Fatima Bhutto to contest general polls next year: Mother

Fatima Bhutto, the writer-activist niece of slain former Premier Benazir Bhutto, will contest Pakistan's forthcoming general elections from a constituency in Punjab province, her mother has said.

Fatima, 30, the daughter of Benazir's brother Murtaza Bhutto, has for long said she has no plans to enter politics.

However, media reports quoted Fatima's stepmother Ghinwa Bhutto as saying she would contest the polls from Liaquatpur town in Rahim Yar Khan district.

Ghinwa, head of the Pakistan People's Party-Shaheed Bhutto (PPP-SB), made the announcement while addressing a gathering at Bahawalpur in Punjab on Saturday.

There was no word on the development from Fatima, the granddaughter of former Premier Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto.

Fatima, who wrote the controversial book Songs Of Blood And Sword on the life of her slain father, has been a strong critic of the ruling Pakistan People's Party and the dynastic politics of the Bhutto-Zardari family.

She has often spoken out against her cousin, PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, who is being groomed for a larger role in the party's affairs ahead of the general election expected to be held by May next year.

Bilawal will not be eligible to contest polls himself till he turns 25 in September next year.

During her address to PPP-SB workers, Ghinwa claimed the "murderers of Murtaza and Benazir" had become the "fake heirs of the PPP" and were ruling Pakistan by using the Bhutto name.

Ghinwa has had strained relations with the Bhuttos, including Benazir, since her husband Murtaza was shot dead outside his home in Karachi in 1996.

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