Incident Summary:

12/27/2007: In Pakistan’s city of Rawalpindi, Pakistan, former prime minister and then head of the Pakistan Peoples Party, Benazir Bhutto and over twenty others were killed in a suicide bombing. Bhutto, who had just finished a political rally, had the top half of her body outside her protected vehicle when a perpetrator started firing a gun at her and then proceeded to detonate an explosive device on his person. Who was behind this incident and the cause of Bhutto’s death are still in great debate. Investigators from Scotland Yard concluded that she died after hitting her head as she was tossed back from the force of the explosion. They also concluded that it was the same person who shot at Bhutto and then blew himself up. At least four people have been arrested for the incident so far. Pakistani government officials blamed Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud and al-Qaida for the attack and al- Qaida spokesman, Shaykh Saeed, claimed his organization orchestrated the attack. In addition, in an email to her friend Mark Seigel about a month prior, Bhutto herself stated that she would blame Pakistani President Perez Musharraf if any type of assassination occurred against her. Also of note, on October 18, 2007, the day Bhutto arrived back in Pakistan from a long exile, there was a tremendous explosive attack, killing at least 134 people that appeared to target her.




South Asia

region/u.s. state:



Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Assassination
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Violent Political Party
Name of Entity Pakistan People's Party (PPP)
Specific Description Leader: Benazir Bhutto
Nationality of Target Pakistan
Additional Information
Hostages No
Ransom No
Property Damage Yes
Extent of Property Damage Minor (likely < $1 million)
Value of Property Damage Unknown
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Explosives Suicide (carried bodily by human being)
Firearms Unknown Gun Type
Weapon Details
The attack began with the perpetrator using a firearm and concluded with a suicide bombing.
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?Yes
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Doubt Terrorism Proper (more) No
Additional Information This incident had many conflicting stories, especially regarding who was behind the killing. The Pakistani government argues that Taliban leader Baitullah Mehsud, who they said they had recorded congratulating his people for accomplishing the killing, and Al Qaeda, who had spokesman Shaykh Saeed claim responsibility. Mehsud denied that he was involved. The Scotland Yard investigators struggled to find information because the crime scene was quickly cleaned and the were denied the rights to an autopsy. Two of the men arrested were named Husnain and Rafaqat. This incident was followed by a great amount violence and unrest in the country. After the incident the Parliamentary elections scheduled for January 8th, 2008 were postponed to February 18.
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
Al-Qaida (suspected) Yes (Confirmed: Unknown; Mode: Call (post-incident))
Lashkar-e-Jhangvi (suspected) No
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators 1
Number of Captured Perpetrators 4
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 20 Fatalities / 100 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 20
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 1
Total Number of Injured 100
Number of U.S. Injured 0
Number of Perpetrators Injured Unknown
Eric Schmitt and Salman Masood, “Head Injury Killed Bhutto, Report Said to Find,” New York Times, February 8, 2007.
“Al-Qaida Spokesman Claims Responsibility for Bhutto Killing,” Rome AKI-Adnkronos International, December 27, 2007.
“Pakistan: Bhutto's E-Mail Says Musharraf 'Responsible' if 'Something Happened,'” Karachi ARY One World, December 31, 2007.