‘Long live Bhutto’ were Benazir’s last words: adviser

MS Benazir Bhutto's last words were 'Long live Bhutto', the chief political adviser with the former Pakistani prime minister as she was killed told the British newspaper The Sunday Telegraph.

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Ms Bhutto (above) shouted 'Long live Bhutto' from her car just before she was killed at a campaign rally in the northern city of Rawalpindi on Thursday, said chief political advisor Safdar Abbassi.

Ms Bhutto shouted the words from her car just before she was killed at a campaign rally in the northern city of Rawalpindi on Thursday, said Mr Safdar Abbassi, who said he was sitting behind her in the vehicle.

'She did not say anything more,' he recalled, in what the weekly broadsheet said was the first account of Ms Bhutto's death from inside her car.

Recounting the incident, Mr Abbassi said: 'All of a sudden there was the sound of firing. I heard the sound of a bullet.

'I saw her: she looked as though she ducked in when she heard the firing. We did not realise that she had been hit by a bullet.' He said he looked up to see Ms Bhutto sliding back through the sunroof, just before it was rocked by a huge explosion.

There was no sound from the 54-year-old and Mr Abbassi said he noticed blood seeping from a deep wound on the left side of her neck.

His wife Naheep Khan cradled Ms Bhutto's head in her lap and pressed her own headscarf onto the politician's wound to try to stem the blood flow.

However, blood spread down Ms Bhutto's neck and across her blue tunic, Mr Abbassi said.

Early reports said the opposition Pakistan People's Party (PPP) leader had been shot before a bomb exploded nearby.

However, the government said she had no gunshot or shrapnel wounds. It said the opposition leader died after smashing her head on the sunroof as she tried to duck.

Senior PPP members dismissed the government's version of events, calling it lies.

Mr Abbassi said Ms Bhutto chose to travel in the first of two waiting vehicles.

'She was smiling and she was extremely happy,' he said.

'She took me inside the car and she sat in front of me. I started chanting slogans because there were crowds all around.' Ms Bhutto lifted herself through the sunroof to wave to supporters.

'Nar-e Bhutto (let's cheer for Bhutto),' Mr Abbassi shouted.

'Jeay Bhutto (long live Bhutto),' she replied, before the sound of gunfire.

'We thought she had ducked in but she had not, she had fallen down,' Mr Abbassi said.

'She did not say a single word. For a few seconds we thought she was confused by the firing and that is why she was not talking. We did not realise.

'There was a big bang. Some of the shrapnel hit the car and then the driver sped away.

'We saw the blood: the blood was everywhere, on her neck and on her clothes and we realised she was hit. She could not say anything.'

He said Ms Bhutto was still alive when she was carried into an intensive care unit but her injuries were so severe she had no chance of survival.

'The doctors really tried their best but it was too late,' he said.

'I was so optimistic: I thought nothing would happen to her. I still feel she is alive. I cannot believe she is with us no more.' The Sunday Telegraph said Mr Abbassi was in tears and his shirt was still stained with Ms Bhutto's blood. — AFP