As the mourning period for assassinated former Prime Minister and Pakistan Peoples’ Party leader Benazir Bhutto closes, various leaders from her party have been speaking.
Asif Ali Zardari, her husband, is co-chairing with her son Bilawal. Zardari says he is not standing as a candidate in the election. He may have his hopes set on being Prime Minister in the event of a sizeable PPP presence in a post-February 18th government.
As the PPP moves onto the campaign trail, Benazir’s image is everywhere. There are photos, banners and numerous tribute songs. Strategists are aware of the impact of the Bhutto name and legacy upon supporters and voters, and continuously allude to the lineage joining Zulfikar -her father who was hung - Benazir, and now her son, Bilawal.
Here's an official tribute video in Urdu:
The most repeated lines (three times each) are
I am Zulfikar’s daughter,My name is Benazir.
Various family members are namechecked, including Asif Ali Zardari (twice).
Other lines, loosely translated, are:
I have passed away,Don’t hold back your tears,The question on everyone’s mind is,Why was I killed?
On that note, the findings of the investigation team from Scotland Yard in Pakistan can amount to little in the absence of an autopsy - let alone an undisturbed crime scene. (The area of the attack was cleared and hosed down immediately).
There are echoes of Diana’s death in the images in this video. 19-year old Bilawal reminds me of William and Harry walking behind their mother’s coffin at her funeral.
I wonder what it feels like to be transported from the peaceful surroundings of a first term amongst the dreaming spires of Oxford to the bloody innards of the PPP in a Pakistan in the grip of election-fever, whilst coming to terms with the loss of your mother.
What was going through Bilawal’s mind as he sat amidst his supporters, half-hidden by a mountain of mics, with his father waving what appeared to be his mother’s will around in front of his face rather insensitively for the press?
The boy, holding back the emotion in his voice, said that the chairmanship of the PPP often results in martyrdom.
A line from the video says,
“I ask you to keep an eye on Bilawal, please keep him in your thoughts.”