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Pakistan's ruling party Pakistan Muslim League calls to postpone parliamentary elections
Pakistan's ruling party Pakistan Muslim League calls to postpone parliamentary elections scheduled for January 8, Pakistani TV stations said with reference to the party's chief spokesman Tarik Azim.

On December 27, the country was plunged into turmoil following the assassination of Benazir Bhutto, 54, who had twice been the country's prime minister and was about to run in parliamentary elections as leader of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP).

"We hope the elections will be put off for a period of several weeks to two-three months," Azim was quoted as saying. According to Azim, the postponement should take place because of the situation in the country after Bhutto's murder.

Bhutto returned to Pakistan in October after more than eight years of self-imposed exile. Her arrival was overshadowed by a terrorist act which took the lives of 140 people and injured 500 as hundreds of thousands of people lined the streets to greet her homecoming.

Bhutto pledged to fight against extremism and for democratic reforms, and opposed the emergency rule imposed on November 3 by President Pervez Musharraf who cited a dangerous rise in militant activity.

The Mail on Sunday said Bhutto "claimed three senior allies of Pakistan's president General Musharraf were out to kill her in a secret email to Foreign Secretary David Miliband written weeks before her death."

"Astonishingly, one of them is a leading intelligence officer who was officially responsible for protecting Miss Bhutto from an assassination.

"The second is a prominent Pakistani figure, one of whose family members was allegedly murdered by a militant group run by Miss Bhutto's brother. The third is a well-known chief minister in Pakistan who is a long-standing opponent of Miss Bhutto," the newspaper wrote.

Reuters quoted officials from Pakistan People's Party as saying the 19-year-old son of Bhutto, Bilawal, was Sunday appointed chairman of the PPP along with his father.


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