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PPP chief calls for restructuring of ISI

October 27, 2007

KARACHI, Oct 26: Pakistan People’s Party chairperson Benazir Bhutto on Friday called for concerted efforts to eradicate terrorism and extremism.

Talking to newsmen at Bilawal House, she demanded restructuring of the Inter-Services Intelligence and said that it was the responsibility of the government to discourage elements who had used their powers for vested interests and promoted religious extremism.

Ms Bhutto who, according to sources in Bilawal House, is scheduled to leave for her ancestral town of Larkana on Saturday, maintained that she was not blaming the ISI as an institution because there were lots of ‘good people’ in it. She maintained that the ISI was getting a bad name because a handful of people had been conspiring against civilian rulers and strengthening the hands of religious fundamentalists.

The PPP chairperson also said that the head of the Intelligence Bureau should be a serving police official and not a retired bureaucrat.

Ms Bhutto vowed not to allow a ‘tiny group’ in the government to rig the general elections and they would not be permitted to take the entire nation hostage. This tiny group, she said, wanted to contest elections on the shoulders of the army.

She urged democratic forces to join hands to defeat fundamentalists and to convey a strong message to these elements and their supporters in the ruling Pakistan Muslim League.She declared that her party would hold dialogue with the PML (N), Muttahida Qaumi Movement, Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam, Awami National Party and other democratic forces to pressurise the government to hold free and fair elections under a neutral caretaker government.

Ms Bhutto said there might be differences of opinion but objective of these parties was to strengthen democratic dispensation.