By Isambard Wilkinson, Pakistan Correspondent
12:11pm GMT 28/12/2007
Pakistani security forces were given orders to shoot on sight today to curb unrest as millions across the country mourned Benazir Bhutto.
The former prime minister and leading opposition figure was laid to rest in her family’s mausoleum a day after her assassination by Islamic extremists.
Benazir Bhutto addresses rally before her death
Watch: Benazir Bhutto addresses the rally minutes before her death
Her simple coffin, draped in the red, green and black flag of her Pakistan People’s Party, was greeted by huge crowds at her ancestral grave in the village of Garhi Khuda Bakhsh in the southern province of Sind.
Accompanied by her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, and three children, her body was carried in a white ambulance as it made its way towards the white Mogulesque mausoleum surrounded by hundreds of thousands of mourners.
As she was being laid to rest alongside the tombs of her father and two brothers, her furious supporters across the country ransacked banks, waged shootouts with police and burned stations in a spasm of violence that threatened to plunge the country into deep turmoil less than two weeks before a crucial election.
List of suspects, but killers may never be found
Friday December 28, 2007
Investigation made more difficult by sheer number of former PM’s many enemies.
There were death threats even before Benazir Bhutto returned to Pakistan two months ago after years in self-imposed exile. But who was behind her assassination yesterday? The list of those who may be implicated is long and, in the end, the truth may never emerge.
The most obvious suspects must be religious militants. The very nature of the attack, death by shooting and a suicide bombing in a public place with many casualties, seems to point the finger. There were death threats before Bhutto touched down in Pakistan in mid-October. One Taliban commander threatened to send a squad of suicide bombers to kill her. Other militants made similar threats, saying she was a target because of her perceived close relationship with the west and with the US in particular.
Bhutto funeral held in Pakistan
Friday, 28 December 2007, 12:04 GMT
Thousands of people have attended the funeral of killed Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto.
Grief-stricken mourners converged on the family mausoleum where she was buried next to her father near their home village in Sindh province.
The coffin, draped in the flag of Ms Bhutto’s party, was driven in a white ambulance through dense crowds.
Pakistani security forces are on high alert, as violence has broken out in several cities across the country.
President Pervez Musharraf has appealed for calm, following Ms Bhutto’s death at an election rally on Thursday, where a gunman opened fire on the former Pakistani prime minister and then blew himself up.
The plain wooden coffin was taken from Ms Bhutto’s family home to the burial site 7km (four miles) away at the village of Garhi Khuda Bakhsh.
Mourners – some weeping and beating their heads and chests – jostled to see the casket, which was accompanied by her husband, Asif Ali Zardari and her three children.
As the funeral prayers ended and the casket was moved for burial, loud sobs broke out from the politicians supporters.
Al-Qaeda claims Bhutto killing
By Syed Saleem Shahzad
Dec 29, 2007
KARACHI – ”We terminated the most precious American asset which vowed to defeat mujahideen.” These were the words of al-Qaeda’s top commander for Afghanistan operations and spokesperson Mustafa Abu al-Yazid, immediately after the attack that claimed the life of Pakistani politician Benazir Bhutto on Thursday (December 27).
Bhutto died after being shot by a suicide assailant who, according to witnesses, also detonated a bomb that killed himself and up to 20 others at a rally in the garrison city of Rawalpindi. Bhutto, with Western backing, had been hoping to become prime minister for a third time after general elections next month.
“This is our first major victory against those [eg, Bhutto and President Pervez Musharraf] who have been siding with infidels [the West] in a fight against al-Qaeda and declared a war against mujahideen,” Mustafa told Asia Times Online by telephone.
He said the death squad consisted of Punjabi associates of the underground anti-Shi’ite militant group Lashkar-i-Jhangvi, operating under al-Qaeda orders.
The assassination of Bhutto was apparently only one of the goals of a large al-Qaeda plot, the existence of which was revealed earlier this month.
Bhutto buried in ancestral village
Al Jazeera English
FRIDAY, DECEMBER 28, 2007
14:32 MECCA TIME, 11:32 GMT
Benazir Bhutto, the assassinated opposition Pakistani leader, has been buried at her family’s mausoleum in the southern province of Sindh.
Hundreds of thousands of mourners gathered on Friday for the funeral in front of the mausoleum in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh, a village 5km from the Bhutto home in the small town of Naudero in Larkana district.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Benazir’s father, founder of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and Pakistan’s first popularly elected prime minister, lies alongside his sons Murtaza and Shahnawaz in the mausoleum.
Bhutto, 54, was hoping to lead the PPP to victory in the January 8 parliamentary election, having been prime minister twice before.
Supporters arrived by tractors, buses, cars and jeeps that were parked in dusty fields surrounding the mausoleum – a vast, marble structure.
Global outrage over assassination
Al Jazeera English
THURSDAY, DECEMBER 27, 2007
18:10 MECCA TIME, 15:10 GMT
Supporters and rivals alike of Benazir Bhutto, the Pakistani opposition leader, have condemned the gun and bomb attack that claimed her life at an election rally in the city of Rawalpindi.
Rehman Malik, an official with Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party, announced Bhutto’s death to supporters: “She has been martyred.”
Nawaz Sharif, the Pakistani opposition leader, vowed to continue Bhutto’s work after the assassination and said he shared the grief of “the entire nation”.
Speaking outside the hospital where Bhutto died he said: “I assure you that I will fight your war from now on,” he told Bhutto’s supporters. “I share your sorrow and grief along with the entire nation.”
“Benazir Bhutto was also my sister, and I will be with you to take the revenge for her death,” he said.
Pervez Musharraf, the Pakistani president, appealed on state television for the nation to remain peaceful “so that the evil designs of terrorists can be defeated”.
George Bush, the US president, said: “The US strongly condemns this cowardly act by murderous extremists who are are trying to undermine Pakistan’s democracy.”
“We stand with the people of Pakistan in that struggle against the forces of terror and extremism. We urge them to honour Benazir Bhutto’s memory by continuing with a democratic process.”
Ban Ki-moon, the UN Secretary general, said: “I strongly condemn this heinous crime and call for the perpetrators to be brought to justice as soon as possible.”
Manmohan Singh, India’s prime minister, said:”I was deeply shocked and horrified to hear of the heinous assassination. In her death, the subcontinent has lost an outstanding leader who worked for democracy and reconciliation in her country.”
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