Talks with Pervez have ended: Benazir
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Talks with Pervez have ended: Benazir

The former Pakistan PM says she will not talk to military ruler Gen Musharraf on any issue.

world Updated: Nov 16, 2007 21:24 IST
Muhammad Najeeb
Muhammad Najeeb

Former prime minister Benazir Bhutto said on Friday that she would continue her struggle against dictatorship in Pakistan and would not talk to the military ruler, Pervez Musharraf, on any issue.

"My dialogue with the government was to end dictatorship and restore democracy," Bhutto said while addressing a press conference a day after she was set free after three days' detention in Lahore.

She said that she held talks with the representatives of the military regime for about 18 months to restore democracy.

Bhutto came back to Pakistan Oct 18 ending her more than eight years of self-exile under an agreement with the Musharraf regime, but announced the ending of power-sharing talks after the Nov 3 imposition of emergency by Musharraf.

"But when martial law was imposed and constitution was torn apart, I decided to discontinue the talks," she said.

"Life is very precious and gift of Allah," Bhutto said. "It should not and cannot be wasted but when my country is in danger, when my countrymen are in danger, when there is no rule of law, when extremists are gaining ground, I am ready to risk my life."

She said that protests and long march is her right. "It's right of every citizen, it's right of every politician and I am exercising this right," she said while talking about her plans for continuing protests.

Talking tough against President Musharraf, she said: "These extremists are promoted and then killed by the same people. Everyone knows who is behind these extremists."

She said that extremism was on the rise in the country. "First they took control in tribal areas, now they have captured Swat, they take over one village one day and another the other day," Bhutto said while talking about the Islamic Movements activists in the North West Frontier Province.

Bhutto said that she had talked to political forces, members of the civil society and they were all ready to join her against the dictatorship. "All want to campaign against the dictatorship ... enough is enough. I appeal to every citizen, every brother, every sister living in this country to look at the situation in country ... Time needs you. Come and join your sister against the dictatorship."

She said that she was not compelling anyone but wanted to make everyone realise the situation that now needed sacrifices. "I know for everyone life is precious but it's is not (more) precious than the country. Come and stand against the dictatorship. It needs a strong push" to be toppled.

She said that she was put under arrest and told by the authorities that her life was in danger. "I was asked not to come to the country as I may face murder attempts," she said, adding: "Why don't they arrest these people? Why are they moving freely in the country?

"If they cannot arrest the extremists, if they do not have ability to curb the extremism, they should resign and go home."

She said that the survival and progress of the country is only possible through democracy and no "other forces have any right to rule the country".

First Published: Nov 16, 2007 16:10 IST