2007 Karachi bombing
|2007 Karachi bombings|
|Date||18 October 2007|
|Target||Benazir Bhutto and her supporters|
|Attack type||Suicide attack, bomb|
|Perpetrators||Fahid Mohammed Ally Msalam, Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan and Baitullah Mehsud|
The 2007 Karachi bombing of 18 October 2007 in Karachi, Pakistan, was an attack on a motorcade carrying former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto. The bombing occurred two months before she was assassinated. The bombing resulted in at least 139 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 because of the streetlights being turned off, and called for an inquiry into why this happened.
On 20 October 2007, authorities released a photograph of the suspect responsible for the suicide attack. On 23 October, Pakistani 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.
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 organisations such as Al-Qaeda and elements of the Taliban in Pakistan instead.
Al-Qaeda's Pakistan operations chief, Fahid Mohammed Ally Msalam, was believed to be behind the attack. He was killed in a drone strike along with his lieutenant Sheikh Ahmed Salim Swedan on 1 January 2009.
- 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 Terrorism," 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 General Pervez 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."
|Wikinews has related news: 'Large-scale attack' against ex-Prime Minister Bhutto leaves more than 100 dead in Pakistan|
- Terrorism in Pakistan
- Pakistani presidential election, 2007
- Pakistani general election, 2008
- Assassination of Benazir Bhutto
- "CHRONOLOGY-Attacks in Pakistan since July 2007". Reuters. 27 December 2007. Retrieved 6 March 2008.
- Gall, Carlotta; Salman Masood (20 October 2007). "Bhutto Says She Warned of Plotting Days Before Attack". The New York Times (The New York Times Company). Archived from the original on 20 October 2007. Retrieved 2007-10-19.
- Death toll rises in Bhutto attack
- Bhutto convoy blasts kill scores BBC News – 18 October 2007
- Al Jazeera English, Scores dead in Pakistan bomb blasts.
- At least 119 dead as bombs target Bhutto.
- Bhutto hits out over bomb attack
- Pakistan blasts kill 123 as Bhutto returns
- "Fatima Bhutto criticises Benazir". Dawn. Archived from the original on 24 October 2007. Retrieved 22 October 2007.
- "136 killed as blasts rip through crowds welcoming Bhutto", CBC News, 18 October 2007
- In quotes: Bhutto blast reaction
- "India assails attack on Benazir"
- "PM condemns Pakistan bomb attack", www.number10.gov.uk, 19 October 2007
- "Commonwealth condemns attack on convoy of Mrs Benazir Bhutto", Commonwealth Secretariat, 19 October 2007
- "UN: BAN KI-MOON VOICES SHOCK AT DEADLY BOMB ATTACK TARGETING EX-LEADER OF PAKISTAN: 18 October 2007"
- Video footage of aftermath
- First person account from Bhutto's Bus by Christina Lamb, correspondent for the British The Sunday Times