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Home > News > Report

J&K leaders express shock at Bhutto's assassination

Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar | December 27, 2007 23:50 IST

Former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto's assassination evoked condemnation from the entire political spectrum in Jammu and Kashmir [Images], both mainstream and separatist.

Chief minister Ghulam [Images] Nabi Azad expressed profound shock on the assassination in a suicide attack in Rawalpindi on Thursday, describing the incident as 'a serious setback to the return of democracy in the neighbouring country'.

"It is not assassination of an individual but of democracy in Pakistan which would impact the politics of the sub-continent," Azad said in a statement.

"We were looking forward to the return of democracy in Pakistan but the assassination of Mrs Bhutto amidst the election scenario is a tragic and is bound to adversely affect the electoral process there", Azad said, adding, "No words are enough to condemn the incident".

"It is a big tragedy. I pray for Pakistan's stability and express solidarity with the people of Pakistan and the bereaved Bhutto family," former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister, Dr Farooq Abdullah said.

"This is a shocking act of terrorism which is as condemnable as it is horrible," said Professor Abdul Gani Bhat, senior separatist leader and chief spokesman of the moderate group of the separatist conglomerate, All Parties Hurriyat Conference.

"I hope the government of Pakistan will effectively deal with the situation, combat terrorism forcefully and ensure peace and security in the country," he said.

"Benazir Bhutto [Images] was a brave and dynamic woman. In her death, Pakistan has lost a leader who was endowed with virtue of head and heart," Bhat said.

Strongly condemning the gory assassination, Peoples Democratic Party leader Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said, "The terrible disaster has not only struck the Bhutto family, but the peace-loving people of the entire south Asian region."

Mufti said, "The people of India must reach out to their brethren in Pakistan this moment of grief to strengthen the forces of peace in the region."

He said since it came into being, Pakistan is, for the first time, facing an existential threat from within, and New Delhi must respond to the emerging situation by offering greater cooperation to strengthen the forces of peace in that country.

"With Afghanistan already on the boil, destabilisation and worsening of the security situation in Pakistan would only breed new alarming dangers in the region," he said and added, "A discreet approach to the situation by New Delhi would not only signal India's positive support for Pakistan's territorial integrity but would also send to the people and the nation of Pakistan a message of goodwill".

The PDP leader said the people of Jammu and Kashmir have the greatest stakes in peace as they have undergone the worst trauma of violence for over a decade now, losing almost an entire generation of youth.

"We have suffered immensely because of the violence and know very well its dangers," he said and added that the tragedy that has befallen Pakistan could prove a defining moment for transforming the region's security situation.

"The killing of Benazir Bhutto has come at the worst time, when Pakistan was going through a difficulty phase and elections are only days away. The Bhutto family has suffered immensely for their country," said a Kashmir analyst.