Pitched Power Battle Triggered by Bhutto Death

More upheaval as parties jockey for control in chaos

By Sam Biddle,  Newser Staff

Posted Dec 28, 2007 3:23 AM CST

(Newser) – The assassination of Benazir Bhutto will exacerbate already fraught tensions between competing Pakistani political parties, the Wall Street Journal reports. Bhutto's secular, generally pro-Western Pakistan Peoples' Party was expected to do well in upcoming parliamentary elections, but the future of the PPP is now uncertain in the aftermath of Bhutto's death. Numerous Pakistani political factions will now battle for political standing.

Possible interim leaders for the party include its former vice chairman, as well as Bhutto's own husband. Meanwhile, the conservative Islamic opposition groups of varying sizes and clout, as well as some militant groups with direct ties to al-Qaeda and the Taliban, will face fierce competition from Pakistan’s military, which wields considerable political influence.

The flag of Pakistan is lowered to half staff in front of Pakistan's Embassy in Ottawa on Thursday, Dec. 27, 2007 following the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. (AP Photo/THE CANADIAN PRESS, Sean Kilpatrick)
The flag of Pakistan is lowered to half staff in front of Pakistan's Embassy in Ottawa on Thursday, Dec. 27, 2007 following the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto. (AP Photo/THE CANADIAN...   (Associated Press)
People carry the coffin of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto at a local hospital in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Thursday, Dec. 27, 2007. Bhutto was assassinated in a suicide attack earlier Thursday that also killed at least 20 other people. Her death stoked new chaos across the nuclear-armed nation, an important...
People carry the coffin of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto at a local hospital in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Thursday, Dec. 27, 2007. Bhutto was assassinated in a suicide attack earlier Thursday...   (Associated Press)
Supporters of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto mourn outside an operating theater of a local hospital in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Thursday, Dec. 27, 2007. Bhutto was assassinated in a suicide attack earlier in the day that also killed at least 20 people. Her death stoked new chaos the nuclear-armed nation,...
Supporters of Pakistan's former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto mourn outside an operating theater of a local hospital in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, Thursday, Dec. 27, 2007. Bhutto was assassinated in a suicide...   (Associated Press)
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