Benazir Bhutto to return to Pak

Himalayan News Service

Islamabad, June 5:

Former Pakistani prime minister Benazir Bhutto has decided to end her five-year exile and return home, where she faces immediate arrest on a slew of corruption charges. Bhutto took the decision at a meeting of her Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) held in London on Thursday, The News daily reported today. “The meeting took a number of important decisions including tasking the presidents and general secretaries of the party in Lahore, Multan, Peshawar, Rawalpindi and Karachi to prepare a report on handling the situation at the respective airports as Benazir Bhutto (said she would) return home soon,” it quoted Farhatullah Babar, a PPP member of Pakistan’s Senate, as saying.

The meeting was part of a series of parleys Bhutto is conducting to discuss and deliberate on the political and human rights situation in Pakistan. “During the last party meeting in London some months ago Bhutto had told party cadres she would soon take decision to return to the country. The central executive committee of the PPP has already termed the year 2004 for the return of Bhutto in the country,” The News noted. Reports of Bhutto’s return have surfaced from time to time in the past few years but these have invariably ended in a whimper. Bhutto, the first woman to lead a Muslim country, was twice prime minister of Pakistan. She went into exile in 1999 after President Pervez Musharraf, then the army chief, overthrew prime minister Nawaz Sharif in a bloodless coup.