Bhutto wants to return to Pakistan

Nov. 24, 2004 at 3:21 AM
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ISLAMABAD, Pakistan, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Benazir Bhutto has demanded the right to return to Pakistan, a day after her husband's release on bail after eight years in jail, the BBC reported Tuesday.

The former Pakistani prime minister went into self-imposed exile in 1999 to avoid corruption charges, which are still outstanding. She says it will be "good for Pakistan" if she is allowed to return.

While living in the United Arab Emirates and London with the couple's three children, Bhutto continued to lead the opposition Pakistan People's Party, which has been one of President Pervez Musharraf's main opponents.

Bhutto's husband, Asif Zardari, who was imprisoned on charges of corruption and conspiracy to murder, said after being released he hoped to "galvanize democracy."

The Islamabad Urdu daily Ausaf said that Zardari's years behind bars have made him "a real hero who lives in the hearts of the people. ... It would not be wrong to call Asif Ali Zardari Pakistan's Nelson Mandela."

An editorial in Karachi's Dawn places his release within the context of reconciliation between the government and the opposition, noting that it "could turn out to be significant if the two sides decide to continue talking."

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