August 1, 2008 Special Dispatch No. 1919

Cartoons in the Arab Press on Benazir Bhutto's Assassination and Pakistan's Political Process

August 1, 2008
Pakistan | Special Dispatch No. 1919

On December 27, 2007, Benazir Bhutto, former Pakistani prime minister and leader of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP),[1] was shot to death after addressing a crowd of supporters in a park near Pakistan Army headquarters in Rawalpindi, outside the capital of Islamabad. While the Pakistani Government claimed that Al-Qaeda was behind the assassination, there is speculation about who was involved.

Bhutto, who was 54 at the time of her death, was, in 1988, the first woman elected to lead a Muslim state. She was forced from power in 1996 amid corruption charges, which she denied. During 2007, Bhutto had held talks with Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf for her return, widely believed to have been brokered by the U.S.; under the resulting deal, corruption charges against her were dropped.

On October 18, 2007, Bhutto returned to her country after eight years of self-imposed exile, which she spent in London and Dubai. The day she arrived in Karachi, she escaped being wounded in a double suicide attack in which some 140 were killed.

On November 3, 2007, Musharraf declared six weeks of martial law in Pakistan. He suspended the constitution and imposed emergency rule, generating strong criticism inside Pakistan. Bhutto herself joined the protest against Musharraf, and was placed under house arrest, which was subsequently lifted.

Bhutto was assassinated less than two weeks before Pakistan's general elections, scheduled for January 8, 2008, in which she would have been a leading opposition candidate. Following her death, elections were postponed to February 18, 2008.

Chaired by Bhutto's son, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, and her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, the PPP won 87 of the National Assembly's 286 seats; the Pakistan Muslim League-N (PML-N), led by former PM Nawaz Sharif, won 67 seats. The Pakistan Muslim League-Q (PML-Q), the party supporting Musharraf, won only 36 seats.

Following are cartoons from the Arab press on Bhutto's assassination and on the Pakistani political process.

The Pakistan People's Party Election Victory

"The Pakistani elections are over"

Al-Hayat (London), February 21, 2008

Cartoonist: Habeeb Hadad

"Bhutto's revenge"

Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), February 21, 2008

Cartoonist: Hassan Bleibel

Condemnation of Benazir Bhutto's Assassination

"Suicide bombings"

Al-Watan (Saudi Arabia), December 28, 2007

Cartoonist: Jehad Awartany

"Benazir Bhutto killed in terror attack"

Al-Raya (Qatar), December 29, 2007

Cartoonist: Fares Garabet

On top: "Benazir Bhutto"

On headstone: "Benazir Bhutto"

On wreath: "The martyr"

Akhbar Al-Arab (UAE), December 29, 2007

Cartoonist: Amer Al-Zohbi

Bhutto's Assassination

"The train of democracy"

Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), December 28, 2007

Cartoonist: Amjad Rasmi

On top: "Benazir Bhutto's Assassination"

On figure: "The Pakistani people"

On sign: "We want the truth"

Al-Ghad (Jordan), December 28, 2007

Cartoonist: Emad Hajjaj

Bhutto and the Pakistani Elections

"Benazir Bhutto's Assassination"

On ballot box: "Pakistan"

Al-Ayyam (Bahrain), December 29, 2007

Cartoonist: Khaled Al-Hashemi

"In Pakistan…"

Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), October 20, 2007

Cartoonist: Hassan Bleibel

Benazir Bhutto – Star of Pakistan

"The Assassination of Pakistani Opposition Leader Benazir Bhutto"

Al-Rai (Jordan), December 29, 2007

Cartoonist: Kaldon Garaebh

"Benazir Bhutto Assassinated"

Liberté (Algeria), December 29, 2007

Cartoonist: Ali Dilem

Bhutto Returns to Pakistan from Self-Imposed Exile

"Bhutto's return"

Al-Mustaqbal (Lebanon), October 19, 2007

Cartoonist: Hassan Bleibel

"Bhutto was saved from two assassination attempts as she returned to Pakistan"

Bhutto: "Hello, Lebanon? Do you still have a room at the Venicia Hotel [where Lebanese MPs from the March 14 Forces are protected]?"

Al-Addiyar (Lebanon), October 19, 2007

Cartoonist: Eley Saleba

"Bhutto's return"

Akhbar Al-Arab (UAE), October 20, 2007

Cartoonist: Amer Al-Zohbi

First Bhutto Assassination Attempt, October 18, 2007

"Bhutto's return"

Al-Ayyam (Palestinian Authority), October 19, 2007

Cartoonist: Baha'a Bokary

Pakistani President Musharraf and Bhutto

"Bhutto's return"

Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), October 19, 2007

Cartoonist: Amjad Rasmi

"Bhutto's return to Pakistan"

Al-Watan (Qatar), October 19, 2007

Cartoonist: Eley Saleba


Al-Sharq (Qatar), November 6, 2007

Cartoonist: Alaa Allaqta

Al-Bayan (UAE), November 9, 2007

Cartoonist: Hassan Idleby

Pakistani President Musharraf and Martial Law

Al-Bayan (UAE), November 5, 2007

Cartoonist: Hassan Idleby


On right of chair: "The Army"

On left of chair: "The Presidency"

Al-Watan (Qatar), November 5, 2007

Cartoonist: Eley Saleba

On right domino: "Musharraf"

On left domino: "Democracy"

Al-Hayat (London), November 6, 2007

Cartoonist: Habeeb Hadad

On explosive belt: "Emergency Law"

Al-Sharq Al-Awsat (London), November 6, 2007

Cartoonist: Amjad Rasmi

"Emergency Time"

Al-Raya (Qatar), November 8, 2007

Cartoonist: Omayya Joha

"The Pakistani lawyers"

Al-Dustour, (Jordan), November 7, 2007

Cartoonist: Jalal Alrefaie

The Political Situation in Pakistan

"Pakistan – gone with the wind"

Above Pakistan symbol: "Democracy"

On wind: "Dictatorship"

Akhbar Al-Khaleej, Bahrain, November 5, 2007

Cartoonist: Abdala Mahraqy

[1] Pakistan People’s Party:

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