Nusrat Bhutto buried amid moving scenes in Larkana

Last Updated: Monday, October 24, 2011 - 21:55

Larkana: Pakistan`s former First
Lady Nusrat Bhutto was on Monday buried in the Bhutto family
mausoleum here in Sindh province as the government declared a
public holiday and flags flew at half-mast to mourn the death
of the leader, best remembered as a champion of democracy.

Following funeral prayers held at Naudero House, the
Bhuttos` ancestral home, Nusrat`s body was taken to the
mausoleum at Garhi Khuda Baksh in the family`s traditional
stronghold of Larkana.

The body was lowered into the grave by several ministers
and Nusrat`s grandson, Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the nominal
chief of the Pakistan People`s Party amidst moving scenes.

82-year-old Nusrat, the widow of former President
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and the mother of assassinated premier
Benazir Bhutto, was laid to rest near the grave of her
husband, who was hanged in 1979 during the regime of military
ruler Zia-ul-Haq.

The `namaz-e-janaza` at Naudero House was attended by
President Zardari, Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, federal
ministers, senior leaders of several political parties and
hundreds of PPP workers.

People were kept away from the funeral prayers and the
burial for security reasons, and hundreds of security
personnel were deployed in the area.

Nusrat died in Dubai yesterday after a protracted illness
at the age of 82.

Her body. accompanied by her daughter Sanam Bhutto, her
son-in-law, President Asif Ali Zardari, and his children - was
flown to Pakistan in a special aircraft this afternoon.

Government offices, markets, schools and businesses
remained closed across the country as a mark of respect to
Nusrat and Prime Minister Gilani declared a 10-day period of
national mourning.

The national flag will fly at half-mast during this
period. The government today posthumously conferred the
Nishan-e-Imtiaz, Pakistan`s highest civil award, and the title
`Madr-e-Jamhooriyat` (Mother of Democracy) on Nusrat.

The citation for the award said: "No tribute can do
justice to Begum Nusrat Bhutto, the mother of democracy.

"We salute her courage, her enumerable sacrifices, her
tenacity. ..What a great family, what a way to live and to die.

..The Bhutto narrative is beyond history and belongs to the
realm of legends.

"The nation is once more united in their collective grief
for a family whose sacrifices remain unparallel in our life."

Nusrat was elected twice to the parliament.
Following her husband`s execution, she led the PPP until
her daughter Benazir took over in the mid-1980s.

Following Benazir`s assassination in 2007, her widower
Asif Ali Zardari became president.

She had been living in Dubai since the time Benazir went
into self-exile in the late 1990s.

Nusrat was suffering from cancer and Alzheimer`s disease
and was largely incapacitated.

The daughter of a wealthy Iranian businessman, Begum
Nusrat was born in Esfahan, Iran, on March 23, 1929. Her
family later moved to the Pakistani port city of Karachi.

She married Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto in 1951, becoming his
second wife.

PPP leaders said Nusrat was affected by the deaths of her
two sons, Shahnawaz and Mir Murtaza. While, Shahnawaz died in
mysterious circumstances in France in 1985, Murtaza was gunned
down outside the family home in Karachi in 1996.

Nusrat was rarely seen in public over the past few years,
including after Benazir`s return to Pakistan from self-exile
in late 2007.

Sanam Bhutto is the only surviving member of late
Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s immediate family with the death of her
mother, Nusrat Bhutto.

One of the most tragic struck political families of
South Asia, Nusrat was mother of former Prime Minister,
Benazir Bhutto who was assassinated in Rawalpindi in 2007
while her sons, Murtaza and Shahnawaz also died mysterious
deaths.

Her husband was hanged after a controversial trial by
former military dictator, Zia-ul-Haq.

Nusrat Bhutto who lived in exile in Dubai and in her
last years was bed ridden was given a state funeral with her
son-in-law President Asif Zardari and his children and all
senior leaders of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party present at
the burial in Naudero.

All ministers, including Prime Minister Yousaf Raza
Gilani, were present at the funeral.

Punjab Governor Latif Khosa and Foreign Minister Hina
Rabbani Khar also arrived in Sukkur, while a delegation of
Muttahida Qaumi Movement (MQM) landed in Larkana for the
funeral.

The government also announced today that it had awarded
the Nishan-e-Imtiaz to Nusrat Bhutto for her meritorious
struggle for democracy in the darkest era of Pakistan’s
political history.

The highest civilian award was given to the late Begum
Bhutto for her "courage, enumerable sacrifices and
sufferance."

A official statement from the government said.

President Asif Ali Zardari said that everyone is allowed
to attend Begum Bhutto`s funeral and that "no politics will be
allowed" to prevent anyone from attending.

His comments came after Ghinwa Bhutto the widow of
Murtaza Bhutto and her daughter, Fatima Bhutto alleged that
they were being prevented from taking part in the burial.

PTI



First Published: Monday, October 24, 2011 - 12:36

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