Whoops of triumph as Bhutto wins power

BENAZIR BHUTTO, after being ousted from power more than three years ago, finessed a remarkable comeback yesterday to become Prime Minister of Pakistan for a second time. Ms Bhutto, 40, crushed her rival, Nawaz Sharif, in a decisive National Assembly vote and was sworn in yesterday afternoon in Islamabad.

Although Ms Bhutto was favoured to win, her victory remained in doubt until yesterday's final count. Neither her Pakistan Peoples' Party nor Mr Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League gained a majority in the 6 October elections. But Ms Bhutto, indulging in what Mr Sharif sourly described as 'horse-trading', was able yesterday to gather votes from the smaller parties and the independents.

In a short speech, interrupted by the staccato of her assembly admirers banging on their desks and whooping, Ms Bhutto vowed to lead Pakistan out of 'its international isolation and severe economic problems'. She also thanked the outgoing caretaker prime minister, Moeen Qureshi, to whom she owes her triumph. He staged Pakistan's cleanest elections in two decades. A former World Bank vice-president who usually resides in the US, Mr Qureshi flies out of Islamabad today to rejoin his American family.

Wearing a long white shawl covering her head in Muslim tradition, Ms Bhutto was sworn in at the presidential palace in front of the army generals who have played such a powerful role since the country gained independence from Britain in 1947. Despite her ill-concealed loathing of Mr Sharif - who had hounded Ms Bhutto pitilessly when he was elected prime minister after her downfall - she vowed to maintain good relations between her coalition government and Mr Sharif's opposition party.

But Ms Bhutto's first move on taking office was not to celebrate but to humiliate Mr Sharif even more. She flew to Peshawar, capital of North-West Frontier Province, after the swearing-in ceremony to lure local assemblymen away from Mr Sharif, seeking thereby to deprive her enemy of his one provincial stronghold.

She already has the assembly in her native province of Sindh behind her, as well as the local government in the key province of Punjab, where her nominees for speaker and deputy speaker were elected yesterday. If she steals the Frontier Province from Mr Sharif, Ms Bhutto will have one of the strongest democratically-elected governments since Pakistan's independence.

Once she has Mr Sharif under control, Ms Bhutto's next step will be to reform Pakistan's image as a shady outcast. The US was threatening to put Pakistan on its terrorist list. Pakistan was accused of supporting Islamic terrorists, including Kashmiris fighting in neighbouring India, of failing to halt a growing heroin trade and of secretly building a nuclear arsenal.

Ms Bhutto may never get a chance as good as this one to impress her queenly ambitions on Pakistan. Unlike her first win in 1988, this time she has the army on her side. If her party does manage to control the Punjab, Sindh and North-West Frontier governments, she will be in an unassailable position. But as one diplomat cautioned, 'political alliances shift often in Pakistan. If Ms Bhutto tries to impose herself like a headmistress rather than paying attention to the diverse regional and ethnic demands, she won't last long.'

Ms Bhutto steps into an ugly fight between Pakistan and India. It erupted after New Delhi accused Islamabad of being directly involved in the capture of a holy shrine last Friday by armed Kashmiri militants in the north-western Indian state. India expelled four Pakistani diplomats from New Delhi on Monday, and Pakistan retaliated by doing the same in Karachi and Islamabad. Since Partition in 1947, India and Pakistan have gone to war twice over Kashmir.

(Photograph omitted)

Voices
A Russian hunter at the Medved bear-hunting lodge in Siberia
Save the tigerWildlife charities turn to those who kill animals to help save them
News
Davis says: 'My career has been about filling a niche - there were fewer short actors and fewer roles – but now I'm being offered all kinds of things'
PeopleWarwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
News
i100
Sport
Frank Lampard will pass Billy Wright and equal Bobby Charton’s caps tally of 106 caps against
sportFormer Chelsea midfielder in Etihad stopgap before New York contract
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
The first film introduced Daniel Radcliffe to our screens, pictured here as he prepares to board the train to Hogwarts for the first time.
booksHow reading Harry Potter helps children grow up to be gay-friendly
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Aladdin is performed at the Tony Awards in New York in June
theatreBrit producer Lythgoe makes kids' musical comedy a Los Angeles hit
Sport
Usain Bolt of Jamaica smiles and shakes hands with a competitor after Jamaica won their first heat in the men's 4x100m relay
sport
News
Chancellor George Osborne, along with the Prime Minister, have been 'complacently claiming the economy is now fixed', according to shadow Chancellor Ed Balls
i100... which is awkward, because he is their boss, after all
Life and Style
A small bag of the drug Ecstasy
Health
Life and Style
Floral-print swim shorts, £26, by Topman, topman.com; sunglasses, £215, by Paul Smith, mpaulsmith.co.uk
FashionBag yourself the perfect pair
News
news
News
Netherlands' goalkeeper Tim Krul fails to make a save from Costa Rica's midfielder Celso Borges during a penalty shoot-out in the quarter-final between Netherlands and Costa Rica during the 2014 FIFA World Cup
newsGoalkeepers suffer from 'gambler’s fallacy' during shoot-outs
News
people
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'
filmReview: A week late, Secret Cinema arrives as interactive screening goes Back to the Future
Extras
indybest
News
i100
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

(Senior) IT Support Engineer - 1st-3rd Line Support

£40000 per annum: Ashdown Group: A successful IT service provider that has bee...

Wind Farm Civil Design Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principal Marine Mechanical Engineer

£60000 - £70000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Principle Geotechnical Engineer

£55000 - £65000 Per Annum: The Green Recruitment Company: The Green Recruitmen...

Day In a Page

Save the Tiger: Meet the hunters tasked with protecting Russia's rare Amur tiger

Hunters protect Russia's rare Amur tiger

In an unusual move, wildlife charities have enlisted those who kill animals to help save them. Oliver Poole travels to Siberia to investigate
Transfers: How has your club fared in summer sales?

How has your club fared in summer sales?

Who have bagged the bargain buys and who have landed the giant turkeys
Warwick Davis: The British actor on Ricky Gervais, how the Harry Potter set became his office, and why he'd like to play a spy

'I'm a realist; I know how hard this business is'

Warwick Davis on Ricky Gervais, Harry Potter and his perfect role
The best swim shorts for men: Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer

The best swim shorts for men

Bag yourself the perfect pair and make a splash this summer
Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Has Ukip’s Glastonbury branch really been possessed by the devil?

Meet the couple blamed for bringing Lucifer into local politics
Dress the Gaza situation up all you like, but the truth hurts

Robert Fisk on Gaza conflict

Dress the situation up all you like, but the truth hurts
Save the tiger: Tiger, tiger burning less brightly as numbers plummet

Tiger, tiger burning less brightly

When William Blake wrote his famous poem there were probably more than 100,000 tigers in the wild. These days they probably number around 3,200
5 News's Andy Bell retraces his grandfather's steps on the First World War battlefields

In grandfather's footsteps

5 News's political editor Andy Bell only knows his grandfather from the compelling diary he kept during WWI. But when he returned to the killing fields where Edwin Vaughan suffered so much, his ancestor came to life
Lifestyle guru Martha Stewart reveals she has flying robot ... to take photos of her farm

Martha Stewart has flying robot

The lifestyle guru used the drone to get a bird's eye view her 153-acre farm in Bedford, New York
Former Labour minister Meg Hillier has demanded 'pootling lanes' for women cyclists

Do women cyclists need 'pootling lanes'?

Simon Usborne (who's more of a hurtler) explains why winning the space race is key to happy riding
A tale of two presidents: George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story

A tale of two presidents

George W Bush downs his paintbrush to pen father’s life story
Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover

The dining car makes a comeback

Restaurateur Mitch Tonks has given the Great Western Pullman dining car a makeover
Gallery rage: How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?

Gallery rage

How are institutions tackling the discomfort of overcrowding this summer?
Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players

Eye on the prize

Louis van Gaal has £500,000 video surveillance system installed to monitor Manchester United players
Women's rugby: Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup

Women's rugby

Tamara Taylor adds fuel to the ire in quest to land World Cup