An interview with Benazir Bhutto before the former Pakistani prime minister was assassinated was important enough to keep on the cover of Parade magazine, the magazine’s publisher said Sunday — even though the publication had already gone to print when Bhutto was killed.
Randy Siegel said Parade went to press on Dec. 21 and was already on its way to the 400 newspapers that distribute it when Bhutto was killed in a Dec. 27 shooting and bombing attack at a campaign rally in her country.
The Web version of the story was updated, Siegel said, but it was too late to change the magazine. He said the only option other than running the outdated article would have been asking newspapers not to distribute the magazine at all.
“We decided that this was an important interview to share with the American people,” he said.
In the interview, Bhutto says that her enemies want her dead.
“I am what terrorists most fear, a female political leader fighting to bring modernity to Pakistan,” Bhutto told author Gail Sheehy, who interviewed her weeks earlier. “Now they’re trying to kill me.”
Sheehy, the best-selling author of books including “Passages” and “Hillary’s Choice,” spent several days with Bhutto in late November at her hometown of Larkana, Siegel said.
Parade, published by Parade Publications, is distributed by Sunday newspapers including the Boston Globe, The Dallas Morning News, the Los Angeles Times and The Washington Post.
Many newspapers including the Post, the Las Vegas Review-Journal, the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Houston Chronicle ran editor’s notes on the front page or elsewhere explaining that the magazine had gone to press before Bhutto’s death.
The assassination plunged an already volatile Pakistan deeper into crisis and stoked fears of a political meltdown.
Bhutto’s husband has accused members of Pakistan’s government of involvement in her killing and has called for a United Nations investigation. Pakistan’s President Pervez Musharraf, a close U.S. ally in the war against terror, has blamed a tribal militant leader suspected of ties to al-Qaida.
Bhutto served two terms as Pakistan’s leader after her father, Zulkifar Bhutto, was overthrown as prime minister and hanged.
Sheehy asked the 54-year-old Bhutto whether she had healed from the trauma of her father’s death when she was 25.
Bhutto, a pro-U.S. moderate who had vowed to fight Islamic extremists if she was elected in an upcoming parliamentary vote, said her father’s parting words before his execution were, “You can walk away. You’re young. You can go to live in London or Paris or Geneva.”
She told Sheehy she responded, “No, I have to keep up this mission of yours, of democracy.”