Benazir Bhutto Assassinated

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bhutto the washington note.jpg
Benazir Bhutto had not yet become president or prime minister in her recent return to Pakistan’s political arena — but she was the leading opposition leader in Pakistan.
While it is doubtful that she could have easily calmed Pakistan’s increasing turmoil if she had ascended to officialdom while in some power-sharing arrangement with President Musharraf, her death today makes everything much more fragile.
I met Bhutto during one of her recent trips through Washington in a session arranged by Harlan Ullman — and I found her powerfully eloquent. She acknowledged to the group she was meeting that she was willing to risk her life to try and achieve a different course in Pakistan. I thought at the time that her chances of survival were low in the cauldron of a political scene that requires political leaders to mix with the masses.
A commentator close to Bhutto just told me that Pakistan will not disintegrate because of this incident — as the military excels in “situations where preventing a meltdown is required.”
Bhutto was part of America’s hope for political stabilization there — and that plan has been definitively sabotaged.
Benazir Bhutto is dead now — and the implication I believe is that while Pakistan’s future would always have been messy, that mess will be less managed and scripted and will now be far more uncontrolled, unstable, and dangerous.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

10 comments on “Benazir Bhutto Assassinated

  1. Jieya says:

    Carroll ur facts are spot on!!i completely endorse ur opinion on benazir but i do like to say i would have preferred her being imprisioned for rest of her life,rather then die as a hero..For a person who has committed so many atrocities against a nation,to have died like a hero is not called for…
    I would like to add here I’m not so sure if Militants had anything to do with her murder;like rumoured I do see foreign involvement,not precisely U.S,could be Kabul or Dehli..Almost certainly there is foreign hand directly or indirectly.Pakistan’s future is uncertain but so is American hold in sub-continent..Remember America would never like to see India becoming a super power.US cannot commit the same mistake they did during Second World war.U.S must always remember itz nto just india they have to deal with,China is the biggest threat..And remember US cannot let PAkistan have a deeper association with China;as it spells doom..With U.S.A’s biggest ally brought down by gun,it remains to be seen U.S future course of action.One can’t help but be a mere spectator.

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  2. naima bashiir says:

    Bhutto was loud fast and supersonic and she knew the danger ahead. She said she was willing to take the risk. I cried when lady Diana died but I did not feel anything for Bhutto because she is not different than the suicide bomber who killed her since she exposed herself to be killed. I believe she was insane to do what she did and she did not have sincere people around her including her husband who let her walk the paranormal walk that she walked. No one should blame Musharaf it was all her fault. One should not play with fire.

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  3. David G. Stahl says:

    The death of Benazir Bhutto will not benefit Pakistan. It may bring down Musharraf, which will be ironic if we find out that the Pakistani Military played any role.
    Pakistan is not stable – and the USA attempts to work in the country have been an unmitigated disaster. Will India rise up in the region and start playing a bigger role? Will the politics of Israel (and I’m thinking Joe Lieberman here) keep us from being effective partners to an Islamic country?
    It will be interesting to see how this plays out in the gestalt of American Politics. My guess is that it will not do Biden or Clinton much good – nor do I think most Americans will feel threatened by her untimely and violent death.
    It does show that the military extremists hold quite a few of the cards – and we have not learned yet how to form broad diplomatic coalitions that can withstand violent attacks.
    Yours,
    David G. Stahl
    P.S. Bhutto is not a saint, neither is she the cause of the turmoil in Pakistan. History will not paint a very pretty picture of any of the political leaders of Pakistan. Carrol, post the link to Wikipedia not the post next time, and consider using language that is more conducive to conversation, s’il vous plait.

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  4. Bob says:

    Few news outlets have pointed out this bit of irony I reported earlier today at Bob McCarty Writes: The Pakistan People’s Party, under the leadership of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, used a news release yesterday to announce it had turned to the Internet to raise funds for the party’s efforts to win parliamentary elections in January 2008.

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  5. susan says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that the CIA was involved.

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  6. Carroll says:

    Posted by qmalangma at December 27, 2007 12:21 PM
    >>>>>>>>>>>>
    Damn right the facts justify her killing,..play with fire get burned….the more corrupt politicans that are offed the better.
    And it is navel gazing people like you that are willing to overlook the corruption of Bhutto and other like her because of your own little sentiments that you are in the situtation that you are and the world is in the situtation it is in.
    Someone as corrupt and personally greedy as Bhutto is going to lead her people to progressive peace or give the populace a break…lol…not as big a break as she would give herself obviously.
    Plezzzzzzzz…quit your whinning and get some balls…look for more than crumbs from some leader who is more than just a slezzy hypocritical crook.

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  7. qmalangma says:

    Does all your hard facts justify the killing….She had dark past but she was the only hope to take country to progressive path( people loved her) . Being a woman, being a duaghter of a politician, proved her mass presence intwo elections, accepted leader by rest of the globe(it is improtant, though people with your mentality could expect jihad in every human behaviour and character).. Your tears are no worth as they won’t come our for anyone

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  8. Carroll says:

    Well I am shedding no tears for Bhutto. Same old, same old.
    Bhutto was what she was. And fits the profile of exactly the type the US would choose/has chosen in another past attempts to install their person into a positon in another country’s government.
    Someone willing to grease the skids for the U$ in return for rewards…you don’t get 740 million in a Swiss bank by being a true blue leader and then buy a 4 million and 2.5 million homes in your exile if you are all that concerned about the suffering of your people.
    The fact that the famously netural and scrupulous and famously “un- influenceable” Swiss Banks brought charges of money laundering and corruption pretty much confirms the charges for me. The claim that it’s “all political and they are framing me” is the same excuse the Chalabis and Marcos’es and all of them use when they get caught..
    I say good riddence. Maybe when all the corrupt competing fractions wipe each other out we will get down to someone decent and uncorrupt.
    Next please.
    bio from wiki…
    Charges of corruption
    French, Polish, Spanish and Swiss documents have fueled the charges of corruption against Bhutto and her husband. Bhutto and her husband faced a number of legal proceedings, including a charge of laundering money through Swiss banks. Her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, spent eight years in prison on similar corruption charges. Zardari, released from jail in 2004, has suggested that his time in prison involved torture; human rights groups have supported his claim that his rights were violated.[14]
    A 1998 New York Times investigative report[15] indicates that Pakistani investigators have documents that uncover a network of bank accounts, all linked to the family’s lawyer in Switzerland, with Asif Zardari as the principal shareholder. According to the article, documents released by the French authorities indicated that Zardari offered exclusive rights to Dassault, a French aircraft manufacturer, to replace the air force’s fighter jets in exchange for a 5% commission to be paid to a Swiss corporation controlled by Zardari. The article also said a Dubai company received an exclusive license to import gold into Pakistan for which Asif Zardari received payments of more than $10M into his Dubai-based Citibank accounts. The owner of the company denied that he had made payments to Zardari and claims the documents were forged.
    Bhutto maintained that the charges leveled against her and her husband were purely political.[16][17] “Most of those documents are fabricated,” she said, “and the stories that have been spun around them are absolutely wrong.” An Auditor General of Pakistan (AGP) report supports Bhutto’s claim. It presents information suggesting that Benazir Bhutto was ousted from power in 1990 as a result of a witch hunt approved by then-president Ghulam Ishaq Khan. The AGP report says Khan illegally paid legal advisers 28 million Rupees to file 19 corruption cases against Bhutto and her husband in 1990-92.[18]
    The assets held by Bhutto and her husband have been scrutinized. The prosecutors have alleged that their Swiss bank accounts contain £740 million.[19] Zardari also bought a neo-Tudor mansion and estate worth over £4 million in Surrey, England, UK.[20][21] The Pakistani investigations have tied other overseas properties to Zardari’s family. These include a $2.5 million manor in Normandy owned by Zardari’s parents, who had modest assets at the time of his marriage.[15] Bhutto denied holding substantive overseas assets.
    Bhutto and her husband until recently continued to face wide-ranging charges of official corruption in connection with hundreds of millions of dollars of “commissions” on government contracts and tenders. But because of a power-sharing deal brokered in October 2007 between Bhutto and Musharraf, she and her husband had been granted amnesty.[19] If it stands, this development could trigger a number of Swiss banks to ‘unlock’ accounts that were frozen in the late 1990s.[15][19] The executive order could in principle be challenged by the judiciary, although the judiciary’s future was uncertain due to the same recent developments.
    Switzerland
    On 23 July 1998, the Swiss Government handed over documents to the government of Pakistan which relate to corruption allegations against Benazir Bhutto and her husband.[22] The documents included a formal charge of money laundering by Swiss authorities against Zardari. The Pakistani government had been conducting a wide-ranging inquiry to account for more than $13.7 million frozen by Swiss authorities in 1997 that was allegedly stashed in banks by Bhutto and her husband. The Pakistani government recently filed criminal charges against Bhutto in an effort to track down an estimated $1.5 billion she and her husband are alleged to have received in a variety of criminal enterprises.[23] The documents suggest that the money Zardari was alleged to have laundered was accessible to Benazir Bhutto and had been used to buy a diamond necklace for over $175,000.[24]
    The PPP has responded by flatly denying the charges, suggesting that Swiss authorities have been misled by false evidence provided by Islamabad.
    On 6 August 2003, Swiss magistrates found Benazir and her husband guilty of money laundering.[25] They were given six-month suspended jail terms, fined $50,000 each and were ordered to pay $11 million to the Pakistani government. The six-year trial concluded that Benazir and Zardari deposited in Swiss accounts $10 million given to them by a Swiss company in exchange for a contract in Pakistan. The couple said they would appeal. The Pakistani investigators say Zardari opened a Citibank account in Geneva in 1995 through which they say he passed some $40 million of the $100 million he received in payoffs from foreign companies doing business in Pakistan.[26]
    In October 2007, Daniel Zappelli, chief prosecutor of the canton of Geneva, said he received the conclusions of a money laundering investigation against former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on Monday, but it was unclear whether there would be any further legal action against her in Switzerland. [27]
    Poland
    The Polish Government has given Pakistan 500 pages of documentation relating to corruption allegations against Benazir Bhutto and her husband. These charges are in regard to the purchase of 8,000 tractors in a 1997 deal.[28][29] According to Pakistani officials, the Polish papers contain details of illegal commissions paid by the tractor company in return for agreeing to their contract.[30] It was alleged that the arrangement “skimmed” Rs 103 mn rupees ($2 million) in kickbacks.[31] “The documentary evidence received from Poland confirms the scheme of kickbacks laid out by Asif Zardari and Benazir Bhutto in the name of (the) launching of Awami tractor scheme,” APP said. Bhutto and Asif Ali Zardari allegedly received a 7.15 percent commission on the purchase through their front men, Jens Schlegelmilch and Didier Plantin of Dargal S.A., who received about $1.969 million for supplying 5,900 Ursus Tractors.[32]
    France
    Potentially the most lucrative deal alleged in the documents involved the effort by Dassault Aviation, a French military contractor. French authorities indicated in 1998 that Bhutto’s husband, Zardari, offered exclusive rights to Dassault to replace the air force’s fighter jets in exchange for a five percent commission to be paid to a corporation in Switzerland controlled by Zardari.[33]
    At the time, French corruption laws forbade bribery of French officials but permitted payoffs to foreign officials, and even made the payoffs tax-deductible in France. However, France changed this law in 2000. [34]
    Western Asia
    In the largest single payment investigators have discovered, a gold bullion dealer in the Western Asia was alleged to have deposited at least $10 million into one of Zardari’s accounts after the Bhutto government gave him a monopoly on gold imports that sustained Pakistan’s jewellery industry. The money was allegedly deposited into Zardari’s Citibank account in Dubai.
    Pakistan’s Arabian Sea coast, stretching from Karachi to the border with Iran, has long been a gold smugglers’ haven. Until the beginning of Bhutto’s second term, the trade, running into hundreds of millions of dollars a year, was unregulated, with slivers of gold called biscuits, and larger weights in bullion, carried on planes and boats that travel between the Persian Gulf and the largely unguarded Pakistani coast.
    Shortly after Bhutto returned as prime minister in 1993, a Pakistani bullion trader in Dubai, Abdul Razzak Yaqub, proposed a deal: in return for the exclusive right to import gold, Razzak would help the government regularize the trade. In November 1994, Pakistan’s Commerce Ministry wrote to Razzak informing him that he had been granted a license that made him, for at least the next two years, Pakistan’s sole authorized gold importer. In an interview in his office in Dubai, Razzak acknowledged that he had used the license to import more than $500 million in gold into Pakistan, and that he had travelled to Islamabad several times to meet with Bhutto and Zardari. But he denied that there had been any corruption or secret deals. “I have not paid a single cent to Zardari,” he said.
    Razzak claims that someone in Pakistan who wished to destroy his reputation had contrived to have his company wrongly identified as the depositor. “Somebody in the bank has cooperated with my enemies to make false documents,” he said.
    During exile
    2002 election
    The Bhutto-led Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) secured the highest number of votes (28.42%) and eighty seats (23.16%) in the national assembly in the October 2002 general elections [35]. Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) managed to win eighteen seats only. Some of the elected candidates of Pakistan Peoples Party formed a faction of their own, calling it PPP-Patriots which was being led by Makhdoom Faisal Saleh Hayat, the former leader of Bhutto led PPP. They later formed a coalition government with Musharraf’s party, PML-Q.
    Early 2000s
    In 2002, Pakistani president Pervez Musharraf amended Pakistan’s constitution to ban prime ministers from serving more than two terms. This disqualifies Bhutto from ever holding the office again. This move was widely considered to be a direct attack on former prime ministers Benazir Bhutto and Nawaz Sharif. On 3 August 2003, Bhutto became a member of Minhaj ul Quran International (An international Muslim educational and welfare organization).[36]
    Since September 2004, Bhutto lived in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, where she cared for her children and her mother, who was suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, travelling to give lectures and keeping in touch with the Pakistan Peoples Party’s supporters. She and her three children were reunited with her husband and their father in December 2004 after more than five years.
    On 27 January 2007 she was invited by the United States to speak to President Bush and congressional and State Department officials.[37]
    Bhutto appeared as a panellist on the BBC TV programme Question Time in the UK in March 2007. She has also appeared on BBC current affairs programme Newsnight on several occasions. She rebuffed comments made by Muhammad Ijaz-ul-Haq in May 2007 regarding the knighthood of Salman Rushdie, citing that he was calling for the assassination of foreign citizens.
    Bhutto had declared her intention to return to Pakistan within 2007, which she did, in spite of Musharraf’s statements of May 2007 about not allowing her to return ahead of the country’s general election, due late 2007 or early 2008. It was speculated that she may be offered the office of Prime Minister again.[38][39][40]
    Arthur Herman, a U.S. historian, in a controversial letter published in The Wall Street Journal on 14 June 2007, in response to an article by Bhutto highly critical of the president and his policies, has described her as “One of the most incompetent leaders in the history of South Asia”, and asserted that she and other elites in Pakistan hate Musharraf because he was a muhajir, the son of one of millions of Indian Muslims who fled to Pakistan during partition in 1947. Herman has claimed, “Although it was muhajirs who agitated for the creation of Pakistan in the first place, many native Pakistanis view them with contempt and treat them as third-class citizens.”[41][42][43]
    Nonetheless, as of mid-2007, the US appeared to be pushing for a deal in which Musharraf would remain as president but step down as military head, and either Bhutto or one of her nominees would become prime minister.[44]
    On 11 July 2007, the Associated Press, in an article about the possible aftermath of the Red Mosque incident, wrote:
    Benazir Bhutto, the former prime minister and opposition leader expected by many to return from exile and join Musharraf in a power-sharing deal after year-end general elections, praised him for taking a tough line on the Red Mosque. I’m glad there was no cease-fire with the militants in the mosque because cease-fires simply embolden the militants,” she told Britain’s Sky TV on Tuesday. “There will be a backlash, but at some time we have to stop appeasing the militants.”[45]
    This remark about the Red Mosque was seen with dismay in Pakistan as reportedly hundreds of young students were burned to death and remains are untraceable and cases are being heard in Pakistani supreme court as a missing persons issue. This and subsequent support for Musharaf led Elder Bhutto’s comrades like Khar to criticize her publicly.[citations needed]

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