From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
|2007 Karachi bombings|
Video still captured by the news media at the time of the explosion
|Target(s)||Benazir Bhutto and her supporters|
|Date||October 18, 2007|
|Attack type||Suicide attack, bomb|
|Karachi: May 8, 2002 – Karachi: June 14, 2002 – Rawalpindi: Sept. 4, 2007 – Karachi: Oct. 18, 2007 – Rawalpindi (Bhutto assassination): Dec. 27, 2007 |
The 2007 Karachi bombing of October 18, 2007 in Karachi, Pakistan, was an attack on a motorcade carrying former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. The bombing occured two months before she was assassinated. The bombing resulted in at least 136 deaths and 450 injuries. Most of the dead were members of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP).
The streets of Karachi ground to a halt to welcome the return of Benazir Bhutto, after an eight-year self-imposed exile during which she lived in Dubai and London. Two explosions occurred in front of the rallying truck from which she greeted her fans and party members at approximately 00:52 PST, on the route about halfway from the airport to the tomb of Muhammad Ali Jinnah for a scheduled rally, just after Bhutto's truck had crossed a bridge. Police vehicles bore the brunt of the blasts, which completely destroyed three police vans and killed at least 20 policemen in the vehicles. Conflicting reports indicate that Bhutto, who was not injured in the attack, was either sitting on top of the truck or had just climbed into the compartment of the truck at the time of the explosion.
Bhutto was escorted to her residence, Bilawal House. The victims were rushed to Jinnah Hospital, Liaquat National Hospital, Civil Hospital and Abbasi Shaheed Hospital. In a press conference on 19 October 2007, Bhutto claimed that her security team were unable to prevent the attack due to the streetlights being turned off, and called for an inquiry into why this happened.
On October 20, 2007, authorities released a photograph of the suspect responsible for the suicide attack On October 23, Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz rejected Pakistan Peoples Party's demand for a probe into the suicide blast by foreign experts, expressing confidence that Pakistani law-enforcement agencies can probe in a very objective manner.
Suspects named by Bhutto
In the immediate aftermath of the attempt on her life, Bhutto wrote a letter to General Pervez Musharraf naming four persons whom she suspected of engineering the attacks. Careful not to name Musharraf himself, she chose to name senior military officials and politicians in Musharraf's regime instead, including Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, a rival PML-Q politician and the then chief minister of the province of Punjab, Hamid Gul, former director of the Inter-Services Intelligence agency, and Ijaz Shah, director general of the Intelligence Bureau, another premier military intelligence agency on Pakistan. Musharraf's regime blamed terrorist organizations such as Al Qaeda and elements of the Taliban in Pakistan instead, but Pakistan's primary Islamic and terrorist organizations did not accept responsibility for the assassination attempt, and Jamaat-e-Islami, an opponent of Bhutto, actually declared a three-day mourning for the victims of the blast instead.
- President Pervez Musharraf called the attacks a "conspiracy against democracy".
- Benazir Bhutto: "It is dignitaries of the former regime of General Zia who are today behind the extremism and the fanaticism."
- Asif Ali Zardari, Benazir Bhutto's husband: "I blame the government for these blasts. It is the work of the intelligence agencies."
- Fatima Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto's niece: "She insisted on this grand show, she bears a responsibility for these deaths and for these injuries."
- Australia: Prime Minister John Howard said "It's too early to be certain but it looks very much like the work of al-Qaeda. Benazir Bhutto, to her credit, as well as General Musharraf, have both said they will continue to support the Americans in the war on terror," he said. "It is a reminder of the evil of al-Qaeda. It is a reminder of how important it is not to concede a victory to them in Iraq or in Afghanistan.
- Canada: Maxime Bernier, Minister of Foreign Affairs, said the bombings were "an appalling act of violence", and "urged all parties in Pakistan to adhere to the rule of law and to continue to build the conditions for free and fair parliamentary elections"
- France: "Nicolas Sarkozy condemns the attack which targeted Benazir Bhutto and which has left numerous victims. He sends France's condolences and his sympathy to the president and to the political authorities in Pakistan as well as to the families of the victims."
- India: Manmohan Singh, the Prime Minister of India strongly condemned the assassination attempt on Ms. Bhutto and conveyed his condolences on the involved loss of life . While Dr. Singh’s separate letters to Ms. Bhutto and Gen. Parvez Musharraf condemned “terrorism and extremism in all its forms,” the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha, Mr Lal Kishan Advani, rang up Ms Bhutto to personally express his solidarity with her. India’s foreign ministry spokesman expressed outrage and anger felt in the country.
- United Kingdom:
- Prime Minister Gordon Brown, said "I was deeply shocked to learn of the bomb blasts in Karachi that have killed over a hundred people and injured so many others. I am appalled by this horrific use of violence against entirely innocent people...On behalf of the British Government please accept my sincerest condolences for those Pakistanis who have lost their lives. You can be assured of the United Kingdom's continuing support to work with all those committed to building a peaceful and democratic Pakistan" 
- Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, David Miliband, said "I condemn utterly the use of violence against entirely innocent people and the attempt to suppress the right of Pakistanis to express their democratic voice. I share the shock of the Pakistani community in the United Kingdom at these horrific attacks".
- United States:
- U.S. Department of State spokesperson Tom Casey: "There is no political cause that can justify the murder of innocent people. Those responsible seek only to foster fear and limit freedom. The United States stands with the people of Pakistan to eliminate terrorist threats, and to build a more open, democratic, and peaceful society."
- U.S. National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe stated that "The United States condemns the violent attack in Pakistan and mourns the loss of innocent life there," "Extremists will not be allowed to stop Pakistanis from selecting their representatives through an open and democratic process."
- Commonwealth of Nations: Secretary-General Don McKinnon condemned the attack, stating "The legitimate aspirations of the people of Pakistan to enjoy peace, stability, prosperity and a democratic way of life must not be allowed to be thwarted by senseless acts of violence". 
- United Nations: A statement issued by a spokesperson for Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon read, "(Ban Ki-moon) strongly condemns this terrorist attack and expresses condolences to the families of the victims. He trusts that all political forces will act together to strengthen national unity."