Malta condemns Bhutto assassination

Maltese Foreign Minister Michael Frendo this afternoon condemned the assassination of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto. "The killing of Benazir Bhutto is an attack on democracy and on secular politics in Pakistan. We express our solidarity with the people of Pakistan at this moment of loss,” Dr Frendo said in a statement.

Bhutto was killed in a gun and bomb attack after a rally in the city of Rawalpindi

"She has been martyred," said party official Rehman Malik. Bhutto, 54, died in hospital in Rawalpindi. Ary-One Television said she had been shot in the head.

Police said a suicide bomber fired shots at Bhutto as she was leaving the rally venue in a park before blowing himself up. "The man first fired at Bhutto's vehicle. She ducked and then he blew himself up," said police officer Mohammad Shahid.

Police said 16 people had been killed in the blast.

A Reuters witness said he saw bodies on a road as well as a mutilated human head.

A suicide bomber killed nearly 150 people in an attack on Bhutto on October 18 as she paraded through the southern city of Karachi after returning home from eight years in self-imposed exile.

The killing drew condemnation from around the world.

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