Pakistan is becoming another Iraq: Benazir

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Dubai, Sep 21: Former Pakistan Prime Minister and chairperson of the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Benazir Bhutto said she wanted to return to Pakistan to prevent it from becoming another Iraq or Afghanistan. ''The country is heading towards civil war as the extremists, who were earlier killing people in streets, have now started killing our army personnel,'' she said.

The sovereignty of the country is at stake because the government has failed to control extremist elements and there is the looming threat of foreign invasion, she warned at a function held here yesterday to mark the death anniversary of her brother Mir Murtaza Bhutto, who was shot dead in Karachi during her last tenure as prime minister.

''I am going back because I don't want Pakistan to become another Afghanistan or Iraq. I don't have guns but the PPP has a programme to eliminate extremism from the country.'' Ms Bhutto said she was being threatened against returning home but she was not afraid. ''I am being told that there is a threat to my life if I go back, but I must tell those people that I am not afraid of anyone but Allah. I will return to my people,'' she told the gathering which was organised by PPP leaders in the UAE, Akram Farooqi and Abbas Bhatti.

PPP supporters at the function were overwhelmed by their leader's presence and chanted slogans like "Prime Minister Benazir". Many of them milled around her while she was delivering the speech and she had to stop midway and ask security personnel to keep them back.

Security personnel also had a hard time at the hotel where was staying as everyone tried to get near her for a Ms Bhutto photoograph. Her security adviser Rehman Malik also accompanied her.

On the much-hyped deal with the government, she said she held a dialogue with General Pervez Musharraf because she wanted peace and reconciliation and did not want to open another battlefront in the country. ''I held a dialogue but I did not accept a president in uniform and will not accept it in the future as well,'' she said according to a report in the Gulf News.

''I held a dialogue for democracy, balance of power and stable political system,'' she said and warned that there would be no compromise if upcoming polls were not held in a free and fair manner.


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