Friday, October 19, 2007

Pakistan

This headline in the Hindustan Times says it all: "Karachi carnage mars Bhutto's return." Indeed, "two explosions killed 134 people and wounded 450," the New York Times writes, adding that the "explosions took place just feet from a truck in which Ms. Bhutto was traveling during a triumphal procession marking her return to Pakistan after eight years in exile."
IntLawGrrls've posted often about Bhutto, the 1st woman to serve as Prime Minister in a Muslim country (though perhaps not the 1st PM twice to be deposed on charges of corruption) and her efforts to seek a 3d term. Given recent turmoil in the country, ruled since 1999 by Gen. Pervez Musharraf, yesterday's tragedy is not entirely a surprise. But it calls for questions about Pakistan's security forces, forces whose conduct, painstakingly detailed in Ghost Wars (2004), Steve Coll's Pulitzer Prizewinning study of pre-September 11 counterterrorism practices, remains controversial enough recently to have played a role in Musharraf's effort to oust Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry and to have forced Pakistani author Dr. Ayesha Siddiqa to flee her country. Despite reputed ruthlessness, security forces did not prevent yesterday's tragedy. No surprise, either, then, that Bhutto, who says that days ago she gave Musharraf names of those plotting against her, today is raising questions.

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