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Benazir Bhutto cancels trip to Dubai

world Updated: Nov 01, 2007 11:07 IST
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Pakistan's former prime minister Benazir Bhutto has cancelled a planned visit to Dubai, where she was to stay until the Supreme Court decides on the legitimacy of President Pervez Musharraf's re-election, Geo TV reported.

The decision was made on late Wednesday amid rumours that Musharraf could declare a state of emergency if the country's Supreme Court declares his election victory unconstitutional on the grounds he ran for the post while remaining military commander.

At a press conference at her home in Karachi, Bhutto said, "If a state of emergency is imposed, we will not accept it."

She stressed the need for free and fair elections and the transition of power to a democratically elected government.

Official spokesman of the Pakistani Peoples Party Farhatullah Babar said earlier that Bhutto, who was the target of a suicide bombing two weeks ago that killed 140 people, was leaving only to see her family. Her husband and three children live in Dubai.

Twice deposed on graft charges, Bhutto returned to Pakistan Oct 18 after agreeing to a power-sharing arrangement with Musharraf in exchange for her coveted support in his re-election vote this month.

Under the deal, Musharraf granted her amnesty on corruption charges that forced her to stay in self-imposed exile for eight years until Oct 18, when her homecoming was marred by the suicide attack.

The agreement was now in limbo, however, as Musharraf's eligibility to run in the presidential vote, which he won overwhelmingly, was challenged in the Supreme Court. The court, which suspended implementation of the amnesty granted to Bhutto under a presidential order, was expected to rule on Musharraf's eligibility Friday, though there were indications that the judgement may be delayed as constitutional lawyers on both sides made long-winded submissions.

Many analysts have said the army general, who took over in a bloodless military coup in 1999, might impose authoritarian rule in the country if the court ruling goes against him.