NAUDERO, Pakistan - Benazir Bhutto left a last will and testament that maps out the future for her political party and who should lead it in her absence, her husband, Asif Zardari, disclosed yesterday.
The document will be presented to her Pakistan People's Party today. It is expected to include her preference for party leader. Zardari himself would be a highly controversial contender. Their son, Bilawal, would win a huge amount of goodwill but is only 19, and Zardari appeared to rule him out.
"He's too young," Zardari said.
Zardari said he opened the letter only yesterday. Its contents will be read today to an emergency meeting of the party by Bilawal, a student at Britain's Oxford University, where his mother also studied.
"She left a message for the party, and she left a will," Zardari said in between meetings with mourners who came by the hundreds to Bhutto's family home in the village of Naudero. The document "is about politics, what we should do and how we should go about things."
Asked whether he wanted to lead the party, he didn't dismiss it.
"Let's see. . . . It depends on the party and it depends on the will."
Longer term, it is widely predicted that Bilawal will take over leadership of the party, Pakistan's most popular political machine, which has always been led by a Bhutto. Benazir's sister, her only surviving sibling, has never taken part in politics.
The People's Party is faced with a vacuum of leadership. There are no towering figures in the party. Many say Bhutto did not allow others to gain much recognition, and she concentrated power and decision-making in her hands. The party must also decide whether to boycott the parliamentary elections, now set for Jan. 8.