As Benazir Bhutto’s body was laid to rest Friday, the mystery about her murder remained unresolved, and outbursts of violence rippled throughout Pakistan in reaction to her death. Some members of Bhutto’s party, the Pakistan People’s Party, cited security lapses and insisted that she was killed by gunshots as she waved from the sunroof of her armored vehicle, while an official of President Pervez Musharraf’s government claimed Bhutto sustained a fatal wound when she struck her head in ducking into the car when shots rang out as she left the Rawalpindi rally. Of course, al-Qaida is on the government’s short list of suspects in the assassination of the 54-year-old former prime minister.
Brigadier Javed Cheema, a ministry spokesman, said Miss Bhutto had died from a head wound she sustained when she smashed against the sunroof’s lever as she tried to shelter inside the car.
“The lever struck near her right ear and fractured her skull,” Mr Cheema said.
But the explanation was ridiculed by Farooq Naik, Miss Bhutto’s top lawyer and a senior official in her Pakistan People’s Party.
“It is baseless. It is a pack of lies,” he said.
“Two bullets hit her, one in the abdomen and one in the head. It was a serious security lapse.”
The dispute came as Pakistani security forces were given orders to shoot on sight in an attempt to curb unrest as millions across the country mourned Miss Bhutto.
Check out Al Jazeera’s timeline of Bhutto’s political career here.
Conspiracy theories abound—Time takes a look in this article.
According to CNN’s Wolf Blitzer, Bhutto sent him an e-mail in late October expressing her security concerns and pointing to President Musharraf as the cause of her (then hypothetical) death. Blitzer said he had an agreement with Bhutto that the e-mail would be made public only if she was killed.
Click here to read Telegraph columnist Con Coughlin’s piece on why Bhutto’s death constitutes a “victory for Islamic hardliners.”
Click here to read Newsweek Senior Editor (and recent Bhutto interviewer) Lally Weymouth’s discussion about Bhutto’s legacy.
Does Bhutto’s demise mean the end for Musharraf’s hold on power in Pakistan? Forbes’ Ruth David thinks that might well be the case.
Sen. Hillary Clinton has called for an independent international investigation into the circumstances surrounding Bhutto’s death.
According to this Jerusalem Post article, al-Qaida has taken responsibility for Bhutto’s death in an as-yet-unverified report.
Pakistani newspaper Dawn printed this Op-Ed piece Friday, simply stating that Bhutto “died because the state proved inadequate in protecting her.”
Read another Pakistani report, from The News, about how the country could be facing “the worst crisis in history” in the wake of Bhutto’s death. Plus, check out the many additional links following the article.
AP photo / Mohammed Javed
Benazir Bhutto arrives at the Rawalpindi rally where she was later assassinated Thursday.