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Slain Bhutto laid to rest in family tomb

Slain Bhutto laid to rest in family tomb

Pakistan's assassinated former premier Benazir Bhutto was laid to rest in her family's ancestral grave yesterday amid the wails and tears of hundreds of thousands of mourners.
Bhutto's husband Asif Zardari wept as her coffin was lowered into the tomb at the white, three-domed mausoleum deep in Pakistan's rural south.
Her son Bilawal appeared in a state of shock as a mullah led the throng in prayers and chants of "Allahu Akhbar" (God is Greater).
Those outside beat their chest in grief, while many shouted slogans blaming Pakistan President Pervez Musharraf over her death in a suicide attack Thursday as she left a campaign rally in the northern city of Rawalpindi.
A huge roar had greeted her coffin, wrapped in the black, green and red of her Pakistan People's Party, as it was driven toward the Bhutto mausoleum in a white vehicle.
It took more than two hours to crawl the five kilometers from her family's home in Naudero to the private mausoleum in the village of Ghari Khuda Baksh where Bhutto's father and two brothers are also buried.
"We will take revenge for her death, we believe Musharraf was responsible," said one mourner, Mohabbat Ali.
"It was tyrannical to kill her," railed another, Ghulam Nabi, adding, "She was innocent, she was the nation's leader and admired all over the world."
As authorities struggled to keep a lid on the violence that erupted across the country, the government pointed a finger at al-Qaida for her slaying.
The scale of the unrest has effectively paralyzed this nuclear-armed Muslim nation, triggering alarm bells around the world and throwing scheduled January 8 elections into disarray.
Al-Qaida hit list
Pakistan's Interior ministry spokesman Brigadier Javed Cheema said Bhutto had been on an al-Qaida hit list and it was likely the Islamic extremist network played a role in Thursday's suicide attack that killed her and around 20 others.
"Benazir has been on the hit list of al-Qaida," he told Agence France-Presse. "Now there is every possibility that al-Qaida is behind this tragic attack to undermine the security of Pakistan."
Officials ordered paramilitary forces in Karachi, a Bhutto stronghold, to shoot rioters on sight and sent troops into several other cities in the south.
At least 19 people have been killed in violence since Bhutto's death, and there have been angry demonstrations in several cities, with mobs ransacking offices and torching buildings and vehicles.
Police fired tear gas at protesters in Rawalpindi and a crowd of some 1,500 stormed the office of a pro-government party in Peshawar.
The two-time former premier was interred next to her father, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, also a prime minister, who was executed by the military in 1979 after he was ousted from power.
Bhutto, 54, was leaving a rally where she had been campaigning for the vote when a suicide bomber shot her in the neck before blowing himself up.
U.S. President George W. Bush described the killing as a "cowardly act" and telephoned Musharraf - a crucial ally in the U.S.-led "war on terror" against Islamic extremism - to urge Pakistan to stay on the path of democracy.
The assassination also thrust U.S. security concerns back into the spotlight on the political front, less than a week before first voting in the Democratic and Republican nominating contests.
Analysts agonized over the future of Pakistan, beset by chronic instability and extremist violence.
Bhutto's death, said Britain's Financial Times, "leaves a hole in national politics and adds a vicious extra dimension of disintegration to a country that is already falling apart after decades of civilian and military misrule."


Updated : 2021-06-20 06:22 GMT+08:00