Some members of Chicagos Pakistani community said they havent stopped crying
since they heard news of Benazir Bhuttos assassination, and others said they
dread whats now in store for their homeland.
Syed Raza said he was driving his taxi when he heard on the morning news that
the opposition leader had been gunned down. Within an hour, he stood on a corner
in the heart of Chicagos main Pakistani neighborhood holding a small picture of
Bhutto. Raza said Bhutto was the main hope not only for those in Pakistan
but for Pakistanis living in the United States. And he said he fears Pakistan
will now descend into chaos. My wife just called me from back home, he said.
Shooting, fighting, burning cars. Its a big chaos, and Im worried about
Another PakistaniAmerican, Rana Javed, said hes in a state of shock and
disbelief. He met Bhutto on one of her several trips to Chicago in recent years.
Bhutto died Thursday when an attacker shot her and then blew himself up as she
left a political rally in Rawalpindi, a city near the capital where Pakistans
army has its headquarters. It was the second suicide attack against her since
her tumultuous homecoming from an eightyear exile in October.
Bhutto, a former prime minister, was struck down amid scenes of blood and chaos
as an unknown gunman opened fire and, according to witnesses and police, blew
himself up, killing 20 other people.
NBC5s Alex Perez reported there were approximately 150,000 Pakistanis living in
the Chicago area, and while all seemed saddened by Bhuttos assassination,
opinions were mixed on her leadership.
She was a great leader, and we dont have a strong leader right now, said
Pakistans economy was good when she became prime minister, said Mahmood Yaqob.
She destroyed the economy.
Many Pakistani women said they viewed Bhutto as a pioneer in the fight for
My husband, my daughters, everybody, was sad at this news, said Amir Khatoon.
Local Pakistani community leaders, along with civil rights leader Rev. Jesse
Jackson, were scheduled to discuss Bhuttos death Thursday night, and a vigil
was scheduled for Monday night.
Chicagos Pakistan Times printed a special edition of the paper featuring Bhutto
on the cover, Perez reported. The papers editor said many Pakistanis were
focused on events in Pakistan.
** Check out our
Pakistan Phone Cards