ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Benazir's Last Battle

Benazir Bhutto died battling the "state within the state". Can Pakistan rid itself of the cancer?

The assassination of Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan’s former prime minister and opposition leader, on December 27 at the conclusion of an election rally in Rawalpindi has sent shockwaves across the world. Bhutto’s party, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), and the public at large held the government of president Pervez Musharraf responsible for the murder, while the government and its allies pointed the finger at Taliban and Al Qaida. The first reaction of US president George Bush also appeared to deflect blame from the Pakistan government and in the direction of Islamic militants.

Bhutto returned to Pakistan on October 18 after eight years in self-exile and provided a much-needed shot in the arm to popular politics. A bomb attack on her homecoming rally in Karachi left over 150 people dead, and confirmed the widely-expressed fear that forces inimical to political revival in the country were prepared to go to any length to pursue their goals. Then, as now, there was a sharp difference of opinion between the PPP and spokespersons of the regime about the source of the threat.

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