Pak minister: Benazir Bhutto not to be arrested on return 2007-10-15 22:20:26   Print

    ISLAMABAD, Oct. 15 (Xinhua) -- The exiled former Pakistani prime minister and Pakistan People's Party (PPP) Chairperson Benazir Bhutto would not be arrested upon her return to home, the Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmed was quoted by the Associated Press of Pakistan (APP) as saying on Monday.

    Rashid said on a TV program of Geo that the government had no intentions to block her on return as there was a better understanding between PPP and the government.

    Bhutto was only asked to reschedule her planned return, but if she had finalized her schedule then government was ready to welcome her, he said.

    She had been informed of the factual position, overall atmosphere in the country. Certain extremist elements wanted to vitiate the atmosphere and derail democratic process, Rashid said, adding that Bhutto should better delay her return and come back when general elections schedule was announced.

    Bhutto would convey her final return plan to the government on Tuesday. She looked determined and it was likely that she would stick to her schedule, Rashid said.

    Bhutto should not blame the ruling Pakistan Muslim League-Qaid (PML-Q) for creating impediments in the deal because President Pervez Musharraf had full command on the party, Rashid stated. It was PML-Q who made possible the election of President as others opted to boycott or resign, he added.

    PML-Q and PPP would fight elections against each other. However, local-level understandings between the two were possible, Rashid said and added that the cooperation between the two giants was possible after the elections.

    According to the National Reconciliation Ordinance 2007, which was signed and promulgated by Musharraf on Oct. 5, the corruption cases Bhutto was facing would be withdrawn, paving the way for her return.

    However, the Supreme Court on Friday held that any benefit drawn by any public office holder under the Ordinance would be subject to a final decision of the court, which was hearing some petitions challenging the Ordinance.

    Bhutto served twice as Pakistan's prime minister in 1988 and 1993. She was charged with corruption and faced a number of legal proceedings in Pakistan. Bhutto has been living in exile since 1999. 

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Editor: Mu Xuequan
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