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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Analysis: Pakistan After Bhutto

Council on Foreign Relations

December 27, 2007
Author: Jayshree Bajoria

Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was killed December 27 in a gun and bomb attack (NYT) following a preelection rally near Islamabad. Bhutto hoped to win a third term as prime minister in critical parliamentary elections scheduled for January 8. Her death leaves pressing questions about whether the elections will run on schedule, and more generally about governance and security in one of the world's most turbulent countries.

Bhutto, 54, was the leader of Pakistan’s largest opposition political party, the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) founded by her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. She served as the first female prime minister of Pakistan and of any Islamic nation. She led Pakistan from 1988 to 1990 and again from 1993 to 1996. She returned from self-imposed exile in October after eight years out of Pakistan where she had faced corruption charges. Her return was the result of a power-sharing agreement with President Pervez Musharraf wherein she was granted an amnesty from those charges. On the day of her return, Bhutto narrowly escaped death when her motor cavalcade was hit by a double suicide attack that left some 130 dead in Karachi.

Speaking at the Council on Foreign Relations in August 2007, Bhutto discussed her plans to promote democracy in Pakistan. She promised to rein in terrorism and militant violence in the country and help stabilize its neighbor, Afghanistan.

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Copyright 2007 by the Council on Foreign Relations. This material is republished on GlobalSecurity.org with specific permission from the cfr.org. Reprint and republication queries for this article should be directed to cfr.org.

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