Benazir Bhutto killed by sunroof, not bomb or bullets

Publié le par hort

Pakistan says sunroof, not bomb or bullets, killed  
Rana Jawad
28/12/07
 
Pakistan's interior ministry said Friday that Benazir Bhutto was killed after smashing her head on her car's sunroof while trying to duck, and that no bullet or shrapnel was found inside her. The ministry also said it had intercepted a phone call from a top Al-Qaeda figure congratulating a militant for the attack on her Thursday, and said there was "irrefutable evidence" the group was trying to destabilise the country.
 
Bhutto's death after a suicide bomber blew himself up at her campaign rally has plunged this nuclear-armed Islamic nation into turmoil, but the ministry said she would have lived if only she had stayed inside her car."If she had not come out of the vehicle, she would have been unhurt, as all the other occupants of the vehicle did not receive any injuries," ministry spokesman Brigadier Javed Cheema said.
 
He said the post-mortem on the populist opposition leader, whose funeral earlier Friday was attended by hundreds of thousands of mourners, found her mortal wound came when she tried to duck after the bomber attacked. The bomber also apparently fired three times at her but missed, Cheema said.When she ducked, she hit the lever of the sunroof of the car that was to speed her away from a campaign rally as she was gearing up to contest parliamentary elections set for January 8."The lever struck near her right ear and fractured her skull," Cheema said. "There was no bullet or metal shrapnel found in the injury."Cheema showed a brief video of the moments before the attack and the blast itself but it was unclear.
 
He said intelligence services had intercepted a call Friday from the man considered to be a top Al-Qaeda figure for Pakistan, Baitullah Mehsud, congratulating a militant after Bhutto's death.He said there was "irrefutable evidence that Al-Qaeda, its networks and cohorts are trying to destabilise Pakistan"."We have recorded his conversation in which he is congratulating a militant for the attack," Cheema said, adding that Mehsud was also behind the suicide attack on Bhutto's homecoming rally in October that killed 139 people.
 
Pakistani authorities say Mehsud is based in the troubled tribal region of South Waziristan, where troops have been battling Islamist rebels since the fall of the Taliban in neighbouring Afghanistan in 2001.Mehsud had until recently been described by officials as the top pro-Taliban militant commander in the region but is increasingly said to have links to bin Laden's Al-Qaeda group.
Source: Yahoo



Bhutto aides reject government claim
 
By Ravinessman,
Associated Press Writer
29/12/2007
 
An Islamic militant group said Saturday it had no link to Benazir Bhutto's killing, denying government claims that its leader orchestrated the assassination.Bhutto's aides also said they doubted militant commander Baitullah Mehsud was behind the attack on the opposition leader and accused the government of a cover-up.Meanwhile, attackers opened fire at a motorcade of Bhutto's supporters as they headed back to Karachi after her funeral, killing one man and wounding two others, said Waqar Mehdi, a spokesman for Bhutto's party. More than two dozen people have been killed nationwide since Thursday's assassination, officials said.In Rawalpindi, thousands of Bhutto supporters spilled onto the streets after a prayer ceremony for her, throwing stones and clashing with police who fired tear gas to try and subdue the crowd.
 
President Pervez Musharraf told his top security officials that those looting and plundering "must be dealt with firmly and all measures be taken to ensure (the) safety and security of the people," the Associated Press of Pakistan reported.Also Saturday, Pakistan's election commission called an emergency meeting for Monday to discuss the violence's impact on Jan. 8 parliamentary elections.Nine election offices in Bhutto's home province of Sindh in the south were burned to the ground, along with voter rolls and ballot boxes, the commission said in a statement. The violence also hampered the printing of ballot papers, training of poll workers and other pre-election logistics, the statement said.
 
The U.S. government, which sees nuclear-armed Pakistan as a crucial ally in the war on terror, has pushed Musharraf to keep the election on track to promote stability, moderation and democracy in Pakistan, U.S. officials said.Prime Minister Mohammedmian Soomro said Friday the government had no immediate plans to postpone the election, despite the violence and the decision by Nawaz Sharif, another opposition leader, to boycott the poll. Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party also called a meeting Sunday to decide whether to participate in the vote. Her widower, Asif Ali Zardari, told the British Broadcasting Corp. that their son would read a message left by Bhutto and addressed to the party in event of her death.
 
On Saturday, roads across Bhutto's southern Sindh province were littered with burning vehicles, smoking reminders of the continuing chaos since her assassination Thursday. Factories, stores and restaurants were set ablaze in Pakistan's biggest city, Karachi, where 17 people have been killed and dozens injured, officials said.Army, police and paramilitary troops patrolled the nearly deserted streets of Bhutto's home city of Larkana, where rioting left shops at a jewelry market smoldering.Musharraf called Bhutto's husband, Asif Ali Zardari, promising to make every effort to bring the attackers to justice, state-run Pakistan Television reported.
 
The government blamed Bhutto's killing on al-Qaida and Taliban militants operating with increasing impunity in the lawless tribal areas along the border with Afghanistan. It released a transcript Friday of a purported conversation between Mehsud and another militant, apparently discussing the assassination."It was a spectacular job. They were very brave boys who killed her," Mehsud said, according to the transcript.Interior Ministry spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema described Mehsud as an al-Qaida leader who was also behind the Karachi bomb blast in October against Bhutto that killed more than 140 people.But a spokesman for Mehsud, Maulana Mohammed Umer, denied the militant was involved in the attack and dismissed the allegations as "government propaganda."
  
But Cheema said she was killed when she tried to duck back into the armored vehicle during the attack, and the shock waves from the blast smashed her head into a lever attached to the sunroof, fracturing her skull, he said. The government said it was forming two inquiries into Bhutto's death, one to be carried out by a high court judge and another by security forces.
____
Associated Press writers Zarar Khan in Larkana, Sadaqat Jan in Islamabad, Ishtiaq Mahsud in Dera Ismail Khan and Afzal Nadeem in Karachi contributed to this report.



Pakistan's Bhutto killed in attack
 
By Sadaquat Jan and Zarar Khan
December 27,2007
 
Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday by an attacker who shot her after a campaign rally and then blew himself up. Her death stoked new chaos across the nuclear-armed nation, an important U.S. ally in the war on terrorism.At least 20 others were killed in the attack on the rally for Jan. 8 parliamentary elections where the 54-year-old former prime minister had just spoken.At least nine people were killed across the country in rioting that broke out in the aftermath of the assassination. In the southern port city of Karachi, where she was born, angry Bhutto supporters shot at police and burned a gas station.
 
At the hospital where Bhutto died, some supporters smashed glass and wailed, chanting slogans against President Pervez Musharraf, whom they blamed for not ensuring her safety. Musharraf blamed Islamic extremists for her death and said he would redouble his efforts to fight them. "This is the work of those terrorists with whom we are engaged in war," he said in a nationally televised speech. "I have been saying that the nation faces the greatest threats from these terrorists. ... We will not rest until we eliminate these terrorists and root them out."In the U.S., a tense looking President Bush strongly condemned the attack "by murderous extremists who are trying to undermine Pakistan's democracy." White House spokesman Scott Stanzel said Bush spoke briefly by phone with Musharraf.
 
Musharraf convened an emergency meeting with his senior staff, where they were expected to discuss whether to postpone the elections, an official at the Interior Ministry said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks. The government announced three days of mourning for Bhutto, including the closing of schools, commercial centers and banks. Nawaz Sharif, another former prime minister and leader of a rival opposition party, demanded Musharraf resign immediately and announced his party would boycott the upcoming election.The attacker struck just minutes after Bhutto addressed thousands of supporters in the Rawalpindi, a city 8 miles south of Islamabad where the army is headquartered. She was shot in the neck and chest by the attacker, who then blew himself up, said Rehman Malik, Bhutto's security adviser.
 
Sardar Qamar Hayyat, a leader from Bhutto's party, said at the time of the attack he was standing about 10 yards away from her vehicle — a white, bulletproof SUV with a sunroof. Police cordoned off the street and rescuers rushed to put victims in ambulances as onlookers wailed nearby.Bhutto was rushed to the hospital and taken into emergency surgery. She died about an hour after the attack.Hours later, her body was carried out of the hospital in a plain wooden coffin by a crowd of supporters. Her body was expected to be transferred to an air base and brought to her hometown of Larkana. A doctor on the team that treated her said she had a bullet in the back of the neck that damaged her spinal cord before exiting from the side of her head. Another bullet pierced the back of her shoulder and came out through her chest. She was given open heart massage, but the main cause of death was damage to her spinal cord, he said on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
 
"The surgeons confirmed that she has been martyred," Bhutto's lawyer Babar Awan said. Bhutto's supporters at the hospital exploded in anger, smashing the glass door at the main entrance of the emergency unit. Others burst into tears. One man with a flag of Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party tied around his head was beating his chest. "I saw her with my own eyes sitting in a vehicle after addressing the rally. Then, I heard an explosion," Tahir Mahmood, 55, said sobbing. "I am in shock. I cannot believe that she is dead." Many chanted slogans against Musharraf, accusing him of complicity in her killing. "We repeatedly informed the government to provide her proper security and appropriate equipment including jammers, but they paid no heed to our requests," said Malik, the security adviser.
As news of her death spread, angry supporters took to the streets.
 
In Karachi, shop owners quickly closed their businesses as protesters set tires on fire on the roads, torched several vehicles and burned a gas station, said Fayyaz Leghri, a local police official. Gunmen shot and wounded two police officers, he said. One man was killed in a shootout between police and protesters in Tando Allahyar, a town 120 miles north of Karachi, said Mayor Kanwar Naveed. In the town of Tando Jam, protesters forced passengers to get out of a train and then set it on fire. Two people were killed in the southern Sindh province and two others in Lahore, police said. Violence also broke out in Lahore, Multan, Peshawar and many other parts of Pakistan, where Bhutto's supporters burned banks, state-run grocery stores and private shops. Some set fire to election offices for the ruling party, according to Pakistani media. Akhtar Zamin, home minister for the southern Sindh province, said authorities would deploy troops to stop violence if needed.
 
Musharraf urged calm. "I want to appeal to the nation to remain peaceful and exercise restraint," he said. Rep. Patrick Kennedy, a Democrat from Rhode Island, was in Pakistan and on his way to have dinner with Bhutto Thursday night when he learned of her killing. Sharif arrived at the hospital and sat silently next to Bhutto's body. "Benazir Bhutto was also my sister, and I will be with you to take the revenge for her death," he said. "Don't feel alone. I am with you. We will take the revenge on the rulers." He rebutted suggestions that he could gain political capital from her demise, announcing his Muslim League-N party would boycott the elections and demanding that Musharraf resign. "The holding of fair and free elections is not possible in the presence of Pervez Musharraf," he said. "Musharraf is the cause of all the problems. The federation of Pakistan cannot remain intact in the presence of President Musharraf," he told a news conference. "After the killing of Benazir Bhutto, I announce that the Pakistan Muslim League-N will boycott the elections," Sharif said. "I demand that Musharraf should quit immediately." 

Hours earlier, four people were killed at a rally for Sharif when his supporters clashed with backers of Musharraf near Rawalpindi. Bhutto's death will leave a void at the top of her party, the largest political group in the country, as it heads into the elections. Pakistan is considered a vital U.S. ally in the fight against al-Qaida and other Islamic extremists including the Taliban. Osama bin Laden and his inner circle are believed to be hiding in lawless northwest Pakistan along the border with Afghanistan. The U.S. has invested significant diplomatic capital in promoting reconciliation between Musharraf and the opposition, particularly Bhutto, who was seen as having a wide base of support in Pakistan. Her party had been widely expected to do well in next month's elections. Had the PPP either won a majority of seats or enough to put together a majority coalition, Bhutto could have recaptured the job of prime minister. Bush, speaking briefly to reporters at his ranch in Crawford, Texas, demanded that those responsible for the killing be brought to justice.
 
Pakistan was just emerging from another crisis after Musharraf declared a state of emergency on Nov. 3, and used sweeping powers to round up thousands of his opponents and fire Supreme Court justices. He ended emergency rule Dec. 15 and subsequently relinquished his role as army chief, a key opposition demand. Bhutto had been an outspoken critic of Musharraf's imposition of emergency rule.
 
Educated at Harvard and Oxford universities, Bhutto served twice as Pakistan's prime minister between 1988 and 1996. Her father was Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, scion of a wealthy landowning family in southern Pakistan and founder of the populist Pakistan People's Party. The elder Bhutto was president and then prime minister of Pakistan before his ouster in a 1977 military coup. Two years later, he was executed by the government of Gen. Zia-ul Haq after being convicted of engineering the murder of a political opponent. Bhutto had returned to Pakistan from an eight-year exile on Oct. 18. On the same day, she narrowly escaped injury when her homecoming parade in Karachi was targeted in a suicide attack that killed more than 140 people.
 
Islamic militants linked to al-Qaida and the Taliban hated Bhutto for her close ties to the Americans and support for the war on terrorism. A local Taliban leader reportedly threatened to greet Bhutto's return to the country with suicide bombings. Hundreds of riot police had manned security checkpoints around the rally venue Thursday, Bhutto's first public meeting in Rawalpindi since she came back to the country. In recent weeks, suicide bombers have repeatedly targeted security forces in Rawalpindi. In November, Bhutto had also planned a rally in the city, but Musharraf forced her to cancel it, citing security fears.
  

NO US TROOPS IN PAKISTAN: Pakistan for the Pakistani People

 "Free and fair elections, not U.S. troops, are the best strategy for achieving peace and stability in Pakistan."

Today, Cynthia McKinney, six-term former Member of Congress and current Green Party Presidential Candidate, announced her shock and disappointment at yesterday's assassination of former President and current Presidential candidate Benazir Bhutto.  "I have long had close ties to the people of Pakistan; I traveled there twice, count many Pakistani-Americans among my personal friends, and I had the good fortune to meet Benazir Bhutto.  I refused to meet Musharaff when I had the chance  because he was always a dictator and I don't meet dictators," McKinney said.

Shortly after Bhutto's murder, reports began to surface that the U.S. had finalized plans to send troops to Pakistan.  According to McKinney, "There is much that the United States can send to Pakistan, like helping with true democracy instead of rigged elections.  The last thing U.S. troops and the Pakistani people need is the presence of U.S. troops in Pakistan."

During McKinney's most recent trip to Pakistan earlier this year, she traveled to a Karachi suburb where she met for the second time with the Balochi people of African descent who were among Bhutto's strongest supporters in the country.

"This is a sad time--especially for all the strong women in the world, for all the poor and desperate people of Pakistan who need and deserve attention and hope, and for all peace-loving people everywhere who hope that this tragedy is not used as a pretext for more war, more chaos, more destabilization of yet another basically peace-loving people," McKinney said.

According to McKinney, the real key to stability in Pakistan begins with free and fair elections using internationally recognized election observers in order to achieve a Pakistani government that reflects the will and dreams of the Pakistani people.

McKinney concluded with a caution that the United States should not view chaos in Pakistan, in the aftermath of Bhutto's murder, as a reason for becoming engaged in more war or for putting our troops into harm's way.  "War is not an acceptable strategy to achieve democracy--not in Iraq, and not in Pakistan.  Free and fair elections, not U.S. troops, are the best strategy for achieving peace and stability in Pakistan," McKinney concluded.

"I send my most heartfelt condolences to the Bhutto family and to all the people of Pakistan," said McKinney.

--
"It is the absolute responsibility of everybody in uniform to disobey an order that is either illegal or immoral."  General Pace, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, National Press Club, February 17, 2006

"My brother need not be idealized . . . beyond what he was in life.  To be remembered simply as a good and decent man who saw wrong and tried to right it, saw suffering and tried to heal it, saw war and tried to stop it.  Eulogy of Bobby Kennedy by Teddy Kennedy, June 18, 1968

"Certain material weaknesses in financial reporting and other limitations on the scope of our work resulted in conditions that, for the 10th consecutive year, prevented us from expressing an opinion on the federal government's consolidated financial statements."  David Walker, Comptroller General of the United States, 
December 15, 2006


Publié dans world

Pour être informé des derniers articles, inscrivez vous :

Commenter cet article