15 May, 2021

By Whose Yardstick?

Establishment, terrorists, or both? Theories circulate freely.

By Whose Yardstick?
The ghost of Benazir Bhutto continues to haunt distraught Pakistanis, prompting them to weave a web of conspiracy theories to explain the assassination of their leader. But those investigating the killing feel rogue elements within the establishment in league with religious extremists may have pooled their resources to plan it, may have even rehearsed the attack outside Rawalpindi's Liaqat Bagh, the place where Benazir was ultimately gunned down on December 27. They say a banned jehadi organisation provided a suicide bomber and a sharpshooter while a group based in Waziristan gave logistical support in what is increasingly being perceived as a joint venture to assassinate the former prime minister.

Investigators say the shooter and the suicide bomber merged into the crowd surrounding Benazir, taking advantage of the poor security at the venue. When the vehicle ferrying her was about 70 ft from Liaqat Bagh's VIP gate, the gunman opened fire. Minutes earlier, Benazir had asked for the vehicle's sunroof to be withdrawn so that she could stand...

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