LARKANA, Pakistan, (Reuters) – The only son of assassinated former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto told hundreds of thousands of supporters yesterday, 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.