Bradford memorial to Benazir Bhutto

Thursday 18th June 2009

A memorial is being held in Bradford in honour of assassinated former Prime Minister of Pakistan Benazir Bhutto, on what would have been her birthday.

Her son, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who is now chairman of the Pakistan People’s Party, is to attend the event at St George’s Hall on Sunday.

It will be his first visit to Bradford and his first official public engagement.

He shares the chairmanship with his father, Asif Ali Zardari, who was elected president of Pakistan in September after the resignation of Pervez Musharraf.

Mr Bhutto is a 20-year-old student at Oxford University and it is intended that he will lead the party full-time once he has finished his education.

The memorial will take place at 3pm. Councillor Ghazanfer Khaliq, a Bhutto family friend and PPP member, is predicting a large turnout.

Coun Khaliq (Lab, Bradford Moor) said: “The Bhutto family have a long-standing association with the people of Bradford and I am sure that a great many people will want to pay tribute to Benazir and extend a warm and hospitable welcome to Bilawal.”

He said the memorial event was to celebrate what would have been Miss Bhutto’s birthday and that it was her son’s first official public engagement as head of the PPP.

The Pakistani High Commiss-ioner, Wajid Shamsul Hasan, is expected to attend, as well as Bradford Pakistani Consul Tariq Iqbal Soomro.

The memorial has been organised by Coun Khaliq and the Bradford PPP, including its president Asif Naseem Rothor.

Miss Bhutto was assassinated in December 2007 in a terrorist attack during an election rally, shortly after returning to Pakistan from exile.

She was prime minister twice, first in 1988 and again in 1993.

Her husband assumed co-chairmanship of the party and led a successful general election campaign in February last year, leading to the PPP playing its part in a coalition government.