Bhutto visits Dubai as Musharraf ruling looms

One just wonders what is going on. Is Bhutto getting out while the getting is good?
If the court rules against Musharraf he is not likely to accept it but could declare a state of emergency. Having been almost assasinated perhaps Bhutto has decided that perhaps discretion is the better part of valor and that she should wait and see what happens before entering the hornet's nest of Pakistan again.


Bhutto visits Dubai as Musharraf ruling looms

Mark Tran and agencies
Thursday November 1, 2007
Guardian Unlimited

Benazir Bhutto, who survived an assassination attempt after returning home to Pakistan, today left for Dubai despite fears that the government would impose a state of emergency in her absence.
The former Pakistan prime minister went to see her husband and three children in the Arab emirate, where she had been living in self-imposed exile for the past eight years.

Her departure ended days of confusion over her travel plans. She said initially she would postpone her departure amid speculation that the president, General Pervez Musharraf, might impose emergency rule.

She said at a news conference yesterday that senior party aides had told her such a move was possible if the supreme court found that Gen Musharraf's recent presidential election win was unconstitutional. A ruling could come as soon as tomorrow.
The government has denied any intention to declare emergency rule.

Ms Bhutto said at the news conference: "I wanted to go to Dubai. But when these rumours surfaced, I decided to change my programme.

"If a state of emergency is imposed, we will not accept it," she said, speaking on behalf of her Pakistan People's party. "If fundamental human rights are suspended, we will not accept it."

A state of emergency would shatter long-standing efforts to create a power-sharing deal between Ms Bhutto and Gen Musharraf, the scenario favoured by the west as Pakistan faces an emboldened Islamist movement.

Ms Bhutto has strenuously stated her opposition to emergency rule, which would make it impossible for her to ally herself with Gen Musharraf.

Relations between Ms Bhutto and the government are already strained after an assassination attempt during her October 18 homecoming in Karachi, which killed 145 people. Ms Bhutto suspects that elements of Pakistan's intelligence services, the powerful ISI, had a hand in the plot.

The government has vowed to track down those responsible for the atrocity, which was widely blamed on Islamist extremists fighting security forces near the Afghan border. But Pakistan's top judge, whom Gen Musharraf tried to fire earlier this year, has expressed impatience with the investigation and said he would open his own inquiry.

The supreme court, led by the chief justice Iftikhar Mohammed Chaudhry, will review the case to ensure the "perpetrators of this barbaric act are brought to book, which will result in restoring the confidence of the nation in the system of governance," the court said.

The court is already in the spotlight with its pending decision on the legality of Gen Musharraf's landslide victory. Opposition MPs have challenged the vote on the grounds that Gen Musharraf, who seized power in a coup in 1999, was ineligible to stand because he had retained his position as army chief.

Gen Musharraf has said he would give up his military role before starting a new presidential term. But he declined on election night to say whether he would accept a negative verdict from the court.

The court is also considering whether Nawaz Sharif, the prime minister ousted by Gen Musharraf eight years ago, should be allowed to return from exile to make a political comeback.

As Gen Musharraf awaits the court's decisions, his government has to deal with almost daily attacks from extremists. In the latest show of force by militants, a suicide bomber on a motorbike rammed into a Pakistan air force bus, killing at least eight men and wounding about 40.

The assailant struck at about 7am local time (2am GMT) near an airbase in Sargodha, about 125 miles south of Islamabad. All the dead were air force employees, said hospital officials.


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