[digg-reddit-me]As every news outlet is reporting, and as I am sure everyone already knows, former prime minister Benazir Bhutto was killed this morning at Rawalpindi in Pakistan. She was shot twice at close range – once in the neck and once in the chest – by one of the two suicide bombers sent to kill her who had gotten through the security forces. President Musharraf is being blamed – directly or indirectly- for the assassination by many of Bhutto’s supporters. He was at her side in the hospital when she died – but is being blamed for providing inadequate security. The two had also been clashing since Musharraf made the deal with Bhutto to allow her to return to Pakistan.
Bhutto wrote an op-ed in the Washington Post shortly before returning to Pakistan which reads like the last note of a woman who knows she is going to die:
Extremism looms as a threat, but it will be contained as it has been in the past if the moderate middle can be mobilized to stand up to fanaticism. I return to lead that battle.
I have led an unusual life. I have buried a father killed at age 50 and two brothers killed in the prime of their lives. I raised my children as a single mother when my husband was arrested and held for eight years without a conviction – a hostage to my political career. I made my choice when the mantle of political leadership was thrust upon my shoulders after my father’s murder. I did not shrink from responsibility then, and I will not shrink from it now.
Shortly before she went back to Pakistan, she said that she believed she would be assassinated if she went back. In her autobiography, Daughter of the East, Bhutto said:
“I know that I am a symbol of what the so-called Jihadists, Taliban and al-Qaeda, most fear. I am a female political leader fighting to bring modernity, communication, education and technology to Pakistan.”
But despite the fact that she knew these extremists were after her, she said that she did not fear the threats of Baitallah Masood or other extremists, but rather the fringe elements of the Pakistani military.
It is an understatement to say that today is not a good day for Pakistan or for world stability.
The Associated Press provides the best short summary of Bhutto’s life that I have read with the introduction:
The suicide attack that killed Benazir Bhutto cut short an epic life, one bathed in blood and awash with controversy.