UN awards Benazir Bhutto human rights prize

The son of slain Pakistani former prime minister Benazir Bhutto defended his mother's human rights record Wednesday after accepting a UN prize in her honor. Bilawal Bhutto Zardari accepted the United Nations Prize in the Field of Human Rights reading a prescient quotation from her autobiography that his mother had written before her December 2007 assassination, saying she realized returning to her homeland could cost her life but did so because "democracy in Pakistan is not just important for Pakistanis it is important for the entire world." But at a press conference following the ceremony, Zardari also had to defend his mother's human rights record during her two terms as prime minister from 1998-1990 and from 1993-1996, during which time Amnesty International documented hundreds of extra-judicial killings by government forces and the jailings of human right defenders, including journalists. "My mother did everything humanly possible to ensure both democracy and human rights in Pakistan, her governments were undermined by rogue elements within the establishment at the time," Zardari said. "It was not her who committed any of these crimes and she did everything she could to stop anything of this sort happening."