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Pall of gloom at Bilawal House

world Updated: Dec 29, 2007 23:32 IST
Kamal Siddiqi
Kamal Siddiqi
Hindustan Times
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Bilawal House bears a sad and deserted look. One of Karachi's most famous political landmarks, this fortress-like home of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto, is missing its owner and occupant.

A handful of party workers look tense and agitated as they stand around the gate. They are wary when strangers approach them. Akbar Mirza, a member of Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party (PPP), explains that they are fearful of more attacks.

Mirza says that the police protection provided to the house was removed on Thursday, within hours of Bhutto's assassination in Rawalpindi on Thursday. "We have been left to fend for ourselves and feel totally demoralised," he adds. Preparations are being made for the arrival of Benazir's husband Asif Zardari and their children. The Bhuttos are known by their houses.When Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto was party leader, he alternated between Al-Murtaza, the family home in Larkana and Seventy, Clifton, the family home in Karachi.

Seventy, Clifton is where the family of the late Murtaza Bhutto (Benazir's brother) live: Ghinwa Bhutto, his wife, and children Murtaza Junior and Fatima Bhutto live. Bilawal House is where Benazir shifted after her marriage to Asif Zardari. Bilawal is also the name of Benazir's son, seen as a possible political successor.