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Benazir Bhutto

Bhutto's Son Chosen As Eventual Party Chief

19-Year-Old's Father To Preside in Interim

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Pakistani women light candles in front of a portrait of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto during a vigil at her Pakistan Peoples Party office Saturday Dec. 29, 2007 in Lahore, Pakistan. Pakistan says it does not need foreign assistance to investigate Benazir Bhutto's assassination, despite deepening controversy over how she died and who killed her.
Pakistani women light candles in front of a portrait of former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto during a vigil at her Pakistan Peoples Party office Saturday Dec. 29, 2007 in Lahore, Pakistan. Pakistan says it does not need foreign assistance to investigate Benazir Bhutto's assassination, despite deepening controversy over how she died and who killed her. (Ed Wray - AP)
Supporters of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto lay flowers in front of their leader's portrait during a ceremony, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2007 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Islamic militants said Saturday they had no link to Bhutto's assassination, dismissing government claims that a leader of pro-Taliban forces in Pakistan orchestrated the suicide attack on the opposition leader.
Supporters of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto lay flowers in front of their leader's portrait during a ceremony, Saturday, Dec. 29, 2007 in Rawalpindi, Pakistan. Islamic militants said Saturday they had no link to Bhutto's assassination, dismissing government claims that a leader of pro-Taliban forces in Pakistan orchestrated the suicide attack on the opposition leader. (Mohammad Zubair - AP)
Zulfiqar Junior nephew of Pakistan former prime Minister Benazir Bhutto sits at the grave of Benizar Bhutto in Gahri Khuda Bakash near Larkana, Pakistan on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2007. Pakistan's government asserted Friday that al-Qaida was behind the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, and offered the transcript of a conversation as proof.
Zulfiqar Junior nephew of Pakistan former prime Minister Benazir Bhutto sits at the grave of Benizar Bhutto in Gahri Khuda Bakash near Larkana, Pakistan on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2007. Pakistan's government asserted Friday that al-Qaida was behind the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, and offered the transcript of a conversation as proof. (Shakil Adil - AP)
A woman supporters of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto mourns over the death of her leader during a protest rally in Lahore, Pakistan on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2007. Mass rioting following the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto has led to the deaths of 38 people and caused tens of millions of dollars in damage, the government said.
A woman supporters of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto mourns over the death of her leader during a protest rally in Lahore, Pakistan on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2007. Mass rioting following the assassination of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto has led to the deaths of 38 people and caused tens of millions of dollars in damage, the government said. (K M Chaudary - AP)
A supporter of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto chants anti government slogans during a protest rally in Lahore, Pakistan on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2007.
A supporter of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto chants anti government slogans during a protest rally in Lahore, Pakistan on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2007. (K M Chaudary - AP)
Family members of Pakistan's former prime Minister Benazir Bhutto pray at her grave in Gahri Khuda Bakhash near Larkana, Pakistan on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2007.
Family members of Pakistan's former prime Minister Benazir Bhutto pray at her grave in Gahri Khuda Bakhash near Larkana, Pakistan on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2007. (B.k.bangash - AP)
Family members of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto pray at her grave in Gahri Khuda Bakhash near Larkana, Pakistan on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2007.
Family members of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto pray at her grave in Gahri Khuda Bakhash near Larkana, Pakistan on Saturday, Dec. 29, 2007. (B.k.bangash - AP)
Supporters of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto mourn at the grave of their leader in Garhi Khuda Bakhash near Larkana, Pakistan on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2007.
Supporters of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto mourn at the grave of their leader in Garhi Khuda Bakhash near Larkana, Pakistan on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2007. (Shakil Adil - AP)
Supporters of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto mourn at the grave of their leader in Garhi Khuda Bakhash near Larkana, Pakistan on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2007.
Supporters of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto mourn at the grave of their leader in Garhi Khuda Bakhash near Larkana, Pakistan on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2007. (Shakil Adil - AP)
Supporters of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto mourn at the grave of their leader in Garhi Khuda Bakhash near Larkana, Pakistan on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2007.
Supporters of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto mourn at the grave of their leader in Garhi Khuda Bakhash near Larkana, Pakistan on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2007. (B.k.bangash - AP)
Supporters of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto mourn at the grave of their leader in Garhi Khuda Bakhash near Larkana, Pakistan on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2007.
Supporters of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto mourn at the grave of their leader in Garhi Khuda Bakhash near Larkana, Pakistan on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2007. (B.k.bangash - AP)
Supporters of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto mourn at the grave of their leader in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh near Larkana, Pakistan on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2007.
Supporters of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto mourn at the grave of their leader in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh near Larkana, Pakistan on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2007. (B.k.bangash - AP)
Supporters of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto mourn at the grave of their leader in Garhi Khuda Bakhash near Larkana, Pakistan on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2007.
Supporters of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto mourn at the grave of their leader in Garhi Khuda Bakhash near Larkana, Pakistan on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2007. (B.k.bangash - AP)
Supporters of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto mourn at the grave of their leader in Garhi Khuda Bakhash near Larkana, Pakistan, on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2007.
Supporters of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto mourn at the grave of their leader in Garhi Khuda Bakhash near Larkana, Pakistan, on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2007. (B.k.bangash - AP)
Supporters of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto mourn at the grave of their leader in Garhi Khuda Bakhash near Larkana, Pakistan on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2007.
Supporters of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto mourn at the grave of their leader in Garhi Khuda Bakhash near Larkana, Pakistan on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2007. (B.k.bangash - AP)
Supporters of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto mourn at the grave of their leader in Garhi Khuda Bakhash near Larkana, Pakistan on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2007.
Supporters of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto mourn at the grave of their leader in Garhi Khuda Bakhash near Larkana, Pakistan on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2007. (B.k.bangash - AP)
Supporters of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto mourn at the grave of their leader in Garhi Khuda Bakhash near Larkana, Pakistan on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2007.
Supporters of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto mourn at the grave of their leader in Garhi Khuda Bakhash near Larkana, Pakistan on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2007. (Shakil Adil - AP)
Asif Ali Zardari, left, husband of slain Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto attends party meeting with his daughters Asifa, right, and Bakhtawar, second from right, at Bhutto's residence in Naudero, near Larkana, Pakistan on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2007. Supporters of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto met Sunday to choose her successor, with either her son or husband seen as favorites.
Asif Ali Zardari, left, husband of slain Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto attends party meeting with his daughters Asifa, right, and Bakhtawar, second from right, at Bhutto's residence in Naudero, near Larkana, Pakistan on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2007. Supporters of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto met Sunday to choose her successor, with either her son or husband seen as favorites. (Shakil Adil - AP)
Pakistani police fire tear gas at Benazir Bhutto supporters, not seen, who had set up a road block and hurled rocks at passing vehicles in Karachi, Pakistan Saturday, Dec. 29, 2007.
Pakistani police fire tear gas at Benazir Bhutto supporters, not seen, who had set up a road block and hurled rocks at passing vehicles in Karachi, Pakistan Saturday, Dec. 29, 2007. (Fareed Khan - AP)
A supporter of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto lights candles next to her portrait after showering rose petals during a ceremony at the site of Thursday's suicide bombing in Rawalpindi, Pakistan Sunday, Dec. 30, 2007.
A supporter of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto lights candles next to her portrait after showering rose petals during a ceremony at the site of Thursday's suicide bombing in Rawalpindi, Pakistan Sunday, Dec. 30, 2007. (Anjum Naveed - AP)
A supporter of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto chants anti government slogans beside burning tires during a protest rally in Rawalpindi, Pakistan Sunday, Dec. 30, 2007.
A supporter of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto chants anti government slogans beside burning tires during a protest rally in Rawalpindi, Pakistan Sunday, Dec. 30, 2007. (Anjum Naveed - AP)
Asif Ali Zardari, right in white cap, husband of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, lays a shawl with Quranic verses on the grave of his wife, Friday, Dec. 28, 2007, Gari Khuda Bux, Pakistan. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, his son stands on his right.
Asif Ali Zardari, right in white cap, husband of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, lays a shawl with Quranic verses on the grave of his wife, Friday, Dec. 28, 2007, Gari Khuda Bux, Pakistan. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, his son stands on his right. (Shakil Adil - AP)
Asif Ali Zardari, left, husband of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, gestures along side their son Bilawal during Bhutto's burial at her family's mausoleum, in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh, near Larkana, Pakistan on Friday, Dec. 28, 2007.
Asif Ali Zardari, left, husband of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, gestures along side their son Bilawal during Bhutto's burial at her family's mausoleum, in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh, near Larkana, Pakistan on Friday, Dec. 28, 2007. (Shakil Adil - AP)
Asif Ali Zardari, left, husband of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, seen in photo, addresses a news conference with his son Bilawal Bhutto who has been nominated Chairman of the party in Naudero, near Larkana, Pakistan on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2007. 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 move to full democracy after years of military rule.
Asif Ali Zardari, left, husband of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, seen in photo, addresses a news conference with his son Bilawal Bhutto who has been nominated Chairman of the party in Naudero, near Larkana, Pakistan on Sunday, Dec. 30, 2007. 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 move to full democracy after years of military rule. (Shakil Adil - AP)
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Washington Post Foreign Service
Monday, December 31, 2007; Page A01

KARACHI, Pakistan, Dec. 30 -- Pakistan's largest and most storied political party chose Sunday to continue its dynastic traditions, anointing the 19-year-old son of slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto to be her ultimate successor but picking her husband to lead for now.

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The selections mean that the Pakistan People's Party, which casts itself as the voice of democracy in Pakistan, will stay in family hands for a third generation.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who had largely been shielded from the spotlight by his mother and has not lived in Pakistan since he was a young boy, will lead the party when he finishes his studies at Oxford University.

Speaking briefly but forcefully at a news conference in the Bhutto family's ancestral home, he said he would strive to honor his mother's legacy. "The party's long and historic struggle will continue with renewed vigor," he said. "My mother always said democracy is the best revenge."

Bhutto's husband, Asif Ali Zardari, whose reputation has long been tainted by corruption charges, will run the party for at least the next several years. He said Sunday that the succession strategy reflected the wishes of his wife, who died in a gun-and-bomb attack at a rally Thursday afternoon.

The party's new leaders -- neither of whom had been a major player in Pakistani politics -- take over at an especially turbulent time for the country, with elections on the horizon and President Pervez Musharraf clinging to power amid widespread unrest.

Asif Zardari quickly announced that the party will compete in the parliamentary vote scheduled for Jan. 8. Another opposition party, led by former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, indicated it will do the same.

But Musharraf allies strongly hinted that the election would be postponed, possibly for months. "Delaying the election is very much in the cards," said Tariq Azim Khan, information secretary for the major pro-Musharraf party. "If you ask me personally if I would go ahead, I would say it would be unfair to go out and campaign in these sad times."

Although the Bush administration pressed Pakistani leaders last week to keep to the election schedule, the State Department said Sunday that it had no objections to a slight postponement.

"If the people on the ground think this is not the time for an election, that is fine," said spokesman Robert McInturff. "But we would want to see an alternative date. We do not want to see an indefinite delay."

Bhutto's killing Thursday was followed by unrest across the country, as rioting broke out in major cities as well as small villages. The atmosphere remained tense Sunday, with army deployments in several key areas, but the violence eased. Still, Bhutto's legions of supporters continued to blame Musharraf for her death.

Zardari called Sunday for the United Nations to lead an international inquiry into his wife's killing, while conceding that he had declined to give Pakistani officials permission to conduct an autopsy. "Their forensic reports are useless," he said angrily, calling the suggestion of an autopsy "an insult to my wife, to the sister of the nation, to the mother of the nation."


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