Condemnation, Concern Follow Bhutto Assassination
World reaction to the assassination of Pakistani opposition leader and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has been a mixture of outrage and concern about the future of her politically volatile country. VOA's Sonja Pace reports from London.
The headlines in some major newspapers around Europe on Friday mirrored the general reaction to the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.
|Headline in 'The Times' on Bhutto assassination, 28 Dec 2007|
"Fears rise as Bhutto falls," was the headline in the British daily, The Times, while the lead story talked of Pakistan plunging into chaos. The Independent posed the question, "What Now for Pakistan?" An editorial in the French newspaper, Le Monde, warned of "danger ahead;" and Belgium's Le Soir said Pakistan's democracy is "writhing in blood and could soon be without life."
Newspapers in Turkey predicted a possible prolonged period of instability for Pakistan with the liberal daily Milliyet calling Ms. Bhutto's assassination a major "blow to Pakistan's future."
Hours after Ms. Bhutto's assassination in Rawalpindi on Thursday, British Prime Minister Gordon Brown condemned the attack and praised the slain opposition leader as a woman of great courage. "This is a sad day for democracy," said Mr. Brown. "It's a tragic hour for Pakistan."
Concerns over the implications of the assassination are rising. On Friday, Britain's Foreign Office tightened its travel advisory for Pakistan, warning against all but essential travel to the country.
Political analyst Farzana Shaikh of London's Chatham House research center told VOA, Pakistan is entering uncharted waters. "It faces possibly the greatest political crisis since the inception of the state in 1947," said Shaikh. "Precisely, how this crisis plays out in the next few weeks and months will depend on the decisions that are taken by the caretaker government and President [Pervez] Musharraf."
Shaikh said the government will have to decide whether it can go ahead with planned elections next month despite the current instability and constant threats of violence.
|President Bush makes remarks on the death of Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, in Crawford, Texas, 27 Dec 2007|
On Thursday, President Bush condemned the assassination, and U.S. officials said parliamentary elections in Pakistan should go forward as planned on January 8. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice spoke by telephone with Ms. Bhutto's successor as party leader, Amin Fahim, to support the election process.