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PPP to Decide Bhutto`s Successor

Posted December. 31, 2007 05:29,   


Following the death of Pakistan’s former premier Benazir Bhutto, who led the Pakistan’s biggest opposition the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), who will be her successor has become a matter of grave concern. Foreign media outlets reported that the PPP yesterday held a central executive committee meeting in Bhutto family’s hometown and that it would decide the next party leader after making public Bhutto’s written will.

Regarding the matter, the weekly magazine, Newsweek, quoted an anonymous relative of Bhutto last Saturday as saying that former Prime Minister Bhutto designated her only son Bilawal (19) as her successor.

Bhutto’s father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, founded the PPP in 1967. If Bilawal becomes the new party leader, the third generation of the Bhutto family will lead the party. Bilawal entered Oxford University this year, as did his maternal grandfather and mother.

However, Bhutto`s spokeswoman Sherry Rehman told AFP, “Bilawal is still young and he doesn’t want to enter politics.”

A political critic forecasted that even if Bilawal becomes a leader, his father Asif Ali Zardari (51) will rule as regent for some time.

Zardari is called by the local media “Mr. 10 percent” since it was revealed that he asked the companies involved in the government projects for huge commissions while his wife Bhutto was in office. His involvement in irregularities and corruption was a main factor behind the fall of Bhutto in 1996.

Newsweek reported that even after Bilawal becomes a party leader and Zardari rules as regent, neither of them will come forward as the PPP’s candidate for prime minister.

Bhutto’s younger sister and only living sibling Sanam Bhutto (50) is also being mentioned as a next party leader.

Meanwhile, following the other opposition party led by Nawaz Sharif, former Pakistani prime minister, the PPP demanded the formation of a new interim government at the meeting and is expected to boycott the general election to be held on January 8. Under the situation, there is a widespread concern that general election is likely to be hampered.

The AP reported that since the death of Bhutto, at least 44 people have died in a series of riots by her supporters and that damage worth tens of millions of dollars has been incurred.