News / Asia

Bhutto's Son Launches Political Career in Pakistan

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, son of assassinated former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto, makes a speech to launch his political career during the fifth anniversary of his mother's death, at the Bhutto family mausoleum in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh, near Larkan
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, son of assassinated former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto, makes a speech to launch his political career during the fifth anniversary of his mother's death, at the Bhutto family mausoleum in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh, near Larkan
Reuters
 The only son of assassinated former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto told hundreds of thousands of supporters on Thursday, the fifth anniversary of his mother's death, that he would carry forward her legacy, an appearance designed to anoint him as a political heir.

"I am the heir to the martyr,'' Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, 24, told the crowd in the southern province of Sindh, referring to his mother and to his grandfather, the founder of the current ruling party who was hanged by a former military ruler. "If you kill one Bhutto, there will be a Bhutto in every house.''

Bhutto was joined by hundreds of high-ranking officials, including the current president, his father Asif Zardari, to commemorate his mother's killing in a gun and suicide attack during a 2007 political campaign rally.

Making his first address to a mass rally televised live, he said: "Bhutto is not a name, it is an obsession, a passion, a love. You can chain our feet to the ground but we will still keep moving.''

Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf told followers waving the Pakistan People's Party's green, black and red flag that the Oxford-educated Bhutto "will prove to be an important turning point for democracy and politics''.

Bhutto was named party chairman after his mother's death, but his father was named co-chair due to his youth.

 He is still not old enough to contest the elections scheduled for spring - the minimum age is 25. Bhutto, who has his mother's good looks, will only turn 25 in September.

 Zardari, locking arms with his son and waving to the crowd, said: "Bilawal has completed his studies, but the time has now come to complete his political training, to stay in Pakistan among its people and learn from them.''

Benazir Bhutto's killer has never been caught and a U.N. inquiry found that Pakistani authorities had failed to protect her or properly investigate her death. The U.N. also said that high-ranking Pakistani officials had tried to block its investigation.

 In a 30-minute address delivered alongside his mother's onion-domed tomb, Bhutto denounced the courts for what he said was the slow pace of the trial of her alleged killers. He also touched on women's rights, insurgent violence, and the economy.

 Powerful symbol

Benazir Bhutto has become a powerful symbol for the ruling party, which often refers to her as a martyr. The capital's airport and a scheme to give cash to poor families have been named after her. Officials hang her portraits on walls.

The Bhuttos championed the rights of the poor in a country where feudal landlords owned vast tracts of land and agricultural workers often live in deep poverty. Many rally participants waved portraits of Benazir Bhutto wearing her trademark white headscarf.
           Her husband, elected following her death, is less popular.

Zardari was jailed on corruption charges from 1996 to 2004 that he says were politically motivated.

 The president is locked in a power struggle with the Supreme Court, which has been battling to reopen corruption cases against him. Zardari's aides say he has immunity.

 Many Pakistanis are angry that Zardari's government has failed to tackle pervasive corruption or end the daily power cuts that have brought its industrial sector to its knees.
          
The elections should mark the first time in Pakistan's history that one elected civilian government hands power to another.

The nuclear-armed country of 180 million people has a history of military coups. After one such coup, the new military ruler hanged Benazir Bhutto's father in prison in 1979.

Benazir Bhutto served civilian governments as prime minister twice but was dismissed on corruption charges both times.

You May Like

DRC Tries Mega-Farms to Feed Population

Park at Boukanga Lonzo currently has 5,000 hectares under cultivation, crops stretching as far as eye can see, and is start of ambitious large-scale agriculture plan More

Video Survivor Video Testimonies Recount Horrors of Guatemalan Genocide

During a conflict that spanned more than three decades, tens of thousands of indigenous Mayans were killed More

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Areas are spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, source of livelihood for fishermen and herders who have called the marshes home for generations More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOAi
X
August 31, 2015 2:17 AM
Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video Nobel Prize Winner Malala Talks to VOA

Nobel Peace Prize winner Malala Yousafzai met with VOA's Deewa service in Washington Sunday to talk about women’s rights and unveil a trailer for her new documentary. VOA's Katherine Gypson has more.
Video

Video War, Drought Threaten Iraq's Marshlands

Iraq's southern wetlands are in crisis. These areas are the spawning ground for Gulf fisheries, a resting place for migrating wildfowl, and source of livelihood for fishermen and herders. Faith Lapidus has more.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Rebuilding New Orleans' Music Scene

Ten years after Hurricane Katrina inundated New Orleans, threatening to wash away its vibrant musical heritage along with its neighborhoods, the beat goes on. As Bronwyn Benito and Faith Lapidus report, a Musicians' Village is preserving the city's unique sound.
Video

Video In Russia, Auto Industry in Tailspin

Industry insiders say country relies too heavily on imports as inflation cuts too many consumers out of the market. Daniel Schearf has more from Moscow.
Video

Video Scientist Calls Use of Fetal Tissue in Medical Research Essential

An anti-abortion group responsible for secret recordings of workers at a women's health care organization claims the workers shown are offering baby parts for sale, a charge the organization strongly denies. While the selling of fetal tissue is against the law in the United States, abortion and the use of donated fetal tissue for medical research are both legal. VOA’s Julie Taboh reports.
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.

VOA Blogs