136 Dead in Pakistan Bombing Gilani: Neighboring Country Warned of Attack on Bhutto

Manan Ahmed at our Global Affairs Blog points out that Karachi has now joined New York, Madrid and London as a site of a major terrorist attack. Late reports say 136 are dead and over 500 wounded in a bombing aimed at assassinating former prime minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto on her return after years of exile. She was unharmed.

Benazir’s husband, Asif Ali Zardari, charged that elements within the government of Gen. Pervez Musharraf, fearful that Benazir will displace them in the January elections, were behind the blast. Benazir herself blamed it on Muslim fundamentalists opposed to a woman coming to power.

The USG Open Source Center translates and interview with a politician from Benazir’s Pakistan People’s Party, who alleges that a ‘neighboring country’ had warned that there would be an attempt on her life.

Pakistan: Leader Says ‘Neighboring Country’ Warned About Attack on Bhutto Rally
Geo News TV
Friday, October 19, 2007
Document Type: OSC Translated Text

Yousuf Reza Gilani, leader of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), has strongly condemned the bomb blasts at the PPP Chairperson Ms. Benazir Bhutto’s rally and has said that Benazir Bhutto is an //iron lady// and such type of incidents cannot hinder her determination. He expressed these views while talking to Geo News Correspondent Ashraf Zaidi at Bilwal House (Bhutto family residence in Karachi).

(Begin recording) (Gilani) As far as this //suicide bombing// is concerned, we //condemn// these types of //incidents// today as we have done in the past and we will do so in future. This is very improper //trend//and this should not happen. And, our neighboring country had also informed the government that such type of incident could take place. As our neighboring country had given the information, the government should have been on alert and //look after// it (the information), but they did no[t] do so.

(Zaidi) Gilani, what could be the objectives behind such bomb blasts?

(Gilani) You see, the objectives could be to //discourage/political forces// or //democratic forces// and to prove that //this is not a safe haven for the politicians// and they should not come here and do something. But we do not panic because of these acts. This incident, however, is a big excess. The //blasts// took place when chairperson// (Bhutto) was preparing her //speech// which she was to //address// (to her supporters at Mohammad Alin Jinnah’s mausoleum). People in large number have also been injured and even huge lumps of flesh have fallen on the people present and a fire was meant to be caused, but it did not flare up. I think this is very improper act. I have just met the //chairperson// and I have inquired about her well-being. I went to see her right away after the incident.

(Zaidi) Gilani, please tell us what is the //physical// and//mental state// of Benazir Bhutto at present?

(Gilani) You see, she is an //iron lady// and she has endured many //party// problems. What I mean is that she is sad at the loss of life of policemen and she has lost her party workers and many journalists and her//bodyguards// … (Incomplete sentence as heard) (end recording)

(Description of Source: Karachi Geo News TV in Urdu — 24-hour satellite news TV channel owned by Pakistan’s Jang publishing group, broadcast from Dubayy. Known for providing quick and detailed reports of events. Programs include some Indian shows and dramas which the group claims are aimed at promoting people-to-people contact and friendly relations with India.)

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Also at the Global Affairs blog, Barnett Rubin on the shutting down of more private security firms in Afghanistan.

New entries at the Napoleon’s Egypt blog – Jaubert on the Battle of the Nile and Napoleon Bonaparte’s letter to his brother Joseph on his conquest of Alexandria.

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