I alone can redeem Pakistan: Benazir

Updated on Oct 17, 2007 09:34 AM IST

Benazir Bhutto believes that she alone is capable of bringing the beleaguered country back to the centre-ground of democracy.

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IANS | By, London

Blowing hot and cold against the military regime in Pakistan, former Pakistan prime minister Benazir Bhutto believes that she alone is capable of bringing the beleaguered country back to the centre-ground of democracy.

Scheduled to land in Karachi on Thursday, Bhutto has asked the Pervez Musharraf government to provide jamming devices and other security measures to her cavalcade to ensure that her return to the country after years of exile is incident-free.

"I am on schedule to return to Pakistan on 18 October. I am excited and looking forward to it. I can feel the weight of expectations, responsibility and hope generated by my return among the people of Pakistan", she told Sky News Tuesday evening.

Bhutto alleged that people close to the government in Pakistan had fired and created other obstacles in the way of thousands of people who had reportedly travelled hundreds of miles to receive her on Thursday. Banners welcoming her were being pulled down, she claimed.

She said she did not think much of any risk of being assassinated after landing in Pakistan. She said that as a former prime minister of Pakistan, she was entitled to security, and had asked for full security from the Musharraf government.

Bhutto said; "I am the person who can bring back Pakistan to the centre. Pakistan is already divided. There is deep polarisation - dictatorship versus democracy. Extremists have stepped in to fill the vacuum in moderate leadership.

"Before my decision to return, no one was standing up against extremists. They thought they could do anything they wanted. Now these forces see an obstacle in me. I do feel that the forthcoming elections will determine whether Pakistan will survive as a modern nation or if extremists will take over".

She said she was excited and was yearning to go back home after several years. The people of Pakistan, she claimed, had suffered military dictatorship for many years, and they saw her return as a sign of a better future.

Bhutto claimed in the interview that she had positive reports about people gathering to receive her in thousands. However, many of the reception centres had been fired upon by people close to the Musharraf government, she alleged.

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    Prasun Sonwalkar was Editor (UK & Europe), Hindustan Times. During more than three decades, he held senior positions on the Desk, besides reporting from India’s north-east and other states, including a decade covering politics from New Delhi. He has been reporting from UK and Europe since 1999.

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