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Pakistan ex-PM Bhutto assassinated at political rally

[JURIST] Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto [BBC obituary; JURIST news archive] was assassinated in a suicide attack Thursday at a rally in Rawalpindi. Bhutto, head of the opposition Pakistan People's Party [party website], was campaigning in the lead-up to January 8 parliamentary elections, where her party is challenging Pakistani Prime Minister Pervez Musharraf's Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) [party website]. Her candidacy was challenged [JURIST report] earlier this month when PML-Q leaders filed a petition with the Election Commission of Pakistan [official website] seeking a determination that Bhutto's past corruption conviction prevented her from running. The Election Commission rejected that effort, but barred former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif [JURIST report], head of the rival opposition PML-N party [party website], from running. At least 20 other people were killed in Thursday's attack.

Bhutto returned to Pakistan [JURIST report] from exile earlier this year after Musharraf signed [JURIST report] a "reconciliation ordinance" granting her amnesty on pending corruption charges. After Musharraf declared emergency rule [JURIST news archive] on November 3, Bhutto was initially put under house arrest [JURIST report] and prevented from leading protests. AP has more.

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