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Suicide attack on Bhutto leaves mangled bodies, wailing survivors

Suicide attack on Bhutto leaves mangled bodies, wailing survivors

Mangled bodies lay in a pool of blood and pieces of clothing and shoes were scattered on the road.
Just minutes before, Benazir Bhutto was addressing cheering crowds at a campaign rally in a Pakistani park Thursday afternoon.
Then, a suicide attacker struck, killing her.
Gunfire rang out soon after Bhutto walked off the stage, and then there was an explosion.
Panicky policemen, Bhutto supporters and journalists, who remained in the park after Bhutto had left in her white sports utility vehicle, ran for cover. Some cowered down.
Victims of the bombing, many with their clothing blown off, lay on the road outside the gate of a neighboring theater. Bhutto's vehicle had already sped away.
Two bodies where face down. Another was blackened and badly mutilated. Blood was everywhere. A human hand was blown off several yards away.
The air smelled of harsh explosive fumes.
One man, who appeared to have been wounded, lay slumped on the side walk about 50 meters (yards) from the where the bomber appeared to have struck. Another man, with bloodied clothes, sat nearby on the footpath, looking dazed.
A spontaneous, chaotic rescue effort began, as people spotted the injured or dead scattered around the scene and tried to lift them. Ambulances arrived, weaving their way through a crush of people. Police asked bystanders to stay away.
"Oppression has been committed. Doomsday has happened," said Chaudhry Mohammed Nazir, a Bhutto party activist, crying and still holding the green, red and black tricolor flag of Bhutto's party.
Rawalpindi, where the military is based, is not new to political assassinations, terror plots or spy intrigues.
The very park where Bhutto was attacked was the same place where Pakistan's first prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, was shot dead by a man on Oct. 16, 1951. The park was named Liaqat Bagh, in his memory.
President Pervez Musharraf survived two bombing attacks here in December 2003 and the city has seen a new spate of suicide attacks in recent months. Thirty-five people were killed in two suicide attacks in November, one targeting a bus carrying intelligence workers.
In March, 2003, Khalid Shaikh Mohammed, the alleged mastermind of the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks on the U.S., was captured in a raid here.
After the attack Thursday, Bhutto was brought to Rawalpindi's state-run Central Hospital, where dozens of police sealed the main gate, leaving Bhutto supporters outside waiting for word.
After a party leader announced her death, the crowd erupted into chants of "Musharraf is dog." Many Bhutto supporters broke down.
Some smashed the glass in the main door to the hospital's emergency unit, which was quickly crowded by her supporters, some crying. A woman wailed "Baji Bibi," or sister Bhutto.
Dozens of people packed into the corridor outside the operating room where Bhutto was taken.
Bhutto was covered in a white sheet as her body lay on a stretcher. Her neck was covered with a white bandage, said Iftikhar Ali Butt, a party activist, who saw her body.
A young man in the hospital corridor blamed the army, saying it opposed Bhutto's party. "Convey our hatred to the generals," he said.


Updated : 2021-03-02 04:08 GMT+08:00