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Tuesday, Dec 07, 2021
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attack on benazir

Scenes From A Wreckage

The imprint, Al Qaeda's. Blessed by? Establishment Islamists?

Scenes From A Wreckage
AP
Scenes From A Wreckage
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

For almost 10 hours on October 18, the people of Karachi choked the streets, cheering Pakistan People's Party (PPP) leader and former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in a mass catharsis on her return home from exile. As Benazir's cavalcade threaded through an enraptured throng towards the mausoleum of Mohammed Ali Jinnah where she was to address a public rally, the PPP leader stood atop an especially fortified, bullet-proof truck, waving lustily at her followers and occasionally wiping eyes brimming with tears of joy. At 12.09 am on October 19, the cavalcade had reached the Karsaz Bridge, still 10 km away from the destination. But Benazir was not to be seen—19 minutes earlier she had gone down to use the makeshift washroom built in the lower deck of the truck.

It was then that someone tossed a grenade on the right side of Benazir's truck, hoping the explosion would break the three rings of security cordon around it. The outer ring was of Pakistani policemen, the other two of the Janisar Force of the PPP. Her personal guards valiantly held their ground. In the ensuing confusion, a suicide bomber tried to sneak under Benazir's truck from the left to inflict maximum damage. Challenged, he detonated himself. (Subsequently, the truck's windshield was found riddled with bullets, suggesting a sniper had tried to ensure nobody could escape to safety.) The carnivalesque mood soon turned funereal—human flesh and limbs flew around, people wailed in agony and grief, and the death toll reached a chilling 143.

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