Whoops of triumph as Bhutto wins power
Wednesday 20 October 1993
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.
- 2 Harry Potter fans can apply to the Hogwarts-inspired College of Wizardry
- 3 Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
- 4 Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
- 5 Orange Wednesdays are no more
Weather bomb in pictures: Storms cuts power for tens of thousands – and snow is on the way
Jessica Chambers: 19-year-old woman 'doused with lighter fluid and burned alive' in the US
Russell Brand calls Nigel Farage 'poundshop Enoch Powell' in BBC Question Time debate
Russell Brand was rendered speechless on Question Time by this man
Fury at Airbus after it hints the super-jumbo may be mothballed
Nigel Farage: Me vs Russell Brand on Question Time – he's got the chest hair but where are his ideas?
Shock poll shows voters believe Ukip is to the left of the Tories
Disgruntled RBS worker writes hilarious open letter to Russell Brand after anti-capitalist publicity stunt leaves him hungry
New era of cheap oil 'will destroy green revolution'
Ukip founder Alan Sked and Nigel Farage 'begged Enoch Powell to stand as a candidate'
Ukip candidate jokes about 'shooting peasants' in racist and homophobic rant
£25000 per annum: Ashdown Group: An established media firm based in Surrey is ...
£40000 - £470000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: Java Developer / J2EE Devel...
£70000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Head of Finance - Financial Controller - Fina...
£30000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This small technology business ...