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Last Updated: Saturday, 20 October 2007, 00:54 GMT 01:54 UK
Bhutto determined to contest poll
Benazir Bhutto speaks after the Karachi blasts
Ms Bhutto described the attacks as "dastardly and cowardly"

Former Pakistani PM Benazir Bhutto has promised she will never surrender to militants following twin bomb attacks on her convoy which killed 130 people.

Ms Bhutto told the BBC there could be more attacks to come, but said she and her party were determined to contest the parliamentary elections in January.

The carnage has raised questions about the safety of campaigning for the poll.

Earlier, she said ex-army officials had been behind the attacks, but stressed she was not blaming the government.

She also said she had been warned that she would be targeted by four militant groups before returning to Pakistan after eight years in self-imposed exile.

Correspondents say many are asking why Ms Bhutto held the procession in Karachi on Thursday despite such fears.

'Saving democracy'

In an interview with the BBC, Ms Bhutto said she was lucky to be alive following the two attacks on her motorcade as it travelled down the main road from Karachi's airport to the city centre.

What I really need to ask myself is: do I give up, do I let the militants determine the agenda?
Benazir Bhutto

Authorities have said the first blast was caused by a hand grenade and that the second was a suicide bombing, but the exact sequence of events remains unclear.

She said armed militants had targeted her and that she had been saved by the bravery of her bodyguards.

Ms Bhutto conceded she was at constant risk of another attack in the future, particularly during an election campaign.

Victims of the blasts are helped away (18 October 2007)
Most of the dead were members of Ms Bhutto's Pakistan People's Party

"What I really need to ask myself is: do I give up, do I let the militants determine the agenda?" she said.

Ms Bhutto said she and the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) were determined to contest the parliamentary election due to be held by mid-January and were ready to take the risks to defend democracy.

"I've been having a party meeting and, believe me, the spirit amongst the party is one that I'm so proud of because they say we can't let the militants dictate to us what's going to happen, and that we have to try and save Pakistan by saving democracy. So my supporters are ready."

Warnings

Ms Bhutto was not very specific about who she thought had attacked her, but did say she had received a warning about Pakistani and Afghan members of al-Qaeda, the Taleban and local Pakistani groups.

I don't believe the state or the government was involved in the attack on me at this stage
Benazir Bhutto

Several Islamist militant groups had threatened to attack Ms Bhutto after she promised to confront those operating in the northern tribal areas bordering Afghanistan.

Half an hour before the bombs went off, she said, her security personnel had detained someone found with explosives around his body.

The person was handed over to the police, but Ms Bhutto said she did not know whether the police had discovered anything.

Ms Bhutto said Pakistan's President, Gen Pervez Musharraf, had called her shortly after the attack and that she was not blaming the government for what had happened.

KEY DATES
06 Oct: Presidential polls held
17 Oct: Supreme Court resumes hearing challenges to Musharraf candidacy
18 Oct: Benazir Bhutto's homecoming
15 Nov: Parliamentary term ends and general election must be held by mid-January

"I don't believe the state or the government was involved in the attack on me at this stage," she said.

"But I do believe that the sympathisers of the militants had managed to infiltrate some of our agencies and some of our administrative apparatus in a new guise and that they abused their positions to give covert support to the militants, which is why controlling militancy has really not succeeded within the country."

Ms Bhutto said extremists were a small minority in Pakistan and that she wanted to appeal to those who wanted to build a moderate society.

VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
Scenes of chaos following the Karachi blasts





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