Alleging that Al-Qaeda and Taliban sympathizers hold key positions in Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf's regime, exiled former prime minister Benazir Bhutto said she wants "a balance of power" in dealing with the country's overall security and domestic militancy.
Widely perceived as being in the midst of striking a political deal with Musharraf, Bhutto said she wants the military ruler to "surrender his authority to dismiss parliament" thereby opening the way for her possible return to power.
Highly critical of Musharraf's approach to dealing with militants, she has said that much of Pakistan's intelligence services and cabinet "is rife with sympathy for Al Qaida and the Taliban", the Daily Times reported on Wednesday.
"It's across the board like that in every key position, which is why the Taliban have reasserted themselves and regrouped in the tribal areas," she said in an interview with Bloomberg in New York.
Explaining why she wants to return to the country, Bhutto said, "Now is the time to return home. I feel the very unity of Pakistan is under threat from the militants and the terrorists who have risen in power since I left Pakistan."