Pakistani investigators reconstructed a mangled human head on Friday hoping to identify the man suspected of killing opposition leader Benazir Bhutto in a suicide attack. ... "We have retrieved a head and it has been reconstructed. We also found fingers and we're carrying out DNA tests to make a comparison between the head and fingers," said Saud Aziz, police chief in Rawalpindi, near Islamabad.
And so begins the political effort to set the narrative. The odds are that Benazir Bhutto was killed by Islamic militants -- with the possible cooperation of members of the uniformed Pakistani military. While that kind of muddled storyline may be the truth, complex reality is a difficult foundation upon which to unify a nation. Politics needs simple stories, one that depicts a struggle of good against evil; white hats versus black hats. And there are probably no simple stories in Pakistan.
Ali Ertaz, writing in Pajamas Media argues that since there are no institutions left in Pakistan capable of determining simple guilt or innocence any more, only an international and independent panel can point the compass north again in a society that has lost its way. In a polity where nothing can be taken on trust everything must be rebuilt, like the suicide bomber's face, from the fragments of first principles.
But even if consensus on who killed Benzair Bhutto can be reached it will only be a beginning. Yet this is how credibility is rebuilt: from a finger here and part of a face there to the picture of a murderer. Because from the likeness of a common foe comes the awakening to a shared danger. And in that mutual interest in survival may lie whatever chance Pakistan has of remaining a single nation. It's where the narrative starts, but not where it ends.
Pakistani officials are saying that Bhutto accidentally killed herself by ducking into a metal object.
Pakistan's interior ministry said Friday that Benazir Bhutto died from hitting her vehicle's sunroof when she tried to duck after a suicide attack, and that no bullet or shrapnel was found in her.
Ministry spokesman Brigadier Javed Cheema said the opposition leader had died from a head wound she sustained when she smashed against the sunroof's lever as she tried to shelter inside the car.
"The lever struck near her right ear and fractured her skull," Cheema said. "There was no bullet or metal shrapnel found in the injury."
First Bhutto was reported killed from bullets, then from shrapnel. Now from concussion. Captain Ed notices that Bhutto was the only person in the car to sustain injuries. A suspicious person given to conspiracy theories might wonder if she wasn't killed in the car. Maybe we do need an independent commission to work out the facts.