Zia-ul-Haq regretted sparing Benazir's life: Book

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Washington, Feb 13 : General Zia-ul-Haq told one of Benazir Bhutto's friends that sparing the former premier's life was the gravest mistake of his life, according to the late Pakistan People's Party (PPP) chief's book released on Tuesday.

Benazir writes that although Zia had said this to a friend of hers, whom she does not identify, the message was meant for her.

Benazir's book claims that Musharraf should be blamed for the rise of the Muttahida Majlis-e-Amal (MMA), stating that he assured the group's victory in Balochistan and the NWFP.

She writes that this was done so that Musharraf could use the results as a "scare tactic" for the global community, and prove that he could stop a "nuclear-armed, fundamentalist, mullah-led Pakistan".

She also calls the sacking of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry a "fundamental political miscalculation" on Musharraf's part.

Benazir writes that when she returned to Pakistan, "I did not know whether I would live or die."

She states that the PPP had been negotiating with Musharraf from the outset, but it always failed "because I insisted on a road map to democracy".

The book states that it was Benazir who proposed direct talks with Musharraf.

She describes her meeting with Musharraf in Abu Dhabi in January 2007 as "long and cordial".

The book states that Musharraf had also agreed to issue the National Reconciliation Ordinance and lift the two-term ban on premiers later, the Daily Times reported.

Benazir writes that she wasn't sure if Musharraf was stalling because he declared emergency rule. She writes that Pakistan is like a tinderbox and its future worries her.

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