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Remove restrictions on Bhutto's movement - PPP

world Updated: Oct 23, 2007 13:48 IST
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Former premier Benazir Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party on Tuesday asked the government to immediately remove restrictions that prevent her from going abroad, saying such curbs are "illegal and unconstitutional".

PPP spokesman Farhatullah Babar said the government had put her name on the Exit Control List (ECL), thus preventing her from travelling outside Pakistan.

Upon her return to the country last week after eight years in self-exile, Bhutto had said that she intend to travel abroad from time to time to meet her husband and children.

Describing the government action as "illegal, unconstitutional and against fundamental rights", Babar said the PPP has sent a letter to the interior ministry to remove Bhutto's name from the list.

The letter said Bhutto had not been informed about the inclusion of her name on the list and asked that it be removed "forthwith".

The PPP's demand came a day after Bhutto and senior leaders of the ruling PML-Q traded angry charges over the probe into the suicide attack on her motorcade in Karachi and the government's plan to ban rallies ahead of the general election to be held by mid-January.

Nearly 140 people were killed and hundreds injured in two blasts targeting Bhutto's convoy hours after she returned to Pakistan. Her homecoming was facilitated by an ordinance issued by President Pervez Musharraf to drop graft charges against her and other political leaders.

Bhutto has said she is not satisfied with the conduct of the investigation into the attack and claimed three senior government officials, who she has not publicly named, are behind attempts to assassinate her. She also demanded that the government should seek the help of international experts in the probe.

The government has rejected her demands and allegations and said that only Pakistani investigators will conduct the probe.

Reacting to Bhutto's claims that he was "protecting" elements involved in attacks on her, PML-Q president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain suggested that Bhutto's husband Asif Ali Zardari had masterminded the blasts to gain public sympathy for the PPP chairperson.