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Benazir Bhutto Leaves Pakistan As Rumors Circulate Of Martial Law

Two weeks after returning to Pakistan from her exile, opposition leader Benazir Bhutto left the country for Dubai to see family members as rumors circulated that President Musharraf might declare marital law. A few days ago Bhutto had insisted she lacked time to leave the country due to her political campaign. The Pakistan Supreme Court will shortly rule on whether or not to overturn Musharraf’s recent election to the presidency. The country is also being consumed by a new outbreak of Islamic militant attacks. A recent suicide attack on an air force bus killed eight and left dozens wounded. Security forces countered the attack with a bloody assault on insurgents that resulted in the death of at least sixty in the mountains of northwest Pakistan. For each attack by security forces, there are counter attacks by militants. In the meantime, the nation awaits anxiously the Supreme Court’s decision on the presidential election. If they over turn Musharraf’s victory there is a strong possibility he will counter with martial law and proceed to maintain power.

Musharraf has been a factor in creating the current crisis. He refused to step down as president and allow a democratic election which would have affirmed the issue of civilian leadership. His response of ongoing military action will hardly end fighting in the mountains of Pakistan whose people have fought off foreign invasions for hundreds of years.