Benazir Bhutto's party demands elections go ahead as scheduled

The party of slain opposition leader Benazir Bhutto demanded crucial Jan. 8 elections be held on schedule, brushing aside concerns that unrest and political turmoil triggered by her death may damage the credibility of the polls. Pakistan's Election Commission was to meet later Monday to discuss the timing of the elections, a key step in US-backed plans to restore democracy to the nuclear armed nation as it battles rising attacks by Taliban and al-Qaida militants. After days of rioting that left at least 44 dead, life in many Pakistani cities began returning to normal, though soldiers and police patrolled many areas. The streets were still quiet in the southern city of Karachi, the scene of some of the worst violence, witnesses said. On Sunday, Bhutto's party named her 19-year-old son Bilawal Zardawai as its symbolic leader and left day-to-day control to her husband, extending Pakistan's most enduring political dynasty following the opposition leader's assassination.