About two weeks ago, Benazir Bhutto was assassinated in Rawalpindi, Pakistan by a suicide bomb that killed almost twenty other people unlucky enough to be in close vicinity.
Bhutto was the charismatic leader of the secular Pakistan Peoples Party, which now is left rudderless for the upcoming elections for President (which were recently postponed to February 18th in the wake of the destabilization of Bhutto’s assassination).
Her husband Asif Zardari has already assumed PPP power in the current vacuum, while 19-year-old son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari is being groomed for statesmanship. There is hope that they will be able to carry on Bhutto’s work leading the centrist and secular (if corrupt) party back to prominence. After all, that is exactly what Bhutto did after her father Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was executed by a political rival in 1979.
Many warnings preceded the attack, both by radical conspirators and those in power ostensibly trying to protect Bhutto, such as President Musharraf. Yet the world was stunned when an assassination duo of a gunman and bomber were able to penetrate her security detail and strike a fatal blow to Bhutto.
More confounding is the possibility that the Musharraf regime was complicit in the assassination, as Zardini Sr. has alleged. Whether you believe Zardini’s allegation or the lone-suicide-bomber theory, Pakistan is currently one of the most vulnerable countries in the most fragile region of the world. With the possibility of a Muslim fundamentalist group seizing power of a state with nukes a real (if distant) threat, the rest of the world ought to stay tuned and informed.