The Pakistan government freed former prime minister Benazir Bhutto from house arrest late Friday evening. She previously had been blocked from attending a rally against emergency rule. The Interior Department said the house arrest “has been withdrawn.” Earlier, Ms. Bhutto, speaking via a megaphone, from behind coils of barbed wire, demanded police allow her to lead a march to end the emergency rule. “I am your sister fighting for democracy,” she shouted to the crowd gathered around her compound. After the house arrest was lifted, she spoke to the press while in her bullet proof car via telephone: “I am not afraid of these tactics,” she said. “My struggle is for the people of Pakistan, for their rights and for an end to dictatorship.” A spokesperson for the Ministry of Information insisted her house arrest “was a temporary detention order to keep her from getting exposed to a very serious threat of suicide bombing.” Elsewhere, a suicide bomber blew himself up at the residence of a minister in the northwest city of Peshawar which killed four people.
The release of Ms. Bhutto undoubtedly is the result of intense outside pressure from nations like the United States. Musharraf apparently over stepped the limits of what he thought could be attained, and most wisely took a step backward. The real issue is whether or not Benazir Bhutto can cease being a corrupt leader which was so characteristic of her previous time as prime minister.