NEW DELHI (Reuters) - India said the assassination of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto on Thursday was a tragedy and a terrible blow to the democratic process.
“In her death the subcontinent has lost an outstanding leader who worked for democracy and reconciliation in her country,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in a statement.
“The manner of her going is a reminder of the common dangers that our region faces from cowardly acts of terrorism and of the need to eradicate this dangerous threat.”
Bhutto was killed in a gun and bomb attack as she left an election rally in the Pakistani city of Rawalpindi, ahead of a national election due on January 8.
Singh said he was “deeply shocked and horrified” to hear of the death of a leader “who left a deep imprint on her time and age.” Her desire to improve relations with India were “exemplary,” he added.
India’s foreign ministry praised an “outstanding woman leader of the subcontinent.”
“Mrs. Bhutto’s contribution to democracy, to the improvement of India-Pakistan relations, and to the restoration of normalcy within Pakistan will be an inspiration,” India’s foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee said in a statement.
“It is a terrible blow to the democratic process,” said junior foreign minister Anand Sharma.
Reporting by Jonathan Allen; Writing by Simon Denyer; Editing by David Fogarty