Bhutto upbeat over power-sharing

Other News Materials 4 October 2007 21:08

( BBC ) - Ex-Pakistani PM Benazir Bhutto has said she is "optimistic" of a power-sharing deal with President Pervez Musharraf.

She said conditions over an amnesty on corruption charges against her had been verbally agreed with officials.

She said her party did not expect to join a boycott of a parliamentary vote on Saturday, which is expected to see Gen Musharraf re-elected as president.

Ms Bhutto has pledged to return to Pakistan from self-exile on 18 October to fight general elections in January.

She left Pakistan before Gen Musharraf took power in 1999.

Speaking after talks with her opposition Pakistan People's Party (PPP) in London, Ms Bhutto said: "We are optimistic today, but I cannot say everything is finalised.

"Gen Musharraf has said he wants national reconciliation. We want that too. The nation should move from the past to a better future."

She said there had been "hectic negotiations and discussions and assurances" during which the terms for a written document, or ordinance, were agreed.

Ms Bhutto said: "If the national reconciliation ordinance is accordingly worded, we expect there will be an understanding on a transition towards democracy."

She added that if the deal was completed she would not carry through a threat to withdraw the PPP, the country's largest party, from parliament.

Such a mass resignation threatened to undermine the credibility of Saturday's vote.

"We will either contest the elections or we will abstain from the voting," she said.

But Ms Bhutto made clear that PPP members would not be voting for Gen Musharraf as he was "a uniformed president".

Ms Bhutto had demanded that Gen Musharraf step down as head of the army.

Correspondents say that his pledge to resign and be sworn in as a civilian if re-elected has been enough to reassure Ms Bhutto.