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Sunday, December 30, 2007

Opportunists rule while city mourns

Opportunists rule while city mourns



Sunday, December 30, 2007
By our correspondent

Karachi

Riots rocked the city for a third consecutive day on Saturday which saw up to 14 deaths. Seven people were killed on Friday, including a policeman who was shot dead in Lyari. Moreover, 21 people (including three policemen) were reportedly injured as a result of aerial firing in various areas of the city, while police sources claim to have arrested at least 40 arsonists.

One more body was recovered from the factory situated in Ibrahim Hyderi and the death toll rose to eight on Saturday. The factory was torched by the mob twice and most of the bodies are unidentifiable so far. However, one body was claimed by the relatives of deceased and they took it for burial.

Meanwhile, as the rest of the city was mourning Benazir Bhutto’s death, some opportunist elements apparently took advantage of the tense situation, and reportedly held up people who were on their way home. They also plundered several shops and offices.

Residents of Nazimabad Block 4 complained of several such incidents and said that these “unknown people” had taken control of neighbourhoods and inner streets.

“We were right in front of our house, when a mob came with rods and started throwing stones at us. We were only saved by an eyelash because one of the people recognised us as residents of the area and let us go,” one family said, adding that the miscreants had half of their faces covered with black cloth.

Other areas in the city were not spared either. The Pakistan International Airline (PIA) booking office on Strachen Road was targeted by a mob Thursday night. Six gunshots were fired at its windows, and according to the staff on duty, at least 15 people (including customers) were inside the office when the incident occurred.

The PIA staff said that the only reason they were saved was because their main gate was closed “otherwise the attackers would have entered the office premises.” Although no one was injured, people were however badly shaken by the attack. One of the senior staff members told The News that a patrolling party of Rangers had told them not to open for business on Friday.

An apparent repercussion of the lawlessness was that all major educational and financial institutions remained closed on Friday. Employees of factories situated in Landhi, Korangi, KITE, New Karachi, SITE, and Karachi Port and Bin Qasim Port stayed at home, mostly out of fear for their safety.

Residents of several other localities including Lyari, Hasan Square, NIPA, Times Square, Disco Bakery, Safari Park, Safoora Goth and Pehelwan Goth, Dalmyia, Shah Faisal Town, Malir 15, Jamshed Town, Gadap Town, Baldia Town, Orangi Town, Old Golimar, Korangi Industrial Area, Landhi, Gulshan-e-Hadeed, Pak Colony, and SITE witnessed massive amounts of aerial firing, which continued at intervals.

Gulshan-e-Hadeed and Gulistan-e-Jauhar have been particularly hard-hit since news of Benazir’s assassination became public. The telephone exchange and the power station were sent on fire in Gulshan-e-Hadeed. A mob later set several containers ablaze in the locality, and also set fire to police stations, both in Gulshan-e-Hadeed and Gulistan-e-Jauhar.

In another incident, a Habib Bank Limited branch at Safoora Goth was first looted and then severely damaged. A paint shop, along with a food supplying and catering shop, was also looted and burned down by “unknown people.”

Shopping markets near Safari Mor, University Road, were completely destroyed by these crowds who have also been accused of torching dozens of vehicles on the same road. According to eyewitnesses, those markets were ransacked by the mob before being set ablaze. A number of passing vehicles were also torched. Fire was also reported in Memon Goth, where at least four shops were targeted and torched.

According to some reports, people on Nishtar Road, Garden, burned down two vehicles, while one car was set on fire in Qasba Colony in Orangi Town. These incidents were reported early Friday morning.

It has been observed that most of these plunderers comprised youth between the ages of 13 to 17. These young men were apparently apolitical, but took advantage of the situation and further increased tension in the city. They broke the windscreens of several vehicles parked at different places in PECHS Block 6 and stole music systems.

The Lunda-Bazaar (the market which deals in second-hand clothes) located adjacent to Light House on M A Jinnah Road was torched at 7:45am while the factory near Saba Cinema was burnt down by the activists. The Askari Park situated at the main University Road was attacked by an angry mob and they totally destroyed it and the booking office, main entrance, security cameras, blocks of waterfall, lights and electric swings and other park property was demolished by them.

According to some officials, over 700 vehicles, at least 13 banks, seven bank branches, five traffic sections and several police stations and kiosk were set ablaze by unidentified people on Friday only. —ZA

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Mob burnt factory, as police stood and watched’


Sunday, December 30, 2007
By Aroosa Masroor

Karachi

According to officials in the factory 26 dead bodies have been recovered and there were approximately 600 workers inside the factory when mob comprising over 6,000 people attacked the factory and set it ablaze as police officials stood and watched.

Following the news of Benazir Bhutto’s assassination on the evening of December 27, the mob, say eyewitnesses, rushed towards the factory around 7.00 p.m. and most of them were locals from the nearby Ibrahim Hyderi Goth, who took advantage of the lawlessness as law enforcement officials failed to control the situation.

Spread on 27 acres of land in the Korangi Industrial Area, Masco Exports has been burnt to the ground. “Sixty to seventy per cent of the factory has been burnt, the production units have come to a standstill and the entire office furniture and other equipments has been stolen,” said Ahsan Zaidi, Project Director at the factory. Zaidi said he is busy picking up the pieces and is completely shocked at the loss caused to the company, which could amount to billions of rupees.

Azhar Gillani, General Manager at the Human Resource Department, said it is too early to assess the damage. “Since all our production units have been burnt down, there will be zero production for the next few days,” he said. Moreover, he said that the armed looters were in complete hold of the factory for 48-50 hours. During this time they comfortably looted everything and destroyed other equipments by setting it on fire, added Gillani. An FIR has been lodged against the looters at the Ibrahim Hyderi Police Station.

Furthermore,Gillani informed that since the security guards at the factory were few in number they could not resist the huge crowd in thousands. However, they attempted to contact the police, after which a few officials from the Ibrahim Hyderi Police Station reached the spot to rescue the factory workers. “But the officials, too, were few in number as compared to the angry mob so they laid down their arms.” As a result, the workers remained trapped inside the factory.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Police abandoned security posts before Bhutto assassination

Nick Juliano
Published: Friday December 28, 2007

No autopsy performed on body; docs say bullet wounds not found

Police abandoned their security posts shortly before Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto's assassination Thursday, according to a journalist present at the time, and unanswerable questions remain about the cause of her death, because an autopsy was never performed.

Pakistan's Interior Minister on Friday said that Bhutto was not killed by gunshots, as had been widely reported, and doctors at Rawalpindi General Hospital, where she died, say there were no bullet marks on the former prime minister's body, according to India's IBNLive.com. Furthermore, according to the news agency, there was no formal autopsy performed on Bhutto's body before she was buried Friday.

CNN is now reporting that it wasn't gunshots or shrapnel that killed Bhutto, but that she died from hitting the sunroof of the car she was riding in. The network said sources in Pakistan's Interior Ministry said nothing entered her skull, no bullets or shrapnel.

Apparently there was some kind of lever on the sunroof she was standing through, and she hit her head on that CNN reported Friday morning.

Earlier in the day Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz told a Pakistani news channel, “The report says she had head injuries – an irregular patch – and the X-ray doesn’t show any bullet in the head. So it was probably the shrapnel or any other thing has struck her in her said. That damaged her brain, causing it to ooze and her death. The report categorically says there’s no wound other than that," according to IBNLive.

Perhaps more shockingly, an attendee at the rally where Bhutto was killed says police charged with protecting her "abandoned their posts," leaving just a handful of Bhutto's own bodyguards protecting her.

"Police officers had frisked the 3,000 to 4,000 people attending Thursday's rally when they entered the park, but as the speakers from Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party droned on, the police abandoned many of their posts," wrote Saeed Shah in an essay published by McClatchy News Service. "As she drove out through the gate, her main protection appeared to be her own bodyguards, who wore their usual white T-shirts inscribed: 'Willing to die for Benazir.'"

While some intelligence officials, especially within the US, were quick to finger al Qaeda militants as responsible for Bhutto's death, it remains unclear precisely who was responsible and some speculation has centered on Pakistan's intelligence service, the ISI, its military or even forces loyal to the current president Pervez Musharraf. Rawalpindi, where Bhutto was killed, is the garrison city that houses the Pakistani military's headquarters.

"GHQ (general headquarters of the army) killed her," Sardar Saleem, a former member of parliament, told Shah at the hospital.

Whatever the case, Bhutto's precise cause of death may never be known because of the failure to administer an autopsy. The procedure was not carried out because police and local authorities in Rawalpindi did not request one, according to IBNLive, but the government plans a formal investigation why this was the case.

Musharraf initially blamed her death on unnamed Islamic militants, but Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz told The Associated Press on Friday that "we have the evidence that al-Qaida and the Taliban were behind the suicide attack on Benazir Bhutto."

He said investigators had resolved the "whole mystery" behind the opposition leader's killing and would give details at press conference later Friday

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‘Musharraf is Benazir’s killer’

Sunday, April 18, 2010
PPP core committee asks Gilani to take legal action against all those responsible for crime; Zardari says killers not to be spared

By Asim Yasin

ISLAMABAD: It took two years and four months for the Pakistan People’s Party to hold General (retd) Pervez Musharraf responsible for the assassination of Shaheed Benazir Bhutto and recommended Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani to take legal action against the former dictator as well all those government officials mentioned adversely in the UN report.

The decision was taken in a meeting of the core group of PPP held on Saturday night at the Presidency to discuss the report of the UN Inquiry Commission on the assassination of Benazir Bhutto and was presided over by co-chairman PPP and President Asif Ali Zardari. Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani was also present.

Presidential spokesman Farhatullah Babar said the meeting considered the UN Inquiry Commission report and accepted its findings and observations. Babar said that the meeting reiterated that the report endorsed the party position that General (retd) Pervez Musharraf was responsible for the assassination of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto. “The party reiterated its resolve to expose and bring to justice all those including Gen (retd) Pervez Musharraf who planned, abetted and indulged in the criminal act, screened off the offenders and destroyed the evidence,” he said.

The meeting recalled that Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto also believed that former dictator General (retd) Pervez Musharraf wanted to eliminate her. Benazir Bhutto had mentioned it in her letter and in numerous press and public statements.

Farhatullah Babar said that party recommended to the prime minister to take appropriate legal actions in the light of the report of the UN Inquiry Commission, which, inter alia, called upon the competent authorities in Pakistan to make a determination of the criminal responsibility for planning and carrying out the assassination.

He said the core group of the PPP further recommended to Prime Minister Syed Yousuf Raza Gilani to take appropriate legal action against those government officials mentioned in the UN report.

According to sources, the PPP core group also recommended to the federal government to put the names of all those officials who were accused of security negligence on Exit Control List (ECL) and brought all accused back into the country who were outside Pakistan.

Sources said it was recommended to the federal government to make all those officials mentioned in the report immediately as Officer on Special Duty (OSD) and to monitor their activities.

The meeting recalled that the Central Executive Committee (CEC) of the party meeting held in Naudero soon after the assassination of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto had called for setting up of a UN Inquiry Commission in the assassination of Shaheed Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto.

Subsequently, parliament also adopted a unanimous resolution calling upon the government to approach the United Nations to set up an inquiry commission, it recalled.

The meeting also thanked the UN Inquiry Commission for its efforts, he said.

The meeting was attended by Prime Minister Syed Yusuf Raza Gilani, Rehman A Malik, Nazar Muhammad Gondal, Qamar Zaman Kaira, Syed Khursheed Shah, Raja Parvaiz Ashraf, Naveed Qamar, Dr Babar Awan, Raza Rabbani, Senator Nayyar Hussain Bokhari, Jahangir Badar, Senator Faisal Raza Abidi, Ms Rukhsana Bangash, Ms Fouzia Wahab, Ms Fouzia Habib and spokesman for the president Farhatullah Babar.

Online adds: Meanwhile, speaking on the occasion, President Asif Ali Zardari said that the UN inquiry report had vindicated the PPP’s apprehensions and that the assassins of BB would not be spared. The death of Benazir Bhutto not only deprived the nation but also the entire world of an international leader. He reiterated that murderers of BB would be unmasked at all costs.

The president vowed to take the reconciliation process forward with all the political parties for sustainable democracy and stability in the country. He said the PPP believed in democracy, reminding it had rendered unprecedented sacrifices for the cause.

According to sources, senior PPP leaders during the core committee meeting were of the view that the UN commission’s report on BB’s murder be implemented forthwith. They said the report pointed fingers at certain persons and action must be ensured against them, even if they belonged to the government.

During the meeting, PPP leaders said though the UN report contained nothing new, delay in the implementation of the report would create further doubts in the minds of the people and this situation would be detrimental to the political future of the party. They further stated that not only the former regime but also personal security of Benazir Bhutto were responsible for her security, as both did not fulfill their responsibility.

The party leaders said that Pakistani agencies should immediately complete investigation into the murder of Benazir Bhutto and the findings be made public.

Karachi’s children offer their moms to Bilawal, Bakhtawar and Asifa

By Uroos Ahmed

KARACHI: Twelve-year-old Uzair would happily share his mother with Benazir Bhutto’s three children Bilawal, Bakhtawar and Asifa so that they don’t feel deprived.

“Mothers are the most important part of a child’s life, I can’t imagine living without my mother. Benazir’s assassin and anyone else who was involved in her killing will be dealt with severely by Allah,” he said.

Five-year-old Eman would have been happy to share her mother if only she and her brother Bilal were not the naughty twins that they were. But she is more than willing to share her father with them, as their paternal grandmother had died and their maternal grandmother was not well enough to look after them.

Bilal, however, was reluctant at first. He wondered if he would have to share his birthday parties with them too. “My mother can’t bake so many cakes in one day,” Bilal pointed out. When reassured that their parties would be on different dates as they would have separate birth dates, he was rather excited at the prospect hoping that there would be a jumping castle on their birthday parties also.

Nine-year-old Zain feels that all three children were already away from their mother and now they would never be able to see her again. “Even if they didn’t miss her, now they must miss her. I can share my mother with them but she will be very different so they will have to live according to my mother’s rules.”

When asked how he felt about the situation in the city, Zain said the people are overreacting and that while they are allowed to mourn and be upset, lashing out on the city is no way to go about it. “My father had campaigned for Benazir during his youth but I don’t see him outside burning the city down and stoning innocent people. Instead, he prayed for her and made everyone else in the house pray for her forgiveness.”

Eight-year-old Omar and six-year-old Osman are brothers visiting from Abu Dhabi. Last time they were here, Bhutto was returning and in their recent trip, she was killed. They had to be homebound the last time they were here, and this time, they were hoping things would be different. “I had made plans to go to Park Towers and Forum Mall and other restaurants with my cousin, but it doesn’t seem possible now. We can’t even go to the Arena and we don’t know when we will come to the city next,” said Omar, who was probably more bereaved over the failure of his plans than over Bhutto’s death. But when asked about how he felt for Benazir’s children, he suggested they should be invited to accompany him and his cousins to Arena. “This way they will also cheer up a little bit and the police will be there to take care of us so our parents would let us go also.”

Thirteen-year-old Mehr, who likes taking care of her younger brother said she would herself go and spend time with them and wouldn’t mind if her mother had to go take care of them either. “I feel very sorry for Benazir but I feel very angry about the riots that have followed her assassination. It is unfair how people are reacting because other people have plans and needs and everything is being ignored. We can’t go out, there is nothing to watch on TV and people can’t travel.”

Seven-year-old Mustafa felt very upset when his father told him that Bilawal had fainted. “They should come live with me and my sister so that our mother can take good care of them. She stays awake all night if either one of us is sick, and because she feels sad about Benazir’s death, she will take more care of Bilawal, Bakhtawar and Asifa than of us.”

5 More Bhutto










CSM Benazir Pictures






Friday, December 28, 2007

Japan wrapped up a year of jittery trade Friday with a 3-digit loss


A pedestrian walks past a market prices board in Tokyo Friday, Dec. 28, 2007. Japan wrapped up a year of jittery trade Friday with a 3-digit loss, beset by fears about the U.S. economy and renewed worries about global political instability after the assassination of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. The Nikkei Stock Average of 225 issues dived 256.91 points, or 1.7 percent, to 15,307.78 points, on the final day of trading of 2007.
(AP Photo/Katsumi Kasahara)


Officers and employees of securities companies applaud during a ceremony marking the end of trading in 2007 at the Tokyo Stock Exchange December 28, 2007. Japanese stocks fell on Friday, with exporters such as Canon Inc hurt by a firmer yen and a fall on Wall Street due to worries about U.S. growth, while the assassination of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto sparked concerns about geopolitical risk.
REUTERS/Issei Kato (JAPAN)

Post Assasination and Funeral Pictures