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[COMMUNITY] Benazir Bhutto - "Daughter of Destiny"

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  • madchinaman
    Bhutto, an aristocrat who championed democracy Entering politics after her father s death, she always believed she was the best person to lead Pakistan. By
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 29, 2007
      Bhutto, an aristocrat who championed democracy
      Entering politics after her father's death, she always believed she
      was the best person to lead Pakistan.
      By Henry Chu, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

      She was, by her own account, a "daughter of destiny," a pampered girl
      from an aristocratic Pakistani family who inherited her father's
      political mantle and went on to become the Muslim world's first
      female prime minister. But in the end, that destiny proved a tragic
      one: Like her father, Benazir Bhutto was killed for her political

      The assassin who cut short Bhutto's life on Thursday brought to a
      close a remarkable biography encompassing a privileged childhood,
      degrees from Harvard and Oxford, stints in jail as a political
      prisoner, and mass adulation and contempt alike for her two terms as
      Pakistan's prime minister. After eight years of self-imposed exile,
      Bhutto, 54, had returned to her native land in October to try for a
      third term.

      Bhutto's triumphal return was marred from the start by violence, when
      a suicide bomber struck her motorcade and killed more than 140 people
      in the southern port city of Karachi.

      "I have many enemies -- I'm a security target," Bhutto told The Times
      in June. "But this is a most critical time for the country."

      A defiant and strong-willed figure, instantly recognizable in her
      trademark white scarf, Bhutto never flagged in her belief that she
      was the best person to lead her nation to democracy and prosperity.
      That confidence led her to declare herself "chairperson for life" of
      her Pakistan People's Party and to an imperious style that rewarded
      loyalists but alienated many others.

      Her charisma and skillful political maneuvering were undeniable --
      and sometimes masked the fact that her double stint as prime minister
      was at best a mixed bag, dragged down by allegations of massive
      corruption and criticism of her lavish lifestyle.

      But Bhutto made an indelible mark not just on her home country but on
      the international political scene, both for her gender and her
      outspoken insistence on the need for Pakistan to remake itself into a
      secular, liberal state.

      Despite her shortcomings, "what will remain is a commitment to
      democracy -- to moderate, centrist values, tolerance, a role for
      women and an accommodation with India," Stephen Cohen, a South Asia
      expert at the Brookings Institution, said Thursday. "She helped
      create a new identity for Pakistan as a place where women could be
      prime minister."

      Anil Kalhan, a visiting professor at Fordham University School of
      Law, agreed. "Certainly for women leaders she played an inspiring
      role, even though she ascended to that role in a dynastic way," he
      said. "She was always a very charismatic person who had a tremendous
      following because of her father's legacy as a populist but also in
      her own right. . . . She had people who adored her and detractors who
      couldn't stand her."

      Her death leaves a huge void at the top of her party, one that will
      be difficult to fill in a region where personality cults reign.
      Bhutto's three children, all in their teens, are too young to
      continue the dynasty begun by her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, who
      served as president and prime minister before being deposed and
      hanged by dictator Gen. Zia ul-Haq.

      Benazir Bhutto was born on June 21, 1953, the eldest of four children
      in a well-to-do landowning family in the southern province of Sindh.
      In what remains a largely feudal society, Bhutto grew up in a mansion
      in Karachi with the trappings and perks of Pakistan's postcolonial,
      English-speaking elite. She was attended to by an English governess,
      called by her nickname, "Pinkie," and enrolled in elite Roman
      Catholic schools.

      From a young age, she was witness to her father's political career,
      which included Cabinet posts and stints as the head of Pakistan's
      delegation to the United Nations. Zulfikar Ali Bhutto delighted his
      children with stories about famous historical figures such as
      Napoleon and Alexander the Great, as well as with gifts of chocolates
      and clothes from Saks Fifth Avenue, which bred a taste for luxury in
      his eldest daughter that persisted throughout adulthood.

      So sheltered was Bhutto's life that at 16, she was completely
      unprepared for life at Radcliffe College, Harvard University.

      "I cried and cried and cried because I had never walked to classes in
      my life before," she once told an interviewer. "I'd always been
      driven to school in a car and picked up in a car, and here I had to
      walk and walk and walk. It was cold, bitterly cold, and I hated
      it . . . but it forced me to grow up. There was this huge hall and
      you had to serve yourself and sit down somewhere next to someone,
      which meant I had to talk to people, and Americans are very

      From Harvard, she went on to Oxford University to study politics,
      philosophy and economics, an arena where she honed her skills by
      becoming the first Asian woman to be elected president of the
      prestigious Oxford Union debating society.

      Her sights were still set on a possible career as a diplomat rather
      than a politician. But soon after her return, in 1977, her father was
      ousted as prime minister in a military coup and imprisoned, and
      martial law was declared. Two years later, he was executed, and his
      death became the defining moment in Bhutto's life, launching her full-
      bore into politics.

      "I told him on my oath in his death cell, I would carry on his work,"
      Bhutto later said.

      She paid a price for her promise. Over the next five years, with the
      Pakistan People's Party outlawed, Bhutto was in and out of detention,
      sometimes under house arrest, or in prison, under harrowing
      conditions. In her autobiography, "Daughter of Destiny," she
      recounted her experience in solitary confinement in a desert cell in
      1981, where the heat was almost unbearable.

      "My skin split and peeled, coming off my hands in sheets. Boils
      erupted on my face. My hair, which had always been thick, began to
      come out by the handful. Insects crept into the cell like invading
      armies," she wrote. "I tried pulling the sheet over my head at night
      to hide from their bites, pushing it back when it got too hot to

      She was allowed to leave Pakistan in 1984 for treatment of a serious
      ear infection. She settled in London, but the Shakespearean drama of
      her family's life continued with the mysterious death of one of her
      two brothers, Shahnawaz, at his home on the French Riviera. Some
      accounts suggested that he had been poisoned, which Bhutto believed
      to be the handiwork of Pakistani agents. When Zia lifted martial law
      in Pakistan in December 1985, Bhutto felt the time had come to
      return. Her homecoming in April 1986, in the ancient city of Lahore,
      was tumultuous, celebrated by hundreds of thousands of Pakistanis who
      thronged the streets and forced her motorcade to slow to such a crawl
      that it took 10 hours to travel eight miles.

      In her elegant British-inflected accent, she called on Zia to resign,
      saying that it was "a bad year for dictators" -- a reference to the
      fall of Ferdinand Marcos in the Philippines and Jean-Claude "Baby
      Doc" Duvalier in Haiti. The momentum of her rapturous welcome
      propelled her on a national tour and then her party to victory in
      elections in November 1988, months after Zia's death in a mysterious
      plane crash.

      Governance, however, proved difficult for Bhutto in both her terms as
      prime minister, from 1988 to 1990 and 1993 to 1996. She was credited
      with immediately ending media restrictions and speaking out for
      women's rights, but she was constrained by the military and the
      mullahs, Pakistan's two most powerful groups.

      Although Bhutto's domestic rhetoric echoed the populism of her
      father, with its promises of basic necessities for all, inflation
      continued to hurt the poor and foreign debts grew. And though the
      West saw her as a glamorous symbol of moderation, she was unable to
      curb Islamic and ethnic militancy.

      Most damaging of all were the accusations of corruption that began to
      surface. Bhutto made little secret of her love of the finer things,
      and she and her husband, businessman Asif Ali Zardari, lived lives
      beyond the imaginings of most Pakistanis, with residences in London
      and New York. The money to finance such opulence was suspected to
      have come from kickbacks and other shady deals by Zardari, who was
      nicknamed "Mr. 10%." Despite his unpopularity, Bhutto gave him a
      Cabinet post during her second term.

      The corruption allegations drove her from office and eventually the
      country. Her husband spent eight years in prison, though without a
      formal conviction. Investigations were opened in Britain, Spain and

      Four years ago, a Swiss investigative magistrate convicted Bhutto and
      Zardari of money laundering. The judge ruled that Swiss firms had
      bribed the couple in return for a Pakistani government contract. But
      an appeals court set aside the verdict and the investigation was open
      at the time of her death.

      Last month, Spanish prosecutors closed their three-year investigation
      of Bhutto and Zardari, citing a lack of evidence. The British case, a
      civil lawsuit by the Pakistani government involving the purchase of
      Bhutto's multi-million dollar estate in England, is still pending.

      Bhutto's reputation was further damaged by the fatal shooting of her
      other brother, Murtaza, by police in 1996 in Karachi. Some believe
      Bhutto, who was prime minister then, herself engineered, or at least
      tacitly approved the killing, because he challenged her status as
      party leader. Different factions within the family remain politically
      at odds with each other; last month, Murtaza's daughter Fatima Bhutto
      lashed out at her aunt in a Los Angeles Times opinion piece, saying
      that her return could mean the death of the democratic movement in

      In self-exile, from her bases in London and Dubai, United Arab
      Emirates, Bhutto continued to hold sway over her party, contesting
      the corruption charges and traveling the world promoting her vision
      of a democratic Pakistan.

      "She really believed that. There's no question that her upbringing
      and her background and her experience in the West was part of her
      identity. That was what she stood for," said Cohen of the Brookings

      Exile seemed to have mellowed her. "I found her to be thoughtful and
      reflective and more willing to admit errors than she did before. I
      think she matured as a politician in exile," he said. "She was 100%
      politician. She worked at her job very, very hard."

      Before her return to Pakistan in October, Bhutto was working on a
      controversial power-sharing deal, backed by the U.S., with President
      Pervez Musharraf. Her willingness to deal with an army general who
      came to power in a coup and whom many of her compatriots consider a
      ruthless dictator compromised her standing to some extent.

      But reading the public mood, as well as Musharraf's apparent
      reluctance to bend on key points, she announced last month that she
      would no longer negotiate with him.

      Instead, she took to campaigning for her Pakistan People's Party in
      the elections scheduled for Jan. 8, hoping to recapture some of the
      magic and popular acclaim that had greeted her on her first
      homecoming in 1986.

      At that time, she had invoked her father's spirit in words that would
      prove prescient more than 20 years later.

      "He told me at our last meeting at Rawalpindi jail that I must
      sacrifice everything for my country," she said. "This is a mission I
      shall live or die for."

      Apart from her husband and their three children, son Bilawal and
      daughters Bakhtawar and Asifa, Bhutto is survived by her mother,
      Nusrat, and sister, Sanam.


      Bhutto's death could be a turning point
      The assassination, raising concerns about apparent impunity of
      militants and possible complicity of intelligence agencies, could
      force the Pakistani government to act decisively.
      By Laura King, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

      ISLAMABAD, PAKISTAN -- The circumstances of Benazir Bhutto's
      assassination suggest either that Islamic militants based in Pakistan
      are able to act with near-total impunity or that elements within the
      government of President Pervez Musharraf have been complicit in
      attacks, or both, analysts and Western diplomats say.

      The government's version of events surrounding the attack Thursday
      that killed the popular former prime minister raises many more
      questions than it answers, these observers said. The nearly
      instantaneous naming of a culprit and eagerness to assert that Bhutto
      had not been shot left some observers troubled about the motives of a
      government that is a trusted ally in the Bush administration's "war
      on terror."

      The violent death of Bhutto, 54, on whom the West had pinned hopes of
      a moderate, democratic Pakistan, is a watershed event in a nuclear-
      armed state that faces a roiling Islamic insurgency not only in its
      mostly lawless tribal border regions, but in the streets of its most
      cosmopolitan cities.

      The assassination will have long-lasting repercussions not only in
      Pakistan, but in neighboring Afghanistan as well, where Western
      troops are battling a fractured but determined Taliban movement. Any
      significant destabilization of Pakistan would carry risks for the
      entire region, analysts said.

      On Saturday, with mourning rites still taking place at Bhutto's
      ancestral home, her party angrily contested government assertions
      that she had been killed neither by bullets that witnesses said a
      gunman fired from only a few yards away nor by shrapnel from the
      suicide bombing that rocked her armored vehicle moments later.
      Instead, a government spokesman said the force of the blast was such
      that she hit her head so hard that she suffered a fatal skull

      "That's dangerous nonsense," said Sherry Rehman, a senior official in
      the Pakistan People's Party who was in the vehicle immediately behind
      Bhutto's, accompanied her on the frantic drive to the closest
      hospital and viewed her body after doctors declared her dead.

      Rehman said entry and exit wounds from gunshots were visible on
      Bhutto's head and neck, and that she was bleeding uncontrollably on
      the way to the hospital.

      Western diplomats, too, said they found the government statements
      worrying in their wider implications.

      "It's not only that this is not a credible account of what happened --
      that's obvious on the face of it," said a diplomat familiar with
      security matters, speaking on condition of anonymity.

      "It's that it raises questions about why the government is so
      extraordinarily eager to avoid acknowledging the role of a gunman,
      whether or not the wounds were fatal. At the very least, it's
      puzzling," the diplomat said.

      Several analysts familiar with the tactics of militant groups in
      Pakistan said the use of a handgun in addition to self-detonated
      explosives represented a departure from the trademark methods of
      groups operating here.

      "This is not by any means a signature killing by Al Qaeda," security
      analyst Nasim Zehra said. "A targeted shooting, even in combination
      with a familiar suicide bombing, makes it look more like a political
      killing than one by some militant group."

      Others, however, noted that Pakistan's militant organizations have
      shown themselves capable of adapting to changing circumstances and
      adjusting their methods accordingly.

      "Obviously, they were studying her movements in the course of the
      political campaign," said Ikram Sehgal, a former military officer
      turned analyst. "Inside the rally, it was relatively secure; her
      problem was entering and leaving. She was highly vulnerable at that

      "It was done very professionally," Sehgal added. "It was a 'hit.' "

      That degree of professionalism suggests to some experts the hand of
      Pakistan's security apparatus, which has previously aided and abetted
      militant groups, including the Taliban.

      "The [security] agencies have ongoing connections with the
      militants," said security analyst Ayesha Siddiqa, who has written
      extensively about the Pakistani military. "It's very simplistic to
      talk about the militants doing this and doing that, all the while
      acting alone."

      The government has pointed the finger at Baitullah Mahsud, a local
      Taliban commander based in the Pakistani tribal areas bordering
      Afghanistan. On Saturday, Mahsud issued a vehement denial of
      involvement in the killing.

      "It is against tribal customs and traditions to kill a woman,"
      Mahsud's spokesman, who calls himself Maulana Omar, said by
      telephone, speaking from an undisclosed location.

      The government had released a transcript of a purported conversation
      between Mahsud and another militant leader in which they appear to
      make reference to the assassination and the second commander offered
      his congratulations.

      Another Western diplomat familiar with the Pakistani security
      services' extensive electronic surveillance operations said that if
      the transcript was genuine, it was highly unlikely that the
      eavesdropping began with this particular conversation in the
      immediate aftermath of Bhutto's death.

      "That raises the question: What precisely was known about his
      activities and plans up until now?" the diplomat said.

      Mahsud has been known to reach accommodations with the government. In
      2005, he agreed to a truce in the South Waziristan region, promising
      his men would not attack Pakistani soldiers, though the pact later

      The government has sought to put the blame for security lapses on
      Bhutto and her party, particularly her decision to stand up through
      her SUV's sunroof as she left the rally. Others in the bulletproof
      vehicle with her survived the bomb blast with relatively light
      injuries, as did those riding in the other cars in her convoy.

      But whether or not rogue elements of the security forces were
      involved or there was deliberate negligence on the part of the
      authorities, the attackers demonstrated a keen ability and
      determination to get their target.

      "I think this degree of impunity, the fact that they are able to hold
      the whole country ransom and terrorize the population -- all this is
      definitely a new level of threat and danger," said author and analyst
      Ahmed Rashid, who has written extensively about the Taliban and other
      militant groups.

      The enormous wave of popular revulsion over the assassination could
      spur demands that the government end once and for all its shadowy
      dealings with militant groups, some predicted.

      "This is perhaps the only thing that could come out of this, if
      people stand up and realize that the extremists are very much among
      us," said Omar Qureishi, the op-ed editor of the English-language
      paper the News. "There have been alliances in the past, but a line
      should be drawn: no dealings with them in any way."

      The government has promised an exhaustive investigation, but as it
      did following an attack in Karachi on Bhutto's homecoming procession
      in October that killed more than 140 people, it has declined offers
      of international assistance.

      Observers say that the methods employed by Pakistani investigators
      have probably already allowed crucial forensic evidence to be

      Modern forensic practices, including the sealing off and preservation
      of a crime scene, are little used in Pakistan. State television
      showed pictures of police officers, wearing latex gloves, combing the
      scene Saturday, picking up pieces of debris and carefully depositing
      them in evidence bags.

      But immediately after Thursday's attack, senior police inspectors had
      looked on as pressure hoses were used to wash the pavement, which was
      sticky with blood and strewn with broken glass. In the area where a
      gunman's spent shell casings would likely have fallen, all was swept
      into the torrent of bloodstained water.

      "How do we find out who killed Benazir?" analyst Siddiqa said. "I
      don't know that we ever will."


      Beyond Benazir
      With Bhutto assassinated, turmoil -- even civil war -- loom for
      nuclear-armed Pakistan.

      Before the assassination of former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto on
      Thursday, Pakistan was arguably the world's most unstable nuclear
      power. Now there's no argument. With the country's strongest hope for
      a democratic future now lying entombed near her martyred father,
      Pakistan faces at best a long period of turmoil and uncertainty, and
      at worst a civil war. Its nuclear arsenal has never been less secure,
      and Al Qaeda and its sympathizers have never been closer to realizing
      their dream of obtaining a nuclear device.

      Those eager to lay blame for this catastrophe have plenty of targets.
      At the top of the list is President Pervez Musharraf, who many
      Pakistanis believe had a hand in Bhutto's murder. That's unlikely,
      given that her death further weakens his political standing; his best
      hope to remain in office was to form a coalition government with
      Bhutto. Musharraf also is being blamed for failing to provide enough
      security, another questionable charge given Bhutto's insistence on
      appearing before crowds and standing up through the sunroof of her
      bulletproof vehicle. Yet Musharraf isn't without fault. The emergency
      rule he imposed in November shut down private TV and radio stations,
      and even when channels reopened recently, they were forbidden from
      airing political content, thus forcing Bhutto and other candidates to
      do their campaigning via public appearances.

      The United States now finds itself with no strong ally in Pakistan
      besides Musharraf, and no good options remaining for promoting
      democratic change -- a situation for which the Bush administration is
      partly to blame. Washington invested all its hopes in Bhutto, failing
      to cultivate relationships with other Pakistani political leaders.

      Yet the person most to blame for the dangerous situation Pakistan now
      presents to the world -- besides the assassin and his backers -- may
      be Benazir Bhutto. Her Pakistan People's Party, the country's largest
      political group, was a dynastic organization ruled entirely by one
      woman; Bhutto sidelined charismatic leaders who rose within the
      ranks, seeing them as potential rivals. As a result, there is no one
      to take her place. To put her own life at enormous risk was certainly
      courageous, but it also could be seen as reckless and arrogant.

      For now, the hopes of Pakistan are riding on Bhutto's party. If it
      can produce a new leader and call for calm and restraint rather than
      violence and street protest, there's a chance that elections could
      still go forward -- if not on Jan. 8, then soon after. Other likely
      scenarios, such as another declaration of emergency rule by Musharraf
      or an indefinite postponement of balloting, would only make a bad
      situation worse.


      Bhutto's long and tangled list of enemies
      Analysts suspect that Al Qaeda had a hand in the assassination,
      possibly along with other extremist groups.
      By Josh Meyer, Los Angeles Times Staff Writer

      WASHINGTON -- It may have been a single assassin who killed former
      Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, but if so, he could have been
      working with any number of Islamic extremist groups, U.S.
      intelligence officials and South Asia analysts said Thursday.

      Bhutto had returned from eight years of self-imposed exile with a
      pledge to reform Pakistan in ways that would upset entrenched
      political interests, powerful fundamentalist religious organizations,
      and Al Qaeda and the Taliban. She was aligned with the U.S., and
      vowed to crack down on the increasingly popular radicalism spreading
      through the country. And she had publicly accused the government's
      military and intelligence establishments of coddling terrorists.

      As a result, the list of people and groups considered Bhutto's
      archenemies was a long one. But determining who killed her, and why,
      could be a complicated and confounding investigation, say current and
      former U.S. officials and analysts. They say it is not likely that
      someone working alone killed the daughter of a Pakistani political

      A more likely scenario, they say, is that Al Qaeda was ultimately
      responsible, because it has long targeted Bhutto and stands to gain
      the most from the political destabilization that is certain to follow
      her slaying. If that turns out to be the case, it is also likely that
      additional extremist organizations were involved, analysts say.

      Within Pakistan, Osama bin Laden's global network group has worked
      closely with more than a dozen radical fundamentalist Islamic
      organizations in Pakistan that have grown in power and popularity.

      Two of them, Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Muhammad, changed their
      names to avoid U.S. and Pakistani sanctions after they were
      designated as terrorist organizations. Other groups include Lashkar-e-
      Jhangvi and Sipah-e-Sahaba Pakistan. All are Sunni Muslim-based and
      oppose Bhutto in part because she was female and Shiite Muslim.
      Though they have links to Al Qaeda, such Sunni Muslim extremist
      groups have their own leaders and their own agendas, and potentially
      thousands of foot soldiers.

      Another suspect is Baitullah Mahsud, a Taliban commander operating in
      Pakistan's tribal areas, who reportedly pledged before Bhutto
      returned to Pakistan in October to dispatch suicide bombers against
      her, say current and former U.S. intelligence and counter-terrorism
      officials. Mahsud has denied that.

      Complicating the situation is the fact that many of the extremist
      groups have ties to Pakistan's political establishment, including
      elements of the government loyal to President Pervez Musharraf, as
      well as close ties to the military and its intelligence agencies.
      Bhutto had long criticized such links, and in the wake of her killing
      Thursday, some of her supporters accused the government of playing a
      role. One senior U.S. counter-terrorism official also said Washington
      suspected that rogue officials within the military or intelligence
      agencies could have been involved, noting that though there is no
      evidence, they have detested Bhutto for more than a decade.

      U.S. intelligence and counter-terrorism agencies, and groups such as
      the Sept. 11 commission, have said that Pakistan's Inter-Services
      Intelligence agency in particular has cultivated relationships with
      radical groups, using them as proxies to wage war against India while
      protecting Pakistan's interests in Afghanistan.

      U.S. intelligence officials said they were investigating but could
      not confirm an initial claim of responsibility for the attack that
      reportedly came from an Al Qaeda leader. An Italian website said
      Mustafa Abu al Yazid, Al Qaeda's commander in Afghanistan, told its
      reporter in a phone call, "We terminated the most precious American
      asset which vowed to defeat [the] mujahedin."

      The website also said the decision to assassinate Bhutto was made in
      October by Al Qaeda's No. 2 leader, Ayman Zawahiri.

      Ross Feinstein, a spokesman for the Directorate of National
      Intelligence, said authorities were "obviously looking into" such
      reports but had not yet been able to confirm them.

      Even if Al Qaeda does claim responsibility, current and former U.S.
      intelligence officials said they would be skeptical that it acted
      without help from Pakistan-based groups, whose members are less
      likely to stand out.

      "We're still early on piecing it together," a U.S. intelligence
      official said. "There are any number of groups within Pakistan that
      could have mounted this attack."

      In Pakistan, Musharraf blamed Islamic extremists and pledged to
      redouble efforts to fight them. "This is the work of those terrorists
      with whom we are engaged in war," he said in a nationally televised

      President Bush described the slaying as a "cowardly act by murderous
      extremists" trying to undermine Pakistan.

      White House spokesman Scott Stanzel stopped short of accusing Al
      Qaeda or the Taliban, but said the attack used methods with which "Al
      Qaeda is very familiar."

      Bruce Riedel, a former Pakistan expert for the CIA, the National
      Security Council and the State Department, said his "hunch" was that
      Al Qaeda was responsible.

      "They have been trying to kill her for years," he said. "They had
      motive: Destabilize Pakistan further. And means: dozens of martyrs
      ready to die."

      However, Al Qaeda has rarely, if ever, used gunmen in assassination

      Some U.S. intelligence experts and analysts said that there are so
      many tangled alliances between the extremist groups and Pakistani
      government agencies that it would be virtually impossible to get to
      the bottom of who killed Bhutto unless the perpetrators came forward -
      - with proof. The FBI has offered to send investigators, but Pakistan
      has not responded, FBI spokesman Richard Kolko said.

      "There are just too many different groups that both have the desire
      to do this and also . . . the capacity to do it to make any sense of
      it until one of them convincingly comes out and suggests that they
      did it," said Daniel Markey, who oversaw South Asia policy for the
      State Department until February.

      Markey also wondered whether U.S. officials should trust Pakistan to
      aggressively investigate the slaying. "I have zero confidence that
      the Pakistan government will get to the bottom of this, if they want
      to or if they don't want to, no matter who is actually responsible
      for it," he said.

      The extremist groups, Markey said, have "their tentacles already
      extended into the organs of the Pakistani state, which is what makes
      this so troubling."

      Stanzel told reporters in Crawford, Texas, that it was "up to the
      Pakistani officials" to determine who killed Bhutto. He declined to
      say whether the Bush administration believed Pakistan was up to the

      Bhutto had suggested that alliances between extremists and the
      government had put her country in a stranglehold, and that some
      combination of those forces might someday kill her.

      "I have long claimed that the rise of extremism and militancy in
      Pakistan could not happen without support from elements within the
      current administration," Bhutto wrote in a commentary last month for

      Before her return to Pakistan, Bhutto said she feared that retired
      army officers were plotting to assassinate her. In an interview with
      Britain's Guardian newspaper, she noted that Mahsud, the Taliban
      commander, had threatened to send suicide bombers against her. But
      she said real danger came from extremist elements within the
      country's military establishment that were opposed to her return.

      "I'm not worried about Baitullah Mahsud, I'm worried about the threat
      within the government," she told the Guardian. "People like Baitullah
      Mahsud are just pawns. It is those forces behind him that have
      presided over the rise of extremism and militancy in my country."

      Pakistani officials angrily denied such allegations. They did so
      again after Bhutto narrowly escaped injury Oct. 19, when suicide
      bombers attacked her homecoming parade, killing more than 140 people.
      No group has claimed responsibility for that attack.

      But Bhutto described it as an attempt to silence her and her
      opposition candidacy, and called for international assistance in
      identifying the perpetrators. The Musharraf government declined to
      seek outside help, and the investigation appears to have made little

      On Thursday, Pakistani officials noted that radical extremists had
      also displayed an interest in going after Musharraf and his
      loyalists. The groups have launched several failed assassination
      attempts against Musharraf. And in recent weeks, suicide bombers have
      repeatedly targeted military and intelligence targets in Pakistan,
      including the military garrison in Rawalpindi where Musharraf stays.


      Benazir Bhutto's life a sweeping epic of blood and controversy
      From the Associated Press

      The suicide attack that killed Benazir Bhutto cut short an epic life,
      one bathed in blood and awash with controversy.

      Bhutto's father was hanged and a brother was shot to death. She had
      risen to become the Muslim world's first female prime minister, only
      to lose office and flee Pakistan for most of a decade in the face of
      accusations she was corrupt.

      And when, finally, she returned in October to marshal the opposition
      against President Pervez Musharraf, her homecoming parade in Karachi
      was targeted by a suicide attacker. More than 140 people, died, but
      the 54-year-old Bhutto escaped injury and threw herself into the

      "We have to modify our campaign to some extent because of the suicide
      bombings. We will continue to meet the public. We will not be
      deterred," she said then.

      Her father was Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, scion of a wealthy landowning
      family in southern Pakistan and founder of the populist Pakistan
      People's Party. The elder Bhutto was president and then prime
      minister of Pakistan before his ouster in a 1977 military coup; two
      years later, he was executed by the government of Gen. Zia-ul Haq
      after being convicted of engineering the murder of a political

      A year later, her youngest brother, Shahnawaz, had died under
      mysterious circumstances in France; the family insisted he was
      poisoned, but no charges were brought.

      The elder Bhutto had sent his daughter to study politics and
      government at Harvard and then at Oxford, where she was elected to
      lead the prestigious debating society, the Oxford Union.

      Bhutto returned to Pakistan after he father's death, swearing to
      continue his work. She was detained several times before being exiled
      to England in 1984. Two years later, she returned again to lead
      rallies for the restoration of civilian rule.

      After Zia's death in a mysterious plane crash in 1988, Bhutto gave
      birth to the first of her three children. Beautiful, charismatic and
      articulate, she led her party to an election victory and became the
      first woman to lead a modern Muslim nation.

      Her first administration was clouded by allegations of corruption and
      clashes with Pakistan's powerful military; her administration was
      dismissed after 20 months.

      She was re-elected in 1993. But three years later, her brother
      Murtaza died in a gunbattle with police in Karachi; Bhutto's husband,
      Asif Ali Zardari, was charged with his murder. The charges eventually
      were overturned, but Zardari spent eight years in prison on those
      accusations and others involving corrupt dealings allegedly amounting
      to millions of dollars.

      Benazir accused President Farooq Leghari of involvement in Murtaza's
      death, and Leghari dismissed her second government amid fresh
      allegations of misrule. She sought to lead a third government, but
      lost to archrival Nawaz Sharif in 1996.

      She left Pakistan in 1999, just before a court convicted her of
      corruption and banned her from politics.

      The verdict was later quashed, but she stayed away until Musharraf
      signed an amnesty, halting any corruption charges against her and

      Her return was triumphant, but fraught with peril. She was defiant to
      the end.

      "Bhutto is alive! Bhutto is alive! Bhutto is alive!" she shouted at a
      rally in December.
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