Rawalpindi: Benazir Bhutto Killed in Blast


Update (Thur Dec 27, 8-00 pm IST): 

A Profile

BENAZIR, THE BRAVE WOMAN

Benazir Bhutto, the eldest child of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, was born on June 21, 1953, at Karachi.

She attended Lady Jennings Nursery School and then Convent of Jesus and Mary in Karachi. After two years of schooling at the Rawalpindi Presentation Convent, she was sent to the Jesus and Mary Convent at Murree. She passed her O-level examination at the age of 15. In April 1969, she got admission in the U. S. at Harvard University's Radcliffe College.

In June 1973, Benazir graduated from Harvard University with a degree in Political Science. After graduating from Harvard, Benazir joined Oxford University in the fall of 1973. Just before graduation, Benazir was elected to the Standing Committee of the most prestigious Oxford Union Debating Society.

In 1976, she graduated in PPE. (Politics, Philosophy and Economics). In the autumn of 1976, Benazir returned once again to Oxford to do a one-year postgraduate course. In January 1977, she was elected the President of the Oxford Union. Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan in June 1977. She wanted to join the Foreign Service but her father wanted her to contest the Assembly election. As she was not yet of age, Benazir Bhutto assisted her father as an adviser.

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On December 2, 1988 Benazir Bhutto was sworn in as Prime Minister of Pakistan, becoming the first woman to head the government of an Islamic State. She was the first woman elected to lead a post-colonial Muslim state. She was twice elected Prime Minister of Pakistan.

She was removed from office 20 months later under orders of then-president Ghulam Ishaq Khan on grounds of alleged corruption. In 1993 Bhutto was re-elected but was again removed in 1996 on similar charges, this time by President Farooq Leghari.

Bhutto went into self-imposed exile in Dubai in 1998, where she remained until she returned to Pakistan on October 18, 2007, after reaching an understanding with General Musharraf by which she was granted amnesty and all corruption charges were withdrawn.

She was the eldest child of former premier Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, a Pakistani of Sindhi extraction, and Begum ("Lady") Nusrat Bhutto, a Pakistani of Iranian-Kurdish extraction. Her paternal grandfather was Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto who came to Larkana Sindh before partition from his native town of Bhatto Kalan which was situated in the Indian state of Haryana.

In the preceding decade of political struggle, Ms. Bhutto was arrested on numerous occasions; in all she spent nearly 6 years either in prison or under detention for her dedicated leadership of the then opposition Pakistan People's Party. Throughout the years in opposition, she pledged to transform Pakistani society by focusing attention on programs for health, social welfare and education for the underprivileged.

After assuming the office of Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto emphasized the need to heal past wounds and to put an end to the divisions in Pakistani society - including reducing discrimination between men and women. She had launched a nationwide programme of health and education reform.

Bhutto was the author of "Foreign Policy in Perspective" (1978) and her autobiography, "Daughter of Destiny" (1989). She received the Bruno Kreisky Award for Human Rights in 1988 and the Honorary Phi Beta Kappa Award from Radcliffe in 1989.

She was assassinated on December 27, 2007 in a presumed suicide bomb attack during a political rally of the Pakistan Peoples Party in the town of Rawalpindi. Ex-government spokesman Tariq Azim Khan said that, although it appeared that she'd been shot, it was unclear whether her bullet wounds had been caused by a shooting or shrapnel from the bomb.
 
News Flash: Thursday, Dec 27, 7-25 pm IST

Rawalpindi: Benazir Bhutto Killed in Blast

Agencies
 
Dec 27, Rawalpindi: Pakistani former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has been killed in a presumed suicide attack, a spokesman for the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) says.

Ms Bhutto had just addressed a rally of PPP supporters in the town of Rawalpindi when the rally was hit by a blast.
At least 15 other people are reported killed in the attack.

Ms Bhutto has twice been the country's prime minister and was campaigning ahead of elections due in January.
Rawalpindi: Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto died on Thursday from her injuries sustained in a suicide attack, a party aide said.

''At 6:16 pm she expired,'' said Wasif Ali Khan, a member of Bhutto's party who was at Rawalpindi General Hospital where Bhutto died.

A senior military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment, confirmed that Bhutto had died.

A suicide bomber had struck shortly after Bhutto addressed a political rally in Rawalpindi on Thursday, killing at least 25 people, witnesses said.

An Associated Press reporter at the scene could see body parts and flesh scattered at the back gate of the Liaqat Bagh park where Bhutto had spoken. He counted about 20 bodies, including police, and could see many other wounded people.

Another police official, Saud Aziz, said it was a suicide attack.

Farahtullah Babar, spokesman for Bhutto party, said her vehicle was about 50 meters away from blast, just after leaving the rally venue in Rawalpindi.

"She had just crossed the gate when we heard a deafening sound. We could feel its impact but by the grace of God she is safe," he said. "She has been moved to a safe place."

Party supporter Chaudhry Mohammad Nazir said that two gunshots rang out when Bhutto's vehicle pulled into the main street and then there was a big blast next to her car.

Police cordoned off the street with white and red tape, and rescue workers rushed to put victims in ambulances as people wailed nearby.

Body parts, pieces of clothing and party banners scattered on the street. The clothing of some of the victims was shredded and people put party flags over their bodies. Police caps and shoes littered the asphalt.

It was the second suicide attack apparently targeting the former prime minister in two months.

Her homecoming parade in southern city of Karachi from an eight-year exile on October 18 was also targeted, killing more than 140 people.

On Thursday, hundreds of riot police had manned security checkpoints to guard the venue. It was Bhutto's first public meeting in Rawalpindi since she came back to the country.

Rahman Malik, Bhutto's security adviser, told Pakistan's Geo news channel that she escaped unhurt just because she was in a bulletproof vehicle.

"She was the prime target," he said. "I have been told by eyewitnesses that someone first opened fire and then detonated the bomb ... We had information that Benazir Bhutto's life is in danger."

Malik said one of the vehicles in Bhutto's convoy was badly damaged.

In November, Bhutto had also planned a rally in the city, but President Pervez Musharraf forced her to cancel it, citing security fears.

In recent weeks, suicide bombers have repeatedly targeted security forces in Rawalpindi, a city near the capital where Musharraf stays and the Pakistan army has its headquarters.

Earlier Thursday, pro-government party supporters clashed with backers of opposition leader Nawaz Sharif a few kilometers from Rawalpindi, killing four people and wounding three.
 

  

Comment on this article

  • Stany, Bajpe / Australia

    Fri, Dec 28 2007

    It was sad news about the assasination of Ms Bhutto, Pakistan lost a great Leader.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • fayaz yakub, dubai

    Fri, Dec 28 2007

    Very sad news, an energetic political leader lost for Pakistan. Deep condolence for Bhutto family as well as sympathy to Pakistan's current domestic law and order situation.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse

  • Edwin D' Souza Kamath, Angeloru

    Fri, Dec 28 2007

    Benazir Bhutto is killed. News that makes very many in the world astonished. Pakistan is facing problems after problems. This world is temporary for every one of us. One should allow others to co exist. Political tragedies are on the rise anywhere in the world.

    This is Christmas time. May the peace rule this world. May the New Year 2008 bring peace and joy in this world. May the younger generation see the peaceful world and may they continue to learn better things in life. May the departed soul of Benazir Bhutto rest in peace.

    DisAgree Agree Reply Report Abuse


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