PAKISTAN

Bhutto’s assassination: our Observers fear the backlash

The ex-prime-minister after an electoral meeting in Rawalpindi, a suburb of Islamabad. Our Observers give their initial reactions to the event. One of them, Rana Afzaal, was at the scene when the bomb exploded.

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The ex-prime-minister Benazir Bhutto was assassinated this afternoon after an electoral meeting in Rawalpindi, a suburb of Islamabad. Our Observers give their initial reactions to the event. One of them, Rana Afzaal, was at the scene when the bomb exploded.

"I heard the blast. It was so loud"

Rana Afzaal is a supporter of Bhutto's People's Party. He was still in the park where the meeting took place when the bomb exploded.

Bhutto was attacked as she was leaving Islamabad by car. The meeting had finished. I hadn't even left the park where the gathering took place when I heard the blast. It was so loud. I don't know how she could have been shot when she was in a bullet proof car. We still don't know how she died. When I left the Rawalpindi party, all hell was breaking loose. They were burning flags and smashing office windows. The crowds were so angry, I don't know what will happen next."

Post your questions to Rana Afzaal.

 

"I am sad, but not at all surprised"

Zaheer is a blogger and universoty lecturer who lives in the South of Pakistan. He reflects on the causes and results of the events.

Like many Pakistanis, I am sad, of course. But not surprised at all. This period was inevitable. Apart from the personal tragedy of the Bhuttos (people are likening them to the Kennedy clan), this is a time of grave distress for Pakistan. Although the knee-jerk reaction of her supporters has been to blame Musharraf for this incident, there is no doubt that his stupid policies in recent months are responsible for the country's demise. For half of its 60 years it has been 'ruled' by the army directly and for most of the remaining 30 years by the army indirectly. The talk of democracy is a mere façade. The fundamentalists have turned into extremists and pose a danger ... but one that is far less than the fact that the root causes of fundamentalism are spreading into those sections of society that were, just a few years ago, moderates. America's policies (and those of Britain) have acted as catalysts and blurred the distinctions of who is with whom and why. The outcome is predictable. If Musharraf holds his sham-election it will make it even more of a tragicomedy; if he does not, the Taliban agenda will have gained more... Either way, Pakistan loses out."

Post your questions to our Observer Zaheer Alam Kidvai.

 

"She's completely corrupt"

Nezhat Shah is an Islamabad-based journalist who decided not to go to the conference.

Rawalpindi is only half an hour away by train from my home. But I never would have gone to Bhutto's meeting. We all knew it would be too dangerous. In any case, I respect Bhutto as a woman, and I recognise her as a brilliant politician. But I wouldn't have wanted her to rule our country. She, and her party, are completely corrupt."