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Posthumous peace award for Benazir
H S Rao in London | April 28, 2008 10:15 IST
Former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto was posthumously awarded the prestigious Tipperary International Peace Award for 2007 in recognition of her struggle for the restoration of democracy and peace in her country.
Bhutto's long-time associate Bashir Riaz received the award on behalf of her family at an emotion-filled ceremony in Tipperary in Ireland on Friday.
Riaz, visibly emotional in his speech, said he had been asked to receive the award by Bhutto's husband Asif Zardari as "this would make her soul happy."
Zardari, now co-chairperson of Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party, expressed regret that he was unable to be in Tipperary to accept the award himself, as he was "busy in the transition of government in Pakistan."
Riaz, heading a large delegation from Pakistan and the United Kingdom, received the award amidst thunderous applause with the audience giving a standing ovation to the late leader.
So charged was the atmosphere that it brought tears to many eyes. It was particularly touching for PPP workers who had come from places as far as Denmark, the UK, France [Images] and other countries.
Describing her as a wonderful human being, Riaz said Bhutto, twice elected Prime Minister of Pakistan, devoted her life to the very last moment to end dictatorship and restore democracy in her country.
Earlier recipients of the award included South African icon Nelson Mandela, former Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev, former United States President Bill Clinton [Images], US Senator George Mitchell and the late Lebanese prime minister Rafiq Hariri.