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Bhutto Buried As Pakistan Unrest Spreads

By Ashraf Khan
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Posted 28 December 2007 @ 09:36 am EST

GARHI KHUDA BAKHSH, Pakistan (AP) - Hundreds of thousands of mourners, weeping and chanting for justice, thronged the mausoleum of Pakistan's most famous political dynasty in a raw outpouring of grief for Benazir Bhutto. The government blamed al-Qaida and the Taliban for the assassination of the opposition leader, who was buried alongside her father.

Supporters of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto chant slogans during a protest rally in Islamabad, Pakistan, Friday, Dec. 28, 2007. Bhutto's supp...

Furious supporters, many of them blaming President Pervez Musharraf's government for the shooting and bombing attack on the former prime minister, rampaged through several cities in violence that left at least 23 dead less than two weeks before crucial elections.

Some wept, others chanted "Benazir is alive," as the plain wood coffin was placed beside the grave of her father in the vast, white marble mausoleum in southern Sindh province near the Bhuttos' ancestral home.

Thursday's attack on Bhutto plunged Pakistan into turmoil and badly damaged plans to restore democracy in this nuclear-armed nation, a key U.S. ally in the war on terror.

Musharraf initially blamed her death on unnamed Islamic militants, but Interior Minister Hamid Nawaz told The Associated Press on Friday that "we have the evidence that al-Qaida and the Taliban were behind the suicide attack on Benazir Bhutto."

He said investigators had resolved the "whole mystery" behind the opposition leader's killing and would give details at press conference later Friday.

Bhutto's supporters ransacked banks, waged shootouts with police and burned trains and stations in a spasm of violence less than two weeks before parliamentary elections.

Soldiers patrolled the streets of the southern cities of Hyderabad and Karachi in an effort to quell violence, witnesses said. At least 23 people were killed in unrest, said Ghulam Mohammed Mohtaram, home secretary for Sindh province.

Prime Minister Mohammedmian Soomro said the government had no immediate plans to postpone Jan. 8 parliamentary elections, despite the growing chaos and a top opposition leader's decision to boycott the poll.

"Right now the elections stand where they were," he told a news conference. "We will consult all the political parties to take any decision about it."

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