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Thread: Unreast in Pakistan Spreads as Bhutto Laid to Rest

  1. #1
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    Default Unreast in Pakistan Spreads as Bhutto Laid to Rest

    Bhutto Buried As Pakistan Unrest Spreads

    By ASHRAF KHAN – 1 hour ago

    GARHI KHUDA BAKHSH, Pakistan (AP) — Hundreds of thousands of mourners, weeping and chanting for justice, thronged the mausoleum of Pakistan's most famous political dynasty in a raw outpouring of grief for Benazir Bhutto. The government blamed al-Qaida and the Taliban for the assassination of the opposition leader, who was buried alongside her father.

    Furious supporters, many of them blaming President Pervez Musharraf's government for the shooting and bombing attack on the former prime minister, rampaged through several cities in violence that left at least 23 dead less than two weeks before crucial elections.

    Some wept, others chanted "Benazir is alive," as the plain wood coffin was placed beside the grave of her father in the vast, white marble mausoleum in southern Sindh province near the Bhuttos' ancestral home.

    Thursday's attack on Bhutto plunged Pakistan into turmoil and badly damaged plans to restore democracy in this nuclear-armed nation, a key U.S. ally in the war on terror.

    Musharraf initially blamed her death on unnamed Islamic militants, but Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz told The Associated Press on Friday that "we have the evidence that al-Qaida and the Taliban were behind the suicide attack on Benazir Bhutto."

    He said investigators had resolved the "whole mystery" behind the opposition leader's killing and would give details at press conference later Friday.

    Bhutto's supporters ransacked banks, waged shootouts with police and burned trains and stations in a spasm of violence less than two weeks before parliamentary elections.

    Soldiers patrolled the streets of the southern cities of Hyderabad and Karachi in an effort to quell violence, witnesses said. At least 23 people were killed in unrest, said Ghulam Mohammed Mohtaram, home secretary for Sindh province.

    Prime Minister Mohammedmian Soomro said the government had no immediate plans to postpone Jan. 8 parliamentary elections, despite the growing chaos and a top opposition leader's decision to boycott the poll.

    "Right now the elections stand where they were," he told a news conference. "We will consult all the political parties to take any decision about it."

    Mourners traveled to Garhi Khuda Bakhsh by tractor, bus, car and jeep. Many crammed inside the mausoleum and threw petals on the coffin. Women beat their heads and chests in grief.

    "As long as the moon and sun are alive, so is the name of Bhutto," they chanted.

    An Islamic cleric led mourners in prayers and Bhutto's son, Bilawal, and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, helped lower the coffin beside the grave of her father, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, also a popular former prime minister who met a violent death. Thousands of supporters then filed in to shovel dirt onto the grave.

    Some mourners angrily blamed Musharraf, the former army chief, for Bhutto's death, shouting "General, killer!" "Army, killer."

    The death of the 54-year-old Bhutto left her party without a clear successor. Her husband, who was freed in December 2004 after eight years in detention on graft charges, is one contender to head the party, although he lacks the cachet of a blood relative.

    "I don't know what will happen to the country now," said Nazakat Soomro, 32.

    Bhutto's funeral procession began at her ancestral residence in the southern town of Naudero. Her plain wood coffin, draped in the red, green and black flag of her Pakistan People's Party, was carried in a white ambulance toward the marble mausoleum, about three miles away, passing a burning passenger train on the way.

    Violence roared through much of the country. A mob in Karachi looted at least three banks and set them on fire, and engaged in a shootout with police that left three officers wounded, police said.

    About 7,000 people in the central city of Multan ransacked seven banks and a gas station and threw stones at police, who responded with tear gas. In the capital, Islamabad, about 100 protesters burned tires in a commercial district.

    Paramilitary rangers were given the authority to use live fire against rioters in southern Pakistan, said Maj. Asad Ali, the rangers' spokesman.

    "We have orders to shoot on sight," he said.

    Army soldiers patrolled the streets of Hyderabad and Karachi, witnesses said. In Hyderabad, the soldiers refused to let people out of their houses, witnesses said.

    Earlier, mobs burned 10 railway stations and several trains across Bhutto's Sindh province, forcing the suspension of all train service between the city of Karachi and the eastern Punjab province, said Mir Mohammed Khaskheli, a senior railroad official.

    The rioters uprooted one section of the track leading to India, he said.

    An Associated Press reporter saw nine cars of a train completely burned. Witnesses said all the passengers were pulled out before the train was torched.

    About 4,000 Bhutto supporters rallied in the northwestern city of Peshawar and several hundred ransacked the empty office of the main pro-Musharraf party, burning furniture and stationery.

    Protesters shouted "Musharraf dog" and "Bhutto was alive yesterday, Bhutto is alive today." Dozens of police in riot gear followed the protesters but did not intervene.

    In other violence, a roadside bomb killed a local leader from the ruling party and six of his associates as they drove through Swat in northwestern Pakistan, where troops have been fighting followers of a pro-Taliban cleric in recent months, said Mohib Ullah, a local police official.

    Many cities were nearly deserted as businesses closed and public transportation came to a halt at the start of three days of national mourning for Bhutto.

    A coalition of opposition parties called for a general strike, said Mohammed Usman Kakar, a leader in the All Parties Democratic Movement, which comprises small anti-Musharraf groups.

    "The repercussions of her murder will continue to unfold for months, even years," read a mournful editorial in the Dawn newspaper. "What is clear is that Pakistan's political landscape will never be the same, having lost one of its finest daughters."

    Bhutto was killed after a suicide attacker shot at her and then blew himself up as she left a rally, police and witnesses said. Authorities initially said she died from bullet wounds, but Dr. Mussadiq Khan, a surgeon who treated her, said Friday that she died from shrapnel that hit her on the right side of the skull.

    Bhutto had no heart beat or pulse when she arrived at the hospital and doctors failed to resuscitate her, he said.

    Interior Ministry spokesman Javed Iqbal Cheema said he saw the medical report, and it, too, said she died from a shrapnel wound and was not shot. "No bullet was found in her body," he said.

    Soomro, the prime minister, told the Cabinet on Friday that Bhutto's husband did not allow an autopsy, according to a government statement.

    After the killing, Nawaz Sharif, another former premier and leader of a rival opposition party, announced his party would boycott the elections.

    "I am worried about the country, about the people. Nobody is secure, there is total insecurity," Sharif said.

    Opposition politician and former cricket star Imran Khan blamed Musharraf for Bhutto's death, saying he did not give her proper security. Speaking to reporters in Mumbai, India, where he was on a private visit, he called on the president to resign and for an independent judicial probe into her death.

    Bhutto, whose party has long been popular among Pakistan's legions of poor, served two terms as prime minister between 1988 and 1996. Both elected governments were toppled amid accusations of corruption and mismanagement, but she was respected in the West for her liberal outlook and determination to combat Islamic extremism.

    She had been vying for a third term if her party fared well in the Jan. 8 parliamentary elections.

    AP-Google

  2. #2
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    Did she offer herself as a martyr in the belief that she would achieve more in removing the present government and re-establisihing democracy, as such, than she would have if she had continued to live and fight elections which could be rigged?


    "Although God cannot alter the past, Historians can"


    Samuel Butler


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    I don't know what all the fuss it about.

    It was an accident.

    She just bumped her head on the sunroof which, as invariably happens, killed her.

    http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dl...476/-1/LOCAL17

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    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    I don't know what all the fuss it about.

    It was an accident.

    She just bumped her head on the sunroof which, as invariably happens, killed her.

    http://www.indystar.com/apps/pbcs.dl...476/-1/LOCAL17
    Ahh, yes, that's different, then!


    "Although God cannot alter the past, Historians can"


    Samuel Butler


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