Bomb Blasts Mar Bhutto's Return

As supporters for Benazir Bhutto celebrated the former Pakistani prime minister's return from exile, a bomb ripped through the festivities and killed as many as 136 people. Bhutto wasn't hurt in what Pakistan's president is calling a "conspiracy against democracy."

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LUKE BURBANK, host:

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto narrowly escaped death yesterday when two bombs exploded - killing at least 136 people.

ALISON STEWART, host:

Now, reports of the number of wounded vary from 250 to 400. Bhutto herself was not injured. The attack happened just hours after Bhutto returned to the country after eight years in exile. She was making her way on a parade route lined by hundreds of thousands of cheering supporters. After the bombing, Bhutto was immediately taken to her home.

BURBANK: She'd spent eight hours on the open roof of a truck and had just moved into the armored interior moments before the blast. There was no claim of the responsibility for the bombing of the convoy. But today, a Pakistani security official said the attack were the hallmarks of an al-Qaida-linked pro-Taliban warlord based near the Afghan border.

STEWART: Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf, who was attempting to form a pro-U.S., anti-militant coalition with Bhutto, labeled the attack part of a, quote, "conspiracy against democracy."

BURBANK: Now Mahmud Ali Durrani, Pakistan's ambassador to the U.S., told the Associated Press this bombing would not deter reforms there.

Ambassador MAHMUD ALI DURRANI (Pakistan's Ambassador to the U.S.): We will continue with our movement, with our political movement in moving towards democracy, and I don't think this will cause chaos.

STEWART: Now the parade was in celebration of Bhutto's return. It had drawn about 200,000 people, a sign that she remains a popular figure in the country despite allegations of corruption when she was its leader.

BURBANK: And that is today's BPP big story.

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