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Thursday, December 25, 2008

From Times Online
December 27, 2007
Benazir Bhutto in quotes

Following the assasination of Pakistani opposition leader and former Prime Minister, Benazir Bhutto, this is a collection of quotes from the leader who returned from self-imposed exile this year to fight elections in Pakistan.

On the attempt to assassinate her in October.
"We are prepared to risk our lives. We’re prepared to risk our liberty. But we’re not prepared to surrender this great nation to militants. The attack was on what I represent. The attack was on democracy and very unity and integrity of Pakistan.
"Just before the attacks happened, I was very happy. The procession was one enormous party, the atmosphere was joyful, people were dancing in the street, it was magnificent. For me, that was the real Pakistan."

On threats to her life
"I know exactly who wants to kill me. They are dignitaries of General Zia's former regime who are behind extremism and fanaticism."
"The supporters of the Taleban and al-Qaeda have threatened my assassination. The Taleban leader Baitullah Mehsud has said that his terrorists will 'welcome' me on my return."
"Despite threats of death, I will not acquiesce to tyranny, but rather lead the fight against it."
"Don't worry, I'm going to be safe, and God willing I'm going to be safe."

On returning to Pakistan in October after eight years of self-imposed exile
"They would like me to come out on the streets now [in August], before the elections, to force General Musharraf's ouster. But I feel that if we have an agitation four months before the election, it could lead to yet another military rule ... or it may lead to extremists taking over."
"I know some people will think it was naïve [to return despite death threats]," she said. "But if you believe in a cause you have to pay the price." She said her duty was to mobilise "the people of Pakistan in the political life of their country".
"We must return to the roots of moderation and democracy and ensuring governmental authority the length and breadth of the country."

On corruption charges against her
"This is just a typical disinformation campaign by the present regime."
"Not a single so-called corruption charge has been substantiated."

On elections in January 2008
"The government has created a rogue force. They have hired goons who will be deployed at polling stations in police uniform, which will be a source of vote rigging."
"If the people of Pakistan honour me again with an opportunity to lead, I intend to practise what I preach and to make Pakistan a positive model to one billion Muslims around the world for our future."

On Islamist extremists
"Militants gained power and the government's legitimacy weakened. In our north, the flag of Pakistan is being lowered and the flag of extremism is being raised."
"Then there are the political madrasas, the political madrasas that teach their pupils how to make bombs, how to use rifles and how to kill women, children and the elderly."
"Pakistan is divided in its approach to the 21st century. There's a group that wants dictatorship in the name of Islam."

On President Musharraf
"We cannot vote for a uniformed person... We will either contest it or abstain."
"I'm calling for General Musharraf to step down, to quit, to leave, to end martial law. I will not be able to work with General Musharraf because I simply would not be able to believe anything he said to me."
"I realized the depth of public anger towards General Musharraf," she said adding that his crackdown had "left my party with the conclusion that he does not really want to do business with us". She added: "It made it clear that he was using us as icing on the cake to make sure no one notices the cake was poisoned."
"We want to save democracy and if General Musharraf's dictatorship can take the measures necessary to demonstrate that Pakistan is moving towards democracy, we have an understanding. But unfortunately there are (three) days to the presidential elections ... and we don't have that movement."

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