‘I will rid Pakistan of extremism, dictatorship’
* Benazir denies making ‘deal’ with Musharraf
* Says anyone who attacks her will ‘burn in hell’
DUBAI: Former premier Benazir Bhutto pledged on Wednesday that she would return to Pakistan to rid it of extremism and dictatorship by bringing in democracy. Ms Bhutto is due to arrive in Karachi today at around 1:00pm.
“Tomorrow (Thursday) at this time we will be on board the plane for Karachi, which is a day that I and all the people in Pakistan who love democracy and who believe in fundamental human rights have been waiting for,” the two-time premier told a press conference in Dubai, flanked by her two daughters and her husband Asif Zardari.
“Pakistan’s future is at stake and I am going to Pakistan with a mission to see a peaceful transition to democracy,” she said. “My return heralds for the people of Pakistan the turn of the wheel from dictatorship to democracy, from exploitation to empowerment, from violence to peace.”
She said she wanted to create for the people of Pakistan a country “where they have opportunities for employment, economic well-being, the primacy of civilian rule and a society free of extremism”.
“I am very proud of what my mother is doing, and not only my mother, but what my whole family is doing,” said Bakhtawar, Bhutto’s elder daughter.
No deal with Musharraf: Bhutto denied reaching a “deal” with Gen Musharraf, saying her talks with the president were aimed at campaigning for democracy and civilian rule. She said her return had nothing to do with the recently promulgated National Reconciliation Ordinance.
She insisted she would not postpone her return despite fears over security that prompted President General Musharraf to press her to delay.
“Nobody can keep me away from Pakistan. I have heard this morning that more than a million people are gathering in Karachi to welcome me. I will keep my promise of returning to Pakistan. It is true the Pakistan government has been trying to keep me away from home but I have decided to return nevertheless,” Benazir said.
‘Burn in hell’: “Many threats have been made from left, right and centre to try and intimidate not only me, but most important of all, the people of Pakistan so that they should not go to the airport to receive me,” she said. “The threats come from Afghan militants, Arab militants and the Red Mosque militants but the people of Pakistan are with me.”
She added: “I don’t believe that a true Muslim will make an attack on me... Islam forbids suicide bombings ... Anyone who attacks me would burn in hell.”
“The way to make a change is not through death and violence. We do not have to agree on everything, but we should agree to resolve our differences peacefully,” Ms Bhutto said.
Don’t boycott polls: She recalled that all parties took part in the 2002 elections in the presence of a uniformed president and asked them not to boycott the next general elections.
She said there would be massive protests in Pakistan akin to the ‘Orange Revolution’ in Ukraine if the general elections were rigged. She asserted that the PPP would not work with people in uniform who are in power.
She regretted that the Supreme Court did not intervene when Dr AQ Khan confessed on television to leaking nuclear secrets to a foreign country, or when a prime minister from Punjab was allowed to leave the country and when a prime minister from Sindh was hanged.
She blamed Nawaz Sharif for the break-up of the Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy, saying he had left it to join a smaller alliance. The war on terror is not just the war of the United States, she added. agencies