BOSTON, Oct 6: Former Pakistan premier Benazir Bhutto has said that Musharraf approached her for a possible patch-up before 2007 elections and there were some “back-channel” contacts with the government but that stubborn differences remained.

In an interview with Reuters, she said she wanted to return to run in 2007 elections and accused the country’s military ruler of failing to tackle religious schools that promotes global terrorism.

“I’ve been out for a very long time — since 1999. The people need to hear from me,” the exiled opposition leader told Reuters on Thursday. “If the people of Pakistan honour me with that position, I would like to come back as prime minister.”

Ms Benazir and exiled former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, formed the multi-party Alliance for the Restoration of Democracy after President Pervez Musharraf seized power in 1999 in a bloodless coup.

Both want to return to Pakistan but Musharraf has vowed to block that and has dismissed a growing alliance between her Pakistan People’s Party and Nawaz’s Pakistan Muslim League as irrelevant.

He has accused both of corruption — allegations they deny — and most people believe that, with Sharif and Bhutto outside the country, elections by the end of 2007 will return national and provincial assemblies that will vote Musharraf in again.

“If the leaders of the religious parties should be allowed to campaign in Pakistan, the leaders of the moderate parties should be allowed to return to Pakistan and campaign,” Ms Benazir said after attending a conference in Boston.

She said a blast near Musharraf’s army residence in the northern city of Rawalpindi on Wednesday showed that terrorism was reaching deeper into Pakistani cities, partly because militants still thrive in Islamic seminaries.—Reuters

Opinion

Pakhtuns, state and nationalism
Updated 15 Oct 2021

Pakhtuns, state and nationalism

They have lost the most in the ‘war on terror’. Why then is the PM painting Pakhtuns as a nation of holy warriors?
Unity of faith
15 Oct 2021

Unity of faith

There is unity in the apparent diversity of faith traditions.
The people’s page
Updated 15 Oct 2021

The people’s page

Many are disillusioned with the ‘Naya Pakistan’ narrative.
The next 22 months
Updated 14 Oct 2021

The next 22 months

There are at least 11 key challenges which the government will face in the run-up to the next polls.

Editorial

No need for NAB
Updated 15 Oct 2021

No need for NAB

THE National Accountability Bureau has sent instructions to its regional bureaus to stop processing cases that fall...
Forced conversions
Updated 15 Oct 2021

Forced conversions

THE majoritarian view has once again prevailed in the matter of bringing about legislation against forced conversion...
15 Oct 2021

Transgender rights

MEMBERS of the transgender community in the country are often at the receiving end of both their families’ and...
One big mess
14 Oct 2021

One big mess

At its core, the tension is the result of blurring of institutional boundaries witnessed since the PTI government came to power.
Tareen’s admission
Updated 14 Oct 2021

Tareen’s admission

PRIME MINISTER Imran Khan’s estranged friend Jahangir Khan Tareen has finally confirmed what has long been alleged...
14 Oct 2021

Dengue outbreak

DENGUE cases continue to rise at an alarming rate in several cities of KP and Punjab. According to data provided by...