, in the heart of Karachi's Business...

 fell 4.7%. The Pakistani rupee
Pakistani rupee
The rupee is the currency of Pakistan. The issuance of the currency is controlled by the State Bank of Pakistan, the central bank of the country. The most commonly used symbol for the rupee is Rs, used on receipts when purchasing goods and services. In Pakistan, the rupee is referred to as the...

 fell to its lowest level against the U.S. dollar
United States dollar
The United States dollar , also referred to as the American dollar, is the official currency of the United States of America. It is divided into 100 smaller units called cents or pennies....

 since October 2001. The stock exchange has a history of recovering after political unrest. The Pakistan Railways
Pakistan Railways
This article is about the rail company in Pakistan. For technical details and operations see: Transport in Pakistan.Pakistan Railways is a national state-owned rail transport service of Pakistan, head-quartered in Lahore. It is administered by the federal government under the Ministry of Railways....

 suffered losses of PKR
Pakistani rupee
The rupee is the currency of Pakistan. The issuance of the currency is controlled by the State Bank of Pakistan, the central bank of the country. The most commonly used symbol for the rupee is Rs, used on receipts when purchasing goods and services. In Pakistan, the rupee is referred to as the...

 12.3 billion as a direct result of riots following the assassination. 63 railway stations, 149 bogies
Jacobs bogie
Jacobs bogies are a type of rail vehicle bogie commonly found on articulated railcars and tramway vehicles....

, and 29 locomotive
A locomotive is a railway vehicle that provides the motive power for a train. The word originates from the Latin loco – "from a place", ablative of locus, "place" + Medieval Latin motivus, "causing motion", and is a shortened form of the term locomotive engine, first used in the early 19th...

s were damaged within two days of Bhutto's death. In the first four days after the assassination, Karachi suffered losses of US$1 billion. By the fifth day, the cost of country wide violence amounted to 8% of the GDP
Gross domestic product
Gross domestic product refers to the market value of all final goods and services produced within a country in a given period. GDP per capita is often considered an indicator of a country's standard of living....



On 27 December, al-Qaeda
Al-Qaeda is a global broad-based militant Islamist terrorist organization founded by Osama bin Laden sometime between August 1988 and late 1989. It operates as a network comprising both a multinational, stateless army and a radical Sunni Muslim movement calling for global Jihad...

 commander Mustafa Abu al-Yazid is said to have claimed responsibility for the assassination, telling several news outlets that "We terminated the most precious American asset which vowed to defeat [the] mujahideen
Mujahideen are Muslims who struggle in the path of God. The word is from the same Arabic triliteral as jihad .Mujahideen is also transliterated from Arabic as mujahedin, mujahedeen, mudžahedin, mudžahidin, mujahidīn, mujaheddīn and more.-Origin of the concept:The beginnings of Jihad are traced...

." In his statement to the media, he further claimed that al-Yazid stated that al-Qaeda second-in-command Ayman al-Zawahiri
Ayman al-Zawahiri
Ayman Mohammed Rabie al-Zawahiri is an Egyptian physician, Islamic theologian and current leader of al-Qaeda. He was previously the second and last "emir" of the Egyptian Islamic Jihad, having succeeded Abbud al-Zumar in the latter role when Egyptian authorities sentenced al-Zumar to life...

 ordered the killing in October 2007. Asia Times Online
Asia Times Online
Asia Times Online is a bilingual English‒Chinese, Internet-based newspaper covering geopolitics, politics, economics and business "from an Asian perspective"...

 also reported that it had received a claim of responsibility from al-Yazid by telephone. U.S. intelligence officials have said that they cannot confirm this claim of responsibility. Nonetheless, U.S. analysts have said that al-Qaeda was a likely, or even prime suspect. For its part, the Pakistani Interior Ministry (of the previous Musharraf administration) stated that it had proof that al-Qaeda was behind the assassination, stating "that the suicide bomber belonged to Lashkar-e-Jhangvi – an al Qaeda-linked Sunni Muslim militant group that the government has blamed for hundreds of killings". The Interior Ministry also claimed to have intercepted a statement by militant leader Baitullah Mehsud
Baitullah Mehsud
Baitullah Mehsud was a leading militant in Waziristan, Pakistan, and the leader of the Tehrik-i-Taliban Pakistan . He formed the TTP from an alliance of about five militant groups in December 2007. He is thought by U.S...

, said to be linked to al-Qaeda, in which he congratulated his followers for carrying out the assassination. On 29 December a Mehsud spokesman told the Associated Press that Mehsud was not involved in the assassination: "I strongly deny it. Tribal people have their own customs. We don't strike women. It is a conspiracy by government, military and intelligence agencies." The Pakistan Peoples Party also called the government's blame of Mehsud a diversion: "The story that al-Qaida or Baitullah Mehsud did it appears to us to be a planted story, an incorrect story, because they want to divert the attention," said Farhatullah Babar, a spokesman for Bhutto's party. On 18 January 2008, CIA Director Michael Hayden claimed that Mehsud and his network was responsible.

Bhutto, in a letter to Musharraf written on 16 October 2007, named four persons involved in an alleged plot to kill her: current Intelligence Bureau (IB) Chief Ijaz Shah
Ijaz Shah
Brigadier Ijaz Shah is a retired Pakistan Army officer and the former Director-General of Intelligence Bureau of Pakistan, and a long-term close associate of Pervez Musharraf, and a former Pakistan Inter-Services Intelligence operator. He resigned as the IB chief on 17 March 2008...

, former chief minister of Punjab Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi
Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi
Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi , is a Pakistani politician. He was the Chief Minister of Pakistan's most populous province, Punjab, from 2002 to 2007. He is a senior leader and Provincial President of Pakistan Muslim League, Punjab....

, former chief minister of Sindh Arbab Ghulam Rahim
Arbab Ghulam Rahim
Dr. Arbab Ghulam Rahim remained the Chief Minister of the Government of Sindh during 2004-2007.He was born on 15 September 1957.He belongs to District Tharparkar in the province of Sindh, Pakistan...

, and the former ISI chief, Hamid Gul, as those who posed a threat to her life. British newspaper The Times
The Times
The Times is a British daily national newspaper, first published in London in 1785 under the title The Daily Universal Register . The Times and its sister paper The Sunday Times are published by Times Newspapers Limited, a subsidiary since 1981 of News International...

 suggested that elements within the Pakistani Inter-Services Intelligence with close ties to Islamists might have been behind the killing, though it asserts that Musharraf would have been unlikely to have ordered the assassination. October 2007 emails from Bhutto saying she would blame Musharraf for her death if she were killed, because the Musharraf government was not providing adequate security, were also published after Bhutto's death. Soon after the killing, many of Bhutto's supporters believed that the Musharraf government was involved in the assassination. On 30 December Scotland on Sunday
Scotland on Sunday
Scotland on Sunday is a Scottish Sunday newspaper, published in Edinburgh by The Scotsman Publications Ltd and consequently assuming the role of Sunday sister to its daily stablemate The Scotsman...

 quoted MI5
The Security Service, commonly known as MI5 , is the United Kingdom's internal counter-intelligence and security agency and is part of its core intelligence machinery alongside the Secret Intelligence Service focused on foreign threats, Government Communications Headquarters and the Defence...

 sources saying that factions of Pakistan's Inter-Services Intelligence
Inter-Services Intelligence
The Directorate for Inter-Services Intelligence , is Pakistan's premier intelligence agency, responsible for providing critical national security intelligence assessment to the Government of Pakistan...

 may be responsible for the assassination. Bhutto anticipated that three senior allies of President Musharraf were out to kill her in a secret email to Foreign Secretary David Miliband
David Miliband
David Wright Miliband is a British Labour Party politician who has been the Member of Parliament for South Shields since 2001, and was the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs from 2007 to 2010. He is the elder son of the late Marxist theorist Ralph Miliband...

 written weeks before her death.

United Nations inquiry

A formal investigation by the United Nations commenced on 1 July 2009. The report concluded that the security measures provided to Bhutto by the government were "fatally insufficient and ineffective". Furthermore, the report states that the treatment of the crime scene after her death "goes beyond mere incompetence". The report states that "police actions and omissions, including the hosing down of the crime scene and failure to collect and preserve evidence, inflicted irreparable damage to the investigation."

Official indictment

On November 5, 2011 a Pakistani court indicted two police officers in connection with Bhutto's 2007 assassination in Rawalpindi, among them the former police chief of the city. The two men were in charge of the former prime minister's security and have been previously arrested charged with "charged with conspiracy as well as abetment in the murder" and "changing the security plan" A further 5 men have also been indicted all of whom are believed to have been affiliated with Beitullah Mehsud, the Pakistani Taliban leader blamed by the government for the attack. An arrest warrant is still outstanding for ex-President Pervez Musharraf
Pervez Musharraf
Pervez Musharraf , is a retired four-star general who served as the 13th Chief of Army Staff and tenth President of Pakistan as well as tenth Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee. Musharraf headed and led an administrative military government from October 1999 till August 2007. He ruled...

, who reportedly gave the orders for police to ease up on security.

Pakistani government

According to state television, Musharraf held an emergency cabinet meeting after he received word of the blast. He then addressed the nation, saying that "We shall not rest till we tackle this problem and eliminate all the terrorists. This is the only way the nation will be able to move forward, otherwise this will be the biggest obstacle to our advancement." In a televised address, President Musharraf publicly condemned the killing of Bhutto, proclaiming a three-day mourning period with all national flags at half mast. Mahmud Ali Durrani
Mahmud Ali Durrani
Mahmud Ali Durrani is a retired Pakistani army officer. He was the National Security Advisor to Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gillani's administration until he was fired in January 2009 for "not consulting the Prime Minister while giving statements on foreign relation matters"...

, the Pakistani ambassador
An ambassador is the highest ranking diplomat who represents a nation and is usually accredited to a foreign sovereign or government, or to an international organization....

 to the United States, called Bhutto's death "a national tragedy" and stated that "... we have lost one of our important, very important and, I would stress, liberal leaders."


Nawaz Sharif
Nawaz Sharif
Mian Mohammad Nawaz Sharif is a Pakistani conservative politician and steel magnate who served as 12th Prime Minister of Pakistan in two non-consecutive terms from November 1990 to July 1993, and from February 1997 to October 12, 1999...

 was the first mainstream political leader to reach the hospital and express his solidarity with Bhutto's family and political workers. He vowed to "fight your [Bhutto's] war from now on" and calling the day of her assassination the "darkest, gloomiest day in the history of this country". Despite extreme political enmity between the two leaders during the 1990s, both vowed to introduce politics of tolerance before returning from exile and had earlier signed the Charter of Democracy
Charter of Democracy
The Charter of Democracy was signed by Nawaz Sharif of Pakistan Muslim League and Benazir Bhutto of Pakistan Peoples Party on May 14, 2006 in London...

. After signing the charter, they said that they would work for an end to the rule of President Musharraf. Earlier in the day, Nawaz Sharif's political meeting had also been shot at, resulting in the death of four people. Later that day Sharif demanded that Musharraf "quit immediately" and said that the Pakistan Muslim League (N)
Pakistan Muslim League (N)
The Pakistan Muslim League is a conservative political party in Pakistan, affiliated with Western conservatism...

, his political party, would boycott the January elections.

Chairman Imran Khan
Imran Khan
Imran Khan Niazi is a Pakistani politician and former Pakistani cricketer, playing international cricket for two decades in the late twentieth century. After retiring, he entered politics...

 of the Tehreek-e-Insaf
Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf
The Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf is a political party in Pakistan. PTI was founded by former Pakistani cricket captain and philanthropist Imran Khan. The party's slogan is "Justice, Humanity and Self Esteem".-Founding:...

 party strongly condemned the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. "It is a dastardly act designed to destabilise Pakistan with the government responsible for not providing her security though she was demanding it. We must fight this menace of terrorism. It is a black day in the history of Pakistan and an irreparable loss to this country," Khan said.

Pakistan Peoples Party Washington, DC chapter president Javaid Manzoor said, "We [Bhutto's supporters] are shocked. We are stunned. Every single one of us is mourning the loss of our leader," also stating that he believed that the next election, scheduled for 8 January would be cancelled. Pakistan Peoples Party senior vice chairman Ameen Faheem later called for a 40-day period of mourning across Pakistan. Pakistan Peoples Party spokesman Farhatullah Babar said the Pakistan Peoples Party was unhappy with the government's declaration of the death coming as a result of an accident and said that the Pakistan Peoples Party wanted to see a change in the direction of the investigation. He called for an independent inquiry into the assassination by international experts. He also said that "had the government accepted our demand of conducting an inquiry into Karachi’s 18 October blast by international experts, this incident would not have happened."

International reaction

Bhutto's assassination was met with widespread condemnation by members of the international community, including Pakistan's regional neighbours Afghanistan
Afghanistan , officially the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, is a landlocked country located in the centre of Asia, forming South Asia, Central Asia and the Middle East. With a population of about 29 million, it has an area of , making it the 42nd most populous and 41st largest nation in the world...

, China
People's Republic of China
China , officially the People's Republic of China , is the most populous country in the world, with over 1.3 billion citizens. Located in East Asia, the country covers approximately 9.6 million square kilometres...

, India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, Bangladesh
Bangladesh , officially the People's Republic of Bangladesh is a sovereign state located in South Asia. It is bordered by India on all sides except for a small border with Burma to the far southeast and by the Bay of Bengal to the south...

, and Iran
Iran , officially the Islamic Republic of Iran , is a country in Southern and Western Asia. The name "Iran" has been in use natively since the Sassanian era and came into use internationally in 1935, before which the country was known to the Western world as Persia...

. Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh
Manmohan Singh
Manmohan Singh is the 13th and current Prime Minister of India. He is the only Prime Minister since Jawaharlal Nehru to return to power after completing a full five-year term. A Sikh, he is the first non-Hindu to occupy the office. Singh is also the 7th Prime Minister belonging to the Indian...

 praised Bhutto's efforts for the improvement of Indo-Pakistani relations
Indo-Pakistani relations
Relations between India and Pakistan have been strained by a number of historical and political issues, and are defined by the violent partition of British India in 1947, the Kashmir dispute and the numerous military conflicts fought between the two nations...

. The United Nations Security Council
United Nations Security Council
The United Nations Security Council is one of the principal organs of the United Nations and is charged with the maintenance of international peace and security. Its powers, outlined in the United Nations Charter, include the establishment of peacekeeping operations, the establishment of...

 held an emergency meeting and unanimously condemned the assassination, a call echoed by UN Secretary-General
United Nations Secretary-General
The Secretary-General of the United Nations is the head of the Secretariat of the United Nations, one of the principal organs of the United Nations. The Secretary-General also acts as the de facto spokesperson and leader of the United Nations....

 Ban Ki-moon
Ban Ki-moon
Ban Ki-moon is the eighth and current Secretary-General of the United Nations, after succeeding Kofi Annan in 2007. Before going on to be Secretary-General, Ban was a career diplomat in South Korea's Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in the United Nations. He entered diplomatic service the year he...

. Both European Union
European Union
The European Union is an economic and political union of 27 independent member states which are located primarily in Europe. The EU traces its origins from the European Coal and Steel Community and the European Economic Community , formed by six countries in 1958...

 President José Manuel Barroso and U.S. President George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

 also expressed the hope that Pakistan would continue on the path of democracy.

See also

  • Terrorism in Pakistan
    Terrorism in Pakistan
    Terrorism in Pakistan has become a major and highly destructive phenomenon in recent years. The annual death toll from terrorist attacks has risen from 164 in 2003 to 3318 in 2009, with a total of 35,000 Pakistanis killed as of 2010. According to the government of Pakistan, the direct and indirect...

  • Assassination of Liaquat Ali Khan

External links