Notable assassinations in Pakistan

There is no question that Pakistan could be a dangerous place. In a country where the state could not even guarantee the safety of the life of the heads of state, queries about the lives of common Joe are pretty useless.
An assassination is a popular game changing strategy that works with very little probability of backfiring. A very useful side benefit of assassination is the chance of introducing a favorable change in the highest echelons of power.
In Pakistan, assassinations are amongst the most mysterious crimes in the history of the country. No high profile murder case has ever been solved by the designated authorities, civilian and/or military. This is not due to the incompetence or complicity of the authorities. In almost every case mentioned below, the major cause of lack of any conclusion was mainly due to the fact that the powers that be were directly involved in the assassination.

Nawabzada Liaqat Ali Khan
Nawabzada Liaqat Ali Khan was an important figure in the Independence struggle of Pakistan. He was a trustedcolleague of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah. He was shot on 16 October 1951 at a public rally in Rawalpindi. Incidentally, his murder also generated the first conspiracy theory in the history of Pakistan.

Liaquat Ali Khan.jpg
He was shot by an Afghan Saad Akbar Babrak, whose motivations remain unclear to this day. Interestingly, Saad Akbar was reputed to be a professional assassin. Given this, it is surprising that he was allowed into the Municipal Park where the rally was being held.
Even surprising was the murder of Saad Akbar Babrak himself. Immediately after the assassination, he was practically lynched by the mob with the help of police.
Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto
The man who was a key player in the breakup of Pakistan and whose death divided the national politics forever was actually hanged till death. The event occurred on 4th April, 1979. He was survived by his sons and the now legendry Benazir Bhutto.

Zulfikar Ali Bhutto.jpg

His proponents and followers call his death a judicially sanctioned murder that was orchestrated by the then military dictator Gen. Zia-ul-Haq. This was always denied by the followers of Zia who point out that due judicial process was followed.

General Zia-ul-Haq
In a bizarre twist of events, General Zia who was earlier accused of masterminding the judicial murder of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto died on 17th August 1988. His official aircraft, a C-130 exploded shortly after takeoff from the military airfield.

Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq 1982.jpg

His death came as a rude shock to the military establishment of the country. Being one of the most visible opponents of the Red Tide, he supported and funded the Afghan Mujahidin. He had his share of haters and detractors that included elements of armed forces as well. It has been alleged that the bomb that blew off C-130 was placed by a dissident pro-Bhutto member of air force.
Mir Murtaza Bhutto
The assassination of Mir Murtaza Bhutto is a sad event because of two reasons. First he was one of the most capable sons of Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto. Although, Bhutto had selected BB as his political successor, it was Murtaza Bhutto who captured the hearts of Sindhis and non Sindhis across the country.

MMurtazaBhutto 1.jpg
On 20th September, 1996, he was killed when a police squad opened fire on his convoy, just a few yards from his residence. He died on the way to hospital. The saddest fact of the incident was that his own sister Benazir Bhutto was the Pm of the country at the time of the assassination.

Hakim Muhammad Saeed
The founder of the Hamdard brand of herbal medical products was a cultural icon of the country. Hakim Saeed as he was popularly referred was well known for his philanthropy and services in education and healthcare. He was a self-made person who built Hamdard into one of the most trusted brands in the country.


On 17th October 1998, he was shot near his office in cold blood. Fingers were raised toward Mutahida Quaimi Movement and its tendency of killing all dissident voices in Karachi. However, the leadership has long denied the accusation.

Benazir Bhutto
The assassination of BB as she was popularly known happened on 27th December 2007. This was followed by three days of riots and clashed all over the country that includes killings, robberies and allegations of rape.

Benazir Bhutto.jpg
Her death bagged her party a lot of sympathy votes in the upcoming elections and moved her widower Asif Ali Zardari into the President House of Pakistan. A strong federal government, a popular government in her native province Sindh and the husband in the President house were not enough to find out who killed her.

Zafar Iqbal

Zafar Iqbal

Zafar Iqbal is Contributing Editor of Awaz e Pakistan. He strongly believes in the power of words and words represent ideas that cannot be suppressed.
Zafar Iqbal

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