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The Assassination of Benazir Bhutto

Aired December 28, 2007 - 21:00   ET


WOLF BLITZER, GUEST HOST: Tonight, Benazir Bhutto laid to rest. But controversy and confusion swirl around her murder.
Who killed her?

How did she die?

And is there a cover-up?

The very latest next on LARRY KING LIVE.

Lots and lots of questions in the aftermath of the assassination of Benazir Bhutto. We're going to try to come up with some answers over the next hour.

I'm Wolf Blitzer sitting in for Larry tonight.

Let's go right to Karachi in Pakistan.

Anderson Cooper is already there on the scene.

It's already Saturday morning there -- Anderson, give us a little sense of what's going on, especially in the aftermath of these conflicting statements we're getting about the cause of death -- how Benazir Bhutto was killed?

ANDERSON COOPER, ANCHOR, CNN'S "A.C. 360": Yes. The Interior Ministry came out late Friday saying that it wasn't a bullet, it wasn't shrapnel from a bomb that killed her, saying that it was a fractured skull that she fell or ducked in her vehicle and hit her head on something in her vehicle.

That statement was called "a pack of lies" by a member of Benazir Bhutto's party. They say point blank that is simply not true. They say maybe it was a sniper's bullet.

Frankly, it just adds to the confusion here. Chaos and confusion is nothing new in Pakistan, but certainly this is a time where these kind of statements just add to the confusion. People here don't know what to expect.

Dawn has just broken. It is Saturday morning here now. Yesterday was the funeral -- a chaotic scene. Hundreds of thousands of people coming out to try to get one last glimpse of Benazir Bhutto, of her coffin, before it was lowered into the ground.

But what will happen in the next few hours is anybody's guest. There was widespread violence on the streets on Friday -- people burning tires roadblocks put up -- a lot of angry people on the streets.

A lot of Pakistanis are trying to stay inside of their homes, trying to stay safe. Stores have been shut down. There's a heavy military and police presence on the streets. But it is a very scary times here. Not sure what's going to happen in the next couple of hours. And the kind of statements we're getting from the government only seems to be adding to that confusion -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And what kind of cooperation, Anderson -- I know you've only been there a few hours. It took a long time to get there. You're in Karachi, which is a city that's got millions and millions of people.

What kind of cooperation are you getting so far from authorities on the ground?

COOPER: We're getting, certainly, a lot of cooperation at this point. As you know, the security situation in Karachi is always a huge issue. The government is actually having a military or police security watch over some reporters as they come and go from various facilities. So at this point, things seem calm on the streets.

But, you know, it has just been nightfall here. People are just slowly waking up. And there's a lot of questions about what it's going to be like over these next several hours. And, really, that is anybody's guess. I mean there's a lot of anger, as you know, Wolf, out here -- a lot of doubt and a lot of questions. And the next few hours may be very telling, indeed.

BLITZER: And the Pakistani government, Anderson, has issued a statement saying they have evidence -- an intercepted communication, they say -- that Al Qaeda was directly responsible for killing Benazir Bhutto.

Talk a little bit -- tell us a little bit about what we know about this evidence.

COOPER: Right. They're now pointing toward a senior Taliban leader in Waziristan -- a man who, also, U.S. officials point to as perhaps behind this. Apparently, according to the Pakistani government and according to U.S. officials there, it was an intercepted communication between this man -- between this senior Taliban leader in Waziristan and one of his followers congratulating -- and, basically, they were congratulating each other over the attack on Benazir Bhutto.

Whether -- you know, we have no way of independently confirming whether or not this did take place. There are some people who are very skeptical about it, who say it's very convenient for the Pakistani government to all of a sudden, in this such short a time, suddenly come up with an intercept like this.

But right now, that is where the fingers point. And it is certainly a reasonable assumption -- a reasonable suspect. This is a person well known to Pakistani authorities, has made threats on Benazir Bhutto's life in the past and had talked about trying to kill her in the past. And so that's certainly a possibility -- just one of many here in Pakistan.

BLITZER: Anderson, stand by.

I know you've got a lot of work to do. You've got your own special coming up at the top of the hour, as well.

I want to bring in, on the phone, Zahid Hussain.

He's a correspondent in Pakistan for "The Times" of London, "The Wall Street Journal," "Newsweek," among other publications.

Zahid, I know you're in Karachi yourself right now.

What do we know about this individual that the Pakistani government is now suggesting was responsible for ordering the assassination of Benazir Bhutto -- this individual named Baitullah Mehsud?

What do we know about him?

ZAHID HUSSAIN, JOURNALIST: Well, Baitullah Mehsud is the commander of the Taliban forces fighting the Pakistani troops in the lawless South Waziristan region. He has been the most wanted person and has been, also, linked with Al Qaeda in Pakistan.

The party said that he has organized a training camp. Hundreds of suicide bombers have been prepared to attack Pakistani troops, as well as the American troops across the border in Afghanistan. He has been a part of Taliban movement, which ruled Afghanistan since -- until 2001.

And, but, basically, the relations of the Pakistani government, which has been rather quite intriguing. In the past, the Pakistani government has been dealing with him. And then that deal was broken. After Pakistani troops raided the radical Red Mosque in Islamabad, he declared jihad against Pakistani troops.


HUSSAIN: Mehsud has -- had killed more Pakistani troops than anyone. And, also...

BLITZER: And I know that authorities are also blaming him for the initial assassination attempt on Benazir Bhutto once she came back in mid-October, after eight years in exile.

Peter Bergen is also on the scene in Karachi for us right now, our terrorism analyst, the author of the best-selling, "The Osama bin Laden I Know" and "Holy War, Inc.".

You're there with Anderson right now -- Peter, some will argue -- critics of the Pakistani government -- that it's very convenient for them to try to pin the blame on Al Qaeda or the Taliban for this assassination. But does this accusation ring true to you, Peter, based on what you know?

PETER BERGEN, CNN TERRORISM ANALYST, AUTHOR, "HOLY WAR, INC.": Well, it's only plausible, Wolf. I mean, after all, it was a suicide attack, which is a hallmark of Al Qaeda. This guy, Mehsud, had previously threatened Benazir Bhutto. As you say, it's sort of convenient for the Pakistani government.

But, after all, Al Qaeda has actually tried to assassinate Benazir Bhutto in the past. Osama bin Laden even financed a no confidence vote against her in the parliament back in 1989 here.

So, yes, it's convenient for the Pakistani government. But it's only plausible that a Taliban/Al Qaeda kind of joint operation, perhaps with some low level military help. After all, this took place in the center of Pakistani military -- the Pakistani military headquarters, which would imply, I think, some low level military help.

General Musharraf was the subject of a series of assassination attempts back in 2003 by Pakistani militants who were also helped with low level Pakistani military help. That's not to imply that these attacks were, obviously, sanctioned by the Pakistani military. But it is to suggest that the Pakistani military, at the lower levels, has been penetrated by Al Qaeda and Taliban sympathizers -- Wolf.

BLITZER: And what about at the mid-levels or the higher levels?

Because you hear reports, occasionally, that there are sympathizers there, as well, providing useful information to Al Qaeda or the Taliban?

How credible are those reports?

Because, as you know, when I interviewed President Musharraf recently, he flatly denied it and said those were all total lies.

BERGEN: Well, certainly President Musharraf moved to purge the higher levels of the Inter Services Intelligence Agency, the ISI, the powerful military agency. He purged them -- that agency of, at the higher levels, of Islamist militants or people who might be sympathetic to either the Taliban or to Al Qaeda.

But, I mean, you know, Wolf, as you well know, the Taliban itself was, to some degree, the creation of the Pakistani military. And so there's been long an association. And, in fact, the guy Mehsud who they're pointing the finger at in the Benazir Bhutto assassination attempt is somebody that the Pakistani military had been previously engaged in peace negotiations with.

So, as is always the case in Pakistan, the more you know about the situation the less you know about it. It's always very murky. We probably will never completely get to the bottom of the mystery of who killed Benazir Bhutto. But certainly her party is calling for an independent investigation. And I think it would be useful, in the same way that there was a United Nations investigation into Hariri's assassination in Lebanon, that kind of investigation seems warranted now to look into the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.

BLITZER: Well, Hillary Clinton, the Democratic presidential candidate, the senator from New York, called for such an investigation -- an international investigation -- earlier today during an interview here on CNN.

All right, I want everybody to stand by, because we're going to take a quick break. Lots more to discuss on this unfolding story right now in Pakistan.

Dan Rather is standing by, as well.

Much more of our LARRY KING LIVE right after this.


SEN. HILLARY RODHAM CLINTON (D), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I don't think the Pakistani government, at this time, under President Musharraf, has any credibility at all. They have disbanded an independent judiciary. They have oppressed a free press. Therefore, I'm calling for a full independent, international investigation, perhaps along the lines of what the United Nations has been doing with respect to the assassination of Prime Minister Hariri in Lebanon.



BLITZER: She was only 54-years-old. Benazir Bhutto, the former prime minister of Pakistan, killed yesterday. The burial took place today. Lots of nervous people watching Pakistan around the world, trying to understand what might happen next.

Dan Rather is joining us on this LARRY KING LIVE right now, the global correspondent of HDNet.

He interviewed Benazir Bhutto only this past summer for "Dan Rather Reports".

You know, there's so much confusion, Dan, and statements coming from the Pakistani government. Doctors yesterday suggesting there was a bullet wound, there was shrapnel. Today saying there was no signs of bullet wounds, no signs of shrapnel, that she hit her on this latch from the sunroof as she was going down and that was the cause of her death.

It sort of cries out for some sort of full scale international investigation, although I doubt that's going to happen.

DAN RATHER, GLOBAL CORRESPONDENT, HDNET, INTERVIEW BHUTTO IN AUGUST: Well, exactly, Wolf. It was said earlier on the broadcast that we may never know what happened. And that isn't to say every effort should not be made to find out. But anybody who ever worked the police beat, as you and I did as apprentice reporters, knows, number one, the first things you hear are often wrong -- and they may be in this case.

The second thing is that those investigating homicides always start with a list who has the biggest motive. The jihadists -- whether the Taliban, Al Qaeda operatives in the Pakistani military and/or intelligence or outside operatives -- all had a motive. This is the biggest political assassination in terms of a victory -- put quotation marks around that -- that the jihadists have had since they killed Anwar Sadat, the leader of Egypt, in the early 1980s.

Their whole purpose was to create instability and, of course, increase the ability of the jihadists to take over the country.

I do want to point out, Wolf, that while we're talking about -- who did it is important, the single most important thing now, it seems to me, in my humble opinion, is what's the strategy?

The strategy the United States and its allies have had in Pakistan has failed.

Now, what's the strategy?

You mentioned earlier -- and correctly so -- that a lot of people around the world are very worried about this situation -- not just those of us in the United States and those in Pakistan. That some time the United States -- some leader of the United States is going to have to consult, and rather deeply, with people we may not particularly not like, with whom we're not allied.

The Chinese have a large Muslim population in the Western part of their country, as you know. The Russians are very worried about -- have been historically -- about "a Muslim tide" coming from the south for them. The Saudi Arabians are more deeply involved in Pakistan, and have been for a very, very long time, than most Americans realize.

Going to these people, the leaders of these governments, the expert there, and asking them, saying, OK, we need a new strategy -- I haven't heard any talk from any of the political candidates or anybody else thus far. We may hear it fairly soon. This is the time to consult not just with our allies, but people in the region -- governments in the region and others...


RATHER: ...who are very much concerned about this situation, as they should be -- leading with China and Russia.

BLITZER: Because you correctly point out, Dan, that this is an area that has huge ramifications, huge stakes for the entire world. A nuclear armed Pakistan with historic tensions with a nuclear armed India right next door.

RATHER: Exactly.

BLITZER: There are disputes over territory between those two countries. You have a resurgent Taliban, a resurgent Al Qaeda there. So there are stakes for everyone in the world. Hold on one minute.


BLITZER: I want to bring in Bobby Ghosh of "Time" magazine, the world editor.

He interviewed Benazir Bhutto back in September, as well.

What are the chances, Bobby -- because you know this region really well -- that the government of President Pervez Musharraf would accept Hillary Clinton's call, others who are calling for an international tribunal, a U.N., perhaps, forum to go in and investigate who is responsible?

BOBBY GHOSH, WORLD EDITOR, "TIME," INTERVIEWED BHUTTO IN SEPTEMBER: I think the chances are zero to nil, Wolf. The Pakistani government and Pervez Musharraf has fiercely resisted all previous calls for investigations into what they consider to be Pakistani affairs -- for instance, the sale of nuclear technology to North Korea and to Iran by Pakistani scientists. When that came up and there were calls for international investigations, they were -- President Musharraf made clear in no uncertain terms that in sovereign Pakistan, there would not be an international investigation.

BLITZER: And you're referring to A.Q. Khan...

GHOSH: That's right.

BLITZER: ...the father of the Pakistani nuclear bomb, who was arrested -- he's under so-called house arrest.


BLITZER: But the Pakistani government of President Musharraf has never allowed outsiders -- including the United States...

GHOSH: Exactly right.

BLITZER: go and question him about what he was doing all those years.

GHOSH: That is exactly right. And it's not international pressure that will -- that will make all that much of a difference to Musharraf. The real question is how much domestic pressure there is -- how much pressure the PPP, Bhutto's party, and other democratic elements -- the lawyers -- can bring to bear on the government to be open in their investigation. And there's going to be a lot of that pressure.

BLITZER: But, Dan, in fairness to President Musharraf, since 9/11, he has cooperated with the U.S. in the hunt for Al Qaeda. He's provided useful information. and you speak with U.S. authorities, whether at the White House or at the State Department, the CIA or elsewhere, they'll tell you he's been a net plus, albeit by no means perfect. RATHER: Well, that's exactly what they argue. And you can bet that some of them were still making that argument, saying, listen, he's flawed. He's badly flawed. And, yes, he's -- he or people associated with him have probably stolen a lot of the money or misused a lot of the money we sent to him.

But it gets back to is it better that we have the devil we know, Musharraf, or go into the vast unknown?

And, again, we come back to the strategy thus far has failed.

So what is the new strategy in the region?

But as Benazir Bhutto herself told "The Wall Street Journal," in Pakistan you have the constant tension between dictatorship and democracy, and moderation and extremism. And now it's running amok for everybody to see. And the pendulum has swung toward -- certainly toward the extremists. And in terms -- we backed a dictatorship for a very long time.

But you raise a really salient point, Wolf, and that is, if not Musharraf, than whom?

Former Prime Minister Sharif, who has deep ties with the Saudi Arabians, of course, could benefit from this. (INAUDIBLE), as you recall, he went to the hospital where the body of Benazir Bhutto was taken, and that went down pretty well.

But how this all shakes out, it's very hard to see. But this we know -- and I want to make this point if I may, Wolf -- that the country Alan Jackson -- you know, he has that song, "I'm not a political man, I listen to CNN, but sometimes I don't know the difference between Iraq and Iran."

Well, that's true with a lot of Americans and a lot of people around the world. But it's important to keep in mind that while Pakistan is butted right up against Afghanistan, Pakistan is not Afghanistan. It is not Iraq. It is unique and to itself -- a very volatile and dangerous country, and dangerous now for world peace, as the CNN documentary is making clear at 11:00 Eastern time, that it's now terrorist central. And there needs to be a pull back or what you call in television the wide shot, and say, all right, the strategy we've had hasn't worked, backing Musharraf.

Where do we go from here?

Where do we go forward with the strategy?

And, as I said before, that I think in consultation with people in the region, India -- an enemy of Pakistan, true. But the Indians, the Chinese, the Russians, the Saudi Arabians -- they have a lot of knowledge. They have their own intelligence systems. And they may have some perspective on a going forward strategy that we have yet tried. Because we know what we've tried so far has failed.

BLITZER: All right, I'm going to take another quick break. But we are going to continue to ask some questions, try to get some answers.

We're also going to speak with a photographer who was there on the scene when Benazir Bhutto was killed. We're going to get his eyewitness account, what happened. It's really important now that there are so many confusing and conflicting accounts coming forward.

Much more of our special coverage on this special LARRY KING LIVE.



I'm Wolf Blitzer sitting in for Larry tonight in New York.

Joining us on the phone now from Pakistan, in Larkana, the hometown of Benazir Bhutto, is John Moore. He's a photographer with Getty Images. He took the now world famous picture of Benazir Bhutto sticking her head through that sunroof in that van. There you see it. There's the shot. He took it.

John, you can hear me.

What, this was what a minute or two minutes before the actual chaos erupted -- the shots, the explosion and her death?

How long before she died or she was hit by whatever it was did you shoot this picture?

JOHN MOORE, PHOTOGRAPHER, GETTY IMAGES, WITNESSED DEATH/AFTERMATH: Wolf, that picture was just a few seconds before the blast. I was just in front of her vehicle and it was moving forward slowly. It was surrounded by people who were pushing in to get closer to her. And the car sort of surged forward. And I moved ahead about 20 yards to get out of the way. And as I turned around, I looked back. She was waving. And I heard the shots fired. And she dropped down in the vehicle. And very shortly after that, maybe just a second, was when the blast occurred.

BLITZER: What do you make, John, of this latest Pakistan government assertion that she died of a skull fracture -- there was no evidence of any bullets, they say, no evidence of any shrapnel?

Is that consistent with what you saw, that she hit her head on some sort of latch in the sunroof?

MOORE: Well, I'll tell what you I heard and I what I saw. The shots were fired. She went down. The explosion happened. I think for anyone that was outside of that vehicle, it would be impossible to know.

Did I see the bullets pierce her body?

No, I did not. She was moving down quickly when the shots started firing. And so, you know, from anyone outside -- even me, who was 20, just 20 yards away -- it was just impossible to tell.

And afterwards, with the explosion, you know, things were flying through the air -- pieces of car, pieces of people. There was smoke. There was a stampede. And the vehicle was there for a few seconds before it sped off, as well. And all of us had to get out of the way because they weren't -- they weren't slowing down for anyone.

BLITZER: Lots of interest, understandably, John, with what kind of security was in place. And I just want to set the scene. Right now you're in Larkana. That's the hometown of Benazir Bhutto, where she was buried on Friday morning.

But on Thursday, she was in Rawalpindi at this rally. Now, Rawalpindi is really a military town. It's a garrison where you would think security would be pretty good.

What kind of security was there?

MOORE: Well, Wolf, I can tell you, for the event itself, the campaign rally, the security was very good. They had a lot of police around. There was a big sort of park grounds with a fence around it and they had a huge dais -- a stage -- set up. And there was a lot of standoff room between her and the crowd -- a good 30 or 40 yards. And she was way above them.

Now, personally, I suspected -- I feared there may be some violence heading into this thing because it was planned and it was announced well ahead of time. We all knew a week ago that that event would take place and knew exactly where it would take place.

And the entry points along the fence I had stayed away from as the crowd was coming in, because I suspected that anyone who would come in as a would-be bomber would detonate during the body search. And so I stayed away from those (INAUDIBLE).

I never expected that she would provide such a soft target when she was leaving the event. In fact, I was on my way out, as were many journalists, and walking away from the event when I just turned around and saw her come out -- standing up through the sunroof of the vehicle, which was a huge surprise. I figured the convoy would just come out and they'd drive away.

But, obviously, she wanted to get close to her people and she thought it was worth taking the risk.

BLITZER: Are you concerned about your own security there right now?

Give us a little sense, John, what it's like to be a professional photographer in an area that is obviously very dangerous.

MOORE: Well, I'll tell you, as a foreigner here, as an international person living here, up until now, journalists and foreigners have not been targeted during this conflict. Most of the attempts, the attacks, have been against military targets and political targets. Now, that goes for foreigners in general. We have not been targeted.

And as a photographer, as someone who actually has to go to those events, yes, there is -- there is some danger there.

BLITZER: Well, there was one famous journalist, Daniel Pearl of "The Wall Street Journal," who was kidnapped and executed in Karachi, as all of us obviously remember.

Hold on a second, John.

Bobby Ghosh is here, "Time" magazine.

Among your other jobs, you spent four years in Iraq. You understand danger.

How dangerous, Bobby, is it for Westerners, for journalists to come into Pakistan right now and deal with this?

GHOSH: Well, as John was saying, it is -- it is most dangerous when you go where the Pakistani people are, because the Pakistani people and the Pakistani military are being targeted.

If you are staying in a hotel or if you are staying in an enclave which is primarily filled with foreigners or diplomatic homes -- so far, those have not been attacked.

But journalists have to go to places where large numbers of people are gathering. This is a political campaign. And that makes them vulnerable -- no more so than ordinary Pakistanis or Pakistani politicians -- but vulnerable just the same.

BLITZER: Peter Bergen is still with us as well. He's in Karachi, our CNN terrorism analyst, who has been in a lot of dangerous spots over his years, reporting on what's going on. Peter, give us a sense of Karachi right now. You have only been there a few hours. What you're seeing and what you are hearing.

BERGEN: What's quite surprising, Wolf, is what we are not seeing. We are seeing almost nobody. The streets are really empty. This is one of the biggest cities in the world. It's a mega-city, ungovernorable areas, no-go areas, where the police won't go. But there's no one on the street. It's quite earie. This is a town maybe 14, 15 million people, and just to see it completely empty is quite unusual.

In terms of the security situation here, Karachi, of course, was the scene of Danny Pearl's kidnapping and murder five years ago. And it's also been the seen of three separate attacks on the U.S. Consulate here. Probably one of the most dangerous jobs you can have in the U.S. diplomatic service is to serve in the consulate here in Karachi. So, this is a hotbed of militancy. It has a lot of Pashtun residents, 500,000 from the tribal areas, who, of course, are linked to some of the violence that's going on there. Two million Pashtuns in total, so you've got that sort of ethnic conflict dimension. And also, a pool of people from which the Taliban and al Qaeda can recruit. That being said, you know, Pakistan, in general, is not -- I don't think is a particularly dangerous country. It just depends where you go. If you're in the tribal areas, it's obviously quite dangerous. But the government won'te even allow you to travel there as a journalist. And ultimately won't let you travel to certain cities in the country. So, it really is a matter of where you are, rather than the whole country being politically dangerous.

BLITZER: I am going to have Peter Bergen stand by. John Moore, the photographer, as well. Bobby Ghosh, Dan Rather. We are continuing to watch this story unfold right now in Pakistan. We will take another quick break. When we come back, Gail Sheehy, the "New York Times" best-selling author; she's just prepared a cover story for "Parade Magazine" on Benazir Bhutto. She spent a lot of time in Pakistan with her before the assassination. Gail Sheehy in our continuing coverage here on LARRY KING LIVE.


BLITZER: Welcome back to LARRY KING LIVE. I'm Wolf Blitzer, sitting in for Larry tonight in New York. Gail Sheehy is the best- telling "New York Times" author, has written numerous books and articles. She's got the cover story in the January 6th edition of "Parade Magazine," a cover story that features Benazir Bhutto.

Let's talk about this woman. You got to know her somewhat in preparing, reporting, researching her. What was she like?

GAIL SHEEHY, CONTRIBUTING EDITOR, "PARADE MAGAZINE": Extremely intelligence, very intense, as animated as I have ever seen her. I saw her many years earlier, when she was writing her autobiography. I think she was in her moment. This was the time when she was really going to live out the legacy of her father, avenge his hanging, clear her own name from -- by working with Musharraf to clear way all of the corruption charges and allow her to come back.

I think she actually thought that she could become the prime minister. And now she had a new identity. She was the single great combat of the terrorists on the border. She wanted to bring in NATO, boots on the ground, in the new Ho Chi Minh Trail along the border of Pakistan and Afghanistan. And she would have helped NATO get control of the nuclear weapons. She would --

BLITZER: What motivated -- What do you think motivated this woman, 54 years old, a young woman, three kids, a husband, to leave the comfort of Dubai, where she had a home, London -- She came often to the United States, Oxford educated, Harvard educated, obviously very comfortable. What motivated her to go back to Pakistan right now and risk it all, literally, as everyone knew she was doing. This was not some sort of surprise. When I interviewed her, I asked her repeatedly, are you sure you know what you're doing? What do you think motivated her to take that kind of risk?

SHEEHY: She always lived in the hope that she would come back to power in Pakistan. Partly it's the power drive. Partly it was avenging the death of the father, living out the father's legacy. She had been primed by him to become -- and to be the first woman leader of a Muslim country. And she really wanted to be -- to defeat the terrorists who had -- bin Laden put a price on her head 20 years ago, 10 million dollars sent to the Military Security Service to wipe her out.

BLITZER: And you went to Pakistan to watch her in action out on the campaign trail. Tell us what that was like.

SHEEHY: Well, what was amazing, Wolf, you're following her through her home province. She's up in the sun roof outside, you know, exposed from the torso up, with one female bodyguard, an older woman, unarmed, just holding her hands in the back. In the pictures, you would see her in this last appearance, she had no protection. They continually asked for it from the Musharraf government, as you know. They didn't provide it when she was campaigning through the country.

They did not want her to campaign. They tried to put her under house arrest to keep her from campaigning.

BLITZER: This was after the first assassination attempt when she first landed in Karachi. More than 100 people were killed in that suicide attack, but yet she continued along this route. I'm going to pick that up. But hold on for one second. Gail Sheehy is going to stick around with us. Bobby Ghosh, Dan Rather -- Peter Bergen is in Karachi for us right now. Much more of LARRY KING LIVE on this very important subject, with huge ramifications for the entire world, right after this.


BLITZER: We are continuing our conversation right now with Gail Sheehy. She spent some time with Benazir Bhutto in Pakistan. You watched her campaign. It was a dangerous situation. Already one assassination attempt against her, more than 100 people were killed. She survived. Were you scared when you went out there and watched what was going on?

SHEEHY: You know what it's like when you're a journalist, you're so focused on your target, which is the person you're following, that you kind of forget about everything else. In retrospect, I feel a little bit frightened. But I watched her -- she would get out of this SUV, walk through the crowd, completely unprotected, into a court house to sign her name as a candidate. People right up against her.

BLITZER: And these people have not been screened in metal detectors or anything like that?

SHEEHY: Nothing, nothing.

BLITZER: What motivated -- Bobby Ghosh, "Time Magazine," what motivated her to make that decision to go back, knowing these dangers were enormous?

GHOSH: I think Gail had it exactly right. She was her father's daughter. She was raised for this. She has known nothing but this life since she was a child. She thrived on being among the public. She was not the best prime minister. She was not the best administrator. But she was a fantastic political campaigner.

She was at her best when she was campaigning. She was at her best when she had her back to the wall and fighting against the Pakistani military. So she was actually in her element. She was thriving in this atmosphere.

BLITZER: Let me bring in Nic Robertson, who's been covering this story for a long time, has done an outstanding documentary for us that's been airing here on CNN over the past 24 hours. Nic, these conflicting reports we are getting about the cause of death, shrapnel, a bullet, she hit her head on the latch of the sunroof -- what do you make of all of this confusion?

NIC ROBERTSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's not unusual to have confusion in events like this. And it's not unusual for the Pakistani government, for the Information Ministry, to change what it said one day and change it the next day. It's not clear why they are doing that, but the impact of it is becoming clear. We are hearing from Benazir Bhutto's political party that they are concerned that the government -- the government's version of events of what killed Benazir Bhutto is changing.

This could have a negative impact and that's where the danger is, that if Benazir Bhutto's, sort of, grass root supporters feel that the government is duping them, that will cause them a great sense of anger. We have already seen violence caused because they are angry about the very fact that she died. This potentially could exacerbate the situation, but it's not unusual, as the government gets a better grip on the facts. But it's not clear why the version of events has changed so many times in 24 hours, Wolf.

BLITZER: So dramatically also. The assertion by government spokesmen in Pakistan, Nic, that a Taliban leader, one Baitullah Mehsud (ph), was responsible for organizing, ordering this assassination of Benazir Bhutto. You have studied al Qaeda, the Taliban, and, as I said to our viewers, you have an outstanding documentary that you put together. What do you make of this assertion?

ROBERTSON: Well, Mehsud has been sort of a part-time ally, as well, of the Pakistani government, signing that deal in 2005, saying that he would not -- that he would not attack government troops, that he would not associate and help al Qaeda in the Pakistan tribal region, close to the border with Afghanistan.

When we were taken by the Pakistani government in April of this year to south Waziristan, which was his home territory, we were told at that time that he was an ally of the Pakistani government in helping remove foreign fighters from the area. Pakistani journalists challenged the generals we were talking to at that time to explain this apparent sort of dichotomy, if you will. On the one hand, he is an ally of the government; on the one hand, he's an enemy of the government. There was not a satisfactory explanation at the time. Some journalists have been in talks with this Mehsud and talked with him about the accusations that was calling for Benazir Bhutto's death back in October, and he was accused of being behind the plot in that double suicide bombing, when she returned from exile. In those conversations he had with other journalists, he said that wasn't the case. I think there's a lot more to learn about him, about his involvement in this situation, and about exactly why he's being fingered at the moment, Wolf.

BLITZER: I think you're right. I think we are going to be learning a lot more about this individual in the days and weeks to come. Anderson Cooper is in Karachi for us. He's getting ready for his special "ANDERSON COOPER 360" that begins at the top of the hour. Anderson, give us a little preview of what's coming up.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Wolf, we are going to go in depth and in detail about this guy, Mehsud, what we know about him now, where he is and how important he may be in this plot to kill Benazir Bhutto. We will take a look at this.

We are also going to look very close up at the funeral today, and also this growing controversy over exactly how she died. As you know, the government came out today, the government of Pakistan, saying she died from a fractured skull from a fall, or from ducking down into her vehicle. That contradicts earlier government statements. We will take a closer look at that.

We will also talk to Senator John Edwards about his calls for an independent investigation into the killing of Benazir Bhutto. A lot to cover from here in Karachi, Wolf.

BLITZER: Anderson Cooper is on the scene for us in Pakistan right now. His special report comes up at the top of the hour.

We will take another quick break. Much more LARRY KING LIVE right after this. We'll be right back.


BLITZER: Given what's happened in Pakistan over the past 24 hours, should the January 8th scheduled parliamentary elections in Pakistan go forward? Benazir Bhutto, the leader of the main opposition party, if you will, is dead. No clear successor in place. Dan Rather, what do you think? Is this the right time for elections to go forward in Pakistan?

RATHER: Maybe the toughest call to be made right now is whether to lay those elections or not. It could be argued a lot of different ways. But it may be the most critical decision to be made. Certainly, there will not be international support, zero from the United States, for delaying the elections very long. But there is a case to be made to let Madam Bhutto's party absorb the shock, reorganize itself and have at least a few weeks or a month or two.

But the elections are going to have to be held. The question is whether January 8th is the time. No one should be surprised, I think -- I'm not predicting they will be -- if they get delayed. Nor should anyone be surprised, once again, not predicting it -- but when Musharraf declared marshal law -- and he's no doubt arguing behind the scenes now, if you left me with martial law, maybe this would not have happened.

We just cannot foresee what's going to happen. This much we do know, Wolf; that Pakistan -- this is part of the twilight war that President Bush has talked about for a long time. In World War II and in other wars over time, it was fire power, will power and staying power that prevailed. In the kind of situation we are in now, the third of those, the staying power, there is going to be a lot of talk in the 2008 U.S. presidential campaign and well beyond that, about how much staying power the United States has to try to effect events in places such as Pakistan. How much should we have? how much can we have? There will be talk about the limits of power, although we have the most powerful military and economy in the history of the world. There's still a limit to power.

All of those things are in play in Pakistan now and they will come into play, I think, at least to some degree, in this decision whether to delay the January 8th election or not. Again, I don't think we should be surprised if there's a delay. But if there is one, it can't be for very long.

BLITZER: Good point. John moore, I want to go back to him. He's in Larkana, burial place of Benazir Bhutto. John Moore, the photographer, who took that amazing picture of Benazir Bhutto sticking her head up in that sunroof in that van, only seconds before she was killed. You were there in Rawalpindi for the assassination. You're there today for the burial. What do you do now, John? What's next for you?

MOORE: We have to continue covering the story. What's next? Well, we have the campaign. We don't know where it's going to go, as far as the campaign stops. Which opposition parties are boycotting the election, who is going to campaign? Certainly, up until now, the government party has not had any problems with terrorist attacks. And one can imagine that they will continue campaigning as usual, and we will cover their events.

It's very unpredictable at the moment. There's been a lot of violence here in larkana and certainly Karachi and across the country. You have to keep your head about. You have to stay a little bit far from the action when you can. But often times, you have to be right there. As you know, the journalist, as a reporter, sometimes you can do it from afar. Photographers often have to get a lot closer, and that's what we do and that's what I will continue to have to do here.

BLITZER: They are usually the most courageous journalists that I have worked with over the years, the photogs, as we call them, the photographers. John Moore, thanks for doing that excellent work for the entire world. Gail, a woman in the Muslim world; she becomes the leader of Pakistan. You have spent time with her, Benazir Bhutto. Talk a little bit about what this means to have this woman now who is being mourned around the world, a Muslim woman. SHEEHY: You know, she had a message for President Bush. I asked her what she would like to tell him. Her last thing she told me was, I want to tell him that his policy of supporting a dictatorship of Musharraf is breaking up my country. She said, as I have come back, I now see that in two to four years, al Qaeda could be marching on Islamabad. She really was dedicating to try to reverse that.

BLITZER: She thought the stakes were that enormous?

SHEEHY: But I also think she was prepared to die. My strong impression was that she had kind of tied up things. She had gone back to see her children after the first suicide attempt. She had written to people like Peter Galbraith a kind of farewell letter. She laid out names of people that she said would be responsible if she was killed. And there was an expression in Irdu, she had seen to empadi (ph).

GHOSH: Yes, the translation would be, to tie on your forehead the band of martyrdom. It is an xmeexpression used by people who are going out for some extremely dangerous venture. And it is the sort of attitude, not quite a resignation, a determination to see through your objective, even if it means courting death in the process.

BLITZER: All right, wer are going to pick up that thought a moment. We will take one more break and then we will come back. We will be right back.


BLITZER: Nic Robertson, how worried should the world be about what happens next in Pakistan?

ROBERTSON: What happens next, I think, is going to be determined by what happens on the streets of Pakistan in the next few days. If there's violence and anger and more anguish by the supporters of Benazir Bhutto, it would seem almost in inevitable that President Musharraf will have to declare a state of emergency.

BLITZER: Bobby Ghosh, what do you see unfolding?

GHOSH: I think, what we should be is be afraid, be very afraid. Nic is exactly right, if there's a lot of violence over the next three days, then things are goign to unravel very, very quickly. The key is to see what the military does next. Do they crack down hard? Do they distance themselves from Musharraf, who has become unpopular? Or do they reassert what they see as their destined role as the keepers of the peace and keepers of the power in the Pakistani politics.

BLITZER: Dan Rather, no easy options for the U.S. right now, unless you have some.

RATHER: Certainly not. But it is time to reassess what we have been doing in Pakistan, what we can do going forward, and recognizing that our options extremely limited. Your question was should the world be worried, and the answer is the world should be plenty worried about Pakistan. However, it's hard -- while it's hard to make any optimistic statement, in these kinds of situations, it's so volatile, so dangerous, what we most expect frequently does not occur, and what we least expect often happens. So it's worth keeping in mind.

The late Ed Murrow had a saying about when everything got choatic and very dangerous, just say, steady, steady. For the U.S. government and whoever is to lead it past 2008, steady will be a good word to keep in mind because these kind of situations will be continuing.

BLITZER: We've got to end it right there, but good advice from Dan Rather. Thanks to everyone for joining for this hour. Larry will be back next week. I'm Wolf Blitzer, sitting in for Larry. Let's go to "ANDERSON COOPER 360."