Listen All Of Y’all It’s A Sabotage

Memorial.jpg

I Can’t Stand It I Know You Planned It
I’m Gonna Set It Straight, This Watergate…
Oh My, It’s A Mirage
I’m Tellin’ Y’all It’s Sabotage [bb]

To me, the “sunroof theory” sounded contrived; it was insult on top of murder. A lot of us aren’t buying what Pakistan is selling, with regards to the assassination of Benazir. The NYT has more (thanks, Camille):

New details of Benazir Bhutto’s final moments, including indications that her doctors felt pressured to conform to government accounts of her death, fueled the arguments over her assassination on Sunday and added to the pressure on Pakistan’s leaders to accept an international inquiry.
Athar Minallah, a board member of the hospital where Ms. Bhutto was treated, released her medical report along with an open letter showing that her doctors wanted to distance themselves from the government theory that Ms. Bhutto had died by hitting her head on a lever of her car’s sunroof during the attack.
In his letter, Mr. Minallah, who is also a prominent lawyer, said the doctors believed that an autopsy was needed to provide the answers to how she actually died. Their request for one last Thursday was denied by the local police chief.

Two other obstacles to an autopsy: objections on religious grounds and the slain woman’s husband. Asif Ali Zardari refused to hand over his wife’s remains to a government he cannot trust:

On Sunday, Ms. Bhutto’s husband, Mr. Zardari, said he received a call from the Punjab home secretary on Thursday evening with a request for his permission for a post-mortem examination. He said he refused because he did not trust the government investigation to prove the cause of her death.
In ordinary circumstances, an autopsy runs counter to Islamic belief that a body should not be tampered with and should be buried as quickly as possible. But several Pakistanis said that in certain classes of Muslim society, particularly the better educated and more urban people, autopsies were not ruled out on religious grounds…
An international inquiry on Ms. Bhutto’s death could not be carried out without an exhumation, a difficult decision in a Muslim country, Mr. Latif said…
But Ms. Bhutto’s supporters noted that the family and the party were so furious at President Musharraf, whom many of them blame for her death, that it was unlikely the Bhuttos would trust an exhumation that involved the government.

Requests for an International Inquiry (see: Rafik Hariri) are increasing, thanks to the Pakistani government’s feeble insistence that Bhutto was not shot. So much for their CYA strategy. It’s far better for the government to put forth this sunroof-based nonsense instead of owning up to the grim fact that security for the most popular politician in Pakistan was pathetic.

The government’s explanation, that Ms. Bhutto died after hitting her head as she ducked from the gunfire or was tossed by the force of the suicide blast, has been greeted with disbelief by her supporters, ordinary Pakistanis and medical experts. While some of the mystery could be cleared up by exhuming the body, it is not clear whether Ms. Bhutto’s family would give permission, such is their distrust of the government.

Bless Dr. Khan, for daring to speak the truth:

Mr. Minallah distributed the medical report with his open letter to the Pakistani news media and The New York Times. He said the doctor who wrote the report, Mohammad Mussadiq Khan, the principal professor of surgery at the Rawalpindi General Hospital, told him on the night of Ms. Bhutto’s death that she had died of a bullet wound.
Dr. Khan declined through Mr. Minallah to speak with a reporter on the grounds that he was an employee of a government hospital and was fearful of government reprisals if he did not support its version of events.

A government official agreed with Dr. Khan, until the truth was massaged in to excuses which inspired incredulity:

On the night Ms. Bhutto was assassinated, an unidentified Interior Ministry spokesman was quoted by the official Pakistani news agency as saying that she had died of a “bullet wound in the neck by a suicide bomber.”
The next day, Brig. Javed Iqbal Cheema, the Interior Ministry spokesman, recast that version of events, saying at a news conference that Ms. Bhutto died of a wound sustained when she hit her head on a lever attached to the sun roof of the vehicle as she ducked a bullet and was thrown about by the force of the blast. “Three shots were fired but they missed her,” Brigadier Cheema said. “Then there was an explosion.”

Brigadier Cheema must be a fantastic poker player:

Brigadier Cheema made clear, however, that an international inquiry was not in the cards. “At this point in time we are quite confident with the kind of progress that is going on with our inquiries,” he said Sunday.
Foreign experts did not have the expertise, he said, to deal with the peculiarities of tribal areas that are the base of the nation’s terrorist activities. “This is not just an ordinary criminal case where you only need forensic expert,” he said. “We understand the dynamics better.”

92 thoughts on “Listen All Of Y’all It’s A Sabotage

  1. less grainy version of latest video (from the right rear of the vehicle) and extended report can be seen here, including slow-mo: http://www.channel4.com/news/articles/politics/international_politics/footage+of+bhuttos+death/1246547

    I am curious what kind of response is felt amongst Pakistani diaspora in UK? I mean ordinary folks, not BB’s elite ex-pat friends and cronies. Any mutineers living there with some insight about emerging sympathies/theories?

  2. Sorry Dev, the video you linked in does not rule out a blunt trauma in addition to a possible bullet injury. In fact the concussion hypothesis is explicitly discussed by one of the experts in the video itself.

    Truly pathetic thickheadedness. Go watch the video again. The expert in the video explicitly mentions that her scarf must have been lifted up by the concussion from the bullet. Not from the bomb. Do you really think that the concussion from the bomb would have only lifted her head scarf a little but still smacked her head against the sunroof lever with enough force to cause fatal trauma?

    The video clearly shows and the commentator explicitly points out that she had already fallen down into the car before the bomb exploded.

  3. 52 · Dev said

    Truly pathetic thickheadedness.

    Well, Prema, can’t expect much better from these lower castes, right?

    Happy New Year!

  4. Truly pathetic thickheadedness

    Well, if Bhutto had been equally thickheaded, things wouldn’t have been as pathetic, would they?

  5. Completely off thread, but an interesting, fortuitious note:

    It also emerged that the doctor who tried to save Miss Bhutto’s life was the son of a doctor who 56 years earlier had battled to save Pakistan’s first prime minister after he was shot. Mussadiq Khan, who treated Miss Bhutto in Rawalpindi last week, revealed that his father, Sadiq Khan, was on duty in 1951 when Liaquat Ali Khan was gunned down at a rally in the same park where Miss Bhutto was attacked.

  6. can’t expect much better from these lower castes, right?

    You are projecting your own caste hatreds onto me Rahul and probably congratulating yourself on your ‘clever’ deceit. Casteists like you are undoubtedly the worst enemies of India. Despite identical per capita incomes Pakistan has a far fewer proportion of its population living in hunger and horrible, inhumane conditions than democratic India. Who or what do you blame for that if not brahminical casteism?

  7. Despite identical per capita incomes Pakistan has a far fewer proportion of its population living in hunger and horrible, inhumane conditions than democratic India. Who or what do you blame for that if not brahminical casteism?

    Communism! C’mon, Prema, now’s the time to launch on your “China is great” rant. You’re welcome.

    Casteists like you are undoubtedly the worst enemies of India.

    I always blamed the Australians myself.

  8. Now that this new video has exposed the pakistani govts outrageous lie it will be very interesting to see their reaction. The media around the world is pointing out the obvious:

    http://www.presstv.ir/detail.aspx?id=36991&sectionid=351020401

    “Dramatic new videotape of the assassination of former Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto shows her slumping just after gunshots.

    The tape provides the clearest view of the attack and shows that Bhutto was shot.

    In the latest video, Bhutto is standing and her hair and scarf appear to move, perhaps from the bullet; then she falls into the car and then the blast.

    These images support the theory that Bhutto died at the hands of a shooter before a bomb was detonated.

    Everyone inside Bhutto’s bomb-proof car is alive and they say they saw her bleeding, and the heavily blood-stained interior appears to support their accounts.

    The doctor who initially examined the body said Bhutto died of bullet wounds.

    The latest video would contradict the Pakistan government’s account.”

    http://www.business-standard.com/common/storypage_c_online.php?leftnm=10&bKeyFlag=IN&autono=31887

    “A dramatic new footage of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto’s assassination today lent credence to the claim by Pakistan People’s Party that she was shot dead – a version vehemently contradicted by the government.

    The footage aired by Britain’s Channel 4 and subsequently beamed by Pakistani TV channels showed that Bhutto, who stood at the sun-roof of her bulletproof vehicle, had fallen into the car after shots were fired and before a suicide bomber detonated explosives after the Rawalpindi rally on Dec 27.

    This was contrary to the government’s account that the force of the blast had thrown Bhutto against a metal lever on the car’s sun-roof, causing a fatal skull fracture…..

    As the gunman – a clean-shaven youth wearing a white shirt, dark waistcoat and dark glasses – opened fire, Bhutto’s hair and scarf appeared to rise before she fell into the car……

    A ballistics expert told Channel 4 that the new video appears to show the exact moment when Bhutto was struck by a bullet. “If we look at the proximity of the aggressor to the victim, and we take into account which side of the victim the aggressor could be seen, and then we see that the scarf and the base of (Bhutto’s) head lifts very suddenly without any other related movement,” said expert Roger Gray.

    “It suggests to me very strongly that there was a concussion on that side, or in other words, it looks very much like she was struck from a bullet on the left hand side, low down on the head.”

  9. She didn’t have a chance. :(

    True in the long term– she was going to die at gunpoint from living by gunpoint, but on that particular day did she really really have to stick her distinctive white dupatta and mala clad head and royal purple torso out through the sun roof of her armored vehicle? I mean, really, whose fault was that? And what kind of armored vehicle has a sunroof anyway?

    Depending on how/if she hit her head against the lever, it could lead to a bleeding wound, and the trauma could lead to cardiac arrest. It is not something you can completely rule out.

    chachaji, I’ve posted this before–Toyota officials, though not an entirely disinterested, say it couldn’t happen because the handle is installed 6 cm inside the edge of the sunroof–it couldn’t have stuck out far enough to kill her. If it did, they’d have to recall all of the vehicles with that sunroof.

    She was a muslim woman, and that typically brings a huge burden with it; but she also inherited the Bhutto mantle from her dad, something that made up for any disadvantage many times over.

    SkepMod, you are so right–she was so much Daddy’s girl that she was able to

  10. Sorry half my post died.

    Here’s the Toyota story I linked earlier. And SkepMod, Daddy’s girl was so highly leveraged she was able to get Tariq Ali sprung from prison to participate in a debate she was organizing at the Oxford Union– Vir Sanghvi’s surprisingly badly written but quite complete account of halcyon days at Oxfordhere. Something tells me she had it going on since before her father and JKGalbraith set up her going to Harvard.

    Happy New Year, All!

  11. Pak govt has issued this video showing the trajectory of the bullet as it gets deflected. Atleast now the case should rest.

  12. 55 · Dari said

    Completely off thread, but an interesting, fortuitious note: It also emerged that the doctor who tried to save Miss Bhutto’s life was the son of a doctor who 56 years earlier had battled to save Pakistan’s first prime minister after he was shot. Mussadiq Khan, who treated Miss Bhutto in Rawalpindi last week, revealed that his father, Sadiq Khan, was on duty in 1951 when Liaquat Ali Khan was gunned down at a rally in the same park where Miss Bhutto was attacked.

    Thats interesting considering that Bhutto was assassinated at the very same park where the first prime minister was assassinated. Happy New Year to All on EST.

  13. Rahul, your engagements with the trolls are hilarious. :) I especially liked the quick comeback of ‘Communism.’ Do you ever sleep?

  14. Thanks, Anil and nala. And nala? Why would I sleep on NYE when I can party it up with my computer?

  15. Topcat:

    Alright people it is official now. BB was not killed by bullet. Look carefully.

    ROFL.. I was of the idea that this is some serious video clip. BTW, I like the villain in that scene. I think he’s famous in Telugu movies.

  16. If people really think this woman was a martyr then we have a lot more to worry about.

    Amen to that, Abhi.

    I actually think the whole government attempt to rewrite the story makes the whole thing look more sinister/bizarre than it might be (in reality). I don’t buy the “lack of security” argument (if someone can blow themselves up, then I don’t see why that is appreciably worse than being the target of a sniper), nor do I buy the shaheed argument.

    I can’t remember who asked about the reactions of “normal” Pakistani-Americans, but I think you’ll find a mixed bag. In my non-random sample of friends, there is no love lost for BB, although there is a sense of “oh great, another excuse for Western powers-that-be to comment on how ‘backwards’ Pakistan is.”

  17. although there is a sense of “oh great, another excuse for Western powers-that-be to comment on how ‘backwards’ Pakistan is.”

    I think if they’re focusing on that instead of the actual problems in Pakistan that her death highlights, they’re focusing on the wrong thing. BB’s death was horrible mainly from a human perspective, and it’s also a sad statement on the current state of Pakistan…whether the government/Musharaf/military/ISI or on the terrorists/militants (and there are overlaps between all of them, any one or a combination of which may be responsible). It is a sign of how backwards public life is (becoming) in Pakistan. And it doesn’t bode well for the people there, because their options just got that much narrower. What is the future of that country? Playing with religion has really gotten their hands burnt, and it may be too late to do anything about that now.

  18. The reaction among my Pakistani-American friends has been more one of worry and disappointment at yet another detriment to democracy in their homeland. I haven’t heard too much of the ‘Oh no what will the American media think’ sentiments, which are very valid, but like Amitabh said, betray the fact that the country has serious political problems.

  19. I too found among my non-random sample of Pakistani friends that there was no love lost for BB … she was corrupt and selfish they said, but “no one deserves to die the way she did”. . There was the issue of “oh … here is another reason for the West to continue their selfish “democratic endeavors”.

    Side Note: There is a facebook group called, “Let’s not assassinate Bilawal Bhutto because he’s hot, ok?” (http://www.tribuneindia.com/2008/20080102/world.htm#5). This facebook group made me think that aside from his good-looks … why was Bilawal Bhutto put into a position of power at the age of 19 immediately following his mother’s death when the possibility of him dying is so high. If he is so good, give him some time to develop, rather than just put him up front to represent the PPP because he is BB’s son and get killed. I doubt he even has substantial experience to be a political leader, why put him at so much risk. At the end of the day I want to ask his father, why didn’t he just take the position … put himself at risk rather than his son?

  20. Thanks, Anil and nala. And nala? Why would I sleep on NYE when I can party it up with my computer?

    I too thank you Rahul for standing up to the anti-casteist trolls.

  21. 70 · nala said

    The reaction among my Pakistani-American friends has been more one of worry and disappointment at yet another detriment to democracy in their homeland.

    I know some DBD Pakistanis that are glad she was assasinated. Most of BB’s support was concentrated among Sindhis who supported her out of ethnic loyalty not ideology and those who benefited from the PPP party machinery.

    I also think its ridiculous her son was made party head. He is 19 years old. He doesn’t even speak Urdu and spent most of his life in the West. He’s spent most of his life living in a rich, privileged bubble. He is no way as accomplished as his mother.

  22. Yeah, my friends aren’t shedding tears for her death so much as for what it means politically.

    RE: her son- I’ve heard that he was put in charge of the PPP basically as a puppethead and that his father will actually be calling the shots, but it would be a bad PR move to actually name mr. 10 percent as her ‘successor’ because of his history of corruption in pakistan.

    and he was raised in dubai, wasn’t he? does that really qualify as a completely ‘western upbringing’?

    Hey JGandhi- could you e-mail me? I have some questions about something you mentioned a while ago on a different thread.

  23. 74 · nala said

    and he was raised in dubai, wasn’t he? does that really qualify as a completely ‘western upbringing’?

    From what I understand, the family grew up in London even though their official residence is in Dubai.

  24. He is 19 years old. He doesn’t even speak Urdu and spent most of his life in the West. He’s spent most of his life living in a rich, privileged bubble. He is no way as accomplished as his mother.

    If not for the gender specific pronoun, I wouldn’t know if you were talking about mother or son?

    The queen is dead! Long live the regent prince!

  25. It is a sign of how backwards public life is (becoming) in Pakistan.

    I think in my attempt to be brief/quick I might have misrepresented how my friends feel. They are certainly concerned about Pakistan and about what this means for the elections, but part of their frustration is a kind of forehead-slapping “not again!” sentiment. I think most of them are pretty savvy and thoughtful about the issues facing Pakistan, but I do think that they also feel that these are not endogenous or intrinsic to Pakistani public life (but feel that this is how things are often represented through mainstream media outlets in the West). Many of them also took exception to the dominant representation of Benzir Bhutto in the news when she first returned, with many feeling that her return would do the country no good and may in fact do it quite a bit of harm (at the same time, they were incredibly unhappy with Musharraf, so I think this was a general rock-and-hard-place reaction). I think most of them also hope that this will NOT result in a “slide backwards,” but they are certainly frustrated, especially after a year of crazy political antics and violence, esp. from Musharraf.

  26. Also the vaporous coverage of her death in the American media is a new low for American media

    Actually, I didn’t think it was all that bad considering how low the bar is for them.

  27. I just returned from India, and I think Indian TV channels and newspapers were doing excellent job in analyzing Benazir**, compared to BBC, CNN, etc. (I did watch them in India too).

    Three points seemed to have been totally missed in West (and in Sepia Mutiny too) are:

    a) Benazir Bhutto always carried a heavy legacy of her father – She did have a sense of entitlement, and manifest destiny. Yes, she was corrupt, but a very strong Pakistani patriot. Every analyst said this thousand times on editorials I read, programs I read.

    b) As Imran Khan eloquently put it, “The moment Bush, Condi Rice, Negroponte publicly declared Bhutto as their preferred leader, her death sentence was signed, and an bulls eye was put on skull”. It was a matter of time, anyone (and everyone) who hated America in Pakistan (there is no dearth of them right now) would have killed her.

    c) No matter how corrupt she was, she was the only Pakistani leader that had mass support not related to religiousity – She has alway been very popular amongst poor, and disenfrachised Pakistanis. Conclusions: I think Bush and all should sometimes keep their mouth shut publicly, and not complicate matters, in being so candid.

    ** Benazir Bhutto public life started with accompanying her father during the Simla Pact in 1972.

  28. The government has withdrawn the ‘sunroof theory’ and apologized (for making themselves look so stupid).

    I’d also ask if all the folks that were so credulopus as to beleive the official Pakistani government version of events (Sunroof theory) if they are also as credulous when it comes to the Pak government story of Kargil, of the B-desh war, or of the rise of the Taliban?

    In South Asia, whether in Ahmedabad or Islamabad, the government is not a disinterested seeker of truth, and the “official” version should be approached with as much skepticism as a — well — pseodonymous blogger on the interweb. Treat every theory like a conspricay theory.

  29. At the end of the day I want to ask his father, why didn’t he just take the position … put himself at risk rather than his son?

    Because his father is not a Bhutto,

    and he (his father) is openly perceived as very corrupt, and still has legal actions pending (and serving too).

    Whereas, Benazir son is also Zulfikar Ali Bhutto’s grandson – That is a huge legacy he carries.

  30. Shame to take a 19 year old kid and thrust him into this role…he would be better off living in the West, doing some kind of professional job or something. Oh but then how to skim money out of Pakistan?!

    I distinctly remember being in India in 1989 (I was 17) and watching an interview with Benazir (who I thought was quite attractive)…the interviewer congratulated her on the recent birth of her son, and asked her when he would be joining politics? She jokingly replied ‘not for a few more months’…well, even 19 years was way too soon.

  31. I think many in the western media who were praising Benazir Bhutto to the skies as a brave champion of democracy must be feeling a little silly right now. The Chairperson For Life(!) of the Pakistan Peoples Party wills her chairpersonship (as if it were a family heirloom) to her 19 year old comics-obsessed son; with her husband (universally acknowledged as corrupt to the bone) to serve as regent till the son comes of age. This comes across as more of a medieval monarchy than a modern democracy.

    Ditto for the Nehru-Gandhi political Dynasty in India, which served as the role model for the Bhutto Dynasty of Pakistan.

  32. The other american ally in Pakistan, Musharraf and his Army, make no pretenses of being democratic. But they sure come across as stupid, incompetent, devious……..and sleazy as hell. Its incredible that they actually concluded that they could get away with the death by sunroof explanation, with much of the world intensely watching. The Army spokesman Cheema, as stupid and sleazy as they come, actually said that ‘fortunately’ the bullets of the assassin did not hit Benazir!

    What kind of an Army makes such a buffoon a brigadier general? No wonder the Pakistan Army is terrified of going into Waziristan and fighting the Taliban and al-Qaeda.

    And what does it say about the Indian Army that has been kept on the defensive by such an enemy?

  33. And what does it say about the Indian Army that has been kept on the defensive by such an enemy

    I implore you (and everyone else) to treat that question as a rhetorical one. The last Bhutto thread was shut down because of tangents like that.

  34. 86 · Dev said

    And what does it say about the Indian Army that has been kept on the defensive by such an enemy?

    they’re too pre-occupied with running their 7-11s?

  35. 87 · SM Intern said

    I implore you (and everyone else) to treat that question as a rhetorical one. The last Bhutto thread was shut down because of tangents like that.

    oops, sorry. saw the warning too late. glad i didn’t go with the small penis explanation thaough.

  36. http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2007/12/31/ST2007123102506.html?hpid=topnews

    “Pakistani authorities have pressured the medical personnel who tried to save Benazir Bhutto’s life to remain silent about what happened in her final hour and have removed records of her treatment from the facility, according to doctors. In interviews, doctors who were at Bhutto’s side at Rawalpindi General Hospital said they were under extreme pressure not to share details about the nature of the injuries that the opposition leader suffered in an attack here Dec. 27.

    “The government took all the medical records right after Ms. Bhutto’s time of death was read out,” said a visibly shaken doctor who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the issue. Sweating and putting his head in his hands, he said: “Look, we have been told by the government to stop talking. And a lot of us feel this is a disgrace.”

    The doctors now find themselves at the center of a political firestorm over the circumstances of Bhutto’s death. The government has said Bhutto, 54, was killed after the force of a suicide bombing caused her head to slam against the lever of her vehicle’s sunroof. Bhutto’s supporters have pointed to video footage, including a new amateur video released Monday, as proof that she was killed by gunfire. “

  37. This is very late, but I keep reading more about it and just came across this account from the person nearest BB when she was hit, and need to share. There is some sort of closure here, I think.