Washington, D.C., March 3, 2005 - Benazir Bhutto, the former Prime Minister of Pakistan, told the Voice of America (VOA) that coordinated international efforts are needed to eliminate terrorism.
"It is a fact that the elements of Al Qaida can regroup as the Taleban did after 2001 and start attacking inside Afghanistan," she said. "Freedom and democracy are their [Al Qaida's] enemies," she added, noting that democracies must be established as an alternative to counter terrorism.
The former Prime Minister made her comments during exclusive interviews in Urdu and English at the Voice of America Wednesday afternoon. Talking about Iran's nuclear ambitions in today's world, she said, "Pakistan is close to both the United States and Iran; it can informally play a role in clearing the misunderstandings and avert the war, as President Bush himself said that no decision has been made for war."
Ms. Bhutto told VOA that Pakistan had a nuclear capability when she came into office in 1988, but she stressed that the Pakistani government did not assemble the nuclear components until India set off several tests in 1998.
"When I became Prime Minister, I was told we had not put together the bomb. We had the components of the bomb," she said. "And although we had the components of a nuclear weapon, we took the conscious decision not to put together a nuclear weapon, which is why when India detonated it took us some time to put together the weapon and actually have our own tests." She said that Pakistan's nuclear program was developed in response to India's own nuclear ambition.
VOA's Urdu-language service, Radio Aap ki Dunyaa, transmits 12 hours a day of news, information, and music to millions of Pakistanis and other Urdu speakers. The station is distributed on medium wave at 972 kHz. It also broadcasts three hours a day of news and information on shortwave; these three hours are archived on a daily basis, along with individual correspondent reports, interviews, and features, at www.voanews.com/urdu.
The Voice of America, which first went on the air in 1942, is a multimedia international broadcasting service funded by the U.S. government through the Broadcasting Board of Governors. VOA broadcasts more than 1,000 hours of news, information, educational, and cultural programming every week to an estimated worldwide audience of more than 100 million people. Programs are produced in 44 languages, including English and Urdu.
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