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Ruling party says Pakistan elections likely to be delayed following assassination of Bhutto

Ruling party says Pakistan elections likely to be delayed following assassination of Bhutto

Benazir Bhutto's 19-year-old son was chosen Sunday to succeed her as chairman of her opposition party, while her husband will serve as co-chairman, extending Pakistan's most famous political dynasty to another generation, party officials said.
The party also decided to contest upcoming elections, apparently ending the threat of a wholesale boycott by Pakistan's political opposition as the key U.S.-ally in its war on terror struggles to transition to full democracy after years of military rule.
The decisions were made at a closed-door meeting of the Pakistan Peoples Party central executive committee, three days after the two-time prime minister was assassinated in a suicide attack.
It catapults Bilawal Zardari, an Oxford University student with no experience in politics, to the center of Pakistan's tumultuous public life.
"The party's long struggle for democracy will continue with renewed vigor," he told a news conference. "My mother always said democracy is the best revenge."
Supporters chanted "Benazir, princess of heaven" and "Bilawal, move ahead. We are with you."
Bhutto's husband Asif Ali Zardari, 51, is a key powerbroker in the party who served as environment minister in her second government.
As co-chairman he is widely expected to have hands-on leadership of the party.
He immediately announced the group's participation in the vote, and appealed to the party of former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to drop his plans to boycott the polls _ planned for Jan. 8 but anticipated by many to be delayed following the assassination.
The government has blamed an al-Qaida-linked militant for the murder but the party disputes that and has suggested elements in the ruling party could have been behind the slaying.
Zardari appealed to the United Nations and British government to help investigate the crime.


Updated : 2021-07-27 03:36 GMT+08:00