UPDATE: New videos added after the jump
The Chinese government has sent its message of condolence to Pakistan over the assassination and death of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto two weeks before its national elections. Shortly after a rally, Bhutto was shot in the neck and chest by her attacker, who then blew himself up.
While we are by no means a blog on Pakistan politics, we felt the need for a moment of remembrance for someone who we think will go down the annals of history as a martyr for democracy in her country. Bhutto must have considered that this would be her fate when she returned to Pakistan two months ago. She almost lost her life when two bombs detonated at her welcome-home rally in Karachi. Key suspects in the assassination attempt are al-Qaeda (of whom she was a vocal critic”) and elements within Musharraf’s regime who do not wish to see her back.
China Confidential notes that China has been one of Pakistan’s closest allies (perhaps to counter India’s rising political clout), maintaining “strong relations with Bhutto when she was in power, and has continued its close ties with the government of current President Pervez Musharraf.”:
As if to highlight China’s close ties to Pakistan, on the same day that Pakistan’s former Prime Ministter, Benazir Bhutto, was assassinated, Xinhua reported that the two countries deepened their business relationship.
The Pak-China Investment Company, the first joint venture between Pakistan and China in financial sector, was launched Thursday in eastern Pakistan’s Lahore city.
In China’s condolence message to Pakistan:
Ms. Benazir Bhutto, a seasoned Pakistani statesman and an old friend of the Chinese people, has made significant contributions to the promotion of China-Pakistan friendly relations during her lifetime.
Cynics Unlimited, in its analysis of Bhutto’s legacy, sums it up pretty well:
In fact, there is a good chance Bhutto knew she was going to be killed, if not now then surely once she (likely) won the election. Pakistan is too unstable not to believe otherwise. For that reason, Benazir Bhutto should be considered a martyr for democracy – someone who in death accomplished more than she could have as a short-term leader of the troubled Islamic state. Bringing world awareness to the severity of Eastern fundamentalism is probably the best act that any leader or commentator could have done, and Bhutto just exposed -in no uncertain terms- the extent to which insurgents (or possibly even Musharraf) will go to maintain instability. The Bhutto family, in spite of their suspected corruption, will be remembered alongside the Gandhi and Kennedy families as tortured dynasties whose misfortunes will be to the long-term benefit of equality and democracy.
For more pictures on the assassination attempt, click here.
Scenes of chaos after the assassination, news of Bhutto’s death and grief among her supporters:Bhutto’s interview with Al-Jazeera after the first failed assassination attempt: