Benazir assassinated; talks with pak in limbo

Updated: Dec 31 2007, 05:27am hrs
Pakistani Opposition leader and former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was killed in a gun and bomb attack after a rally in Rawalpindi on Thursday, her party said. Bhutto, 54, died in a hospital in the city. Police said a suicide bomber fired shots at Bhutto as she was leaving the rally venue in a park before blowing himself up. The man first fired at Bhutto's vehicle. She ducked and then he blew himself up, said police officer Mohammad Shahid. Police said 16 people had been killed in the blast.

Meanwhile, India Inc watched cautiously as the fallout to the assassination of Bhutto unfolded on Friday. The Indian government said political uncertainty in the neighbouring country could stall trade talks between the two countries. And in a kneejerk reaction, Indian Railways decided to suspend all passenger and goods train services to Pakistan.

That apart, Standard & Poors Ratings Services on Friday said Pakistans sovereign credit ratings could be lowered, if the assassination of Benazir Bhutto precipitates heightened levels of violence and political turmoil. A further weakening of Pakistans institutions, in conjunction with rising levels of violence and disorder would lead to a rating downgrade, said the rating agency.

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