Czech political leaders condemn assassination of Benazir Bhutto
The assassination of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto on Thursday sent shockwaves around the world and raised widespread concern for the fate of democracy in the country. Daniela Lazarova sums up the reactions in Prague.
Amidst escalating violence in Pakistan in the wake of the tragedy, world leaders are urging the country not to be deflected from the road to democracy and stressing the importance of free and fair elections. However Asia-watchers believe that under the circumstances that will not be easy. Milan Slezak of Czech Radio’s foreign affairs department says Benazir Bhutto’s murder may prove to be a big set-back for democracy in Pakistan:
“As I see it, the elections will have to be postponed and President Musharraf will almost certainly introduce a state of emergency or something of the kind under a different name. Unfortunately these developments are grist to the mill of the former general – now president – because they appear to support his view that Pakistan is not a country that can be governed purely by democratic means.”
“As far as I know there are a number of safety guarantees as regards the country’s nuclear potential. The different components are stored in different places and are guarded by Panjabi soldiers, which is significant as they are firmly opposed to Islamic extremism and that makes them reliable in this respect. The question of course is what is actually happening in the country now and whether President Musharraf is still fully in control.”