The finger points to al-Qaeda
Scotland Yard, after examining video and forensic evidence, have concluded that al-Qaeda related suspects killed Benazir Bhutto. AFP reports:
Five experts in video evidence and forensic science have been in Pakistan for 10 days since President Pervez Musharraf took up an offer from Prime Minister Gordon Brown for British help in the investigation of the Dec. 27 killing. Last week, they were joined by three specialists in explosives.
The gun fired at Ms. Bhutto has been checked for fingerprints by the Scotland Yard detectives. These have been traced through identity cards to a man in Swat, where men allied with Baitullah Mehsud, a tribal leader with links to al-Qaeda, have been fighting.
The probable reality is therefore that al-Qaeda killed Benazir Bhutto. If we have any confidence in the detective powers of Scotland Yard or place any credence in facts our beliefs must tend this way. But do facts matter? The Pakistan Times reports that surveys say that nearly half of those sampled believed Musharraf's government killed her. Only 17% believed al-Qaeda was responsible, a number only slightly bigger (12%) than those who believe the United States murdered Bhutto. Although the polls were taken before Scotland Yard announced its investigations, it's worth noting that only 46% wanted the British investigators invited to begin with.
But despite everything the British police's conclusion creates a firmer basis not only for finding her killers but finding a political way forward. Despite grave fears Pakistan did not disintegrate. Fortunately the current administration rejected the advice of Democratic candidate Bill Richardson to force Musharraf from office. That might yet be necessary before the story is over, but not upon the basis of mere suspicion in the days after the Bhutto murder. It's interesting to note that the Pakistani electorate want "change" more desperately than US voters do. Despite the fact that he's only 19 years old 47 percent of respondents wanted Bhutto's son, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, to take the reins of the party. Only a mere 6% wanted her corrupt and slimy husband, Asif Zardari, to take over.