Source AP ©

Bhutto's supporters prepare ancestral home for her arrival

Benazir Bhutto’s supporters are waiting for their hero to come back to her ancestral village and want to give her a heroine's welcome when she arrives Saturday to pray at the tomb of her father Zulfikar Ali Bhutto who was hanged 3 decades ago.

"When B.B. comes it will be the happiest moment for me," said Mohammed Suleiman, 33, who has been offering daily prayers at the tomb for more than a decade.

Villagers had been expecting Bhutto to come last week, but the deadly blasts in Karachi that shattered her return on Oct. 18 from an eight-year exile forced a change of plan.

Since the suicide attack, which killed 143 people at a mass procession staged to greet her in Pakistan's biggest city, Bhutto has spent most of her time indoors, hunkered down at her Karachi residence, behind reinforced doors and stringent security.

Details of her trip here, near the city of Larkana, about 430 kilometers (270 miles) northwest of Karachi, remain shrouded in mystery. Aides have only revealed she will be heading there on Saturday. It is not yet clear how many people will turn out to greet her.

"People seem to be scared after the suicide attacks so I feel they will stay away from the rallies tomorrow," said farm shop worker Fida Hussain Sammu in Larkana.

Security officials said hundreds of police officers have been dispatched to the areas Bhutto is likely to visit.

"We have also summoned a bomb disposal squad to examine the sites and more contingents of police will be deployed tomorrow to further strengthen the security," said Larkana police chief Nisar Ahmed Channa.

Meanwhile, police in Karachi on Friday reported "developments" in their investigation into last week's bombing, but gave no details.

Bhutto's party has lambasted the inquiry as "inept," citing confusion over whether one or two suicide bombers were involved.

"That's the view they hold as lay people. But as a professional law enforcement officer I don't consider that as appropriate. It's not right," Karachi police chief Azhar Farooqi said.

Investigators continued to question over a dozen men, but no arrests have been made, he said.

Bhutto has accused elements in the government and security services of trying to kill her. She has demanded that international experts join the investigation - a call rejected by the government.

Farooqi said his force had solved every suicide bombing they had looked into.

"This is the ninth one we've investigated and we are pretty hopeful we can work it out," he said.

The blast has raised concern that fear of more attacks will restrict the campaign for January parliamentary elections.

But in Garhi Khuda Baksh, there is a carnival atmosphere. Flags depicting Bhutto and her late father covered walls and hung from lampposts, while special gates were being erected for Bhutto to pass through.

At the white domed mausoleum, workers scrubbed its marble floors and placed pristine clothes inscribed with Quranic verse over the graves of her father and two brothers, Murtuza and Shahnawaz, who are buried in lesser tombs close by.

Suleiman, dressed in a baggy beige tunic and matching pants with a traditional red Sindhi cap, offered prayers.

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