Media Contact: Lale Mamaux
(Washington, DC) Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) and Co-Chairman Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), issued the following statement in response to Pakistan’s former Prime Minister and opposition leader Benazir Bhutto’s assassination earlier today outside a campaign rally in Rawalpindi:
“We condemn in the strongest possible terms the attack that killed Prime Minister Bhutto and over 20 others earlier today. The cowards who orchestrated these atrocities must be brought to justice and the violence must come to an end. Prime Minister Bhutto was a courageous example to those of us who believe in unfettered participatory democracy and reform. We extend our most sincere condolences to Prime Minister Bhutto’s family and to the people of Pakistan.
“As leaders of the U.S. Helsinki Commission, whose job is to encourage compliance with the Helsinki Final Act, the landmark human rights and democracy-building declaration signed in 1975, we are deeply concerned by this attack and the outbreak of violence in its response. Prime Minister Bhutto fought for democracy and made the ultimate sacrifice for her country. The political unrest in Pakistan comes at a critical time for the region and we must not forget what Prime Minister Bhutto was fighting for and urge peace, stability, and democracy to prevail,” said Co-Chairmen Hastings and Cardin.
The Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, also known as the Helsinki Commission, is a U.S. Government agency that monitors progress in the implementation of the provisions of the 1975 Helsinki Accords. The Commission consists of nine members from the United States Senate, nine from the House of Representatives, and one member each from the Departments of State, Defense and Commerce.