Benazir acutely aware of threat to her life on return to Pak

November 14th, 2007 - 1:48 am ICT by admin  
“I know there are security risks, people who want to kill me and to scuttle the restoration of democracy. But with my faith in God and trust in the people of Pakistan, I’m sure the party workers will be there and will protect me,” Benazir told The Sunday Times in an interview.

“I truly believe this is the chance to get democracy back in Pakistan,” she added.

Commenting on the deal with President Pervez Musharraf, she said it was an “understanding for national reconciliation” and pointed out that the amnesty for any alleged criminal acts before November 1999 applies to all Pakistani politicians.

She defended the deal by saying that it was the only way to return to democracy without bloodshed.

“These are dangerous times for Pakistan and I feel very pleased we can get a political settlement so that we can have a peaceful transfer from dictatorship to democracy,” the Daily Times quoted her as saying.

“We had the dictatorship of Muhammad Ayub Khan, which only ended with a takeover by another military ruler … (and) the last dictatorship of General Ziaul Haq ended after a plane crash. One should not wait for planes to fall out of the sky for dictators to die. One should try to move forward. So, if there can be a peaceful negotiated transfer, I think that’s much better for Pakistan,” she added.

Benazir admitted that the US played a role in the “deal”, and that she had a series of meetings with US Assistant Secretary of State Richard Boucher.

“I know some people are saying this is an American plan, but my agenda has always been a Pakistan agenda… Since 1977, the US has supported military dictatorship - first General Zia, then Musharraf - so it’s a very welcome development that the US is calling out for democracy and the holding of free and fair elections,” she said.

On the presidential elections held on Saturday, Benazir denied that her PPP legitimised the polls by not resigning from the assemblies, saying: “If we had voted for a uniformed President we would be legitimising it. But we refused to vote for a military President and General Musharraf understands that.” (ANI)

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