The Return of Bhutto to Pakistan

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The Return of Bhutto to Pakistan

Postby MiChuhSuh » October 21st, 2007, 2:19 pm

I'm surprised no one got on this yet
Image
Benazir Bhutto speaks to people who lost family members in the bomb attack on her procession on Thursday night as she meets to pray with widows and their children at her residence in Karachi, Pakistan on Sunday Oct. 21, 2007. Bhutto called for an independent inquiry into the assassination attempt, and asked again why streetlights weren't working when her convoy was inching its way through the darkness Thursday. (AP Photo/David Guttenfelder)



Bhutto: Militants Stronger in Pakistan
Bhutto Warns al-Qaida, Taliban Gaining Ground in Pakistan
By MATTHEW PENNINGTON
The Associated Press

KARACHI, Pakistan

Former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto warned Sunday that Taliban and al-Qaida militants have gained ground in Pakistan, making her first public appearance since narrowly escaping a suicide assassination attempt that killed 136 people.

But she said the bombing could unite her and other forces opposed to extremism, including military ruler President Gen. Pervez Musharraf.

"He's been the victim of assassination attacks and so have we," Bhutto told a small group of journalists inside her heavily guarded Karachi residence. "I think certainly it will unite all those who are against extremism."

Bhutto's return from an eight-year exile follows negotiations with Musharraf that could bring the longtime rivals together after January elections and see the corruption charges against her vanish.

Bhutto, who is vying to become prime minister for a third time, has kept up her strong rhetoric against military rule and accuses elements within Musharraf's administration and security services of plotting to kill her.

She said military rule had only fueled militancy, and warned that mujahedeen forces were turning their attention from Afghanistan to Pakistan.

"The Taliban has regrouped and according to intelligence network estimates al-Qaida is also regrouping. It's become clear that dictatorship is not working, that it's actually making the situation more chaotic and anarchic," she said.

But Bhutto's criticism has been tempered by conciliatory comments, suggesting that she views an alliance with Musharraf a key U.S. ally in its war on terrorism as her political destiny, one with the backing of Western governments.

Bhutto returned to Pakistan on Thursday, but her jubilant greeting by more than 150,000 supporters was shattered by the bombing just before midnight.

Using a device laden with nuts, bolts and ball bearings, the attacker yet to be identified killed about 50 of her party's security detail, at least 18 police escorting her and scores of supporters and bystanders.

Three days after the carnage, the former premier popped out of her fortified home to visit some of the wounded at a Karachi hospital, then visited a shrine in one of the poorest quarters of the volatile city.

Hundreds of supporters chanted "Prime Minister Benazir!" as she left after the 15-minute hospital visit, guarded by armed police.

She also held prayers of mourning at her house with about 100 women, many of them widowed in Thursday's attack, while thousands of her supporters gathered for a prayer service elsewhere in Karachi. Some shouted for revenge but the cleric leading the prayers appealed for calm. Hundreds more gathered in Peshawar and Lahore.

Bhutto conceded she felt a little weary but appeared upbeat when she met reporters in a lounge adorned with photos of polo horses and a pencil sketch of her husband Asif Ali Zardari, who still lives abroad.

She said she had been lucky to escape injury in the attack as she was at the back of the interior of her armored truck when the bomb went off, but found her ear bleeding the morning after.

Bhutto brushed off criticism that it was a wrong to stage the rally designed to show Pakistan and the world that she remains a powerful political force in her homeland despite her years in exile following her two corruption-tainted governments. By her own admission, she had received intelligence before her return to Pakistan that four al-Qaida and Taliban suicide bombing squads were out to kill her.

"I don't think it was a mistake. I think that rally showed that the people of Pakistan rejected militants and extremists," she said, although she added that in future she would not give prior notice of her movements.

"We have to modify our campaign to some extent because of the suicide bombings," Bhutto said. "We will continue to meet the public. We will not be deterred."

She urged Britain and the U.S. to lend expertise for the investigation, and called for an independent inquiry into why many streetlights were not working when her convoy was inching its way through the darkness.

"We believe it was sabotage," she said.

She further voiced concern that the chief investigator was a senior Karachi police officer who had been present while her husband, Asif Ali Zardari, was allegedly tortured in custody on corruption charges in 1999.

Musharraf has promised to conduct a thorough probe into the bombing reminiscent of the two bombings that targeted him in December 2003 in the garrison city of Rawalpindi. He escaped injury, but at least 16 other people were killed.

Police are questioning three people over Thursday's attack but have yet to announce any breakthrough in their investigation.

The government has rejected Bhutto's allegation that elements within the current administration and security apparatus were trying to kill her. She claims they are remnants of the regime of former military leader Gen. Zia-ul Haq, who oversaw the creation of mujahedeen groups that fought the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Veterans of that struggle later formed al-Qaida and the Taliban.

"I have shared with the presidency who I think is out to eliminate me. The presidency does not share my views, so out of deference to them I have not publicly named them," she said.

Associated Press writers Ashraf Khan in Karachi and Munir Ahmad in Islamabad contributed to this report.

Copyright 2007 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Copyright © 2007 ABC News Internet Ventures

http://www.abcnews.go.com/International ... id=3757335
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Postby MiChuhSuh » November 10th, 2007, 11:48 am

are you guys serious? no one pays attention to this?

They suspended civil rights and even for a while they completely cut off all telephone, tv, and internet communication in the capitol.

They are going to eventually take it off due to US and UK pressure but they already arrested thousands of people that Musharraf felt was a threat.

Pakistan Emergency to End in 1 Month

By MUNIR AHMAD – 5 hours ago

ISLAMABAD, Pakistan (AP) — Pakistan announced plans to lift its state of emergency within one month and allowed opposition leader Benazir Bhutto to leave her villa following a day under house arrest, as the country sought Saturday to restore its battered image at home and abroad.

President Gen. Pervez Musharraf insists he called the week-old emergency to help fight Islamic extremists who control large swathes of territory near the Afghan border, but the main targets of his crackdown have been his most outspoken critics, including the increasingly independent courts and media.

Thousands of people have been arrested, TV news stations taken off air, and judges removed.

The government — under mounting pressure from the U.S. and other Western allies to restore democracy in the nation of 160 million people — has announced that parliamentary elections initially slated for January would be held no later than Feb. 15.

And Attorney General Malik Mohammed Qayyum told The Associated Press on Saturday that the state of emergency would "end within one month." He provided no further details and would not say when a formal announcement might come.

Security forces threw a cordon around Bhutto's villa in an upscale neighborhood of the capital Friday, and rounded up thousands of her supporters to prevent a planned demonstration against the crackdown. She was allowed to leave her home 24 hours later, meeting first with party colleagues and then addressing a small journalists' protest.

But dozens of helmeted police blocked her white, bulletproof Land Cruiser when she tried to visit Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, the independent-minded chief justice who was removed from his post following Musharraf's state of emergency.

Through a loudspeaker, Bhutto said Taliban and al-Qaida-linked militants were gaining ground in the country's turbulent northwest. She also said Musharraf's military-led government was about to crumble.

"This government is standing on its last foot," she said, as dozens of supporters scuffled briefly with police. "This government is going to go."

Some U.S. officials have expressed concern that Pakistan's political crisis would distract its government from efforts to quash a growing militant threat — the country also has been hit by a series of deadly suicide bombings, including one Oct. 18 targeting Bhutto.

NATO said Saturday insurgents had killed six American troops in eastern Afghanistan.

But the Bush administration continues to describe Musharraf as an "indispensable" ally against extremists, suggesting it is unlikely to yield to calls from some lawmakers in Washington for cuts in its generous aid to Pakistan, much of it to the powerful military.

Just a few weeks ago, Bhutto and Musharraf were discussing the possibility of forming a pro-West alliance against militants, and her return last month following eight years in exile came after he agreed to drop corruption charges against her.

Bhutto has left open the possibility of re-entering talks with the army chief, including on her wish to serve a third term as prime minister, but such prospects have been dimmed by recent restrictions on her movement and her increasingly tough talk.

"You have allowed (firebrand Islamic cleric) Maulana Fazlullah to snatch Swat, (a former tourist destination where fighting has raged for months), but you are beating unarmed people," Bhutto said, drawing chants of "Long live Bhutto!" from her supporters.

Aides said she would meet later in the evening with foreign diplomats to discuss the political crisis.

Hundreds of police blocked the street in front of Bhutto's home Friday to keep her from leading a rally in the garrison city of Rawalpindi that had been expected to draw thousands. She said Saturday she was still determined to go ahead with a 185-mile march Tuesday from the city of Lahore to Islamabad.

"To get Pakistan from the clutches of dictatorship, we are organizing a long march," Bhutto said. "I request ... all segments of the population to join us in the struggle for democracy. When the masses combine, the sound of their steps will suppress the sound of military boots."

Many critics say the main goal of Musharraf's emergency was to pre-empt a Supreme Court ruling on the legality of his victory in a presidential election last month. Under the constitution, public servants cannot run for office.

Qayyum, the attorney general, said the court — now purged of its more independent justices — would swear in more judges in the next two or three days, bringing it up to the strength required to restart hearings in the case.

Musharraf says he will quit his post as army chief and rule as a civilian once the court has confirmed his re-election, but set no date for that step.

Associated Press writer Zarar Khan in Islamabad contributed to this report.
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Postby Sentenza » November 10th, 2007, 11:58 am

Well Musharraf fucked up and catapulted himself out of power. He will be replaced, but we will have to wait & see by whom.
They say that when there will be elections the islamists might get a huge amount of the votes and Bhutto might win. She is corrupt as fuck though as she already proved in the 90s and the Islamists wont make anything better either considering the situation in Cashmere and their "stone age" interpretation of islam.
Kinda instable the whole region down there.
But i am sure the US, India & GB will make sure that someone like Musharraf will win again so the country will be kept in check.
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Postby Sentenza » November 10th, 2007, 12:00 pm

Also i heard, the Musharraf might be behind the bombings and not the Islamists who they blamed it on.
I am sure Musharraf would prefer to see her dead rather then alive.
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Postby MiChuhSuh » November 13th, 2007, 1:22 am

Well actually what I heard from a local PhD on this stuff here is that Musharaff and Bhutto, despite hating the crap out of each other, really need each other to both keep power, so they might do some bargaining to cooperate and share power in the future.
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Postby Sentenza » November 14th, 2007, 1:27 pm

MiChuhSuh wrote:Well actually what I heard from a local PhD on this stuff here is that Musharaff and Bhutto, despite hating the crap out of each other, really need each other to both keep power, so they might do some bargaining to cooperate and share power in the future.


Could be true. I think Pakistan is a pretty complicated case. And a powder keg on top.
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Postby MiChuhSuh » November 14th, 2007, 4:55 pm

Sentenza wrote:
MiChuhSuh wrote:Well actually what I heard from a local PhD on this stuff here is that Musharaff and Bhutto, despite hating the crap out of each other, really need each other to both keep power, so they might do some bargaining to cooperate and share power in the future.


Could be true. I think Pakistan is a pretty complicated case. And a powder keg on top.


Yesterday they said she was on house arrest again because she was planning to go to a protest/rally which would march through some cities.

She publicly stated that Musharaff should immediately retire and that she would never work/share power with him.

I think their system is cracking up right now
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