Dubai gears up for Benazir’s October 18 return to Pakistan

November 14th, 2007 - 1:48 am ICT by admin  
According to Choudhary Zubair Bashir, the Middle-East spokesperson for the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) based in Dubai, nothing would stop Bhutto from returning to Pakistan on October 18.

Bhutto returned to the UAE from the UK on Friday to spend time with her family before she heads off to Pakistan, the web site reported.

Bhutto and PPP members are preparing for the end of her eight-year exile even after Pakistan’s military ruler Pervez Musharraf won a landslide victory in a controversial Presidential election on Saturday, one that was boycotted by all opposition parties including the PPP.

“The spirits of the party members are very high and we have been waiting for this moment since a long time. What happened in Pakistan yesterday has no significance to us. There is no change in our plans to return,” Zubair was quoted, as saying.

Bhutto is expected to leave for Pakistan from Dubai with a fleet of party members and media officials from all around the world.

On Friday, Bhutto arrived in Dubai with her husband Asif Ali Zardari and is expected to celebrate Eid with her family at her house in the Emirates Hills.

Party members told 7DAYS that the mood in the Bhutto family is upbeat and no one expects trouble when she returns.

“Musharraf has agreed to all our demands. He dropped all corruption charges against Bhutto and also promised free and fair elections. These are very positive signs,” said Mohammed Akram Farooqi, PPP party President in the UAE.

Bhutto’s negotiations with Musharraf ended last week with the President giving her a clean chit on all counts of corruption.

While the Bhutto is aiming to hold the Prime Minister’s post for the third time, some members say it’s too early to celebrate the agreement between them. “The president is known to change his stand often,” remarked another PPP leader.

Bhutto served as prime minister - from 1988 to 1990 and again from 1993 to 1996. She was dismissed for alleged corruption on both occasions and left Pakistan in 1999, although she was never convicted.

Last month, Bhutto said she felt confident that the people of Pakistan would “rally around me” because they wanted democracy in Pakistan restored.

Parliamentary elections are expected to be held by January 2008.

Bhutto’s talks with the government is an indicator that her party may be willing to accept Musharraf as President for a second consecutive term provided he gives up his army chief’s uniform.

Musharraf has said that he will give the post of Chief of Army Staff once the Supreme Court rules in his favour on petitions contesting his right to contest the presidential elections and be the president of the country for another five years. (ANI)

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