UK media terms attack on Benazir as one of the deadliest in Pak history

November 14th, 2007 - 2:33 am ICT by admin  
The Guardian warned that there could be more violence after the October 18 attack, adding, “This is a crucial moment in Pakistan.”

The paper further said that the carnage came at the very moment when hope of “a better, more prosperous and more democratic future had at last returned to the hearts of millions of impoverished, disillusioned and effectively disenfranchised Pakistanis.”

The violence may hamper the much-touted deal between Benazir and President Pervez Musharraf, the paper said.

Before returning to Pakistan, Benazir told the Guardian that she feared that retired military officials were plotting her assassination.

“Call it a personality cult, feudal politics or genuine democracy, but overwhelming street power is the potent calling card of Ms Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party. It also proved to be a point of vulnerability. A sea of supporters washed up against the fortified bus carrying Ms Bhutto as it crawled through Karachi,” the Dawn quoted, The Guardian, as saying.

Benazir rejected the suggestion that she was responsible for the attack because she did not listen to the warnings issued by Musharraf, The Times reported.

The newspaper in its editorial (The Iron Lady) said the explosions directed at her and her entourage, killing 138 people, indicate the continuing danger that she will face now that she is home.

The bomb blasts have exposed the vulnerable nature of Pakistan’s stuttering attempts to restore democracy, The Daily Telegraph opined.

In an analytical piece, the newspaper said: “The bloody carnage in Karachi has once again plunged Pakistan into a political crisis, raised serious doubts as to whether parliamentary elections can be held in January and deepened the longstanding mistrust between Musharraf and opposition leader Benazir.”

“The claims and counter-claims will continue, but the bombing may give Musharraf and the ruling PML the excuse to postpone general elections that could bring Benazir to power,” the paper argued.

The paper further said that Benazir’s loyalist have backed her on isolating Islamic fundamentalist parties.

“Her party faithful have backed her on the need to politically isolate the Islamic fundamentalist parties, deal harshly with Islamic extremism, make up with Afghanistan President Hamid Karzai and settle another insurgency that is taking place in Balochistan,” The Telegraph said.

“Musharraf has successfully divided the opposition, played hard and soft with the extremists and still wants to keep Islamic fundamentalist parties on board with him in any future electoral alliance,” it added.

It was hoped that Ms Bhutto’s safe arrival, her show of strength and her subsequent dialogue with the military would increase pressure on Musharraf to do the right thing.

“Her return to Karachi was marred by a murderous bomb attack, but served notice on Musharraf that she remains a formidable political force,” The Telegraph said in its report.

The Independent said Benazir’s triumphant homecoming to Pakistan turned to deadly carnage…and cast an appalling shadow over what had seemed only hours earlier like a mass celebration for a much-loved figure.

Over 150,000 jubilant supporters surrounded the convoy carrying the former leader, shouting “long-live Bhutto”. (ANI)

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