THE BRONX - Bronx residents with ties to Pakistan are mourning opposition leader Benazir Bhutto, who was assassinated Thursday.

The face of the Pakistan People's Party was gunned down by a man who later blew himself up at a political rally in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, according to government officials. Several people near her were also killed.

As Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf ordered three days of mourning for the popular Bhutto, Pakistanis in the United States worried about the future of their home country.

"Killing will not bring peace," said Jalal Ahmed, who lives in New York City. "The only peace will come through democracy. You cannot suppress the will of the people."

Syed Bokhari, whose family remains in Pakistan, agreed. "The nation was going toward democracy and Benazir Bhutto was the main figure and this is a big loss to Pakistani politics."

New York City is home to the nation's largest Pakistani community, with more than 100,000 residents who trace their heritage to the country, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg. He released a statement denouncing the assassination.

Bhutto returned this year from exile to seek a third term as prime minister in the Jan. 8 elections. She was removed from office in previous terms over allegations of financial corruption. She also faced opposition as the first female leader of a predominately Muslim country in modern times.

Bhutto had recently sought a power-sharing deal with Musharraf. The Bush administration has called Pakistan an ally in the war on terror in Afghanistan.

AP wire reports contributed to this story.