A Perilous Passage to Pakistan

The planned return home of opposition leader Benazir Bhutto adds to the political turmoil in Pakistan.

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Former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto (C) briefed audiences in Washington, DC, on her view of the political situation in Pakistan.

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Bhutto is hoping that Pakistani politicians will change the Constitution to permit her bid for another term as prime minister in general elections for the national parliament due to be held by January. For one thing, she said that she has learned a lot from her previous times in office—from 1988 to 1990 and from 1993 to 1996. She recalled how her government was destabilized going into her second term. "In my second government, I decided to be co-opted. I didn't interfere very much in some of the policy areas," she said. "For example on India, I let the president of Pakistan deal with it. There were certain other issues, too, on which I was not as assertive as I could be."

Today, she said, things would be different. "On the third time around, and being over 50, I would like to be my own person, even if that means not lasting very long," she says.