The Corner


It was all too predictable that Benazir Bhutto’s return would be met with violence, given her alleged power-sharing deal with Musharraf and her favored status in Washington. On the other hand it is far from clear who was behind the attacks. The obvious suspects are al Qaeda or the Taliban/neo-Taliban Pakistanis who publicly threatened to go after her with suicide attacks. Benazir’s unsavory husband Asif Zardari — recently released from jail by Musharraf — claimed last night that Pakistani intelligence and/or members of the Musharraf government were behind the attacks. Benazir herself has pointed the finger at former members of the General Zia regime — plausible enough given the Zia regime’s fundamentalist leanings (what a mistake America made putting her trust in that monster), and links with Islamist terrorists. Meanwhile Indian intelligence sources are pointing out that Benazir’s official security detail was run by Brigadier Ejaz Shah, who just happens to have been the handling officer for Osama bin Laden and Mullah Omar when he worked for ISI, and also the official responsible for the postponed execution of Daniel Pearl’s convicted killer Omar Sheikh. Pakistani politics are murky and dangerous. And whatever Benazir’s faults, no one can doubt her courage in returning to her home country.

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