No secret deal with Musharraf: Bhutto | india | Hindustan Times
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No secret deal with Musharraf: Bhutto

india Updated: Jan 05, 2007 18:40 IST

With an eye on the general elections slated this year in Pakistan, exiled former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has said "back channel" talks were taking place with the current regime but dismissed speculation about any secret understanding with President Pervez Musharraf.

Bhutto, 53, said she would return to Pakistan this year and be the prime ministerial candidate of the Pakistan People's Party.

"There is no such thing," she told a private TV channel on being asked about reports that she had reached a secret understanding with Musharraf and that many cases against her have been closed.

"There are back channel talks taking place not just with me but with Nawaz Sharif too. But we want democracy in Pakistan and won't settle for anything else," she said.

This ban can be lifted by Parliament. "If someone has majority in Parliament, then the laws can be changed," she contended.

She pointed out that the chief of army staff has given himself an extension thrice.

"The man who takes over as President through a coup is elected again and again in eyewash referendums," she said.

"The Pakistani people love me, the party workers want to see me as the PM. That is why it has been decided that I will be the prime ministerial candidate of the party. This ban can be removed too."

Asked whether she was sure she would return to Pakistan, Bhutto said, "Absolutely, even if they disqualify me, I will go back."

Brushing aside talk of her becoming soft, she said, "If I were afraid, I would have signed an agreement with the government long back and there wouldn't have been so many cases against me and (her husband) Asif Zardari."