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Benazir Bhutto's Assassination and the Politics of Pakistan

by Heraldo Muñoz

Pub Date: Dec. 9th, 2013
ISBN: 978-0-393-06291-5
Publisher: Norton

Former Chilean ambassador to the United States Muñoz (The Dictator's Shadow: Life Under Augusto Pinochet, 2008 etc.) reports on the investigation into the facts and circumstances of Benazir Bhutto's (1953–2007) assassination.

Now with the U.N. Development Program in Latin America and the Caribbean, the author, along with fellow commissioners, investigated on behalf of Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon after the Pakistani government's 2008 request; the group produced their report in early 2010. In addition to his account of their report, Muñoz assesses modern Pakistan's complex relations with the U.S. The narrative blends elements of a spy story with detective fiction and political thriller. Muñoz chronicles how the U.S. and British governments facilitated the return of Bhutto—scion of a leading Pakistani secularist and democratic political family who “had always wanted to be a diplomat and preferred intellectual debates rather than the corridors or smoke-filled rooms of power politics”—in order to broaden the political base of then-dictator Gen. Pervez Musharraf. The author shows that the government did not deliver on promises to provide security assistance or escorts, even while people outside the country attempted to exert influence on Bhutto’s behalf. She was under attack from the day of her return to Karachi, when her convoy was bombed. After the assassination, authorities blamed Pakistan's Taliban-linked fundamentalists; they also circulated misleading stories about the cause of death, failed to autopsy the body and power-washed the scene of the crime almost immediately. Muñoz points to the double game Pakistan's intelligence service has played with the Taliban and al-Qaida and the mistrust that has prevailed between the U.S. and Pakistan, and he traces the roots of these conflicts back to the Cold War and the origins of Pakistan itself.

An eye-opening political exposé of what has been described as the most dangerous country in the world.