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Pakistan: A riddle wrapped in an enigma (update)
Posted by: McQ on Tuesday, January 01, 2008

I think it would be fair to say for all the pontification and opinion coming from both the pundits and the presidential candidates, there is more we don't know about Pakistan than we do. For instance, it appears Hillary Clinton was mistakenly under the impression the the upcoming elections in Pakistan were for the presidency instead of the parliament.

And Pakistan continues to confound the "experts", pseudo-experts like Roger Cohen and various bloggers step forward to hype Bhutto's importance or play the usual "blame America" (or in this case, the "Bush administration") for what has transpired. And now, supposedly, those same folks are taking as proof a report that is yet unseen which claims Musharraf planned to rig the elections. There are also claims being made that Bhutto was killed by lower and middle ranking Pakistani military officers.

So what would that mean? The distinct possibility that it was an al Qaeda inspired attack and not one made by Musharraf, since the same type of group twice attempted to assasinate Musharraf:
More than one analyst is of the opinion al-Qaida and other jihadis have managed to successfully penetrate Pakistan's armed forces and security services. Given the fact Pakistan is in possession of nuclear weapons, the possibility of a pro-al-Qaida regime replacing President Pervez Musharraf would radically change the entire geopolitical alignment in southwest Asia, and it would have a spin-off effect on the Middle East, as well, primarily in regards to the Arab-Israeli conflict.
That would mean that Bhutto isn't the only target of such extremists, but one of many.

All that said, it is obvious something that is not quite kosher is going on in Pakistan as it pertains to Bhutto's death. Figuring out the whys and wherefores are an entirely different thing.

Why does it matter how Bhutto died? I mean my goodness, you had three obvious and documented shots at her and then an explosion. Does anyone doubt that there as a concerted effort to murder her? So why the claims that it was a lever on the sun roof instead of bullets that killed her?

Watch this video. It seems to support she was hit by a shot to the head (may be disturbing to some). The surgeon who worked on her claims she was hit in the head and neck. One of her aides claimed to have held her on the way to the hospital and that she had been shot in the head. So why the "lever" nonsense?

Many more questions than answers result from that report. Why doesn't the Bhutto family have an independent autopsy performed and settle these questions? Is it to their perceived advantage to have this remain unsettled?

Why does the government care how she was killed? The only one I can figure is an attempt to hide this alleged lower and midlevel plot among military officers and its possible AQ ties. And you have to remember that in effect and reality, the military (and the ISI) is the power in Pakistan. If the attempt is to cover this up, then it implies such a plot may have been hatched at a much higher level of the military and the concern about an extremist take-over of Pakistan's government may have some validity.

And Musharraf? Well let's remember he gave up his position as the head of the Army as he was reelected to a new 5 year term. If all of this is the result of a military/AQ plot, then they may consider him to be effectively neutralized and isolated.

But then this is all conjecture on my part. I am not, nor do I claim to be a Pakistan expert. I certainly plan on doing a lot more reading and studying about the country and its politics, but I'll also be taking, with a grain of salt, much of the present nonsense being spouted by experts, political candidates, pseudo-experts and bloggers until I am able to gather a lot more information of my own to begin to understand the lay of the land there.

There is no doubt that Pakistan is a critical country, primarily because of its possession of both nuclear weapons and an active extremist Islamist base. However, my guess is the situation is much more complex than the usual "blame Bush" and "blame America" bromides offered by many "analysts" thus far.

UPDATE: Confederate Yankee adds an interesting theory:
It is worth noting that if a bullet struck Bhutto a glancing blow and ricocheted away without fully penetrating her skull, that it could possibly leave a wound that would not necessarily look like that of a typical gunshot wound, and instead look something like a blunt force trauma.
He then adds, in my opinion, a proper caution:
If this is the case—and without an autopsy, there are no definitive answers—then the Pakistani government, seeing blood on the rear latch and not seeing evidence of a clear bullet hole, may have incorrectly surmised the cause of death as an impact with the rear sunroof latch as she went down. This is incompetence, but not necessarily a conspiracy to deprive Bhutto of her martyrdom.
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Previous Comments to this Post 

The only reason that immediately springs to mind for the lever nonsense is to downplay the abilities of the assassins and their organization. Sort of a "They tried but failed, unfortunately there was a tragic accident" to draw attention away from the results and make the malefactors appear impotent and foolish. I’m not near ready to subscribe to an internal military plot hypothesis, but will try to keep an open mind.

Till then, Occam’s razor.
Written By: Uncle Pinky
URL: http://
Depriving her of her martyrdom is also depriving those who claim to have killed her of their potency.
Written By: Synova
Apparently, the Interior Minister has now apologized for the "skull fracture" explanation of the military spokesmen and has said that Bhutto was shot.

Frankly, either explanation is just as good as the other, since Bhutto is still dead either way. It just helps that one is backed up by some film.
Written By: Neo
URL: http://
Perhaps the government would like to be able to blame the bodyguards and thus avoid all of the conspiracy theories. (I don’t like conspiracy theories, but I think Pakistan is one place where they might actually be plausible. I also think the killers knew that blame would be flung around like monkey poo, which further muddies the water, so to speak :)

If we are looking for motives, Nawaz Sharif stands to gain, too, because he is the last "democrat" standing in Pakistani politics.

Frankly, I doubt the official government killed her, because they have to most to lose, really. Unless the plan is to show how destabilized Pakistan is, thus givig Mushie more solid backing from us? Jesus, might as well start wondering about what Rove has been up to lately!
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
"Frankly, I doubt the official government killed her, because they have to most to lose, really."


However, conspiracy theory doesn’t require that the evil conspirators actually do something that it would make sense for them to do. I’ve said more than once that the most obvious thing wrong (which is saying something!) with 9-11 Truther conspiracy is that *I* could have gotten the same results far FAR more efficiently than the idiot what planned the whole thing.

I joke that I should hire myself out. Make some bucks.

I’d suggest to the Pakistani government that Bhutto die quietly in her bed... which is why people were upset that the government suggested she wasn’t killed by the bomber, I suppose, though I still think that the story that supports the government is better than the one that glorifies the terrorists.

Just on principle.
Written By: Synova
HRC also said she knew Benazir well & felt for Bhutto’s two children [she must not know BB too well as BB has THREE kids!] The thing about whether Musharraf is on the ballot is a bit of a quibble, but if HRC implied the military killed BB, then she is dumber than Obama when he recommended invading Waziristan—-HRC is starting to push panic buttons & we shall see if her gigantic media Wurlitzer will be able to ignore/spin her stupid insinuations about BB’s assassination not being a result of Al Qaeda, but of Musharraf. Her campaign is starting to go into tailspin mode.
Written By: daveinboca

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