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Benazir gets peaceful burial

Larkana (Pakistan), December 28
Benazir Bhutto was laid to rest next to her father’s grave in this ancestral village today amid scenes of emotion from thousands of grieving mourners, a day after the former Pakistan premier was assassinated in Rawalpindi.

Bhutto’s husband Asif Ali Zardari, son Bilawal and two daughters Bhaktawar and Asifa were present when her body was lowered in a grave at the family’s white-domed mausoleum after funeral prayers. The body was earlier placed in a plain wooden coffin draped in the black, green and red flag of her Pakistan People’s Party (PPP).

Many of Bhutto’s supporters wailed and beat their chest and heads in an outpouring of grief as they gathered at a sprawling ground near the ornate mausoleum in Garhi Khuda Baksh village. People poured into the area from all over Larkana district and other parts of Pakistan on foot and in trucks and tractors, kicking up huge clouds of dust.

A deafening roar greeted her coffin, as it was taken towards the Bhutto mausoleum in a white vehicle.

It took more than two hours for the funeral cortege to cover the 5 km from her family home in Naudero to the private mausoleum in Ghari Khuda Baksh, deep in rural southern Pakistan.

The two-time former premier was buried next to her father Zulfiqar Ai Bhutto, also a Prime Minister and who was executed by the military in 1979 after being ousted from power.

Also in the family tomb are the bodies of two brothers, Murtaza and Shah Nawaz, who also met with a violent end. The body was brought from Rawalpindi in a plane to Sukkur in southern Sindh province and then flown by helicopter to Naudero.

Bhutto (54) was gunned down by a suicide bomber after an election rally in Rawalpindi yesterday. The funeral passed off peacefully as authorities struggled to contain the mounting anger that erupted into violence across the country that has so far claimed at least 19 lives. Officials ordered paramilitary forces in Karachi, a Bhutto stronghold, to shoot rioters on sight and sent troops to several cities in the south.

The ambulance carrying the body of Benazir was trailed by scores of people, who jostled to get a last glimpse of their beloved leader. — PTI

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