SCOTT SIMON, host:
Benazir Bhutto is back on the streets of Islamabad today, a day after her house arrest. She continued to call on President Pervez Musharraf to lift his order: imposing emergency rule and suspending the constitution.
While she met with other opposition leaders and prepared to meet with foreign diplomats, General Musharraf's office issued statements explaining her house arrest and accusing her of duplicity during her negotiations to return.
Reporter Graham Usher joins us from Islamabad. Thanks very much for being with us.
Mr. GRAHAM USHER (Reporter; The Economist, Middle East International: It's good to be here. Thank you.
SIMON: Mr. Usher, how did she spend her day? How was she received?
Mr. USHER: Well, she was - had a very busy day. She was released from house detention late last night, and she used today, really, to press home her case. She tried to visit the dismissed chief justice of Pakistan, Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry who has always been under house arrest for over a week now, ever since the emergency was imposed on Pakistan. But she was not allowed to meet him. She was prevented by police. She then went to a TV station - an independent TV station in Islamabad that has been closed down under the emergency regulations, and she joined the protesting journalists there and supported their struggle for free speech. And this evening, she is going to address the diplomats in Islambad.
And, basically, her message is the same wherever she goes, and that is that she will continue to call for people to resist the emergency rule, she will continue to support people resisting emergency rule until President Musharraf does three things.
First, he must stand down as army chief of staff by the 15th of November. He must pledge himself to free and fair elections by the middle of January. And above all, he must lift the constitution. In other - he must, sorry, revive the constitution. In other words, he must lift emergency rule and allow the reinstatement of all those judges including Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry who was dismissed under the emergency rule.
SIMON: Now, Graham, General Musharraf's office says that she was put under house arrest for her own protection, and they also said that during the negotiations for her to return, she did not raise any - which, of course, involved dismissing corruption charges against her - she never raised any objection to President Musharraf staying on in the army while also being president. What can you report on that?
Mr. USHER: Well, I think they have a case, to be honest. During the negotiations she had with President Musharraf which enabled her to return to Pakistan last month, her priority was quite clear, and that was that she wanted a whole raft of corruption cases that were pending against her to be withdrawn. And eventually, Musharraf conceded to that and granted an amnesty. Now, during that entire time, she never conditioned negotiations on Musharraf stepping down as army chief of staff. She did say that she should step down as army chief of staff and he - she would not support him in the presidential elections last month as long as he was an officer in uniform. But, tellingly, during those elections, she did not call on her party to resign like every other opposition party. She simply called on her party…
SIMON: Thank you.
Mr. USHER: …to boycott and abstain…
SIMON: Thank you.
Mr. USHER: …from the vote.
SIMON: Reporter Graham Usher in Islamabad.
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