India on Thursday expressed 'shock and horror' over the assassination of former Pakistan premier Benazir Bhutto [Images], whom it described as a brave and outstanding woman leader of the sub-continent.
External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee said the late Pakistan leader had contributed to improvement of Indo-Pak relations and it was tragic that she should fall to a barbarous terrorist attack.
"I heard with shock and horror of the death of Bhutto," Mukherjee said in a statement.
He said Bhutto was a 'brave and outstanding woman leader of the sub-continent. That she should fall to a barbarous terrorist attack is particularly tragic and should strengthen our resolve to fight this scourge.'
'Bhutto's contributions to democracy, to the improvement of India-Pakistan relations and to restoration of normalcy within Pakistan will be an inspiration,' the external affairs minister said.
He expressed heart-felt condolences to Bhutto's immediate family, members of her party PPP and the people of Pakistan.
'Our hopes and prayers are with them in this hour of loss,' Mukherjee said.
Minister of state for External Affairs Anand Sharma said Bhutto's assassination was not only reprehensible but also a 'painful reminder' of continuing threat by forces of violence.
Describing the killing as a terrible tragedy, Sharma said it was all the more tragic since a promising career has been cut short.
Sharma said Bhutto had a 'professional relationship' with Indian leaders and recalled her association with former premier Rajiv Gandhi.
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