Deep Sorrow Over the Assassination of the chairperson of the Pakistan Peoples Party Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto

ISLAMABAD, December 28, 2007: The Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) has expressed its deep sorrow over the assassination of the chairperson of the Pakistan People’s Party Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto, calling it one of the greatest political tragedies of Pakistan.

The assassination of a popular leader on her election campaign trail was the result of failure of state’s security and intelligence apparatus to provide her adequate, fool-proof protection especially when she was facing a clear and present danger to her life, which the state was aware of. The state must take responsibility of its failure to provide security to her and hundreds of others who lost their lives to terrorism over the past few years.

An independent tribunal, comprising members who are perceived as neutral and whose integrity is aboveboard, should be set up immediately and given a deadline to finalize its findings that should be made public.

The reprehensible act also has its implications for the upcoming elections by aggravating insecurity that will restrict political parties and people from engaging in electioneering. Violence and intimidation undermine environment for free and fair election.

About FAFEN:

The Free and Fair Election Network (FAFEN) is a coalition of forty leading Pakistani civil society organizations. It was established in 2006 to observe the election process, educate voters, and advocate for electoral and democratic reform.