Bhutto's son to announce premier at next session of parliament
(dpa) - The son of slain former prime minister Benazir Bhutto and future chairman of her Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) will announce who will be the next premier, party officials said Thursday.
Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Bhutto's 19-year-old son appointed PPP titular chairman is taking time from his studies at Oxford University to visit Pakistan.
"He will announce the prime minister. That will be when the next session of parliament convenes," PPP spokesman Farhatullah Babar said.
Babar declined to say who would be named. "I cannot say who the frontrunner is, that might be misleading," he said.
The PPP had agreed Asif Ali Zardari, co-chairman and widower of Bhutto, would announce the next prime minister but he decided his son should do so.
But when the next session of parliament meets is still in question.
President Pervez Musharraf will call the session after the caretaker Prime Minister Muhammadmian Soomro informs him they are ready to meet.
The president's spokesman Rashid Qureshi Thursday said there is much speculation Musharraf will delay calling that session but that is just people talking and suggested he would not delay, but declined to flat out deny any delay.
"People in the past have delayed for one reason or another ? but it's never been delayed by this president," he said.
Bhutto's PPP finished first and the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz of Nawaz Sharif, also a former premier, finished second in the February 18 election, while the Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid, President Pervez Musharraf's political backers, finished a distant third.
The PPP and Sharif's party formed a coalition after ironing out differences concerning how to address the issue of restoring senior judges Musharraf deposed in November.
Restoring the judges has become a central issue for the coalition signaling a showdown with Musharraf.
Musharraf removed more than 60 senior judges under an emergency order on November 3. He sacked the judges to prevent the Supreme Court from disqualifying him for another presidential term.
Once the deposed judges are reinstated they can revoke the approval and force Musharraf to leave office. But Musharraf has shown no signs he will step down willingly.
Delaying the next session of parliament is one way critics expect Musharraf to prolong his time in power.