Mr. Riedel believes that that it is possible that the assassination of opposition leader, Benazir Bhutto was caused by Al-Qaeda. However, he is not one-hundred percent certain that Al-Qaeda orchestrated the suicide bombing the claimed the lives of Benazir Bhutto and eleven others.
But, he added that it’s possible that the assassination was carried out by Al-Qaeda’s Pakistani allies.
He said: “Their objective is to destabilize the Pakistani state, to break up the secular political parties, to break up the army so that Pakistan becomes a politically failing state in which the Islamists in time can come to power much as they have in other failing states.”
Riedel has suggested that the United States press President Musharraf’s administration to go ahead with the parliamentary elections after a brief pause.
“The only way that Pakistan is going to be able to fight terrorism effectively is to have a legitimate democratically elected secular government that can rally the Pakistani people to engage Al Qaeda, the Taliban, and other extremist movements,” he added.
When asked who he thought was responsible, Mr. Riedel answered with either Al-Qaeda or its allies in Pakistan. He explains that Al-Qaeda has been trying to kill Ms. Bhutto for decades. Riedel also believes that they are more than likely responsible for the attack during her return to Pakistan.
He implies that her assassination is an objective to destabilize Pakistan so that the Islamist extremists can take power.
When asked about the elections on January 8, Mr. Riedel explains that there’s a chance they will be postponed, at least temporarily for the most part. He speculates that it will give the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) to find someone to replace Ms. Bhutto as a candidate.
Mr. Riedel further explains that there will be backlash from the Pakistani people if Mr. Musharraf postpones elections indefinitely. He adds that the people want a chance to produce a new and legitimate government.
In terms of finding a replacement, he feels that there is no apparent successor as Ms. Bhutto was the life blood of the PPP. He adds this might hurt other secular parties. Mr. Riedel says that Nawaz Sherif does not want to be elected this way as he has been advocating elections with all political parties running.