December 27, 2007 / 2:39 PM / 12 years ago

TIMELINE: Bhutto assassinated in Pakistan

(Reuters) - Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated on Thursday in a gun and bomb attack after holding an election rally in the city of Rawalpindi. Her party and state media confirmed her death.

Here is a chronology of major political events in the country in recent months:

March 9, 2007 - President Pervez Musharraf suspends Supreme Court Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry over allegations of misconduct. Lawyers rally round him and Musharraf’s popularity plummets.

July 10 - Musharraf orders troops to storm the Red Mosque in Islamabad to crush a Taliban-style movement there. At least 105 people are killed. Militant attacks and suicide bombings follow.

July 20 - Supreme Court reinstates Chief Justice Chaudhry, dealing a blow to Musharraf’s authority.

July 27 - Musharraf meets former prime minister Benazir Bhutto in Abu Dhabi for inconclusive talks on how to move the country towards a civilian-led democracy. Bhutto demands that Musharraf step down as army chief.

Sept 10 - Former prime minister Nawaz Sharif is arrested at Islamabad airport on his arrival from exile, despite the Supreme Court clearing his return. He is deported to Saudi Arabia.

October 2 - Musharraf’s government announces it will drop graft charges against Bhutto, clearing the way for her return.

October 6 - Musharraf wins a new presidential term in a vote by legislators. Supreme Court holds off confirming legality of vote.

October 19 - Suicide bomber tries to assassinate Bhutto in Karachi as she returns from eight years of exile. At least 139 people are killed in one of the country’s deadliest attacks.

November 2 - Supreme Court reconvenes to decide if Musharraf was eligible to stand for re-election while army chief.

November 3 - Musharraf imposes emergency rule, detaining thousands of opposition politicians and lawyers.

November 11 - Musharraf says election will take place on January 8.

November 13 - Bhutto is placed under house arrest for a week in Lahore, hours before a planned march against emergency rule. Bhutto says Musharraf must quit as president.

November 14 - Sharif says he is ready to work with Bhutto.

November 15 - Musharraf appoints Senate chairman Mohammadmian Soomro to head a caretaker line-up to oversee elections.

November 22 - Commonwealth suspends Pakistan.

November 25 - Sharif returns from exile.

November 28 - A tearful Musharraf hands command of the army to General Ashfaq Kayani.

November 29 - Musharraf is sworn in as civilian leader.

November 30 - Bhutto publishes her manifesto for the January 8 election, keeping open the option of boycotting the vote.

December 9 - Sharif says he will take part in election, rather than boycott.

December 15 - Musharraf lifts the state of emergency and restores the constitution.

December 27 - Bhutto is killed in a gun and bomb attack after a rally in Rawalpindi. At least 16 people are killed in the blast.

Writing by David Cutler and Gill Murdoch, London Editorial Reference Unit; editing by Roger Crabb

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