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Monday, 5 August, 2002, 15:30 GMT 16:30 UK
Bhutto party forms new wing
Anti-government demonstration
Benazir Bhutto (left) at a 1992 demonstration
The party of Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto has formed a new wing to overcome legal obstacles to contesting the forthcoming elections in October.


If I cannot become the prime minister I will consider contesting in presidential elections

Benazir Bhutto

The newly-formed wing is called the Pakistan Peoples Party Parliamentarians and it has elected Makhdoom Amin Fahim, the former deputy leader to Ms Bhutto, as its new leader.

The launch of the new wing was announced to meet requirements imposed by President Musharraf's government regarding the elections.

All parties were given until 5 August to hold internal polls to choose party leaders in order to qualify for registration for the elections.

But Ms Bhutto is disqualified from running under recently-introduced legislation.

Corruption case

She faces arrest if she comes back to Pakistan, where she was recently sentenced for failing to answer corruption charges in court.

She is also barred from becoming premier for a third time under a decree issued by General Musharraf.


My party sees me as its leader

Benazir Bhutto
Ms Bhutto reacted positively to the new announcement and said her party is united in the struggle and they want her as their leader.

In an interview with the BBC, Miss Bhutto said she will challenge the new laws in court.

When asked for her reaction on what she would do if her party came to power without her, Ms Bhutto told the BBC: "If I cannot become the prime minister I will consider contesting in presidential elections."

The newly-formed wing has criticised General Musharraf for passing a number of "Benazir specific laws" that prevent Ms Bhutto contesting the October elections.

Ms Bhutto is currently living in Dubai and London.

Political analysts in the region say that the announcement of a new wing for the Pakistan People's party questions Ms Bhutto ability to contest the elections - despite recent statements from her that she intends to lead her party into the polls.

Musharraf's Pakistan

Democracy challenge

Militant threat

Background

TALKING POINT

FROM THE ARCHIVES

BBC WORLD SERVICE
See also:

04 Aug 02 | South Asia
03 Aug 02 | South Asia
24 Jul 02 | South Asia
09 Jul 02 | South Asia
09 Jul 02 | South Asia
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