Will Benazir Bhutto’s murder impact US presidential election? If President Pervez Musharraf had nurtured any illusions that with the removal of his arch rival Benazir Bhutto he would live/rule happily ever after, the Pakistani dictator better get prepared for a gathering storm ahead.
The recent assassination is likely to become a major issue in the US presidential election campaign with Hillary Clinton on Friday calling for an independent, international probe into Benazir Bhutto’s murder.
“The assassination of the former Pakistani premier was the kind of sudden, outside event with the potential to quickly roil presidential campaign plans, and revived the issues of national security and experience in the 2008 race,” reports AFP.
“An unanswered question was how the shockwaves would play out in the minds of voters in Iowa, which kicks off the party nominating season with caucuses next Thursday, and New Hampshire, which has primary elections on January 8.
‘It is also clear the Bush policy of giving Musharraf a blank check has failed,’ Clinton said, adding a Bhutto death probe could mirror the UN inquiry into the killing of Lebanese ex-prime minister Rafiq Hariri in 2005.”
Will this Clinton stand force her rivals to spell out in clearer terms their take on Pakistan? Would this development also push the Bush administration to take some dramatic steps to quell the rising crescendo of allegations and counter-allegations related to the recent assassination? Or, would all this noise die out in a few days when the hysteria subsides? The next 10 days could be crucial for…?
The Telegraph of Britain states that “with less than a week before the Iowa caucus, the crucial first round of state-by-state voting that will decide the nominees for the November 2008 US presidential election, the former Pakistan prime minister’s death is being treated as the sort of event that could sway the result.
“US presidential candidates from both parties have been competing to exploit Benazir Bhutto’s assassination, using it to advertise their foreign policy experience and personal contacts with Pakistan.
“Some candidates were left embarrassed by their reactions. Mike Huckabee, the former Arkansas governor, expressed ‘our sincere concern and apologies for what has happened in Pakistan’. His campaign later issued a statement saying he meant ’sympathies’ not ‘apologies’.”
The Bhutto assassination has all the potential to snowball into a major controversy if one reads the recent media reports. “It was a story CNN’s Wolf Blitzer hoped he’d never have to report – an e-mail sent to him through an intermediary by Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto complaining about her security. Conditions of use: only if she were killed.
“Bhutto, who was assassinated on Thursday, wrote to Blitzer that if anything happened to her, ‘I would hold (Pakistani President Pervez) Musharraf responsible’.” According to a CNN report, Bhutto sent an e-mail to her U.S. adviser and longtime friend, saying that if she were killed, Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf would bear some of the blame. She cited his government’s denial of her request for additional security measures after the October suicide bombing that targeted her upon returning to Pakistan from exile.
Was she shot dead?
The huge bomb that went off next to Bhutto’s car was … only a decoy? Or was the decoy some other bomb that we haven’t heard about? So the decoy goes off, everyone starts running and screaming, and only then do the snipers capitalize on the confusion to pump Bhutto full of bullets. In that case, why were there at least two shots fired before the bomb went off?
And how come no one, including the Getty photographer who snapped a shot of the blast, appears to have heard any other shots, let alone the sound of subsequent explosions from the two snipers who allegedly blew themselves up as cops were chasing them? A tribute…“The Lioness Fallen”.
The media reports are clear that Bhutto assassination has shocked the world and threatens to destabilise an entire region. Rageh Omaar, who last month spent two days with the former leader of Pakistan in her home town, assesses what her death means for the future of her country, and the war on terror.
There is another topical story “Row breaks out over Benazir Bhutto’s death” by Isambard Wilkinson, Pakistan Correspondent, and Bonnie Malkin in The Telegraph.