Bhutto's Uncle Renounces Succession of her Son

January 03, 2008 04:50 PM
by findingDulcinea Staff
A “political will” left by slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto appoints her son and husband as co-chiefs of Pakistan’s largest political party. Her bequest stirs family conflicts that have divided the political dynasty for decades.

30-Second Summary

In Pakistan, family and ethnicity are inseparable from politics, and the Bhuttos are easily the most powerful political clan. Their history is one marred by violence and accusations of fratricide and corruption.

Benazir Bhutto’s father—Zulfikar Ali Bhutto—founded the Pakistan People’s Party. He served as prime minister from 1973 until he was ousted by a military coup in 1977.

Despite international calls for clemency, he was hanged on April 4, 1979, after a trial of doubtful legality found him guilty of murder.

As to Benazir Bhutto’s two brothers, Shannawaz and Murtaza, the former was poisoned in Cannes, Paris, and the latter was gunned down in a Pakistani street in 1996 during Ms. Bhutto’s premiership.

Murtaza’s wife and daughter have voiced suspicions that the former prime minister was complicit in Murtaza’s murder.

Now, as 19-year-old scion Bilawal is poised to take over as head of the PPP, another figure has emerged to challenge his legitimacy: Mumtaz Bhutto.

Described by The Guardian as the “74-year-old head of the Bhutto clan,” Mumtaz’s objections threaten to further split this fractious dynasty.

Mumtaz fell out with Benazir 15 years ago. He accused her of mismanaging the PPP. She responded with the claim that he was jealous of her political influence. Benazir Bhutto fired him from the party in 1984.

Now Mumtaz is calling the rise in the party of Asif Ali Zardari, Benazir’s husband, a “disaster.” And although it is not clear how much sway he might have over family members, Mumtaz’s latest action is another twist in a complicated and painful saga.

Headline Links: Mumtaz objects to succession

Background: Ethnicity and Benazir’s ‘political will’

Reactions: The Bhuttos react to Benazir’s death; Bilawal’s appointment

Historical Context: Benazir Bhutto’s career as premier

Opinion & Analysis: Bilawal called to step aside

Related Topics: Questions still surround Bhutto’s death

Reference Material: Benazir Bhutto and the PPP


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