An otherwise ordinary park with a dark past.
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Formerly known as Company Bagh, this park has been the unfortunate host to not one but two high profile political assassinations that shook Pakistan.
Visitors to Liaquat Bagh, located on one of the main arteries in the garrison city of Rawalpindi, may find themselves unaware that they walk in the footprints of gruesome history.
On October 16, 1951, Pakistan’s first Prime Minister, Liaquat Ali Khan, was shot dead by an Afghan assailant during a public meeting of his political party here. The park was later renamed Liaquat Bagh (or Liaquat Park) in his memory.
Decades later in 2007, the first female Prime Minister of Pakistan, Benazir Bhutto, was murdered moments after addressing a political rally in the park on December 2007. She died from injuries sustained after the shooting and subsequent blast outside the venue that left 20 others dead.
Both cases remain unsolved to this day and have fueled numerous conspiracy theories.
In 2016, the park also hosted the funeral of convicted murderer Mumtaz Qadri, who shot governor Punjab Salman Taseer in 2011 over allegations of blasphemy. The funeral drew in thousands of religious fundamentalists who thronged the park to pay their last respects to an assassin.
But a visit there today and you would never know anything happened, as no visible markers or memorials indicate its dark history. Liaquat Bagh remains a popular spot for the residents of Rawalpindi, serving as little more than an inviting park in a concrete jungle short on green space.
Know Before You Go
To avoid traffic, the park can be accessed by the Rawalpindi-Islamabad Metro Bus service, which includes a stop adjacent to Liaquat Bagh.
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