|08-15-2007, 11:27 PM||#1|
Join Date: Dec 2002
Bhutto vows to eliminate safe haven in Pakistan.
Do we have our horse hitched to the wrong wagon?
Exiled former Pakistani Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto urged the country's military leader on Wednesday to fulfill promises he made about upcoming elections by the end of the month, when her party will consider whether to enter a political alliance that would restore democracy
Bhutto said her party has been negotiating with President Gen. Pervez Musharraf for almost a year about a possible alliance. He made a commitment to take several confidence-building measures, but nothing has happened, she said.
"So my party is asking, is it just the talk, or is it going to turn into a walk?," she said. "We would need to see the fulfillment of those commitments in the next two to three weeks before my party needs to take a final decision on where we stand."
Bhutto told the Council on Foreign Relations that she wants to return to Pakistan later this year to lead the movement for the restoration of democracy.
Musharraf has reiterated his opposition to having Bhutto and another exiled prime minister, Nawaz Sharif, come home to lead their parties in upcoming parliamentary elections. Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party and Sharif's Pakistan Muslim League-N, both secular parties with widespread middle-class support, are expected to do well at the elections.
Bhutto, who served twice as prime minister and fled Pakistan in 1999 to avoid corruption charges, did not spell out the promises Musharraf made, but her party has demanded that Musharraf take off his uniform and relinquish control of the army.
It has also called for electoral reforms to ensure that all prospective voters are registered and international monitors.
"My country, Pakistan, is once again in a crisis and it's a crisis that threatens not only my nation and region, but possibly could have repercussions on the entire world," she said.
Bhutto said Pakistan's crisis has its roots in military rule, which started in 1958 and which under Musharraf "has fueled the forces of extremism."
Areas that her government controlled in 1996 are now being used by pro-Taliban forces linked to al-Qaida to launch regular attacks on NATO troops across the border in Afghanistan, she said.
"I will seek to lead a democratic Pakistan which is free from the yoke of military dictatorship, and will cease to be a haven, the very petri dish, of international terrorism," she said.