The assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto is a tragedy by any measure, but it is not a surprise. In fact, this was the second attempt on her life since she returned Pakistan in October. While the eye of suspicion falls on Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf, thinking rationally, that seems to lack logic.While what follows is purely speculation, it makes sense.
No one stood to gain less by the death of Bhutto than Musharraf. Bhutto was a popular figure who opposed much of what Musharraf was doing. By ordering her death, Musharraf would have known the violence that has ensued would’ve happened. Since Musharraf has only a tenuous hold on power as it is, something like this would loosen his grip significantly. But would would gain?
Knowing Bhutto’s death would spur riots and calls for Musharraf’s head, Al Qaeda stands to gain a lot, depending upon where those riots end up taking the country. Al Qaeda is a desperate organization, the Muslim world has not rallied to their cause en mass the way they’d hoped. Their leadership is reduced to living in caves and on the run on the Afghan-Pakistan border. The odds of and benefits to them of seizing power in Pakistan far outweigh the prospect regaining power in Afghanistan because Pakistan has nuclear weapons.
But since Al Qaeda is only popular with a fraction Pakistan’s population, seizing power through normal means wasn’t an option. If put to a vote, Al Qaeda would not win, which is why they aren’t a fan of allowing people to express themselves. Chaos is needed, the government needs to be destroyed and then Al Qaeda can fill the void and seize power.
There is an as yet unconfirmed report that Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility. But while that claim is unconfirmed, the way in which Bhutto was assassinated lends credibility to the claim.
Political assassins don’t generally kill themselves up after their goal is achieved, they tend to do what they do for a reason in their mind that they want to convey that reason to the people so they might be seen as a hero of whatever perverted cause has twisted their minds. On the other hand, Islamo-fascists have a goal that is unlike others, their death and paradise is a normal individual objective for their actions. While those in power have larger goals, those that carry out their twisted bidding have a short-term goal with no desire to survive.
The assassin blew himself up after pulling the trigger. Unless there is a note or video in his house explaining his insane reason for his actions, that is the calling card of terrorists.
What happens now is up to the people of Pakistan. Will they allow this tragedy to overtake their logic, to dishonor the memory of their fallen hero and create the environment their true enemy may well use to seize power? Or will cooler heads prevail?
We hope we’re wrong, that this was just a lone lunatic, but that’s what it looks like as of now.