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Bhutto warns Musharraf of uprising

Benazir Bhutto has warned the General that failure to reach an agreement with her could prompt a "people's uprising" in the country.

world Updated: Sep 07, 2007 13:41 IST

With her much-touted power sharing deal with President Pervez Musharraf yet to materialise, former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto has warned the General that failure to reach an agreement with her could prompt a "people's uprising" in the country.

"It is up to the government to decide whether it wants a peaceful transition to democracy through free and fair elections or face people's power" and a "Ukrainian-style Orange Revolution in Pakistan," Bhutto told a paper in a telephone interview from Dubai.

Protests had erupted in Ukraine in 2005 following allegations that the government had rigged elections and ended only after opposition leader Viktor Yushchenko took over.

Her power-sharing effort, Bhutto told the Wall Street Journal, was designed to achieve a "peaceful transition" to democracy and a stronger balance between the powers of the President and Parliament.

"This is such a roller coaster that one cannot be sure about the final outcome," Bhutto said. " Musharraf is sincere, but there are some vested interests who do not want to see a peaceful transition from military rule to democracy."

The 56-year-old former two-term prime minister is trying to return from self exile through negotiations with Musharraf and both the leaders, the paper said, are under pressure to reach a deal ahead of Monday's scheduled return of Nawaz Sharif, whose democratically elected government was ousted by the General eight years ago.

"Pakistan's unity is at stake because of terrorism and religious extremists," Bhutto said. "So, need for unity among the moderate and liberal forces is much greater today."