They gathered in their thousands to express their grief and anger

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The Independent Online

They came in their tens of thousands to see another Bhutto buried. The mausoleum in the ancestral village of Garhi Khuda Bakhsh swallowed another murdered family member.

Benazir Bhutto was laid to rest with all the chaos and devotion that marked her life. There was no pomp. The giant family mausoleum, just outside the town of Larkana, was choked with people, all pushing to get to the graveside. But there was no violence. In the town however, mobs had rampaged, torching buildings and cars.

Ms Bhutto's husband, Asif Ali Zardari and her teenage son, Bilawal, shovelled earth into the grave where her body had been lowered, amid scenes of almost uncontrollable grief in the crowds. The grave was then covered with a red sequinned cloth.

"Look at the way they killed her and her brothers," a sobbing, shaking lifelong friend known as Putchie said before the funeral. "God has always been with her and will always be with her."

At Benazir Bhutto's home, where her body was brought before the funeral, there was wailing and hysteria. Men and women hugged and sobbed in separate rooms. The coffin was brought into the house draped in the flag of her People's Party.

Ms Bhutto was buried beside her father, Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, the first elected prime minister of Pakistan who was executed in 1979. A hole had been cut in the marble floor of the mausoleum to accommodate her coffin. Also buried there are her two brothers, Shahnawaz and Murtaza, both killed in mysterious circumstances. The five-domed mausoleum, looking like a replica Taj Mahal, rises up across the surrounding rice fields, dominating the countryside for miles around.

The throng had walked to the burial. Few cars had dared venture on to the streets around Larkana, where burning tyres and angry young men had turned the area into danger zone. No police presence was evident on the road to the tomb or at the site. Nor were there any Pakistan flags, just the red, green and black colours of the People's Party. The crowd chanted its contempt for Pakistan's president, chanting "Pervez Musharraf is a dog" and "we don't need Pakistan". Clouds of dust were everywhere.

Zulfikar Ali Mirza, a former member of parliament, who was close to Ms Bhutto, said: "We always told her not to take us risks. She was a risk-taker. She believed in destiny. She used to say 'when my time comes, nothing can save me'."

Mr Mirza said that Benazir Bhutto was the only political leader capable of uniting the four provinces of Pakistan. "There is no more Pakistan" without her, this is civil war".

Another man named after Ms Bhutto's father, Zulfikar Ali Abbasi, said: "We want to take revenge. She was our leader."

"Our wish is that the country should move against the government," said Mr Abbasi. Gul Mohammed Jakrani blamed Pakistan's Punjabi dominant ethnic group for Ms Bhutto's death, calling it a "conspiracy against democracy". She was a Sindhi, one of the three other major ethnic groups in the country. Larkana lies in the heart of Sindh province.

"The future of Pakistan is very dark," said Mr Jakrani.

On the streets of Larkana, there were burnt-out cars, including smashed and gutted police vehicles. Shops had been looted. When darkness fell, most people disappeared from the streets. The violence was repeated across major cities in Pakistan. Gun battles raged in Rawalpindi.

"It is like from each house a sister has died," said Mohammed Tahir, a student who was manning a road junction. "We have no interest in this government. Sindh should be separate."

A senior local police officer, Shabir Ahmed Shaikh, said his men were afraid to go out onto the streets in uniform. "The establishment takes everything away from Sindh," said Mr Shaikh, who said his force had recovered at least four bodies from burnt buildings.

With Ms Bhutto's death, her People's Party will struggle to find direction, with no other nationally recognised figures to take her place. There was a strong sense that the lifeblood had been drained from her political organisation.

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