The U.S. State Department expressed regrets yesterday over the execution of deposed Pakistani Prime Minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto as spokesman Hodding Carter III noted that President Carter had asked for mercy on humanitarian grounds.
State Department officials noted privately that the president also feared political violence after the handing.
In Britain, Prime Minister James Callaghan expressed "deep regret" and said he had repeated his clemency plea as recently as Tuesday. French President Valery Giscard of Estaing also made a last-minute plea for Bhutto's life, and later expressed his "profound emotion" at the hanging.
Similar reactions came from around the world. The Australian Senate passed a resolution deploring Bhutto's execution while Vice President Adam Malik of Indonesia expressed sympathy for Bhutto's family.
Former Indian Prime minister Indira Gandhi, who signed a peace treaty with Bhutto after the 1971 war between India and Pakistan, said she was "shocked" and accused Pakistan President Zia ul-Haq of acting " in defiance of world opinion."
The Dutch government deplored the hanging and in Ottawa Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau said the execution left him with no choice but "to express the unhappiness and concern of all Canadians that the Pakistai authorities could not have shown clemency."
Turkish Prime Minister Bulent Ecevit expressed his sorrow over Bhutto's death and said his government was against the practice of punishing politicians in this way. "We believed clemency would have been better for the continuation of Pakistan's advancement on the democratic path," he said.