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Benazir feared she might get killed

world Updated: Dec 27, 2007 20:54 IST
IANS
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Former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto may have had some dark foreboding about her death when she said in London before returning to her country that there are "people who want to kill me".

"I know there are security risks, people who want to kill me and to scuttle the restoration of democracy," Bhutto said in an interview with the Sunday Times ahead of her return home on October 18.

"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," she added.

Bhutto spoke of risks to her life as Pakistani Taliban militants were quoted as saying they would launch suicide attacks against her when she returns home after eight years in exile.

Baitullah Mehsud, a Pakistani Taliban leader linked to the Al Qaeda terror network, had said that suicide bombers would launch attacks on her as soon as she returned.

Mehsud has been holding more than 250 Pakistani soldiers as hostage and has been blamed for organising suicide bombings.

Farahatullah Babar, a spokesman for Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party (PPP), said at the time: "The danger to her life is always there if she returns but we have decided that she will return at any cost."

Urging the government to ensure her safety, he added: "After all, she was prime minister twice and deserves security cover when somebody threatens her so brazenly."

In the interview, Bhutto herself declared her determination to oust Musharraf but denied she was returning as part of a US-endorsed plan.

"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 Gen 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."

"The last dictatorship of Gen Zia 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 peacefully negotiated transfer, I think that's much better for Pakistan."

However, Bhutto was not destined to see a peaceful transfer of power in the country and died 12 days before the scheduled January 8 elections.

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