Former prime minister Benazir Bhutto escaped an attempted assassination the day she arrived home, but her luck ran out yesterday when she was killed by an assailant as she left her party’s headquarters. A man apparently began firing at her and when she ducked, he blew himself up killing Bhutto together with about twenty of her supporters. An angry crowd chanted loudly, “Dog, Musharraf, Dog” blaming the nation’s president for the killing. Earlier in the day terrorists tried killing Bhutto’s ally, Nawaz Sharif but only succeeded in murdering four of his supporters. Sharif was furious and bluntly stated: “This all happened at the behest of the government. They are 100% responsible, but we are not scared of such actions.”
The situation is now at a critical stage in Pakistan. Musharraf’s inept declaration of a state of emergency and removal of prominent supreme court judges who opposed his rule, has now placed the president in an awkward dilemma. His main opponent is dead at the hands of an unknown man and Sharif and Bhutto’s pakistan Muslim League will be blaming him. A victory for supporters of the president in the upcoming parliamentary election will not be accepted by the vast majority of Pakistanis. What happens in that scenario? Who will step up to assume leadership of the Pakistan Muslim League which has been advocating a more secular approach to government under Bhutto’s leadership? There are many questions and few answers.