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Bilawal Bhutto Zardari vows to continue fight for democracy

Friday, 28 December 2012 - 4:21pm IST Updated: Friday, 28 December 2012 - 4:23pm IST | Agency: Daily Telegraph

The Oxford graduate invoked his mother's memory at the family's mausoleum in Sindh's Garhi Khuda Bakhsh and laid claim to its blood-soaked legacy, saying, 'Bhutto is an emotion, a love.'
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The son of Pakistan's former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, vowed to continue his mother's fight for democracy on Thursday as he declared himself the heir to her political dynasty.

In a rally before several hundred thousand supporters to mark the fifth anniversary of her assassination, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, 24, formally launched his political career by vowing the Bhuttos would never be silenced by violence.

The Oxford graduate invoked his mother's memory at the family's mausoleum in Sindh's Garhi Khuda Bakhsh and laid claim to its blood-soaked legacy, saying: "Bhutto is an emotion, a love."

"Every challenge is soaked in blood, but you will be the loser. How ever many Bhuttos you kill, more Bhuttos will emerge from every house."

Although he is too young to stand next year's elections himself - the minimum age is 25 - Bhutto Zardari is expected to be a figurehead of the ruling Pakistan People's Party campaign in place of his father, President Asif Ali Zardari, who is barred from involvement.

In his speech yesterday, he told supporters that he would continue his mother's fight against poverty and demanded to know why her murderers had not yet been brought to justice five years after her assassination.

He also launched an attack on the country's chief justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, who forced Yusuf Raza Gilani to step down as prime minister earlier this year over his reluctance to order a new corruption inquiry into his father. "I asked the top judge, can't you see the blood of Benazir Bhutto on the roads of Rawalpindi? I, as an heir of Bhutto, ask why the killers of my mother have not been punished," he said.

Bhutto Zardari's emergence as the face of Pakistan's largest political party marks a third generation of Bhutto leadership. The party was created by his grandfather Zulfikar Ali Bhutto in 1967.

Benazir Bhutto served two terms as prime minister, each terminated before completion, and later fled into exile in London and Dubai.

She was assassinated in a bomb and gun attack in 2007 as she waved to supporters following a rally in Rawalpindi.

Following Benazir's death, her son was named as her chosen successor alongside Asif Zardari, but he remained in Britain to complete his studies and has kept a relatively low profile since his return to Pakistan.

Meanwhie, senior PPP figures have told The Daily Telegraph they had no concerns for Bhutto Zardari's political skills because he had, in effect, been in training since he was born. "He was already shaped by being with his mother which was his learning process."

Pakistani political analysts however said his elevation was a gambit to distract voters from the government's poor record.


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