Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Bhutto Said in Will that Husband Should Lead Party

On Tuesday, newswires reported that assassinated former PM Benazir Bhutto's party, the PPP (Pakistan's People's Party) published her political will, in which she called for her husband to lead the party and said she feared for the country's future. Reuters cited a party spokesman who said "the will was being released to end any doubts about Bhutto's wishes for the leadership of the party." Following Bhutto's assassination on December 27, her husband Ali Zardari, and her son Bilawal Zardari Bhutto, were made joint chairmen of the PPP. In her political will, reportedly read out to party leaders after her funeral but kept private until today, Bhutto wrote, "I would like my husband Asif Ali Zardari to lead you in this interim period until you and he decide what is best...I say this because he is a man of courage and honor. He spent 11 years in prison without bending despite torture. He has the political stature to keep our party united."

According to Reuters, "Zardari, who was jailed on corruption charges but denied any wrongdoing, is regarded as a divisive figure. But with Bilawal still too young to run for parliament and yet to complete his university studies in Britain, it is Zardari who is the de facto leader of the party as it prepares for a February 18 general election." The PPP, reported CNN, will restart its campaign this week for the elections following the end of its 40 day self-imposed mourning period. Reuters added, "The PPP is likely to gain a considerable sympathy vote in the parliamentary elections because of Bhutto's murder."

However, will this new development and Zardari's forefront role in the party impact voters' perceptions of the PPP? According to a profile released by BBC News, Zardari has been seen as a political liability for his late wife's party. Widely known in Pakistan as "Mr. 10%," his corruption charges and alleged link to the murder of his brother-in-law Murtaza Bhutto in 1996, have seemingly haunted his reputation. However, even when he first married Benazir, Zardari apparently knew he was the "designated fall guy," a title he reportedly accepted, according to the BBC. Will this title come to haunt the party now before election time? Have perceptions of Zardari changed since Benazir's assassination?


Fahad said...

I wonder what the timing of this revelation mean-- maybe the PPP is trying to rally against the persistant rumors that Zardari doctored the will.

Either way-- it seems to me that the country will face a lot of strife and chaos if the PPP doesn't win the elections.

Anonymous said...

The contents of the will seem to be a bit too convenient for Zardari. While he was able to pass on the title to his son, he made it clear that BB wanted him to control the party. A large portion of the PPP disliked Zardari even while BB was in power and with Bilawal away at college, the unity within the party is bound to be tested.

Also, shouldn't the most democratic party's chairperson be elected democratically by the party?

Omar said...


*Zardari claims he’s best for PM’s job*

This is hilarious. He has completely lost the plot!

Colin said...

I like the site redesign!

Anonymous said...

I think you need more Pakistani news sources. This is all WEstern media stuff. What are ppl in Pakistan thinking?

CHUP! Editor [Kalsoom] said...

If you've read my other posts, you'll notice I do use several Pakistani news sources - the Daily Times, the News, and Dawn - the three major English newspapers in the country. I try to incorporate them as much as possible, but unfortunately, their online sources aren't updated as frequently. So when I try to provide breaking news briefs, newswires are generally my go-to source, although I try to bolster them with related news articles in Pakistani newspapers or editorials. I hope that helps.