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Thousands attend funeral for Pakistan's ex-first lady


09:04, October 25, 2011

ISLAMABAD, Oct. 24 (Xinhua) -- Thousands attended funeral for Pakistan's former First Lady Begum Nusrat Bhutto, the mother in law of President Asif Ali Zardrai and the widow of former Prime Minister Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, local media reported on Monday.

President Zardari and Prime Minister Yusuf Raza Gilani, Chairman of the ruling Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) Bilawal Zardari Bhutto, ministers, political leaders, lawmakers and thousands supporters attended the funeral at Naudero in southern Sindh province. She was buried at the town of Garhi Khuda Bux beside her late husband in the Bhutto's family graveyard.

Nusrat Bhutto died Sunday in a Dubai hospital at the age of 82 after protracted illness. Her body was brought at a special plane from Dubai.

An official from Prime Minister Office announced on Monday that the government has decided to confer the country's highest civil award "Nishan-e-Imtiaz" (Order of Excellence) to the late Nusrat Bhutto for her "courage, enumerable sacrifices and sufferance."

The president's spokesperson Farhatullah Babar said that the title "Mother of Democracy" has also been awarded to her posthumously.

President Asif Ali Zardari said that everyone was allowed to attend Begum Bhutto's funeral and that "no politics will be allowed" to prevent anyone from attending.

Strict security arrangements had been made in the towns of Naudero and Garhi Khuda Bux on the orders of President Zardari. 7, 000 police constables are posted in key locations.

Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani has ordered a 10-day period of national mourning with Monday a public holiday, cancelling all his engagements.

"The national flag will fly at half mast during these days," his office said in a statement as government offices, shops, schools and businesses closed across the country.


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