BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Saturday, 10 November 2007, 23:20 GMT
Bhutto resumes protest campaign
Commando troops guard Benazir Bhutto's motorcade
Ms Bhutto has been moving through Islamabad under tight security
Pakistani opposition leader Benazir Bhutto has resumed her campaign against emergency rule, following the lifting of a detention order against her.

She joined a rally by journalists against a partial news blackout, and called for a fresh wave of protests.

But the former PM was stopped from meeting the dismissed chief justice, who remains under virtual house arrest.

US President George Bush has offered qualified support for President Pervez Musharraf, who declared the emergency.

Gen Musharraf introduced the measure a week ago, blaming militant violence and interference by the judiciary.

Under the measures, the Pakistani constitution was suspended, opposition supporters arrested, Supreme Court justices replaced, and mass public gatherings banned.

Curbs on the media

Ms Bhutto has strongly condemned the state of emergency, calling on Gen Musharraf to step down as army chief of staff by 15 November, and to hold elections by mid-January as planned.

Benazir Bhutto addressing journalists in Islamabad 10-11-07
There is not enough barbed wire, or bullets, or bayonets to defeat my people's unquestionable desire for democracy
Benazir Bhutto

On Saturday, she met officials of her Pakistan People's Party (PPP), and briefly joined journalists protesting against media restrictions.

Ms Bhutto, who was briefly placed under house arrest on Friday, called for an immediate return to democracy when she spoke to foreign diplomats.

"Pakistan under dictatorship is a pressure cooker," she said, in comments quoted by the Press Trust of India.

"Without a place to vent, the passion of our people for liberty threatens to explode... There is not enough barbed wire, or bullets, or bayonets to defeat my people's unquestionable desire for democracy."

Earlier, she said Pakistanis must not be forced to choose "between the military or the militants. The choice in Pakistan - and the people of Pakistan must have this third choice - must be the choice for democracy".

Ms Bhutto said she was pressing ahead with plans to lead a 275km (170-mile) "long march" of protest from Lahore to Islamabad, beginning on Tuesday.

But some observers have dismissed the apparent hostility between Ms Bhutto and Mr Musharraf as a charade, according to Ayaz Amir, a columnist with the Dawn Newspaper in Pakistan.

He said many people saw it as "shadow-boxing", a staged conflict that would eventually result in a power-sharing deal - something he said Washington also backed.

'Positive steps'

Meanwhile, speaking from his Texas ranch, President Bush offered conditional support for Gen Musharraf.

He urged Pakistani democracy to "get back on track as quickly as possible", but said Gen Musharraf had taken "positive steps" in that direction.

Mr Bush said the US and Pakistan were united in their fight against al-Qaeda.

Earlier, Pakistan's attorney general Malik Mohammad Qayyum said emergency rule could be lifted within a month, as the security situation in the country was improving.

General Musharraf initially imposed emergency rule because he feared the Supreme Court might uphold objections to his re-election as president, our correspondent says.

On Thursday Gen Musharraf pledged to hold parliamentary elections by 15 February - a month later than they were due.

He also renewed a promise to quit as head of the army, if and when the Supreme Court validated his recent re-election as president.

Benazir Bhutto supports pro-democracy protestors

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific