Tragedy in PakistanBenazir Bhutto, former prime minister of Pakistan and the first woman to serve in that post in an Islamic nation, was killed in a bomb attack on Thursday.
On her way from a campaign rally outside of the capital Islamabad, she was shot and then killed in the bombing. Twenty of her supporters were also killed.
Such disgraceful acts of terror cannot be accepted under any circumstances. We mourn the dead and express our condolences to the people of Pakistan.
Bhutto’s death is not only an individual tragedy for her family, but also for Pakistan’s 60 years of history. Violent demonstrations spread throughout the country, and the nation’s democratization schedule, including the legislative election on Jan. 8 next year, will inevitably be hampered. Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf may declare another national emergency.
Bhutto’s assassination is also a tragedy for the international community, which has been engaged in war against terror. The stability of Pakistan, the only nuclear-armed nation in the Islamic world, may be dramatically shaken, subsequently endangering the control of the estimated 45 nuclear arms in the country. If a nuclear weapon finds its way into the hands of Islamic extremist terrorists, the world will face the unprecedented fear of a possible nuclear terror attack.
What is more troubling is the fact that it is impossible to find out who is the actual mastermind behind Bhutto’s killing. Pro-government forces, Muslim extremists, Al Qaeda, intelligence authorities and the military are all under suspicion.
As investigators are left clueless, confrontation and chaos could worsen. It is hard to rule out the possibility that the Taliban in Afghanistan will gain more power or that Osama bin Laden, hiding in the mountainous border region in the country, may resume his activities.
In its campaign against terror, the United States had no choice but to support Musharraf. Now, Washington faces a dilemma. The people of Pakistan will harbor ill feelings toward the United States, which joined hands with the dictator, and such anti-American sentiment will encourage terror. To suppress the terrorists, Musharraf has tightened his control over the nation.
The voice of self-examination grew in the United States, saying that such a vicious cycle is the result of driving the war against terror with hard power over soft.
Now is a crucial point at which to reconsider the war against terror.