ISLAMABAD – Pakistan has suffered colossal losses in rioting that erupted when opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated with damage of about $200 million to the railways alone, the government said on Monday.
Former prime minister Bhutto was killed in a gun and bomb attack as she left an election rally in the city of Rawalpindi on Thursday. Violence began as news of her death spread, particularly in her home province of Sindh in the south.
Sporadic violence flared again in Sindh on Monday but there were no reports of further deaths after four days of disturbances in which 47 people were killed.
“The loss to public property and infrastructure has been colossal,” the caretaker government said in a statement after a cabinet meeting in Islamabad.
“Manufacturing, revenue, exports have all suffered badly.”
The railway system, already facing shortages of carriages and locomotives, was hard hit with 22 locomotives and 140 coaches completely burnt and the railway telecommunications and signaling systems damaged, it said.
The total loss to the railway system was 12.38 billion rupees ($200 million), it said.
The government provided no estimates for losses to other public sectors or to private property but said the supply of fuel and food to all parts of the country had been hit by the trouble.
“The poor people have suffered the most,” said caretaker Prime Minister Mohammadmian Soomro.
“Criminal elements took advantage of the tragedy to loot and plunder,” he said. “The government moved in to stop the mayhem but unfortunately, a good deal of damage had been done.”
($1 = 61.95 rupees)