World leaders urge Pakistan to stay on democratic path
World leaders condemned the assassination of Benazir Bhutto but urged
Pakistan to keep to the democratic path, as the country prepared for the
funeral of the opposition leader on Friday.
Condemning the “cowardly” suicide attack that killed her on Thursday,
US President George W. Bush urged Pakistanis “to honor Benazir Bhutto’s
memory by continuing with the democratic process for which she so
bravely gave her life.”
Bhutto, a two-time former prime minister and head of Pakistan’s most
powerful political party, was shot in the neck by her attacker before he
blew himself up at a political rally in Rawalpindi, killing at least 20
Pakistani television network ARY said Friday that Al-Qaeda had
claimed responsibility for Bhutto’s assassination.
It was the second suicide attack targeting Bhutto, 54, since she
returned from eight years of self-imposed exile in October. The first
killed 139 people.
United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon described Bhutto’s
assassination as a “heinous crime” that “represents an assault on
stability in Pakistan and its democratic processes” ahead of elections
set for January 8, which Bhutto’s party had been tipped to win.
The UN Security Council emerged from an emergency session on the
killing with a statement condemning “this heinous act of terrorism”.
Shockwaves from the assassination jolted oil prices past 97 dollars a
barrel and rattled stock markets in the United States and across Asia.
Pakistan’s neighbours, fearing an extremist spill-over if
nuclear-armed Pakistan were to spiral out of control, were quick to
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said Bhutto’s killing was a
reminder of the “common dangers” faced by India and Pakistan.
Paris, Friday, AFP