A suicide attack on a motorcade carrying former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto kills 139 and wounds 450 more. Bhutto herself was uninjured.
2007 Karsaz bombing
|2007 Karsaz bombing|
|Date||18 October 2007|
|Target||Benazir Bhutto and her supporters|
|Suicide attack, bomb|
The Karsaz bombing attack occurred on 18 October 2007 in Karachi, Pakistan, it 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 180 deaths and 500 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 supporters 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, . 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 said 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, 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 chief of operations for Pakistan, Fahid Mohammed Ally Msalam, was believed to be behind the attack. He was killed in a drone strike in Pakistan 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: President Nicolas Sarkozy "condemned the attack which targeted Benazir Bhutto and which left numerous victims. He sent 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 Bhutto and conveyed his condolences on the involved loss of life. While Singh's separate letters to Bhutto and Pervez Musharraf condemned "terrorism and extremism in all its forms", the leader of the opposition in the Lok Sabha, Lal Kishan Advani, rang up 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."
- Terrorism in Pakistan
- 2007 Pakistani presidential election
- 2008 Pakistani general election
- Assassination of Benazir Bhutto
- "The Karsaz incident had occurred on October 18, 2007, when two blasts hit the welcoming rally of BB". Dunya News. 18 October 2012. Retrieved 19 October 2015.
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- "CHRONOLOGY-Attacks in Pakistan since July 2007". Reuters. 27 December 2007. Retrieved 6 March 2008.
- "Death toll rises in Bhutto attack". Retrieved 6 November 2014.
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- At least 119 dead as bombs target Bhutto Archived 20 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine.
- "Pakistan al-Qaeda leaders 'dead'". BBC News. 9 January 2009.
- Dawn.com (7 August 2012). "'I have sent my men to welcome Benazir'". DAWN.COM. Retrieved 25 February 2018.
- "Taliban confirm commander's death". BBC News. 25 August 2009.
- "Bhutto hits out over bomb attack". Retrieved 6 November 2014.
- 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". Retrieved 6 November 2014.
- "India assails attack on Benazir"
- "PM condemns Pakistan bomb attack" Archived 25 October 2007 at the Wayback Machine, www.number10.gov.uk, 19 October 2007
- "Commonwealth condemns attack on convoy of Mrs Benazir Bhutto" Archived 21 December 2007 at the Wayback Machine, Commonwealth Secretariat, 19 October 2007
- ""UN: BAN KI-MOON VOICES SHOCK AT DEADLY BOMB ATTACK TARGETING EX-LEADER OF PAKISTAN: 18 October 2007"". Retrieved 6 November 2014.
- Video footage of aftermath
- First person account from Bhutto's Bus by Christina Lamb, correspondent for the British The Sunday Times