Sunday, December 30, 2007
Democracy is best revenge
PPP demands UN probe into Benazir’s assassination
The News, December 30, 2007
NAUDERO: Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), the party of Pakistan's murdered opposition leader Benazir Bhutto called for a United Nations probe into the circumstances of Benazir slaying in a gun and suicide bomb attack Thursday.
PPP named her 19-year-old son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari 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.
"Democracy is the best revenge," Bilawal Bhutto Zardari 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.
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 "advisory council" for their young leader, party officials said.
Profile: Bilawal Bhutto Zardari - BBC
at 12:17 PM