Reacting to Bhutto's assassination

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“This is a terrible day. My heart goes out to Benazir Bhutto’s family, friends and followers. \ \ \ “Like her father before her, Benazir Bhutto worked her whole life — and gave her life — to help Pakistan become a democratic, secular and modern Muslim country. She was a woman of extraordinary courage who returned to Pakistan in the face of death threats and even after an assassination attempt the day of her return, she did not flinch. It was a privilege to know her these many years and to call her a friend.\ \ \ “I am convinced Ms. Bhutto would have won free and fair elections next week. The fact that she was by far Pakistan’s most popular leader underscores the fact that there is a vast, moderate majority in Pakistan that must have a clear voice in the system. Her assassination makes it all the more urgent that Pakistan return to a democratic path.\ \ \ “This fall, I twice urged President Musharraf to provide better security for Ms. Bhutto and other political leaders — I wrote him before her return and after the first assassination attempt in October. The failure to protect Ms. Bhutto raises a lot of hard questions for the government and security services that must be answered.\ \ \ “I know that Benazir’s followers will be tempted to lash out in anger and violence. I urge them to remain calm — and not play into the hands of the forces of destruction. I urge Pakistan’s leaders to open a fully accountable and transparent investigation. We must find out who was behind this and bring those responsible to justice. And the United States should offer any assistance necessary, including investigative teams, to get to the bottom of this horror.\ \ \ “The way to honor Benazir Bhutto is to uphold the values for which she gave her life: democracy, moderation and social justice. I join with the Pakistani people in mourning the loss of a dear friend.”
“I am profoundly saddened and outraged by the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, a leader of tremendous political and personal courage. I came to know Mrs. Bhutto over many years, during her tenures as Prime Minister and during her years in exile. Mrs. Bhutto’s concern for her country, and her family, propelled her to risk her life on behalf of the Pakistani people. She returned to Pakistan to fight for democracy despite threats and previous attempts on her life and now she has made the ultimate sacrifice. Her death is a tragedy for her country and a terrible reminder of the work that remains to bring peace, stability, and hope to regions of the globe too often paralyzed by fear, hatred, and violence.\ \ \ “Let us pray that her legacy will be a brighter, more hopeful future for the people she loved and the country she served. My family and I extend our condolences and deepest sympathies to the victims and their families and to the people of Pakistan.”
Washington, DC— Senator and Presidential Candidate Chris Dodd today expressed his condolences to the family of Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated earlier today in Pakistan.\ \ \ Dodd, who has kept in touch with Bhutto over the past few weeks of turbulence and unrest in Pakistan, and is a 26-year member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that this is again another reminder of the experienced leadership our country needs at a time when critical regions around the world are in turmoil.\ \ \ “Today’s news from Pakistan is both shocking and saddening. As a member of the Foreign Relations Committee, I have had the opportunity to travel to Pakistan and come to know Former Prime Minister Bhutto very well over the years. I spoke to her personally several weeks ago and have stayed in close contact with her since. She was a respected leader who played an important part in moving Pakistan toward democracy.\ \ \ “As we recognize the loss of a leader today, we must also recognize the implication of today’s tragedy to the security of the region and to that of the United States.\ \ \ “At this critical time we must do everything in our power to help Pakistan continue the path toward democracy and full elections. Our first priority must be to ensure stability in this critical nuclear state.\ \ \ “The United States should also stand ready to provide assistance in investigating this heinous act. And as Pakistan perpetrators to justice, it should also demonstrate that it will not allow such violence to derail democracy and proceed with elections in a timely manner.”
“Benazir Bhutto was a brave and historic leader for Pakistan. Her assassination is a sad and solemn event, and our hearts go out to her family and to the Pakistani people. But we will not let this contemptible, cowardly act delay the march of progress in Pakistan for a single second. \ \ \ “I have seen firsthand in Pakistan, and in meetings with Prime Minister Bhutto and President Musharraf, the instability of the country and the complexity of the challenges they face. At this critical moment, America must convey both strength and principle. We should do everything in our power to help bring the perpetrators of this heinous act to justice and to ensure that Bhutto’s movement toward democracy continues.”
“This is a very dangerous moment for the world. Prime Minister Bhutto represented the forces of reform and the hope for an end to repression in a troubled region, and her death is a major loss to those efforts.\ \ \ “This terrible tragedy also underscores the need for the United States to adopt a new foreign policy toward the entire region because our current policy is all wrong. Our interference in the internal affairs of Pakistan has opened wide the doors of repression and violence. At this very moment, we should be working with leaders of the region to convene a meeting at the highest levels to begin a new effort towards stabilization and peace.\ \ \ “The United States must take a new direction in Pakistan and throughout the region. I met her several times, both in Washington and New York. She was deeply and genuinely dedicated to Pakistan. This is a tragic loss.”
“I am shocked and saddened by the death of Benazir Bhutto in this terrorist atrocity. She was a respected and resilient advocate for the democratic aspirations of the Pakistani people. We join with them in mourning her loss, and stand with them in their quest for democracy and against the terrorists who threaten the common security of the world,” said United States Senator Barack Obama.
“Benazir Bhutto was a courageous woman. Her death, and the deaths of so many of her supporters, is more than just a tragedy. It is a testament to the will of the Pakistani people to see democracy restored. My thoughts and prayers are with the families of those who died today.\ \ \ “Ms. Bhutto knew the dangers to her safety. But she would not be intimidated. We also must not be intimidated.\ \ \ “A leader has died, but democracy must live. The United States government cannot stand by and allow Pakistan’s return to democracy to be derailed or delayed by violence.\ \ \ “We must use our diplomatic leverage and force the enemies of democracy to yield: President Bush should press Musharraf to step aside, and a broad-based coalition government, consisting of all the democratic parties, should be formed immediately. Until this happens, we should suspend military aid to the Pakistani government. Free and fair elections must also be held as soon as possible.\ \ \ “It is in the interests of the US that there be a democratic Pakistan that relentlessly hunts down terrorists. Musharraf has failed, and his attempts to cling to power are destabilizing his country. He must go.”
Christina Bellantoni, national political reporter, The Washington Times

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