The Hindu : "Dictatorships breed extremism"

Sunday, October 28, 2007

"Dictatorships breed extremism"

Benazir visits ancestral village, pays homage at father’s tomb

PTI | October 28, 2007

Karachi: The former Pakistan Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, who survived an assassination bid on her return from exile, on Saturday said countries ruled by dictatorships faced extremism and sought a dialogue between “moderation and extremism”.

Dismissing claims that she was trying to forge a “deal” with President Pervez Musharraf, she said her party was holding talks with the General to facilitate the transition to civilian democracy.

“We are seeking power for the people. We want free, fair and transparent elections. Where there is dictatorship, there is extremism,” she told a press conference after her visit to her father’s tomb at Larkana in Pakistan’s Sindh province.

The PPP, Ms Bhutto said, wanted a dialogue “between moderation and extremism, and democracy and dictatorship”.

Earlier, Ms. Bhutto visited her ancestral village and offered prayers at her father’s tomb.

The 54-year-old leader was given a rousing welcome by hundreds of cheering supporters when she flew from Karachi to Sukkur, a town near her hometown of Larkana.

Asked about the legal challenge mounted in the Supreme Court to Gen. Musharraf’s re-election in uniform, Ms. Bhutto said she expected Gen. Musharraf to respect the verdict of the apex court.

“He has abided by all the decisions of the Supreme Court and we expect Musharraf will abide by the court’s ruling in this matter.”

The apex court is expected to give its verdict on petitions challenging the military ruler’s candidature by the middle of next week.

Extensive security

Extensive security arrangements, including import of two armoured SUVs, were made to protect Ms. Bhutto during her visit to Larkana.

The two Toyota Land Cruiser vehicles, which were specially modified with armour to withstand gunfire and explosions, were imported from Dubai after being assembled in Japan.

The vehicles were ordered by Ms. Bhutto’s husband Asif Ali Zardari’s business firm, the Dawn newspaper reported.

The vehicles were sent from Karachi to Larkana late on Friday night after being cleared by customs authorities.

Ms. Bhutto, who flew from Islamabad to Sukkur, rode in one of the SUVs from the airport. The vehicles have central locking systems and are fitted with special radial tyres that allow them to move at high speed in rocky and sandy areas.