Benazir Bhutto Assassinated

27 Dec' 07: Pakistan's charismatic Opposition leader and two time former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who escaped death by a whisker during a terrorist attack on her home coming parade in Karachi just over two months ago, was assassinated on Thursday evening in an attack by a suicide bomber and AK 47 armed gunmen who shot her in the neck and chest as she was leaving an election rally in the cantonment town of Rawalpindi, near here.

Ms Bhutto, 54, was killed just after she had finished addressing a large public rally at the historic Liaquat Bagh in Rawalpindi as part of her barnstorming campaign across the country for the January 8 general election.

She succumbed to her wounds on the operation table at the Rawalpindi General Hospital at 6.16 pm local time (6.46 pm IST).

Ms Bhutto, who is survived by her husband Asif Ali Zardari and three children Bilawal, Bakhtawar and Asifa, will be buried at Larkana, the family's ancestral home in Sindh province, close to the grave of her father Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, a former Pakistan President who was hanged by the Zia-ul Haq regime in 1979. The Pakistan government has announced a three-day state of national mourning.

The authorities, amid utter confusion, announced that a suicide bomber had attacked the rally at the Liaquat Bagh park, killing some 20 persons, as Ms Bhutto was leaving the venue at 5.30 pm local time. At about the same time, shots were fired at her from two directions, injuring her grievously. She was rushed to hospital in a conscious state, but could not survive the second assassination attempt on her in 10 weeks. The first, hours after she returned to the country from 10 years in exile on October 18 in Karachi, had caused the death of 140 people.

Her assassination, in the same park where Pakistan's first prime minister Liaquat

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