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Shocker: Bhutto’s Son, Husband Succeed Her

From those champions of representative democracy at the AFP:

Asif ali Zardari, right, husband of Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto attends his wife’s funeral with their son Bilawal Bhutto, second from left, at her family’s mausoleum, in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh, near Larkana, Pakistan on Friday, Dec. 28, 2007.

Bhutto’s son takes over party, husband is co-chairman

by Hasan Mansoor

NAUDERO, Pakistan (AFP) – The party of Pakistan’s murdered opposition leader Benazir Bhutto named her 19-year-old son as its new leader Sunday and announced it would contest upcoming general elections.

Bilawal Bhutto, a student at Britain’s Oxford University, was named party chairman at an emergency meeting, taking the reins of the party formerly led by his mother and grandfather, both of whom met violent deaths.

The party also appointed Bhutto’s husband Asif Ali Zardari as co-chairman, and called for a United Nations probe into the circumstances of her slaying in a gun and suicide bomb attack Thursday.

Democracy is the best revenge,” Bilawal told a chaotic news conference in the Bhutto family’s ancestral home here, vowing the party’s “long and historic struggle for democracy will continue with a new vigour.”

Zardari said the Pakistan People’s Party would take part in the scheduled January 8 parliamentary elections, seen as a key step in Pakistan’s transition to civilian democracy.

“We will go to elections,” he told reporters.

The decisions came just three days after Bhutto’s assassination at a rally stunned the nuclear-armed nation and left a void at the head of the PPP, the country’s largest political party.

Taking part in the election has the potential to restore some much-needed stability after the street violence triggered by her slaying that has left at least 38 people dead.

A spokesman for Nawaz Sharif, Bhutto’s main opposition rival, said earlier that it would review its own decision to boycott the election if the PPP was going to take part, and Zardari urged it to join the polls.

The PPP meeting in the Bhutto family’s ancestral home in Naudero, deep in southern Pakistan, began amid emotional scenes as thousands of mourners beat their chests in grief and denounced President Pervez Musharraf.

“Bilawal is the new chairman of the party and Asif Ali Zardari will assist him as co-chairman,” a party official said.

It means the party leadership follows the bloodline for a third generation, some four decades after it was founded by Bilawal’s grandfather Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, a prime minister who was ousted and later hanged by the military.

Political commentator Najam Sethi said Zardari would “run the show to keep the place warm” for Bilawal, much like India’s Sonia Gandhi for her son Rahul.

PPP vice president Makhdoom Amin Fahim and its Punjab provincial president Makhdoom Shah Mahmood Qureshi will sit on a so-called “advisory council” for their young leader, party officials said.

As the PPP convened, the PML-Q backing Musharraf announced it was suspending its own campaigning for the vote and suggested a delay of up to 12 weeks…

So much for the media’s grand illusion about Mrs. Bhutto’s dedication to democracy.

This article was posted by Steve on Sunday, December 30th, 2007. Comments are currently closed.

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