Here's a new twist on an old story - the Pakistani Finance Minister is blaming a foreign government for inciting unrest after Bhutto's assassination.
Caretaker Finance Minister of Pakistan Dr Salman Shah has accused 'foreign elements' of being involved in the massive violence that followed the assassination of Benazir Bhutto.It will be interesting to see if the Pakistani government tries to give this tale - ludicrous on the face of it - some legs, and if so which foreign government gets balmed. The PR upside of claiming a Scooby Doo Villain excuse - that the Pakistan authorities could have kept order if it wasn't for those pesky agents provocteurs - is pretty obvious. But if the country blamed is India or Afghanistan then it should be seen as an extension of the military's obsession with defining itself and the nation in relation to those two countries. If Iran is named or hinted at, however, it will be a blatant attempt to woo U.S. hawks back to Musharraf's side.
"It was a well planned conspiracy by a foreign country to cause devastation at such a scale," he said in an interview yesterday, insisting that rioters had been "hired by foreign elements" and refused to accept that the mayhem was a spontaneous reaction to the tragedy.
The finance minister, however, said: "Those who were behind it will be exposed." He said the country's "enemies had implemented their plan to target strategic communications, telecommunication and railway installations which "cannot go unnoticed by the government which has already ordered a thorough inquiry into the incident".
He added: "It was not a small disturbance but was a very calculated intrigue to create such a huge law and order problem in the country", he said.