Washington, Feb.19 : The United States has been advised to look beyond Benazir Bhutto and not to abandon Pakistan in its hour of need.
According to retired Lieutenant General James R Ellis, who served as the military attache in Pakistan for two years, replacing Brigadier Wassom who was killed in the Bahawalpur air crash with General Zia and several others, those who have railed against Pakistan's inability to protect Bhutto, should know that it was a foregone conclusion that assassination attempts would be made against her once she decided to return to Pakistan.
The Daily Times quoted Lt. General Elllis as saying that while Americans deplored Bhutto's assassination and the resulting violence, Washington could not afford to turn away from Pakistan.
"We must - for our own national interests - maintain our influence there by supporting whatever government emerges from the recent elections. Of equal importance, we must continue to support the Pakistan Army if we are to have success in neighbouring Afghanistan and in maintaining continued stability in the region," Lt. Gen. Ellis said.
He writes in the March issue of CTC Sentinel, published by the Combating Terrorism Centre at the West Point Military Academy, "Given the way she (Bhutto) mingled with the crowds and the fact that crowd control in the country is extremely difficult, it was only a matter of time before someone or some group was successful (in assassinating her)."