Dec 31, 2007, 09.17 AM | Source: CNN-IBN

The people of Pakistan support me: Benazir Bhutto

In a special interview on CNN-IBN show Devilís Advocate some months back, Benazir Bhutto had said, ďPeople are entitled to their opinion. At the end of the day you have to be judged by your people and the forces of history. The people of Pakistan support me."

Former Pakistan Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, was assassinated by a sniper bullet, minutes after addressing a rally in Rawalpindi. She breathed her last at 6.46 pm IST.


In a special interview on CNN-IBN show, Devilís Advocate some months back, Benazir Bhutto had said that ďPeople are entitled to their opinion and at the end of the day you have to be judged by your people and the forces of history. The people of Pakistan support me. The people in my party believe in my leadership and if any of them were disgruntled they would not be applying to me to give them tickets in the forthcoming the general elections.Ē


Excerpts from the exclusive interview with Benazir Bhutto:


Karan Thapar: You have been talking to General Musharraf for a year, for the last six months there has been speculation that a deal is in the offing, yet it has not materialised. Will it or wonít it materialise?


Benazir Bhutto: The Pakistan Peopleís Party and I have been in a struggle for the democratic rights of the people and we have been exploring whether a transition to democracy can be made through the holding of free and fair elections open to all political parties and political leaders. We havenít still come to a point where an agreement can be reached. Many people in his party are against the democratization of Pakistan.


Karan Thapar: Are you hopeful that there will be an agreement or are you beginning to feel that there wonít be one?


Benazir Bhutto: We are running out of time as elections are coming up but the window is not completely shut.


Karan Thapar: So the window is still open?


Benazir Bhutto: Yes.


Karan Thapar: In the belief that the window is still open, for four decades the Bhuttos have been identified with democracy and being opposed to military rule. You have been to jail in that course and your late father paid with his life. Why, today, are you negotiating with an army dictator?


Benazir Bhutto: That is a good question because people should realise that we have used every platform for our people and their democratic rights: whether it is the platform of the streets, Parliament or dialogue. I want to remind you that General Zia-ul-Haq went and visited my father in 1977 to seek political settlement. My father met him but did not agree to the dictatorship. I havenít agreed to the dictatorship either. My husband spent eight years in prison. I, too, could given foreign guarantees and had charges against me dropped and lived in comfort. I chose to face the consequences of opposing a military dictatorship. Letís make this clear: itís all for democracy and peopleís rights.


Karan Thapar: Your critics in Pakistan turn around and say, 'This is just for herself'. They say you are just courting General Musharraf because you are desperate to get the corruption charges against you dropped.


Benazir Bhutto: : Well, that's wrong, because if I just wanted the corruption charges dropped, there would be no problem, would there? They would be only too happy to do it, just like they dropped the corruption charges against Nawaz Sharif and limited his sentence. If it was an issue of just charges, they would have been dropped and my husband and I would have led a smooth life with our three children. But we didnít, we were buffeted by storms because we stayed true to the people of Pakistan.

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