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Doctor relives father's fate after Bhutto attack

ISLAMABAD (Reuters) - A grim twist of fate saw Pakistani doctor Mussadiq Khan struggling to save the life of a Pakistani leader struck down by an assassin, just as Khan’s father had done 56 years ago.

Mussadiq Khan, a doctor from Rawalpindi General Hospital, speaks during a news conference in Rawalpindi December 28, 2007. A grim twist of fate saw Khan struggling to save the life of a Pakistani leader struck down by an assassin just as his father had done 56 year ago. REUTERS/Stringer

Khan battled in vain to save the life of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto when she was brought to his hospital in Rawlapindi on Thursday following a gun and bomb attack as she left an election rally at a city park.

Khan’s doctor father, Sadiq Khan, was on duty at his Rawalpindi hospital in October 1951 when Pakistan’s first prime minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, was brought in after he was gunned down at a rally in the same park where Bhutto was attacked.

Liaquat Ali Khan was also killed and the park was later named Liaquat Bagh after him. Bagh means garden in Urdu.

“It’s God’s will,” Khan told Reuters when asked about the coincidence of father and son attending to two Pakistani leaders attacked in the same place.

Khan said Bhutto was almost dead when she was brought in.

“She was not breathing. She had no blood pressure, no heartbeat. We did a full resuscitation. We worked hard but unfortunately we could not revive her.”

“I did my best but I didn’t succeed. What can I say? ... She was a great leader. She was our leader.”

In another grim echo from Pakistan’s turbulent history, Bhutto was killed about two kilometres away from the spot where her father, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, was hanged in 1979.

Her father, Pakistan’s first popularly elected leader, was executed by a military dictator two years after he was overthrown in a coup. The jail where he was hanged was torn down when Benazir became prime minister, and turned into a park.

Like the government, Khan has said Bhutto was killed by the force of a blow as her head hit a lever on her car’s sunroof when a suicide bomber set off explosives.

Members of her party insisted she was killed by gunshots. Two security officials, who declined to be identified, had also said shortly after the attack she was killed by bullets.

Khan’s two sons are also doctors. He hopes there will be no more coincidences: “God forbid it doesn’t happen to them.”