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Conspiracy theories surrounding Bhutto's killing
December 29, 2007 15:18 IST
Pakistani media was on Saturday abound with conspiracy theories behind the assassination of Benazir Bhutto [Images], with a section suggesting that President Pervez Musharraf [Images] did not provide the security sought by her.
Leading newspaper the Dawn speculated that Bhutto fell victim to a sniper's fire.
The Interior Ministry on Friday said that Bhutto was not struck by a suicide bomber's bullet but the result of a shrapnel injury, and she had died after her skull got fractured when she hit a metal lever on the sun-roof of her armoured vehicle.
In its editorial, the Dawn said Bhutto was apparently never given the security she requested following her much-criticised agreement with Pervez Musharraf, which facilitated her return to Pakistan after eight years in exile.
"The detractors of the current dispensation will ask if the death of Pakistan's most internationally recognisable, and outspokenly secular, leader in any way benefits those who have seemingly convinced the Bush administration that only they stand between the Taliban and the nuclear button.
"More questions will inevitably follow when the statement of day one that Bhutto was killed by gunfire is changed the next day by the Interior Minister to say that that the former prime minister's killing was the result of a shrapnel injury," the editorial said.
The daily also raised questions why was not a scientific attempt made to ascertain the exact cause of her death as would have happened anywhere else in the world.
"This may have been the result of nervousness or ineptitude on the part of the administration but will lead to more questions. Was the killer actually the suicide bomber? Or was there a sniper somewhere out of sight," it asked.
Similarly, pointing out that Bhutto was not allocated adequate security, another newspaper, the Daily Times hinted at establishment involvement behind her assassination.
"While there is insufficient information available at present, we are aware of the following facts around which a premise can be built -- she was travelling in a bullet and bomb proof vehicle and she exposed herself through the sun roof of her vehicle to respond to the cheering crowd, and died of a number of bullet wounds in the head and neck.
"Eyewitnesses claim having heard three bullets being fired but if one or more AK-47s were in use, it is likely that many more were actually fired. While it is assumed that the same individual who fired upon her blew himself up a few seconds later, it is possible, even likely, that more than one individual were involved," the daily said.
In an opinion piece in the newspaper, titled 'Planning an assassination,' columnist Shaukat Qadir, a former Pakistani Army Brigadier, claimed that it might be pre-planned.
"Since the attempt on her life was contingent upon her exposing herself through the sun roof... it is entirely possible that a certain segment of the crowd was placed at the exit to Liaquat Bagh with instructions to chant slogans to a crescendo at a time when the assassin(s) was in position, to which she would inevitably respond by exposing herself, thus offering the assassin(s) an opportunity to target her.
"It is incomprehensible that so many analysts have begun to bay for blood and have called upon the government to identify those responsible. If such a call was to be answered, some scapegoats would be found and sacrificed," it said.