Sunday, December 30, 2007

Successor In Wait

So, who will succeed Benazir Bhutto? Yesterday, reports were leaning towards Benazir's son.

Newsweek fronts with a report that her son was named her successor in her will, but her husband will run things until he "comes of age."
Benazir Bhutto, the slain former Pakistani prime minister, names her 19-year-old son Bilawal as her successor and the new leader of the Pakistan Peoples Party in her will, and her husband Asif Ali Zardari is expected to act as a kind of regent to him until he comes of age, a close family friend who has read the will told NEWSWEEK on Saturday.

Neither Bilawal nor Zardari, however, is expected to be named as the prime ministerial candidate of the PPP, the friend said, speaking on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the matter. That honor will go to a senior official, although it is not believed to be Amin Fahim, the vice chairman of the party who served as interim leader during Bhutto's eight-year exile.
If that were true, that shows what democracy means in that part of the world - not much. Politics is the family business, and her son would take on the family business and all that it encompasses.

He's chosen to remain at Oxford, which is probably a smart move for him given the tremendous uncertainty in the country, but one has to be weary of Zardari.
The appointment of Bhutto's husband, Asif Ali Zardari, was not without its own complications. A former Cabinet minister who spent eight years in prison on corruption accusations, he is known as "Mr. 10 Percent" for allegedly taking kickbacks and is viewed with suspicion by many Pakistanis.

At a news conference on Sunday, Zardari said the opposition party - Pakistan's largest - had no confidence in the government's ability to bring the killers to justice and urged the United Nations to establish a committee like the one investigating the 2005 assassination of former Lebanese Prime Minister Rafik Hariri.

The decisions on the future of Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party were made at a closed-door meeting in the sprawling family estate in the south of the country where the two-time former prime minister grew up.
It is nice to see that some in the media are focusing on the fact that we're talking a political dynasty here, and that it has very little to do with democracy.

The situation in Karachi remains tense. With that as a backdrop, the decision of whether to go ahead with the January 8 vote remains unclear, especially as some of the voter rolls were torched in the riots that broke out after news of the assassination spread through the country.

The PPP vows to go forward with the January 8 elections, although that decision isn't going to be up to them alone. Meanwhile, all the questions over Bhutto's cause of death continue to swirl as do claims of a coverup. New videos and photographs have been released, showing the killer from several angles and reports continue to dispute the now official line that she died from a skull fracture.

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