It’s a bad day in Pakistan… and a bad day for the US.
RAWALPINDI, Pakistan, Dec. 27 — Former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated Thursday at a political rally, two months after she returned from eight years of exile to attempt a political comeback, officials said.
Bhutto, 54, was shot at close range as she was leaving the rally in this garrison city south of Islamabad, aides said. Immediately after the shooting, a suicide bomber detonated explosives near Bhutto’s car, killing at least 15 other people.
Bhutto’s death is a devastating development, coming 12 days before Pakistanis are set to vote in national parliamentary elections already marked by enormous political turmoil. President Pervez Musharraf declared a state of emergency in November — a move which he said was to combat terrorism, but which was widely perceived as an effort to stave off legal challenges to his authority. U.S. military officials said last week that the terrorist group al-Qaeda increasingly is focusing its efforts in Pakistan.
It’s no secret that I am not exactly a cheerleader for Musharraf. I think he has been ineffective against the Taliban and Al Qaeda in his own country. Let us not forget that the Taliban originally formed in Pakistan in the border regions along side Afghanistan. Let us also not forget that Pakistan is a nuclear nation.
This is a blow to the cause of freedom in Pakistan.