It did not take long for blogs and online comment forums to erupt with reaction to the attack on Benazir Bhutto at a rally in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Ms. Bhutto died in the attack, either of gunshot wounds or injuries from a suicide bombing or both, and more than 20 others at the scene were also killed.
Though there have been a number of attacks on Ms. Bhutto’s life in recent months, along with other political violence in the country, and she has said often that her life was in danger, the common initial reaction to the assassination is naturally one of shock.
On the All Things Pakistan blog, Adil Najam writes:
I, like most Pakistanis, am still too numb with shock and grief to think coherently about what has happened or what the implications of this are for the country and for the world. But this I know, whether you agreed with her political positions or not, you cannot but be in shock. Even as I type these lines I am literally shaking. Hers was a tragic life story.
A poster using the name “Quote” on Sepia Mutiny, a blog for the South Asian diaspora, writes:
Benazir has been in public life for 30 years, and in politics for 20 years and by now you either loved her or hated her. I’m not a real Pakistani, but I remember the euphoria of 1988 pretty well, and the crashing disappointment of the her second term in the 90s, when only dedicated PPP partisans still believed in her. Reading the news this morning was like a punch in the gut.
(PPP is the Pakistan People’s Party, which Ms. Bhutto led.)
Many bloggers and commenters are noting that the Bhutto family is regarded in Pakistan almost as a royal family, and that it has been touched repeatedly by political violence and tragic death — comparisons with the Kennedys are common.
Adil Najam again:
At a human level this is a tragedy like no other. Only a few days ago I was mentioning to someone that the single most tragic person in all of Pakistan - maybe all the world - is Nusrat Bhutto. Benazir’s mother. Think about it. Her husband, killed. One son poisoned. Another son assassinated. One daughter dead possibly of drug overdose. Another daughter rises to be Prime Minister twice, but jailed, exiled, and finally gunned down.
Today, in shock, I can think only of Benazir Bhutto the human being. Tomorrow, maybe, I will think of politics.
Read on about Bhutto's assassination.