'They're trying to kill me,' Bhutto told mag

(China Daily)
Updated: 2008-01-08 08:13

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was featured on Parade magazine's cover on Sunday, 10 days after her assassination, and in the accompanying story she warned that her enemies wanted her dead.

"I am what terrorists most fear, a female political leader fighting to bring modernity to Pakistan," Bhutto told author Gail Sheehy, who interviewed her weeks earlier in her hometown of Larkana. "Now they're trying to kill me."

Parade's publisher, Randy Siegel, said the magazine went to press on December 21 and was already on its way to the 400 newspapers that distribute it when Bhutto was killed in an attack following a December 27 campaign rally in the city of Rawalpindi.

The Web version of the story was updated, Siegel said, but it was too late to change the print magazine. He said the only option other than running the outdated article would have been asking newspapers not to distribute the magazine at all.

"We decided that this was an important interview to share with the American people," he said.

Parade, published by Parade Publications, is distributed by Sunday newspapers including the Boston Globe, The Dallas Morning News, the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post.

Siegel said almost all of the newspapers ran editor's notes Sunday explaining that the Bhutto interview had gone to press before her death.

He said Sheehy, the best-selling author of books including Passages and Hillary's Choice, spent several days with Bhutto in late November.

Bhutto's death plunged an already volatile Pakistan deeper into crisis and stoked fears of a political meltdown.

Bhutto's husband has accused members of Pakistan's government of involvement in her killing and has called for a United Nations investigation. Pakistan's President Pervez Musharraf, a close US ally in the fight against terrorists, has blamed a tribal militant leader suspected of ties to al-Qaida.

Bhutto served two terms as Pakistan's prime minister after her father, Zulkifar Ali Bhutto, was overthrown as prime minister and hanged in 1977 after a military takeover.

Sheehy asked the 54-year-old Bhutto whether she had healed from the trauma of her father's death when she was 25.

Bhutto, a pro-US moderate who had vowed to fight Islamic extremists if she was elected in an upcoming parliamentary vote, said her father's parting words before his execution were, "You can walk away.

"You're young.

"You can go to live in London or Paris or Geneva."

She told Sheehy she responded, "No, I have to keep up this mission of yours, of democracy."


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