BENAZIR BHUTTO ASSASSINATION
The assassination of Benazir Bhutto took place on 27 December 2007 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Benazir Bhutto, twice Prime Minister of Pakistan (1988–1990; 1993–1996) and then-leader of the opposition Pakistan Peoples Party, had been campaigning ahead of elections scheduled for January 2008. Shots were fired at her after a political rally at Liaqat National Bagh, and a suicide bomb was detonated immediately following the shooting. She was declared dead at 18:16 local time (13:16 UTC), at Rawalpindi General Hospital. Twenty-three other people were killed by the bombing. Bhutto had previously survived a similar attempt on her life (the 2007 Karsaz bombing) that killed at least 180 people, after her return from exile two months earlier.
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Though early reports indicated that she had been hit by shrapnel or the gunshots, the Pakistani Interior Ministry initially stated that Bhutto died of a skull fracture sustained when the force of the explosion caused her head to strike the sunroof of the vehicle. Bhutto's aides rejected this version of the story, and argued instead that she suffered two gunshots before the bomb detonation. The Interior Ministry subsequently backtracked from its previous claim.
In May 2007, Bhutto had asked for additional protection from foreign contracting agencies Blackwater and the British firm ArmorGroup. The United Nations' investigation of the incident revealed that, "Ms. Bhutto's assassination could have been prevented if adequate security measures had been taken."
Benazir Bhutto had just addressed a rally of Pakistan Peoples Party supporters in the city of Rawalpindi when the rally was rocked by an explosion. Initial police reports stated that one or more assassins fired at Bhutto's bulletproof white Toyota Land Cruiser just as she was about to drive off after the rally. A suicide bomber detonating a bomb next to her vehicle followed. According to Getty Images photographer John Moore, Bhutto was standing through her vehicle's sunroof to wave at supporters, and fell back inside after three gunshots. The Times of India aired an amateur clip showing the assassin firing three gun shots at Bhutto before the blast (video no longer available via India Times). Various videos have surfaced on YouTube but sources are difficult to confirm.
Following the incident, an unconscious Bhutto was taken to the Rawalpindi General Hospital at 17:35 local time where doctors led by Rawalpindi Medical College Principal Mohammad Musaddiq Khan tried to resuscitate her, performing a "left anterolateral thoracotomy for open cardiac massage". Sadiq Khan, Mohammad Khan's father, had tried to save Liaquat Ali Khan when he was assassinated in the same park and rushed to the same hospital in 1951. Although Pakistan Peoples Party spokesman Farhatullah Babar initially said that Bhutto was safe, she was declared dead at 18:16 local time