Bhutto meets presidential aides

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Islamabad, Nov 7: Former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto along with her close aides held detailed discussions with top presidential aides, Chief of Staff, Lt Gen Hamid Javid, National Security Council Secretary Tariq Aziz and DG ISI here, contrary to her claims that she would not meet President Pervez Musharraf or any of his officials.

The Nation quoted sources privy to these meetings as saying that Ms Bhutto had asked the president's aides to ensure lifting of emergency, holding of free and fair elections and handing over power to the elected representatives of the people.

Presidential side had asked Ms Bhutto to go slow on her protest plans and fulfil the commitments she had made with the President, while saying Gen Musharraf would also fulfill commitments that he had made with the PPP under the national reconciliation agenda.

Ms Bhutto expressed her concern over the imposition of emergency in the country and asked the presidential side to immediately lift it. She also demanded holding of elections on time and made it clear that delay in the elections would not be acceptable.

The presidential aides assured Ms Bhutto that they would honour commitments and asked her to fulfill her part of the agreement and keep her agenda of agitation in low profile.

There were rumours here that the PPP chairperson held a meeting with Gen Musharraf but later it transpired that the meeting, in fact, was held between her and the top presidential aides at the residence of some common friend.

When contacted, Rehman Malik, a close aide of Ms Bhutto, denied any meeting between her and Gen Musharraf.

He did not even confirm the meeting between Ms Bhutto and the top aides of the President's camp but the sources contradicted Malik's claim, adding that modalities of the agreement between Gen Musharraf and Ms Bhutto came under discussion in the meeting.


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