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Bhutto's Will Reveals Her Fear for Future of Pakistan


The party of assassinated Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto has published her political will. In the will Ms. Bhutto says she fears for the future of Pakistan and calls on her husband to lead the party. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel has details from Islamabad.

A spokesman for Ms. Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party says the will was released to remove any doubt about her wishes for the future leadership of the party.

The one-page, handwritten document was dated October 16, 2007, two days before Ms. Bhutto returned to Pakistan from eight years of exile.

A party spokeswoman, Sherry Rehman, read the will, speaking Ms. Bhutto's words during a news conference carried on nationwide television channels.

"I fear for the future of Pakistan," Rehman read. "Please continue the fight against extremism, dictatorship, poverty and ignorance."

Ms. Bhutto was assassinated last December in a suicide bombing and shooting attack as she left a political rally in Rawalpindi.

In the will, read by the spokeswoman, the former prime minister made it clear who should lead the party in the event of her death.

"I would like my husband, Asif Ali Zardari, to lead you in this interim period until you and he decide what to do best," Rehman said. "I say this because he is a man of courage and honor. He spent 11-and-a-half years in prison without bending despite torture. He has the political stature to keep our party united."

Ms. Bhutto's husband is regarded as a divisive figure in Pakistan where he was put in prison because of corruption allegedly committed out while she was prime minister.

Ms. Bhutto maintained the charges were politically motivated, and the accusations were never proven in court.

After Ms. Bhutto's death, her husband and their 19-year-old son, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, were named joint chairmen of the Pakistan People's Party.

The will ends with Ms. Bhutto calling on her supporters to rally behind the party's program.

"I wish all of you success in fulfilling the manifesto of our party and in serving the downtrodden, discriminated and oppressed people of Pakistan," Rehman read. "Dedicate yourselves to freeing them from poverty and backwardness as you have done in the past."

The Pakistani government says Ms. Bhutto was killed by al-Qaida-linked militants.

British police have been helping Pakistani authorities investigate her assassination, but have not yet released any findings.

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