Benazir Bhutto Gives Birth to Baby Girl
ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) _ After denying for months that she was pregnant, former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto gave birth by Caesarean section to a girl, according to news reports today.
Ms. Bhutto’s third child was born a month premature Wednesday at a hospital in Britain, where she was receiving treatment for gallstones.
Both mother and baby, which weighed 6.5 pounds, were reported doing well. The baby had been expected on Feb. 24.
″The decision to perform an earlier delivery was taken in view of the threatening biliary and pancreatic bladder stones and severe pain,″ Naseer Sheikh, an adviser to Ms. Bhutto, was quoted as saying.
Ms. Bhutto’s husband, Asif Ali Zardari, has been in jail since October 1990 on a variety of charges ranging from corruption to extortion. He has denied his guilt and has yet to be convicted of any crime.
However, as a member of parliament, Zardari is allowed to travel to the federal capital of Islamabad while the legislature is in session.
He and Ms. Bhutto share a heavily guarded residence while he is in Islamabad.
As late as last month, Ms. Bhutto had not revealed her pregnancy.
In a hotly worded denial last month, her political secretary, Naheed Khan said, ″This is the sort of news you published during the elections of 1990 and you were wrong then and you’re wrong now.″
Her previous two births were also shrouded in secrecy.
Despite leading the opposition in a country with one of the highest population growth rates in the world, Ms. Bhutto insists that questions about her pregnancies or plans for more children are ″irrelevant to public life and sexist in nature.″
Ms. Bhutto’s oldest child, Bilawal, 4, was born two months before the 1988 elections that swept her populist Pakistan People’s Party to power. Within two weeks after her son’s birth, also by Caesarean section, Ms. Bhutto was back on the campaign trail.
In January 1990, Ms. Bhutto made history with the birth of her daughter Bakhtawar, becoming the first head of state to give birth while in office.