Thursday, December 27, 2007
Today's assassination of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto is a tragedy for Pakistan. The charismatic leader appeared on the verge of returning to power in next month's parliamentary election, when embattled President Pervez Musharraf's supporters in the government were likely to be routed. The Pakistani government and President Bush, who released a statement following the shooting after a Bhutto rally in Rawilpindi, blamed the killing on extremists. Pakistan is fighting with al-Qaida and Taliban militants along its long northern border with Afghanistan, helped by billion of dollars from the United States. The U.S. considers Musharraf a vital ally in the war on terror. But he seems to benefit most from the assassination, which removes his most serious competition. This country takes credit for pressuring Musharraf into allowing Bhutto to return from exile and freeing her from house arrest. But what is the U.S. going to do if Musharraf is responsible for the assassination, or for the attack on her motorcade that killed 136 in October? She was shot today in the headquarters city of the Pakistani military amid extremely high security, just as she waved to the crowd from the vehicle she was riding in. Sound vaguely familiar?