Dawn : Benazir Bhutto prays at father's grave

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto prays at father's grave

AFP | October 27, 2007

GARHI KHUDA BAKSH, Pakistan -- Thousands of supporters cheered Benazir Bhutto as she visited her ancestral village amid tight security Saturday.

Benazir travelled to the remote corner of southern Pakistan to offer prayers at her family's mausoleum, which was surrounded by heavily armed guards.

Crowds in the village danced and chanted “Long Live Bhutto” as she arrived in a bullet-proof jeep from the nearby city of Sukkur, where thousands of supporters had showered her with rose petals.

“Good Muslims will never attack a woman. I will reach out to my people everywhere in Pakistan,” she said inside the mausoleum.

Benazir late Saturday urged Musharraf's government to compensate the families of those killed in the blasts.

“The government should give compensation to the victims of the bomb blast. It was the failure of the government,” she told a press conference at her nearby family home.

Crowds savoured her visit Saturday despite the delay, waving flags in the streets of Garhi Khuda Baksh village near Larkana as Benazir spread flower petals at the tomb of her father inside the mausoleum.

Her father, the late prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, is buried at the mausoleum.

The site is also the resting place of the former premier's two brothers - Shahnawaz, who was poisoned in southern France in 1987, and Murtaza, shot dead in Karachi in 1996.

Benazir earlier flew into Sukkur from Karachi, about 600 kilometres south, where supporters chanted “Bhutto Prime Minister” and threw rose petals as she left the airport for the short drive to the village.