Bhutto Killed In Deadly Suicide Blast - KFDA - NewsChannel 10 / Amarillo News, Weather, Sports

Bhutto Killed In Deadly Suicide Blast

(CBS/AP) Opposition leader Benazir Bhutto died Thursday from her injuries sustained in a suicide attack, a party aide said.

"At 6:16 p.m. she expired," said Wasif Ali Khan, a member of Bhutto's party who was at Rawalpindi General Hospital.

A senior military official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to comment, confirmed that Bhutto had died.

Her supporters at the hospital began chanting "Dog, Musharraf, dog," referring to Pakistan's president.

Some of them smashed the glass door at the main entrance of the emergency unit, others burst into tears. One man with a flag of Pakistan People's Party tied around his head was beating his chest.

Sen. Babar Awan, Bhutto's lawyer, said, "The surgeons confirmed that she has been martyred."

At least 20 others were killed in the blast that took place as Bhutto left a political rally where she addressed thousands of supporters to canvas votes for Jan. 8 parliamentary elections.

An AP reporter at the scene saw body parts and flesh scattered at the back gate of the Liaqat Bagh park in Rawalpindi where the rally was held. He counted about 20 bodies, including police, and could see many other wounded.

The road outside was stained with blood and people screamed for ambulances. Others gave water to the wounded lying in the street. The clothing of some of the victims was shredded and people put party flags over their bodies.

The bomb went off just minutes after Bhutto spoke to thousands of supporters and she appeared to be the target of the attack. Farahtullah Babar, the spokesman for her party, said her vehicle was about 50 yards away from blast which went off as she was leaving the rally venue.

Police official Saud Aziz said it was a suicide attack.

Bhutto served twice as Pakistan's prime minister between 1988 and 1996. She had returned to Pakistan from an eight-year exile on Oct. 18.

Her homecoming parade in Karachi was also targeted by a suicide attacker, killing more than 140 people. On that occasion she narrowly escaped injury.

Earlier Thursday, pro-government supporters waged an afternoon gunbattle with backers of opposition party politician Nawaz Sharif at a political rally outside the capital, killing four people, police said.

The parliamentary election is scheduled for Jan. 8.

Sadiq ul-Farooq, a spokesman for Sharif's party, said the opposition leader was about 1.3 miles away when pro-government party supporters opened fire on people gathering for a rally at Karal Chowk, near the airport about 10 miles outside Islamabad.

"Nawaz Sharif and his procession are safe, but we have received reports that a few people were wounded and maybe a few suffered fatal injuries," ul-Farooq said. All the injured were from Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-N group.

Pakistan's private ARY news channel quoted Sharif as saying the government had deliberately not provided security to his backers.

Imtiaz Ranjha, a spokesman or the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Q party, condemned the attack and accused Sharif's supporters of provoking the fight. The party called for those involved to be punished, he said.

Local police chief Mohammed Hussain confirmed that four people were killed and three were wounded in the fighting.

Zaman Shami, an official at the police control room, said police were trying to determine who initiated the attack.


 

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