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Bhutto Video Disputes Official Line

Discussion in 'News & Events' started by footballbat, Dec 31, 2007.

  1. footballbat

    footballbat Domine, dirige nos

    Bhutto Video Disputes Official Line
    Associated Press | December 31, 2007

    Pakistan - Video footage of Benazir Bhutto's assassination raised new questions Dec. 31 about the government's version of how she died, while elections officials said they would take another day to decide whether to delay critical Jan. 8 elections.

    Pakistan's major opposition parties are demanding the elections take place on time despite concerns the country remains too volatile to hold the polls, seen as a key step in U.S.-backed plans to restore democracy to the nation as it battles Taliban and al-Qaida militants.

    An election commission official said the body would announce a decision on the timing of the elections on Tuesday after hearing from regional officials on the "law and order situation" in the country. He spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

    Bhutto was killed in a suicide bomb and gun attack on Dec. 27, but disagreements between her supporters and the government over the precise cause of death are undermining confidence in President Pervez Musharraf and adding to calls for international investigators to probe the killing.

    The video footage, obtained by Britain's Channel 4, shows a man firing a handgun at Bhutto from close range as she stands up in an open-topped vehicle. Her hair and shawl then move upward, suggesting she may have been shot. She then falls into the vehicle just before an explosion rocks the car.

    The government has insisted Bhutto was not hit by any of the bullets and died after the force of the blast slammed her head against the sunroof. Bhutto's family and supporters say she died from gunshot wounds to her head and neck.

    Bhutto's husband said late Sunday he refused permission for doctors to perform an autopsy, meaning that short of exhuming her body - something her supporters have already ruled out - the cause of her death will be difficult to establish.

    After days of rioting that left at least 44 dead, life in many Pakistani cities began returning to normal, though soldiers and police patrolled many areas. The streets were still quiet in the southern city of Karachi, the scene of some of the worst violence, witnesses said.

    The country's stock markets tumbled in early trading Monday as the uncertain political outlook and violence triggered a selling spree. Soon after opening for the first time since the killing, the benchmark Karachi Stock Exchange's 100-share index had plunged by 4.4 percent - one of its biggest single-day falls.

    On Sunday, Bhutto's political party named her 19-year-old son, Bilawal Zardari, as its symbolic leader and left day-to-day control to her husband, extending Pakistan's most enduring political dynasty.

    The party immediately said it would contest the Jan. 8 polls, perhaps sensing major electoral gains were possible amid sympathy at Bhutto's death and a widespread belief that political allies of Musharraf were behind the killing.

    "My mother always said democracy is the best revenge," Bilawal said late Sunday at an emotionally charged media conference at Bhutto's ancestral home. "The party's long struggle for democracy will continue with renewed vigor," he said.

    Bhutto's party also appealed to the party of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif, another political enemy of Musharraf now seeking to position himself in Pakistan's new political landscape, to reverse an earlier decision to boycott the polls. Sharif's party later agreed.

    Tariq Azim, a spokesman for the pro-Musharraf Pakistan Muslim League-Q party, congratulated the decision not to seek a delay in the vote and said "we are also ready for the contest on Jan. 8." Earlier, he predicting the election may be delayed up to four months.

    The appointment of Bhutto's husband, Asif Ali Zardari, as effective leader was not without complications. A former Cabinet minister who spent eight years in prison on corruption accusations, he is known as "Mr. 10 Percent" for allegedly taking kickbacks and is viewed with suspicion by many Pakistanis.

    Zardari said the opposition party - Pakistan's largest - had no confidence in the government's ability to bring his wife's killers to justice and urged the United Nations to establish a committee like the one investigating the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Several leading U.S. politicians have made similar calls.

    A statement from the British government said Musharraf had agreed to consider "potential international support" for the Pakistani investigation into the assassination, but gave no more details. It also urged Pakistan to go ahead with elections without any "significant delay."

    The British and U.S. governments had been pushing Bhutto, a moderate Muslim seen as friendly to the West, to form a power-sharing agreement with Musharraf after the election - a combination seen as the most effective in the fight against al-Qaida, which is believed to be regrouping in the country's lawless tribal areas.
  2. SurfSarge

    SurfSarge misfit

    Pretty sad but she knew it was a deathwish..