Benazir Bhutto, the first woman ever elected to lead a Muslim state (serving two terms as Prime Minister of Pakistan), was assassinated earlier today by an assailant who subsequently exploded a suicide bomb, killing himself and twenty innocent bystanders. According to the BBC, Mrs Bhutto was taken to Rawalpindi General Hospital, but was pronounced dead at 1816 local time.
The 54 year old mother of three had just finished speaking in a campaign rally in Rawalpindi, near the capital, Islamabad. Mrs. Bhutto had addressed an audience of thousands as next month's general election grows closer.
An eyewitness reported that nothing appeared out of the ordinary as she stepped down from the stage and entered her land-cruiser. She then stepped back out of the vehicle to wave to a group of supporters who were chanting slogans in her support near the main gate of the park where the rally had been held. Suddenly, three shots rang out, followed by an explosion. Mrs. Bhutto had received fatal wounds to her neck and chest.
The first born child of former Pakistani President Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Bhutto attended Lady Jennings Nursery School and then Convent of Jesus and Mary in Karachi. Her later education included Harvard University's Radcliffe College, graduating with a Political Science degree. Subsequently, she attended Oxford University. achieving the honors of election to the Standing Committee of the Oxford Union Debating Society and President of the Oxford Union. Upon completion of her education, she returned to Pakistan, she joined her father as his political and economic adviser.
As leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party. Bhutto dedicated her life to the transformation of Pakistani society by focusing attention on programs for health, social welfare and education for the underprivileged. She authored numerous works including “Foreign Policy in Perspective” (1978) and her autobiography, “Daughter of Destiny” (1989). She received the Bruno Kreisky Award for Human Rights in 1988 and the Honorary Phi Beta Kappa Award from Radcliffe in 1989.
Mrs. Bhutto was the last remaining bearer of her late father's political legacy. World leaders, including President Bush, have been speaking out regarding these sad happenings.