Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Benazir Bhutto and Her Party under Siege

Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor

Benazir Bhutto and Her Party under Siege

Article excerpt

FORMER Pakistani Premier Benazir Bhutto may not be a spent political force. But her political fortunes are flagging, Pakistani analysts say.

Since being pushed from power almost a year ago, the leader and her Pakistan People's Party (PPP) have taken a beating. Mrs. Bhutto and senior associates face corruption charges and possible disqualification from politics.

For her flamboyant husband, Asif Ali Zardari, it's worse. Jailed since last fall, Mr. Zardari is charged with abetting a London-based Pakistani businessman and extorting a huge ransom. If convicted, he could face the death penalty.

Bhutto's attachment to the controversial Zardari and her obsession with freeing him is undermining her leadership of the PPP and her political future, analysts and party loyalists say.

"She's become unhinged," says an analyst close to Bhutto. Her father, former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, was executed and her younger brother died under mysterious circumstances.

"The party has a lot of residual strength. …

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