29 Dec 2012

Bhutto's son makes first major political speech

6:07 am on 29 December 2012

The son of assassinated Pakistani leader Benazir Bhutto has set out his political vision at a huge rally in the province of Sindh.

Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, 24, gave an emotionally charged speech on the fifth anniversary of his mother's death.

In his first major political speech, he promised to fight militancy to maintain democracy.

The Oxford graduate has been Pakistan People's Party (PPP) chairman since his mother died in a gun and bomb attack during her 2007 election campaign, an attack blamed on Taliban militants.

Mr Bhutto Zardari told party supporters his mother sacrificed her life to uphold democracy.

"The beacon of democracy continues to shine," he said, pledging that his party would fight militancy and extremism to create a peaceful, democratic Pakistan.

His father, President Asif Ali Zardari, joined hundreds of high ranking officials at the rally.

The BBC reports that Mr Bhutto Zardari cannot contest an election until his 25th birthday, which falls next September, some months after a parliamentary vote is due.