Benazir Bhutto leaves for Dubai
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Benazir Bhutto leaves for Dubai

The former Pakistan PM is expected to stay there until the country's top court decides on the legitimacy of Musharraf's re-election.

world Updated: Nov 01, 2007 20:35 IST

Pakistan's former prime minister Benazir Bhutto on Thursday left for Dubai, where she was to stay until the country's top court decides on the legitimacy of President Pervez Musharraf's re-election.

"She will be visiting her family in Dubai and will be back in a couple of days to lead a rally in Rawalpindi on November 9," said her party spokesman Farhatullah Babar.

Bhutto's husband, Asif Ali Zardari, and three children are currently residing in Dubai.

However, sources in Bhutto's Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) said she left the country because of fears that Musharraf might declare a state of emergency if the Supreme Court rules his election victory unconstitutional on the grounds that he ran for the post while remaining the military commander.

"Keeping in mind the prevailing political uncertainty in the country, we have advised her to leave the country for at least one week," a senior leader of the PPP said on Wednesday.

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

Under the deal, Musharraf granted her amnesty in corruption charges that forced her to stay in self-imposed exile for eight years until Oct 18, when a suicide attack killed 140 people in her homecoming rally.

The agreement, however, remains in limbo as Musharraf's eligibility to run for a second term as president, which he won overwhelmingly, as well as his presidential order that made Bhutto's amnesty legal were challenged in the Supreme Court.

A day before leaving for Dubai on Emirates Airline flight 606, Bhutto warned that imposition of authoritarian rule would not be accepted.

"If emergency is imposed, people will come out and resist it," she said, stressing the need for free and fair elections and the transition of power to a democratically elected government.

The Supreme Court was expected to hand down the verdict on Musharraf's re-election in the middle of the month though initially there were reports that the decision would come on Friday.

On Thursday, the court adjourned the hearing until Friday but announced the following session will be held on November 12, after which the verdict will be announced.

The court took notice of the rumours of the imposition of authoritarian rule in the country, saying it would not be intimidated by such threats.

First Published: Nov 01, 2007 19:55 IST