Pakistani former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has been assassinated in a suicide attack.
Ms Bhutto - the first woman PM in an Islamic state - was leaving an election rally in Rawalpindi when a gunman shot her in the neck and set off a bomb.
At least 20 other people died in the attack and several more were injured.
President Pervez Musharraf has urged people to remain calm but angry protests have gripped some cities, with at least 11 deaths reported.
Security forces have been placed on a state of "red alert" nationwide.
There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attack. Analysts believe Islamist militants to be the most likely group behind it.
Bhutto was playing a major role in Pakistan's hopefully democratic political future. She led the powerful opposition PPP party and recently returned from exile. This surprise-killing should be seen as a sign that instability is not over in Pakistan, even as Musharraf makes security laws more lenient after initiating emergency rule this fall.
The fate of Pakistanis is as unclear as ever following following the death of one of their more famous political figures. She has escaped several near-death experiences over the past few months; I guess it was a matter of time before either Musharraf's camp of the Islamists killed her.