sábado, diciembre 29, 2007
El asesinato de Benazir Bhutto
El asesinato de la ex premier de Pakistán y líder de la oposición siembra la duda respecto del futuro de un país clave en escenario geopolítico del Medio Oriente. Educada en Harvard Y Oxford, Ms. Bhutto pertenecía una reconocida familia ligada a la política pakistaní. Su padre Zulfikar Ali-Bhutto también había sido primer ministro en los 70's y posteriormente ejecutado por el dictador Gral. Zial ul-Haq en 1979. Luego de su muerte Benazir pasó cinco años en prisión para luego partir al exilio en Londres desde donde regresó en 1986 luego de la muerte de ul-Haq en 1988, se convertería en la primera mujer electa como jefa de gobierno en un país islámico. Vinculada al movimiento democrático y laico (Partido del Pueblo Pakistaní, PPP) ejerció como primera ministra entre 1988 y 1990 y luego entre 1993 y 1996. Luego de ser acusada por cargos de corrupción nunca probados en tribunales se autoimpuso el exilio por 8 años desde el cual regresó en octubre. Dada la situación de inestabilidad política, el fortalecimiento del terrorismo interno y un gobierno autoritario del Gral.Musharraf debilitado, Benazir Bhutto era conciente que su vida corría peligro y sin embargo el compromiso político con el futuro de su país de esta mujer fue más fuerte. El deseo de que su país recuperara la democracia fue superior al instinto natural de supervivencia. El mundo llora la violenta partida de esta gran líder.
Un attentat que "la Sultane" redoutait : "J'en rendrai Musharraf responsable", confiait-elle
LE MONDE | 28.12.07 | 11h01 • Mis à jour le 28.12.07 | 11h01
Les assassins qui avaient, le 18 octobre, jour de son retour triomphal au Pakistan après huit années d'exil volontaire, manqué de peu Benazir Bhutto, avaient, jeudi 27 décembre, soigneusement préparé leur opération.
Le kamikaze s'est apparemment approché de Mme Bhutto, qui, à l'issue d'un meeting électoral, saluait ses fidèles par le toit ouvrant de son véhicule blindé. Il a tiré sur elle avant de se faire exploser dans la foule des partisans qui entourait le véhicule, tuant 20 personnes et en blessant 54 autres.
"J'ai vu un jeune homme mince qui a sauté sur l'arrière du véhicule et ouvert le feu. Quelques instants plus tard, j'ai vu le véhicule démarrer rapidement et, à ce moment-là, j'ai entendu une explosion et je suis tombé", a raconté à l'agence Associated Press (AP) Sardar Qamar Hayyay, un officiel du Parti du peuple pakistanais (PPP) que dirigeait Benazir Bhutto.
Selon les médecins de l'hôpital de Rawalpindi, où Mme Bhutto avait été transportée, elle aurait reçu deux balles, dont l'une à la base du cou et l'autre à l'épaule qui serait ressortie par la poitrine. Mme Bhutto aurait succombé à la première, qui a gravement endommagé la moelle épinière.
L'ex-premier ministre venait de finir son premier meeting électoral devant 5 000 personnes à Rawalpindi, ville-garnison et siège de l'état-major de l'armée pakistanaise, à une quinzaine de kilomètres d'Islamabad. Des centaines de policiers appartenant à la brigade anti-émeutes avaient été déployés aux alentours du parc Liaqat Bagh, haut lieu des rassemblements populaires à Rawalpindi.
SLOGANS CONTRE LE PRÉSIDENT
A l'annonce de la mort de Mme Bhutto, ses partisans, qui s'étaient rués à l'hôpital, ont commencé à lancer des pierres sur la porte et les fenêtres de l'établissement, ainsi que sur les voitures passant à proximité. Ils ont aussi chanté des slogans accusant le président Pervez Musharraf de complicité dans l'assassinat. "Nous avions sollicité à plusieurs reprises le gouvernement pour qu'il lui fournisse une sécurité adéquate avec des équipements appropriés, mais ils n'ont pas répondu à nos requêtes", a affirmé Rahman Malik, chargé de la sécurité de Mme Bhutto.
La polémique sur la sécurité fournie à Benazir Bhutto ne fait sans doute que commencer puisque, selon la chaîne américaine CNN, la dirigeante du PPP avait écrit, dans un courriel adressé à un ami américain, Marc Siegel : "Si quelque chose m'arrive au Pakistan, j'en rendrai Musharraf responsable. Ses hommes de main me font me sentir en danger." Elle détaillait les mesures de sécurité qu'elle avait demandées et qui ne lui avaient pas été accordées par le président. "Il est impossible que l'interdiction d'utiliser des voitures privées, ou avec des vitres teintées, ou une escorte de quatre voitures de police pour me protéger de tous les côtés puisse être décrétée sans son accord", ajoutait-elle dans ce message écrit le 26 octobre et qu'elle avait demandé à M.Siegel de rendre public si elle était assassinée.
L'ambassadeur du Pakistan aux Etats-Unis, Mahmoud Ali Durrani, a récusé ces affirmations, disant : "Le gouvernement du Pakistan a fourni toute la sécurité nécessaire." Les autorités pakistanaises avaient, avant et depuis l'arrivée de Mme Bhutto, multiplié les avertissements assurant que des informations "précises" laissaient redouter que des terroristes islamistes attentent à sa vie.
Le 18 octobre, deux commandos-suicides avaient déjà tenté d'atteindre Mme Bhutto en se faisant sauter autour du camion blindé sur la plate-forme où elle avait pris la place pour saluer ses partisans, à Karachi, lors de son retour d'exil.
Mme Bhutto avait été sauvée, car elle venait d'entrer à l'intérieur du camion, mais 150 personnes environ avaient été tuées, faisant de cet attentat le plus meurtrier de l'histoire du Pakistan. Mme Bhutto menait campagne contre le président Musharraf, mais surtout contre les fondamentalistes musulmans, promettant "d'éliminer la menace islamiste" du pays.
Obituary: Benazir Bhutto
Ms Bhutto had a volatile political career
Benazir Bhutto followed her father into politics, and both of them died because of it - he was executed in 1979, she fell victim to an apparent suicide bomb attack.
Her two brothers also suffered violent deaths.
Like the Nehru-Gandhi family in India, the Bhuttos of Pakistan are one of the world's most famous political dynasties. Benazir's father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was prime minister of Pakistan in the early 1970s.
His government was one of the few in the 30 years following independence that was not run by the army.
Born in 1953 in the province of Sindh and educated at Harvard and Oxford, Ms Bhutto gained credibility from her father's high profile, even though she was a reluctant convert to politics.
She was twice prime minister of Pakistan, from 1988 to 1990, and from 1993 to 1996.
On both occasions she was dismissed from office by the president for alleged corruption.
The dismissals typified her volatile political career, which was characterised by numerous peaks and troughs. At the height of her popularity - shortly after her first election - she was one of the most high-profile women leaders in the world.
Young and glamorous, she successfully portrayed herself as a refreshing contrast to the overwhelmingly male-dominated political establishment.
But after her second fall from power, her name came to be seen by some as synonymous with corruption and bad governance.
The determination and stubbornness for which Ms Bhutto was renowned was first seen after her father was imprisoned by Gen Zia ul-Haq in 1977, following a military coup. Two years later he was executed after a much criticised trial on charges of conspiring to murder a political opponent.
Ms Bhutto was imprisoned just before her father's death and spent most of her five-year jail term in solitary confinement. She described the conditions as extremely hard.
During stints out of prison for medical treatment, Ms Bhutto set up a Pakistan People's Party office in London, and began a campaign against General Zia.
She returned to Pakistan in 1986, attracting huge crowds to political rallies.
After Gen Zia died in an explosion on board his aircraft in 1988, she became one of the first democratically elected female prime ministers in an Islamic country.
During both her stints in power, the role of Ms Bhutto's husband, Asif Zardari, proved highly controversial.
He played a prominent role in both her administrations, and has been accused by various Pakistani governments of stealing millions of dollars from state coffers - charges he denies, as did Ms Bhutto herself.
Many commentators argued that the downfall of Ms Bhutto's government was accelerated by the alleged greed of her husband.
None of about 18 corruption and criminal cases against Mr Zardari has been proved in court after 10 years. But he served at least eight years in jail.
He was freed on bail in 2004, amid accusations that the charges against him were weak and going nowhere.
Ms Bhutto also steadfastly denied all the corruption charges against her, which she said were politically motivated.
She faced corruption charges in at least five cases, all without a conviction, until amnestied in October 2007.
She was convicted in 1999 for failing to appear in court, but the Supreme Court later overturned that judgement.
Soon after the conviction, audiotapes of conversations between the judge and some top aides of then Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif were discovered that showed that the judge had been under pressure to convict.
Ms Bhutto left Pakistan in 1999 to live abroad, but questions about her and her husband's wealth continued to dog her.
She appealed against a conviction in the Swiss courts for money-laundering.
During her years outside Pakistan, Ms Bhutto lived with her three children in Dubai, where she was joined by her husband after he was freed in 2004.
She was a regular visitor to Western capitals, delivering lectures at universities and think-tanks and meeting government officials.
Ms Bhutto returned to Pakistan on 18 October 2007 after President Musharraf signed into law an ordinance granting her and others an amnesty from corruption charges.
Observers said the military regime saw her as a natural ally in its efforts to isolate religious forces and their surrogate militants.
She declined a government offer to let her party head the national government after the 2002 elections, in which the party received the largest number of votes.
In the months before her death, she had emerged again as a strong contender for power.
Some in Pakistan believe her secret talks with the military regime amounted to betrayal of democratic forces as these talks shored up President Musharraf's grip on the country.
Others said such talks indicated that the military might at long last be getting over its decades-old mistrust of Ms Bhutto and her party, and interpreted it as a good omen for democracy.
Western powers saw in her a popular leader with liberal leanings who could bring much needed legitimacy to Mr Musharraf's role in the "war against terror".
Benazir Bhutto was the last remaining bearer of her late father's political legacy.
Her brother, Murtaza - who was once expected to play the role of party leader - fled to the then-communist Afghanistan after his father's fall.
From there, and various Middle Eastern capitals, he mounted a campaign against Pakistan's military government with a militant group called al-Zulfikar.
He won elections from exile in 1993 and became a provincial legislator, returning home soon afterwards, only to be shot dead under mysterious circumstances in 1996.
Benazir's other brother, Shahnawaz - also politically active but in less violent ways than Murtaza - was found dead in his French Riviera apartment in 1985.
Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/12/27 14:04:38 GMT
© BBC MMVII
An assassin strikes
Dec 27th 2007
The assassination of Benazir Bhutto, Pakistan’s main opposition leader, carries terrible risks for the country
Get article background
HORRIFYING millions of frightened Pakistanis, Benazir Bhutto, the leader of the country’s biggest political party, was assassinated on Thursday December 27th. Her attacker fired several gunshots at her as she was leaving a political rally in Rawalpindi, then exploded a suicide bomb. At least 20 of Miss Bhutto’s followers were also killed.
Miss Bhutto had been campaigning in Rawalpindi, the headquarters of Pakistan’s military elite, for an election set for January 8th. It may now be postponed. Pervez Musharraf, the country’s recently demobbed president, has convened crisis talks to discuss this latest, and potentially most grievous, occasion of instability in Pakistan. Supporters of Miss Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP)—which had expected to win the election—meanwhile gathered in angry protests across the country. A dozen are reported to have been killed in clashes with security forces.
Even before Miss Bhutto’s murder, the election campaign had been bedevilled by political conflict and terrorism. The role of each of its main actors—including Miss Bhutto and Mr Musharraf—has been contested in the courts and on the streets, against a backdrop of worsening insurgency and Islamist terrorism.
Miss Bhutto had returned to Pakistan in October to lead her party, after an eight-year self-imposed exile. The event was marked by a suicide bomb attack on her homecoming parade in Karachi, which killed over 140 people. Islamist terrorists, fighting an insurgency in north-western Pakistan, had previously threatened to kill Miss Bhutto. They are probably behind her murder.
A discredited former prime minister, accused of massive corruption, Miss Bhutto had won grudging praise from many Pakistanis for her courage in defying the terrorists’ threat. For her devoted supporters—including a large majority in southern Pakistan—this confirmed Miss Bhutto as the country’s rightful ruler. She was the last surviving offspring of a revered former prime minister, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. He was hanged by a previous army ruler.
In her final political address—a few minutes before her death—Miss Bhutto alluded to the risk she was running. She said: “I put my life in danger and came here because I feel this country is in danger. People are worried. We will bring the country out of this crisis.”
In fact, Miss Bhutto’s party was not expected to win an outright majority in the election. But, under her leadership, it was likely to emerge as the biggest party in the poll. If so, Miss Bhutto would have expected to play a leading role in a coalition government, perhaps as prime minister for an unprecedented third term.
Despite the previous violence, and expectations that Mr Musharraf would rig the election, the poll had generated fragile hopes in Pakistan. After all, largely in response to popular demand—and certainly against his wish—the election campaign has seen Mr Musharraf rebrand himself as a civilian ruler. Many Pakistanis hoped that even a flawed election next month would be better than the sham democracy he had overseen for eight years as president in a general’s uniform.
These hopes have now been dashed. Despite her failings, Miss Bhutto was the unrivalled leader of Pakistan’s biggest and most secular party—an astonishingly resilient survivor of on-off military rule. It was thus that America and other western powers urged Mr Musharraf first to encourage Miss Bhutto back from exile, then to share power with her. And indeed that had looked likely, until her violent homecoming. Miss Bhutto blamed senior army officers with Jihadist sympathies for that attack.
Alas, her supporters are now likely to blame her killing on the same shadowy army elite. And with stronger possible justification: Miss Bhutto’s killer is alleged to have approached to within 20 yards of her car, carrying a gun. At the least, such a lapse in the security afforded to Mr Musharraf and his supporters would be unimaginable.
At a time of shock and mourning—in a country well-accustomed to both—new uncertainties weigh heavily in Pakistan. One concerns the future of the PPP, which may not survive without a Bhutto at the helm. Without the PPP, or something much like it, Pakistan may have no easily imaginable secular and democratic future.
As news of Miss Bhutto’s slaying spread, Nawaz Sharif, another former prime minister, who leads the second opposition party, called for solidarity: “My heart is bleeding and I’m as grieved as you are.” He also said that his Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) party would boycott the poll.