The death of Benazir Bhutto is not just a tragedy for her family but threatens to plunge Pakistan deeper into political turmoil, at a time when it was desperately seeking to regain some semblance of stability.
Already her supporters are describing Bhutto, her life cut short at 54, as a martyr, and leaders of her Pakistan People’s party (PPP) will have to struggle to keep feelings of revenge in check.
For the west, Bhutto’s death is just about the worst outcome, as the US and Britain had been banking on her pro-western and moderate leanings to keep Pakistan onside and help stem the rising tide of militancy in the country.
It is easy to see why the west liked Bhutto and why it put pressure on the president, Pervez Musharraf, to ally himself to the former prime minister to make the country more stable in the fight against Islamist militants.
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