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March 19, 2008

Pakistan\’s parliament elects first female speaker

Pakistan’s parliament elects first female speaker

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008

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The National Assembly of Pakistan has elected Fahmida Mirza of the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) as its first female speaker, weeks after the general elections which ousted President Pervez Musharraf’s party and gave the PPP the most seats in Parliament.

Mirza, a former medical doctor who has previously served three terms in the National Assembly, was the joint candidate of the PPP, the Pakistan Muslim League (N) (PML-N), the Awami National Party (ANP), and other allied parties.

She received 249 votes out of the 324 who were present. Her main rival candidate, Israr Tareen from the former ruling party Pakistan Muslim League (Q) (PML-Q), received only 70 votes.

The result was announced by Chaudhry Amir Hussain, the outgoing speaker. “Fahmida Mirza is declared to have been elected speaker of the National Assembly,” he said, as other Parliament members pounded their desks in approval.

“This is my third tenure in the National Assembly and I believe it is time that we all work together to address the challenges facing the country,” Mirza told reporters. “I am sure we will be able to face these challenges with the support of parliamentarians, our people and Pakistani media.”

Shah Mahmood Qureshi, a central PPP leader, said, “The election of Fahmida Mirza as speaker will be a big step towards the empowerment of women in Pakistan.”

Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, parliamentary leader of the pro-Musharraf PML-Q, told Mirza, “This is a big test and I hope that with the honour that Allah has bestowed upon you, you will be able to live up to expectations.”

Later, in elections for the deputy speaker, PPP candidate Faisal Kundi defeated Khush Bakhat Shujaat of the Muttahida Qaumi Movement, which is allied with the PML-Q.

The coalition government headed by the PPP has yet to name a Prime Minister, but they are expected to announce their nomination in the next few days. Party insiders say the prime minister, who will be named by Benazir Bhutto’s son Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, will only hold office for a few months until Bilawal’s father, Asif Ali Zardari, becomes eligible for the post.



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December 31, 2007

Pakistani general election likely to be postponed

Pakistani general election likely to be postponed

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Monday, December 31, 2007

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The electoral commission of Pakistan held a meeting today to decide whether the general election of the country will go ahead as planned next week on Saturday January 8, 2008. A firm decision is expected on Tuesday; however, according to CNN, Election Commission Secretary Kanwar Dilashad told The Associated Press that a recommendation has been made to the Government to delay the election. It has not been stated how long this electoral delay will be, as no new projected date for the election has yet been proposed.

Violent civil unrest has occurred across Pakistan following the assassination of Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Benazir Bhutto; although this is now drawing to a close, its impact threatens to jeopardize the general election, combined with the aftermath of the state of emergency only recently lifted by President Pervez Musharraf.

Prior to her death Bhutto had accused Musharraf of attempting to rig the balloting and had called for a boycott. However, leaders of the PPP and other parties sympathizing with Bhutto’s view have now indicated that they will not boycott the election when it is held. It was announced yesterday that nominal control of the PPP will be held by Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Mrs. Bhutto’s son; however his father, Asif Ali Zardari, has declared an intention to handle party affairs on behalf of his son, on the grounds that he is still “of a tender age” at 19 years old. Mr. Zardari has stated that the PPP will contest the poll.



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December 30, 2007

Bilawal Bhutto, son of Benazir, to assume leadership of PPP

Bilawal Bhutto, son of Benazir, to assume leadership of PPP

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Pakistan
Other stories from Pakistan
  • 18 February 2015: Pakistan releases 173 Indian prisoners at Wagah border
  • 18 December 2014: Nation mourns, world condemns Taliban attack on Pakistan army school
  • 14 August 2014: Indian Prime Minister accuses Pakistan of waging proxy war
  • 27 July 2014: India and Pakistan accuse each other of ceasefire violation
  • 24 July 2014: Security guards attacked in Peshawar, Pakistan
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Sunday, December 30, 2007

It has been announced that Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, 19, the son of former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto will take her place as the head of the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and lead the party alongside his father Asif Ali Zardari. It is also announced and confirmed that the PPP along with the Nawaz Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N), will contest the upcoming elections for a new Prime Minister on January 8.

“I stand committed to the stability of the federation. The long and historic struggle for democracy will continue with renewed vigor. My mother always said democracy is the best revenge,” said Bhutto in a statement during a press conference today.

It is reported that Benazir wanted her son to take her place if anything happened to her, according to her will which was written just two days before she returned to Pakistan from exile in October.

It has also been announced that the PPP has voted in favor of a resolution that calls for an investigation into Benazir’s assassination which will be given to the United Nations. The resolution says that they would like the United Kingdom to help with the investigation, and that the PPP does not trust any investigations performed by the government of Pakistan.

Despite Bhutto being the new head of the PPP, Zardari says that Mukhdoom Amin Fahim, a loyal party member, will run in any elections for a new Pakistani Prime minister. But his bid for the seat may have to wait.

The current ruling party in Pakistan the PML-Q party states that because of continuing violence and riots in Pakistan that were set off by Benazir’s assassination, elections may not be held for another three months or more. So far, elections are scheduled to take place on January 8, 2008.

Asif Ali Zardari is expected to handle the Party’s affairs until Bhutto returns from England, where he is currently in school studying in Christ Church, at the University of Oxford. When he returns, control of the Party will be handed over to him. Despite that, Zardari states that he will be answering questions from the media and politicians because Bhutto is still “of a tender age.”



Related news

  • “Musharraf orders strong action against rioters in Pakistan” — Wikinews, December 29, 2007
  • “Benazir Bhutto buried; violence erupts in assassination aftermath” — Wikinews, December 28, 2007
  • “US Presidential candidates offer condolences to family of Benazir Bhutto” — Wikinews, December 27, 2007
  • Benazir Bhutto killed in suicide attack” — Wikinews, December 27, 2007

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December 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto killed in suicide attack

Benazir Bhutto killed in suicide attack – Wikinews, the free news source

Benazir Bhutto killed in suicide attack

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Thursday, December 27, 2007

Benazir Bhutto

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has been killed in a suicide attack as she was leaving a political rally in the city of Rawalpindi. At least 21 people died in the attack, local reports say. The attack has been condemned internationally. Earlier in October, a suicide bomber in Karachi killed 136 and injured over 450 Benazir Bhutto supporters.

Map of Pakistan with Rawalpindi underlined

Several reports from witnesses say Bhutto was shot once in the neck and once in the chest before the bomber blew himself up as Bhutto was leaving a rally of her Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), for which she was party leader for life, held before elections scheduled for January 8th, after years of military rule.

According to Wasif Ali Khan, a member of Benazir Bhutto’s PPP, she died at 18:16 (13:16 UTC), after 35 minutes of attempted resuscitation. The doctors said she had shrapnel injuries.

Her supporters, once informed of the death started chanting, “Dog Musharraf, dog,” referring to President Pervez Musharraf. Many blamed Musharraf and the security services for the deaths. In their anger and confusion, PPP supporters destroyed the doors of Rawalpindi General Hospital. Others took to the streets in several cities, including Karachi, where tires were set on fire on the roads, a gas station was burned, and two police officers were wounded by gunmen. In Peshewar, about 100 PPP’s supporters blocked the main trunk road, torching billboards and posters of the Musharraf-supporting Pakistan Muslim League-Q, opening fire in the air and screaming. Some buildings, including the main court and banks, were set on fire in Jacobabad as well.

Cquote1.svg The man first fired at Bhutto’s vehicle. She ducked and then he blew himself up. Cquote2.svg

—Mohammad Shahid, Pakistani police officer

Bhutto was born on June 21, 1953 in Karachi, Pakistan. She served two times as Prime Minister of Pakistan. Bhutto had returned to Pakistan from exile to stand in the upcoming elections. In 2007, she was named the second most influential woman in the world in a list at the American Internet portal MSN.

Benazir Bhutto is survived by her husband Asif Ali Zardari and three children: Bilawal, Bakhtawar, and Aseefa.

According to many polls taken before the assassination, Bhutto and her party would have won the January election.

Responses to the assassination

Cquote1.svg We are traumatised. People all over are crying. Everyone is saying that this Army has killed Benazir. There is going to be more bloodshed. Will the world now finally wake up? Cquote2.svg

—Asma Jehangir, Chairperson, Pak Human Rights Commission

A spokesman for the Interior Ministry of Pakistan said that “Terrorists are trying to derail the election process”. He also said he couldn’t say “whether Bhutto was the target of this attack or whether the attacker was trying to create chaos and bloodshed.”

The minister for Pakistani external affairs said that he was “shocked,” and that his “sympathy goes to [Bhutto’s] husband and children”. He also said “we were looking forward to democracy in Pakistan. The attack shows terror is on the march in Pakistan.”

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said that “In her death the subcontinent has lost an outstanding leader who worked for democracy and reconciliation in her country.” He also said that “the manner of her going is a reminder of the common dangers that our region faces from cowardly acts of terrorism and of the need to eradicate this dangerous threat.”

President Musharraf called for citizens of Pakistan to stay calm and said that terrorists can be defeated, providing people do not panic. He also said there was “a serious lapse of security.”

United States President George W. Bush said the act that took place was a “cowardly act by murderous extremists who are trying to undermine Pakistan’s democracy”.

In a statement today, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the killing of Bhutto. “I am shocked and outraged by the assassination of Mrs. Benazir Bhutto, the leader of the Pakistan People’s Party and former Prime Minister. This represents an assault on stability in Pakistan and its democratic processes,” said Ban. “I strongly condemn this heinous crime and call for the perpetrators to be brought to justice as soon as possible.”

The Secretary-General also expressed condolences to Bhutto’s family and the people of Pakistan. “While strongly urging for calm and restraint to be maintained at this difficult time, I call on all Pakistanis to work together for peace and national unity,” said Ban.

Former Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif called it “the saddest day” in Pakistan’s history. “Something unthinkable has happened,” he said. Sharif said his party will boycott Pakistan’s January 8 elections in the wake of Bhutto’s death.



Related news

  • “US Presidential candidates offer condolences to family of Benazir Bhutto” — Wikinews, December 27, 2007

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