Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bhutto's Return: UPDATE: Mass Casualty Attack On Bhutto's Procession, 126+ Dead

Benazir Bhutto, the first woman prime minister for Pakistan, has returned to her native country after a self-imposed exile. She's got significant support from many inside the country, and appears to be saying all the right things about sharing power with Pervez Musharraf, but that doesn't mean that her return is not without serious consequences.

For starters, the Islamists aren't likely to stand for a woman being in a prominent position of power. Islamists are misogynists and can and do take their views to extremes - killing those women who do not adhere to their interpretations of the Koran.

Bhutto and Musharraf have been negotiating over her return, and a power sharing agreement could be in the works.
Ms. Bhutto paved her route back in negotiations with General Musharraf, who seized power in a 1999 coup. General Musharraf is promising to give up his command of Pakistan's powerful army if he secures a new term as president.

The talks have yielded an amnesty covering the corruption cases that made Ms. Bhutto leave Pakistan in the first place, and could see the archrivals eventually team up to fight Al Qaeda and the Taliban.
It's that latter part that could really make things interesting. Musharraf has waffled on dealing with the Islamists - first offering them a nonaggression pact, which went up in smoke following the Lal Masjid uprising led by the al-Qaeda/Talibanist Islamists, but now again seeks accommodations. Bhutto might temper Musharraf's waffling, though the wildcard remains the ISI.

Bhutto also had to deal with the perceptions that she led a corrupt government and that was the reason for her departure from the Pakistani political scene.

As expected, there was much seething at Bhutto's return, including several bomb blasts. Injuries have been reported.
Two blasts wounded several supporters of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto as she made a triumphant procession through Karachi hours after returning home from eight years in self-imposed exile, police said on Friday.

Television channels said Bhutto was safe and had disembarked a truck that had been transporting her through roads thronged by hundreds of thousands of people on her way to a homecoming rally near the tomb of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, the founder of Pakistan.

Militants linked to al Qaeda, angered by Bhutto's support for the United States war on terrorism, had threatened to assassinate her.
HT: JammieWearingFool.

CNN is reporting that the two blasts near the motorcade of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto killed at least 30, officials say. Bhutto not reported hurt.

I expect there to be continued confusion over what happened and the numbers of people injured and killed. I'm wondering whether someone in the ISI tipped off the jihadists as to Bhutto's itinerary since she was traveling under heavy security. She's a marked woman, and the jihadists have made their intentions quite clear.

The Jerusalem Post is reporting that an AP photographer following the convoy thinks at least 50-60 killed, with many more injured. More than 150,000 people had turned out to witness Bhutto's convoy wind its way through Karachi.

Stratfor is reporting that the source of the blasts were car bombs.

Thanos at LGF provides some interesting information, and posits that it could have been the result of a longstanding tribal conflict with Baitullah Mehsud going after her because she's linked to the Baloch/Zardari tribes.

No matter who the culprit turns out to be, they have the blood of at least 126 people on them. Instapundit notes with some sarcasm that the radical Islamists only appear to have one response to everything.


Then again, the Islamists get lots of apologists around the world, including the loons at Daily Kos, who think that Bush is responsible for this - and not the terrorists who unleashed the car bombs - as though Bush's policies are somehow responsible for Benazir Bhutto seeking to return to her native country and reenter Pakistani politics, including challenging Musharraf.

Bill Roggio weighs in and notes that Baitullah Mehsud, who commands a branch of the Taliban, and who has captured more than 300 Pakistani soldiers in ongoing fighting in Warizistan, has called for Bhutto's death, claiming that Bhutto and Musharraf are in cahoots with the US.

Hot Air is also following the story, and notes that Bhutto's husband thinks that this may have been an inside job. As I've noted from the outset, that isn't out of the realm of possibility.

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