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Last Updated: Friday, 28 December 2007, 11:59 GMT
'God help us' - Pakistanis react
As mourners bury former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, Pakistanis across the country share their shock and grief at her assassination.


Nabeel Arshed
Nabeel Arshed feels the country is spiralling out of control
I was in Rawalpindi town at the time of the assassination. I heard an explosion but suicide bombs have become routine in this country so I didn't give it a second thought.

When I turned on the news I got the shock of my life.

I come from a family with rightist sympathies but we all feel as if our mother had died. She was a liberal force, a hope for a Pakistan overrun by militancy. Now there is a great vacuum.

My fears are for Pakistan's unity. She went to the restive province of Balochistan and handed her support to the people there. Whatever we were going through, I felt as if she had the power to unite the provinces of Pakistan. Now you can already hear the separatist movement.

Those voices are becoming stronger now that there is no national leader in Pakistan. We were already in a downward spiral, heading towards extremism. This was the last straw: killing a stalwart for democracy.

We were going to give our vote to Benazir. The country has now been handed over to chaos.


Asifa Hasan

I want to cry over the recent events. Somebody has killed my hope.

Everyone I know is feeling a personal loss, even those of us who were not planning to vote for her, and those of us who thought she was corrupt.

It's like a graveyard out there, no one is on the roads. People are heartbroken.

It looks as if Pakistan is closer to instability, closer to disintegration. I don't know what is going to happen now. We are not hearing any political analysis. It's a disaster of such huge proportions that people don't seem to know what to do or say.

I work for the Free and Fair Election network and we were monitoring the elections. The assumption is the election will take place. But I think it will be postponed.

I see my country being pushed to the brink of disaster. Civilian leadership is what keeps the country together. That is what has gone now. There is conflict in the northern areas and that is beginning to spread. The troubled Swat district is barely 300km from Islamabad.

What kind of reaction is going to come out of [Ms Bhutto's] native Sindh province? God help Pakistan.


We are very worried about our future. The Bhutto family was the shelter for poor people like us. Now we are feeling shelterless. I and my whole family voted for her party and we always will. Now, I don't think there is any alternative.

In Thatta, where I live, in her Sindh province, all the government property has been burned. People feel the tragedy. Many have left the town to go to Larkana where she will be buried.

After morning prayers, I know there will be big problems in the city. We will go onto the streets and we will protest peacefully. Yesterday, our protests were not peaceful but that was because other elements came and caused some trouble. We are planning to gather at the mosque on the main road after prayers to begin our protest at the death of our leader.

Being a Sindhi person, I feel now that Pakistan is no longer in our favour. If Pakistan gives independence to Sindhi people, we will be happy.

She was the symbol of the unity of Pakistan. That no longer exists any more.


Fasial Mamsa
Faisal Mamsa witnessed chaos on the streets of Karachi

Last night I was stuck in traffic on the streets of Karachi for hours witnessing a stampede as life on the streets became insecure.

I was shocked as I witnessed women running for help, without their shoes, without their headscarves, just running and begging cars to help them and give them a lift to safety.

I felt as if I was living in a civil war. The city was being set on fire. The country had become paralysed.

I think that's a symbol of where Pakistan is going after this assassination. I believe most damage was done by the followers of her party, done in rage, I'm sure. But what has the common man done to deserve this?

We used to feel secure here. Foreign companies were investing in Pakistan, people could go out at night and feel safe. During Musharraf's rule we had an economic boom. After last night, I believe this country is being handed over to militants.

I hate to say it, I might be condemned or killed, but we need to take extreme security measures to curb whatever the militants are doing. I had high hopes for Benazir Bhutto. It was one of her main agendas to control the militants.

Now we have been asked to stay at home for three days. It is literally like a curfew. The main road is empty. I have been trying to trace my patients and some are missing. That makes me wonder what has happened to this country.


She was our hope in this bad year. She was a seasoned politician and now there is no one experienced enough to take her mantle.

I am not a political die-hard but she seemed to project a great image for Pakistan. She was a woman and she was strong.

Our image abroad is bad, people believe our women are suppressed. But none of the men in this country were as qualified as her, she would have been a great candidate.

These militants cannot bear a woman. My great fear is that they want to suppress women's rights across Pakistan. I don't know what our younger generation is going to be facing now. The girls here are so enthusiastic about participating in public life but now they may have to be confined to their home.

This is the image of Pakistan that the media portrays anyway: that we wear burkas, that we have no freedom. But after this incident, it may well become a reality. I am worried about the Talebanisation of our country.

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