The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
Email This PagePrint This Page
Olive branch to Benazir

Islamabad, Dec. 12 (Reuters): Pakistan’s new government said today it wants former Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto to return from self-imposed exile, hinting a deal could be struck over outstanding court cases against the popular figure.

Interior minister Faisal Saleh Hayat, a veteran member of Bhutto’s Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) who defied party policies to join the pro-military government, said there were still several obstacles lying in the influential leader’s way.

“We still have a very deep-rooted association with the People’s Party,” Hayat said, referring to a 10-member group of parliamentarians which broke away from the mainstream PPP to hand the pro-military party a thin majority.

“Obviously we would like Benazir to be back in Pakistan, but there are two or three complications. The most important is the legal issue,” he added.

“If the government and Benazir arrive at a political arrangement, then obviously you can always go for an arrangement where things are streamlined,” he said in an apparent reference to outstanding corruption-related court cases against Bhutto.

“Let the time come, the government is still in its infancy. We will come to these arrangements if and when required.”

In the clearest indication yet that the new government could hold out an olive branch to Bhutto, he added: “I don’t mean to comment that we have an arrangement, but we feel that in this hour there is greater need for flexibility.”

Email This PagePrint This Page