Pakistan’s Electoral Commission is to meet today to decide whether next Tuesday’s vote will go ahead in the wake of Benazir Bhutto’s murder. A senior member of the ruling party has suggested the election may be postponed by up to 12 weeks.
Bhutto’s opposition party, the PPP, has announced it will take part whenever the date. Her teenage son, Bilawal, will now lead the party. He told a news conference: “I will stand as a symbol of the federation. The party’s long and historic struggle for democracy will continue with renewed vigour. And I stand committed to the stability of the federation. My mother always said democracy is the best revenge.”
Pakistan’s other main opposition party led by Nawaz Sharif now says it is likely to abandon its plans to boycott any election.
Violence since Thursday’s assassination has now claimed nearly 50 lives. In an effort to restore order, the government has even sanctioned a shoot-to-kill policy towards trouble-stirrers.
Speculation continues over exactly how Bhutto died and who is responsible. Her family has called for a UN enquiry to establish the facts.