Magazine article Newsweek

'Be True to What You Are': An Exiled Pakistani Leader Looks Homeward

Magazine article Newsweek

'Be True to What You Are': An Exiled Pakistani Leader Looks Homeward

Article excerpt

Watching the coup from afar, Benazir Bhutto, who was prime minister of Pakistan from 1988 to 1990 and 1993 to 1996, spoke to NEWSWEEK. Excerpts:

NEWSWEEK: Have you been in contact with General Musharraf and other military leaders since the coup?

BHUTTO: I have tried to establish contact with them, but they have yet to return my calls. I hope they would move on to democratization. That is the main message I wish to convey.

Did you have a relationship with General Musharraf when you were in office?

We actually had a working relationship with him. I have an assessment of him as a person who is not a [Muslim fundamentalist]. I think he is a good man--he is moderate, he is courageous.

Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif apparently was warned by Washington that a coup was possible. So why did he interfere with the military?

Only he can answer that question. But Washington kept bailing him out. In 1998, there was a lot of disquiet among the armed forces over the unceremonious removal of their chief. But Nawaz was perceived to have the backing of the international community, and he survived.

When you were prime minister, did you have complete control--or any control at all--over the nuclear program?

There is no political control of what actually happens inside [the program]. When I asked to visit the nuclear facility, nobody said no, but the visit was stalled.

If you had an opportunity to govern again, what would you do differently? …

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